Sunday, 27 July 2014

Broad-billed Sandpiper

The last week of our holiday in the north ended up with one good bird. On a trip to visit relatives we passed the very bird rich fjord west of Fauske. Armed with only bins many of the birds had to remain unidentified but I did clock up Slavonian Grebe (horndykker), Red-throated Diver (smålom), Velvet Scoter (sjøorre) and Long-tailed Duck (havelle). When we got to the vast mudflats at the end of the fjord I was hoping for some waders especially as it was close to high tide which would make my job in locating them easier. I was very disappointed to only find Oystercatcher (tjeld) and a single Redshank (rødstilk) but kept searching and finally found a couple of roosting Ringed Plovers (sandlot) together with a calidris wader. I assumed it was going to be a juvenile Dunlin (myrsnipe) but something didn’t click and I moved in closer and was very happy to find an adult Broad-billed Sandpiper (fjellmyrløper). This species is recorded less than annually in Nordland county although it most likely does breed in the mountains. Seeing it on the mudlfats it seemed a very different bird to the mountain marsh runner of a month ago. As is nearly always the case when I have seen this species on passage it was together with Ringed Plovers. Quite why this is when the two breed in very different habitats is a mystery to me.

An area of fields and muddy beaches near the cabin has often held a few waders and especially a flock of young Ruff (brushane). This year there were no Ruff although it could be too early but I did have a flock of 13 Ringed Plovers which were all adults plus a single juvenile Dunlin alongside 14 Lapwing (vipe). The area here has a lot of potential in my eyes but is as far as I can see only visited by me on a couple of occasions each year. I also had a flock of 14 Cranes (trane) flying over plus 14 Greylag Geese (grågås) which were suitably wary as these are proper wild geese.

Back in Oslo it is the delights of autumn wader migration that await in the coming weeks.

adult Broad-billed Sandpipier (fjellmyrløper) with adult Ringed Plover (sandlo)

part of the muflats at Klungset / Fauske with only 3 waders on show. At low tide the mudflats extend many hundreds of metres further out

a view showing where we have out hytte (circled)

post breeding Ringed Plovers which have already moved down from the mountains. All were adults

juvenile Shelduch (gravand) which is a scarce breeder this far north.

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