Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Pride restored

Continued cold north easterly winds are putting a real stop to migration and my third Brentetangen seawatch of the spring was as equally poor as the two other attempts. All I can hope is that when there are some southerly winds that there will be a huge rush of birds. Only problem for me is that this is forecast to occur on Friday and Saturday when I won’t be able to get out. Despite there being little obvious migration Swifts and finally Pied Flycatchers made their presence properly felt today so some things are creeping through.
Today was saved though by me finding my own Dotterel (boltit) and my pride was restored! I had to travel to Østfold to find them but who cares and I found them at two locations although only three birds in total. One was with a flock of Golden Plovers on a field with sprouting crops and the other two were alone on a newly sown field. They are always a great bird to see in the mountains or on migration – there is something special about their reversal of parenting roles and the fact they are a wader that doesn’t wade.

Brentetangen did have a slight bit of migration with a couple hundred scoters going north and four Guillemots had attached themselves to these flocks – I wonder whether they’ll continue migration inland with the ducks? I also had a single Razorbill going south which gave me two species of real seabirds.

Kurefjorden was also very quiet although it was in the surrounding farmland that I found the Dotterel.
With so little happening other than the Dotterel I was able to head home and eat my lunch at Svellet. Here the water level apparently dropped another cm over the last 24 hours and conditions continue to look good although it is possible that most of the available food has already been consumed. There were certainly fewer waders today although still over 400 birds in total: 200 Wood Sandpipers, 150 Greenshank, 20 Redshank, 19 Ruff including now 8 females who migrate later than the males, 12 Oystercatchers, 2 Dunlin, 2 Temminck’s Stints, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Curlew.

A whistle stop tour of Maridalen revealed that a brood of Lapwings has just hatched. The nest was in a ploughed field and the farmer had obviously been aware of the nest and left a tiny island in the middle of the field. Four tiny youngsters were testing their legs and could only have hatched hours before I saw them. Given how far these birds have come I have doubts that the pair at Kirkeby will actually nest as the female isn’t sitting on any eggs yet.

I nearly forgot that I did actually have a lifer today. Not a bird lifer but a mammal and I saw two individuals. As I was driving along looking for Dotterel I saw two medium large mammals in a field. I thought possibly otter but then realised they were Pine Martens. They both ran separate ways, one into woodland and the other into the garden of a cottage where I was able to take this v.poor photo. I also saw stoat (røyskatt) and fox today so quite a good mammal day. The Pine Marten (mår) was a much larger animal than I had expected and had the lurching run that I have seen wolverine has (on TV). Also the habitat was completely unexpected – there is woodland in the area but these animals were initially in the middle of a field.
Dotteel - can you spot the second bird? They can easily go missing in ploughed fields

I think these are both females (the brighter sex) but am not completely sure

with a Wheatear

one of the Pinr Martens after it ran into a garden. Notice the odd gait as it runs

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