Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Hedmark highlights instalment II

Buntings are one of Hedmarks most special birds and the county holds the only regular breeding population of Ortolan and Rustic Bunting in Norway which is at the North West of the range for both species which are contracting. It looks like both species will disappear within a decade but for the time being Ortolan is still easy to find at its core site and I had five males in and around a single field. Quite what makes this area so attractive is difficult to say and it is I believe a different habitat to that which was recently described as the key habitat type in Norway.

Rustic Bunting on the other hand is found in water logged forest, often as a result of beaver activity, and extensive survey work has this year located just 5 territories. After failing to see a bird at the site I have visited in the last 2 years it was therefore a great surprise when I found a singing male at a new site and an additional bird to those found in the survey work. This male sang continuously and was clearly unpaired. In addition its slightly drab plumage pointed to it being a 2cy male. The birds I have seen the last two years have been paired and ultra-secretive with only a brief snatch of song heard. It was therefore a magical experience to hear this bird sing continuously and come close to it.
male Ortolan (hortulan)


male Rustic Bunting (vierspurv)
in full song

And some other birds:
male Smew (lappfiskand)

male Common Rosefinch (rosenfink)

Willow Warbler (løvsanger)

pair of Wigeon (brunnakke)
Little Gull and a Common/Arctic Tern - the best picture I managed

Wood Sandpiper (grønnstilk)

I am not finished with Hedmark this year and look forward to searching again for the large owls. Although Great Grey Owls are not breeding and require pure luck to find I did not have time to check out Ural or Eagle Owls which are less dependent on rodents. I also need to get into the mountains to experience lekking Ruffs plus Red-necked Phalaropes and hopefully Broad-billed Sandpipers.

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