Thursday, 26 September 2013

Værøy day 4

Today was a day for finally getting to grips with two species that I have stuggled with. The first, Two-barred Crossbill (båndkorsnebb) has totally avoided me until today despite there being a flock of 4 on the island, and the other was Olive-backed Pipit (sibirpiplerke) which finally allowed itself to be pinned down, admired and photographed.

We awoke to an overnight frost, clear skies and just a light north easterly wind. These conditions were clearly not conducive to new arrivals and my morning walk around Nordland was only enlivened by very close views of the resident Hawk Owl which unfortunately looked as though it is poorly – probably due to lack of food. Warblers were in short supply with 2 Chiffchaff (gransanger), 1 Yellow-browed (gulbryn) and singles of Blackcap (munk) and Garden Warbler (hagesanger).

Heading south did not result in an increase in bird numbers but the lack of wind made viewing conditions good and allowed us to locate what was there. I found a Red-breasted Flycatcher close to where we had the male 2 days ago. It was very skulky and we saw it briefly but I did see it well enough to be sure it lacked a red throat and was therefore a new bird. When the others found a red throated male in the same garden later in the day I had to work hard to convince the others on the the two bird theory!

The plantation was nearly completely devoid of birds but another Hawk Owl here was clearly trying to hunt birds although we didn’t see it have any luck.

A call from Kjell led me to the church where I was able to absorb myself in an adult male and three juvenile Two-barred Crossbills feeding on rowan berries and spruce cones seemingly oblivious to our presence. They were quite vocal, mostly with a call very similar to Common Crossbill but one bird also gave the trumpet call.

Kjell had also had a pipit earlier in the day that he couldn’t quite decide (due to bad views) whether it was Tree or Olive-backed. I headed to the area which was an area of long grass with some bushes. I played the call of Olive-backed and got an immediate response from within the grass. I called the others and we then went into the area and the bird flew up into nearby bushes. We were able to confirm it was an OBP but it was a poorly marked specimen. It obviously favoured the area and every time we flushed it from the long grass (where it was invisible) it would either fly just a short distance and drop down again or every now and again fly up into bushed which eventually allowed some decent pictures to be taken. I also glimpsed it walking in long grass at the base of a tree where it looked almost like a rodent as it lifted its long legs over clumps of grass.

Whilst looking for the pipit a Jack Snipe (kvartbekkasin) flew up from my feet nearly giving me a heart attack.

Singles of House Martin (taksvale) and Swallow (låvesvale) were new in and enjoyed the warm weather. The day ended with a count of around 10 Yellow-browed Warblers (5 for me) which feels very few but would be a count nearly any other place in Europe would be pleased with!
Due to me having taken far too many pictures and my hard disk being full I haven’t had a real chance to look at all the pictures I took today, so here is a selection and I may have to have another post later once I’ve had a chance to go through everything properly.
Hawk Owl (haukugle) - the seemingly poorly bird in Nordland

and the bird in the south which seemed to have much more energy

adult male Two-barred Crossbill (båndkorsnebb)
juvenile 2BC

finally! Olive-backed Pipit (sibirpiplerke)

here creeping in the grass


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