Friday, 25 April 2014

Waiting for waders

I had intended to wake up at 2am to go listening for an interesting owl Rune had heard in the deep, dark forests of Aurskog-Høland a couple of weeks ago. My close encounter of the Great Grey kind yesterday had however sated my owl needs so I awoke at 5am instead. I had a message from Per B who had been up all night and checked out the said deep, dark forest and hadn't found anything other than Tengmalm's Owl (perleugle) so I took the "lie in" with a good conscience.

With the continuing sunny settled weather it was perhaps no surprise that Maridalen had nothing new to offer except for the first Willow Warblers (løvsanger) and Common Sandpiper (strandsnipe) although the Three-toed Woodpeckers (tretåspett) were both drumming with the female again the most active. I have found a tree with two newly excavated holes. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew from the tree so is presumably responsible for at least one the holes but I will pay attention to this tree and also a nearby one with old holes that one of the Three-toed was drumming on – I will find their nest if it causes the ruin of me!

I next headed to Svellet to take advantage of the favourable early morning light. Here there slightly fewer Teal (ca.1200) but the three Garganey (knekkand) were still amongst them and Shoveler (skjeand) now numbered eight and Wigeon (brunnakke) 14. There were only seven Curlew (storspove) and five Oystercatchers (tjeld) until a flock of 60 Curlew flew in at some height from the south and landed. I am getting a bit impatient now for the wader passage to start properly but I'm sure that one day there will suddenly just be 100's of 'shanks and sandpipers.

Hellesjøvannet turned up the Green-winged Teal (amerikakrikkand) again so no wonder I couldn't uncover one at Svellet. It is with only 20 or so Teal here who are in pairs or small groups along the edge of the reeds unlike the large flock at Svellet which feeds in the middle of the delta. Otherwise Hellesjøvannet offered up the usual suspects with a Marsh Harrier (sivhauk), female Smew (lappfiskand), White-fronted Goose (tundragås), male Common Scoter (svartand) and one new bird: my first House Martin (taksvale) of the year.
I saw a male Marsh Harrier twice and took pictures on both occasions. These show that there were two different birds as the wing patterns are different with one bird being older than the other.
about 10 pairs of Great Crested Grebes (toppdykker) breed at Hellesjøvannet

my pictures of the Green-winged Teal get worse each time!

even at 800metres range and a 500mm lens the vertical white stripe of the american version contrasts with the horizontal stripe on the european versio

An older(er) male Marsh Harrier on the left with a near absence of a black trailing edge to the wing. The bird on the right has a broad black trailing edge and also moreblack bleeding into the grey areas on the primaries. The bird on the left is the same as the one I photographed on Tuesday

Part of the Teal flock at Svellet which were scared up by an unseen raptor. Going through the picture I discovered one of the male Garganey was the bird furthest to the right in the flock

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