Sunday, 31 May 2015

Hedmark highlights installment 1

My short trip to Hedmark last week ended up giving me a lot of highlights and a tremendous number of pictures and video to go through. May has been cold in Southern Norway and there was still a lot of snow high up meaning roads were still closed but also that a lot of birds could not yet access their breeding grounds and Golden Plovers for example were clearly waiting lower down in the valleys. Alongside some Golden Plovers I also found 6 Dotterel (boltit).

the peaks of Sølen, the higest peak is hidden in the clouds but is 1755m. The picture is taken at about 700m

Three Dotterel (boltit) with Cranes. There were 3 other Dotterel and some Golden Plovers in the same field

This year has not been a rodent year and owls have evaporated as they seem to do in such years so I was lucky to find a single Hawk Owl. As you will see from the pictures and video in this post this bird was hunting close to the road (and also close to a nesting box which had feathers around the hole although I never saw the bird at the box). It flew down from the tree it was hunting from and looked like it had caught something but flew off with nothing in its talons and instead flew to a wire right above me before then flying to a nearby tree where it collected a mouse that was wedged between a branch and the trunk. It then took this mouse to another tree where I thought it was eating the mouse but no it as just fiddling with it before it then flew to another tree and again stashed the mouse. Quite what this behaviour means I’m not sure. Presumably it means there is actually a good population of rodents in just this area – otherwise it wouldn’t be stashing prey but why it took the mouse to a new larder I’m not sure. I can find no reference to this behaviour in BWP or in the two old classic Norwegian reference books (thanks Jarl) Haftorn and Hagen.
Hawk Owl (haukugle) hunting
here it dropped down on some prey and the way it was using its wings made me believe that it had succeeded but if lew off empty taloned

and landed on the wires above me

it then flew to a tree where it retrieved this stashed rodent

before again flying off

Kestrels seemed to be fairly numerous with sightings various places and I had a couple of flyover Golden Eagles and Ospreys but the raptor highlight was a Gyr Falcon. This is the first time I have found one in the mountains of Southern Norway and this bird looked to be an adult and was perched in an area that looked perfect for a nest site although I could not locate one. I saw the bird at 1.3 km range so the pictures don’t do the experience justice. I have many times seen a lump atop a rock and thought I had found a Gyr only to find out it was a stone so it was great to eventually turn that stone into a Gyr!
my first Gyr Falcon (jaktfalk) in Southern Norway

A female Capercaille that was feeding long the edge of a road in the middle of the day was I assume eating sand/gravel which is I believe necessary during egg laying. This was my best ever views of this species. 
female Capercaille (storfugl / røy)

Norway's own turkey

seems to need to pluck a stray hair
  I also heard displaying Black Grouse (orrugl) a couple of places and saw this single male

male Black Grouse (orrfugl)


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