Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Wait over

I’ve still little time available for birding but managed a couple of hours in Maridalen this afternoon. In contrast to Fornebu yesterday it was obvious that autumn migration is underway. Almost the first bird I saw on entering the valley was a Red-backed Shrike (tornskate) on a roadside bush and stopping the car revealed two juveniles and a few Tree Pipits (trepiplerke) and Chaffinches (bokfink) feeding. Most Norwegian birders don’t get as excited as I do with shrikes but having come from the UK where they became extinct as a breeding species in my childhood and could only be encountered as a very scarce migrant I have always found this a very exciting species and especially when I see them on MY local patch. It is also a very cool bird being something in between a raptor and a finch with its hooked beak (on adults at least) and ability to take small rodents or birds.

The lake had very little with just 7 Greylag Geese (grågås) and the family of Barnacle Geese (hvitkinngås). I could only see one youngster which is still not fully grown and in adult plumage. It would be interesting to know the fate of the other youngster – there are supposed to be some monster pike (gjedde) in the lake....
At Kirkeby the fields have been harvested and the stubble and weedy edges are as usual attractive to a variety of passerines. A total of 13 Whinchats (buskskvett) were perched up on the stubble and another Red-backed Shrike was perched up on thistles. Also on the fields both Tree and Meadow Pipits (heipiplerke) and in bushes Whitethroat (tornsanger), Lesser Whitethroat (møller), Nutcracker (nøttekråke) and a juvenile Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk) that was being vociferously mobbed by a Blackbird (svarttrost).  Swifts (tårnseiler) and Swallows (låvesvale) were very numerous feeding over the fields with smaller numbers of House Martins (taksvale) but my hope of an exciting raptor was not to be fulfilled although I did have an Osprey (fiskeørn) hunting over the lake.

I finally had a Marsh Warbler (myrsanger) in Maridalen this year after having failed to hear any singing birds earlier in the spring. This bird was in an area of reeds and rough vegetation where they have previously bred.
The species I photographed today were pretty much the same as yesterday so I’ll start with my worst photos but they are at least of a “new” species.
Five of thirteen Whinchats (buskskvett) in the same stubble field

three in slightly closer detail. I said the first pictures weren't the best!
juvenile Red-backed Shrike (tornskate). Adults have a much moer hooked beak than this youngster shows

same bird

and again

same species, different bird

glimpse of a Marsh Warbler (myrsanger). Pale claws, open "friendly" face, olive tones and pale fringed primaries are all good features to separate from Reed Warbler

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