Saturday, 23 May 2015

Guiding with the blessing of the Bird Gods

I was guiding Angie from Nottingham yesterday and those bird gods they did shine on me today. The weather was cloudy and with a strong wind which meant there was reduced song activity but was still preferable to a baking sun.

Starting at Fornebu we found first a male Red-backed Shrike (tornskate) and then an unusual song from a nearby tree revealed the presence of a pair with the male courting the female by bobbing his head at her and although we didn’t see the act his behaviour as he perched on a nearby tree top shortly afterwards suggested he got lucky J

Stopping to study a Common Sandpiper I became aware that there was another similar but much smaller wader in the grass nearby and soon one Temminck’s Stint transformed into five of these wonderful tiny waders. My photo attempts were however hampered by having the autofocus setting wrong which it took me a long time to realise even though it was obvious to me that the camera was no focusing properly.

It was also around now that I realised that mobile digiscoping has a lot to offer. Angie has a Swarvoski ATX and an Iphone 6 and the quality of her photos was quite simply fantastic. I know what I’m putting on my birthday and Xmas wish list!

We also had Icterine Warbler (gulsanger) and Garden Warbler (hagesanger) here amongst many others. Eiders (ærfugl) turned out to be a favourite bird of Angie and we had 3 broods of youngsters with a number of “aunts” in attendance plus a couple of males still in full plumage.

After 3 hours at Fornebu we moved to Maridalen where the Tawny Owls (kattugle), Goshawks (hønsehauk) and Long-tailed Tits (stjertmeis) performed impeccably and yet again my 500mm lens proved to be hopeless in comparison to mobile scoping.
The best picture I managed of one of the Temminck's Stints

all five

here you can see how small they are in comparison to a White Wagtail (linerle)

adult Goshawk (hønsehauk) with a crop full of food

male Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)

Redwing (rødvingetrost)

one the adult Tawny Owls (kattugle). Tawny Owls come in various colour forms and this is a "rufous" bird

whereas the other adult is a "pale grey"

a small youngster

the difference in size between these youngsters is obvious. Owls begin incubating the eggs as they are laid such that the frst egg hatches before the others and the youngters are of different ages. In years with little food only the oldest and largest youngster may survive and he will eat his siblings

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