Monday, 1 September 2014

Distant miss

I was out at Årnestangen today. Six days ago I was here with Julian Bell, today I had to be content with a phone call from him just asking to check the features for Lesser Grey Shrike (rosenvarsler) which he had just found back home on his patch near Bergen. Well congrats Jules and hopefully you can bring some of your bird finding luck with you on your visits to Oslo.

I did though have a very good bird but it will have to remain unidentified. The day had promise for raptors but apart from Osprey (fiskeørn) I hadn’t seen any until 11am when a scan with the binoculars revealed a large raptor at some range (looking on the map reveals it to be at least 3km away). Switching to the scope it was immediately obvious it was an eagle but not one of the Norwegian ones. This bird had the shape of an Aquila eagle but appeared too small (although size is of course very difficult to judge) for Golden (kongeørn) and what little I could see of the plumage was also not right – the front third of the upperwing was clearly pale and body of the bird was a paler brown colour compared to dark flight feathers and tail. I saw the bird for about 5 minutes as it thermalled and then glided off purposefully towards the north east. I never saw any of the key ID features due to the distance but feel certain of it not being a White-tailed (havørn) or Golden Eagle and with my judgement of size plus the couple of plumage features I saw then Lesser Spotted Eagle (småskirikørn) is a strong possibility – but it will have to remain as just that.

Some other raptors did show eventually with a juvenile Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) slowly making its way south, a couple of Marsh Harriers (sivhauk) plus Buzzards (musvåk) and Sparrowhawks (spurvehauk).

Waders were more varied than last time and Little Stints (dvergsnipe) are now here in good numbers with over 40 including a single flock of 30. There were probably a few Temminck’s Stints but they were constantly feeding in an area where the light was just appalling and I only had jizz to go on. Knot (polarsnipe), Turnstone (steinvender), Curlew Sandpiper (tundrasnipe), Spotted Redshank (sotsnipe), Ruff (brushane), Dunlin (myrsnipe), Ringed Plover (sandlo), Golden Plover (heilo), Snipe (enkeltbekkasin) and Greenshank (gluttsnipe) completed the wader list.
Apart from my mystery eagle the surprise of the day was a Corncrake (åkerrikse) which flew up from the long grass, flashed its reddish wings and then plummeted down again.
A couple of Red-throated Pipits (lappiplerke) called as they flew past but as usual didn’t allow themselves to be admired on the deck.

At Svellet there were 1000’s of Greylag (grågås) and Barnacle Geese (hvitkinngås) and amongst them a Bar-tailed Godwit (lappspove) was resting and a juv. Little Gull (dvergmåke) was flying around.
As usual with a trip to Årnestangen I have no pictures of note to show.

9 distant and heat hazed Little Stints (dvergsnipe)

Last Friday I spent a couple of hours trying to relocate a rare gull or two in central Oslo but failed on that score although I was quite impressed with how long I held out.
a striking juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull (sildemåke) seen whilst searching for something rarer last Friday

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the calming advice earlier on. I pretty much knew what I had but its always nice to check before putting something stupid out....

    And you know I have virtually no bird-finding skills being half blind and more than half senile. I might have a knack for being in the right place at the right time but the real clincher is living in the right place!

    Had an eagle like yours some years ago on my old patch Gullfjell. Frustrating!!

    I'll see what I can do in Oslo over the weekend....