A new week, a new round of TOVE routes. My Monday morning route was close to Elverum and I hoped for an owl or two. No such luck though but I did find Capercaille (storfugl): first a female which flew off a nest revealing 5 eggs and not too far away a male which flew up. I also found another nest which appeared abandoned as the eggs felt cold and there was also an egg shell. Yet again the woodland I was in was commercial woodland which seems to be the case for all woodland in this area. Nearly all trees are the same age and there are drainage ditches dug. Today though it was mostly pine instead of the spruce I had last week meaning the ground was drier and the route much easier to cover. Never-the-less it was still nearly a four hour slug.
After finishing off I went looking for Rustic Buntings (vierspurv). In addition to being super rare (fewer than 10 males) in Norway they also pretty much stop singing once paired. I went to a site that I know holds a pair this year and was prepared to wait which was OK as it was warm and there were no mosquitoes yet. After about 15 minutes I heard the tick call of a what I presume was a Rustic Bunting flying over but this bird seemed to be too high up to be a bird from the locality - a bird on migration? And after a two and a half hours wait I heard a male singing. This is the first time I've heard the song live but knew from recordings that it was very warbler like - to my ears like a Garden Warbler. It was always just a little ahead of me and I only saw it briefly perched and in flight when it also gave the tick call very quietly and then after a couple of minutes it went silent. No photos, no sound recording but the knowledge that I had heard something I may never again hear in Norway. I did hear the tick call again a couple of times later and another two and half hours later I saw the male again for 5 seconds before he silently vanished just as I raised the camera. I was forced to leave the site after six and a half hours due to thirst and hunger with just these two sightings to show for my effort. The area of suitable habitat is actually quite small so it is quite amazing that the birds can disappear so effectively.
You would have thought that in all the time I was hanging I would have had lots of other exciting birds well I didn't except for a couple of Golden Eagles (kongeørn) flying over. Some amusement came from watching a vole who was moving her naked, blind young from one hole to another that was less than a metre from where I was sitting. She made quite a bit of noise as she moved through the grass and would have been easy prey for an owl if one was there.
After some much needed food and drink I searched forest tracks for anything interesting but could only turn up a few Common Crossbills (grankorsnebb) which seem to be on the move at the moment.
I have another route tomorrow close to the Swedish border which may turn up something good - I hope so at least.