Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Årnestangen has just enough

The rain continued today so it felt like that a trip out to Årnestangen would be worth the 3km walk and the ever present possibility that there would be next to nothing to see out there other than a well fed Peregrine.
The walk out was uneventful except for one important bird: my first migrant Bluethroat of the year. When I arrived out at the viewing platform I found I was not alone and Årnestangen lover and Rustic Bunting surveyor Kjetil Hansen was already there and could report that what few waders there were had flown out of view (the vegetation has grown quite high and the birds have a habit of feeding on the mud close up to the vegetation).

Over the next hour and a half though the waders did show thanks to a couple of Peregrines that flushed them. There was little to see though in terms of numbers of variety: just 20 each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, 4 Ruff, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Temminck’s Stint, a couple of Snipe and a flyover Green Sandpiper. Ducks were more numerous with a couple of Shoveler amongst 200 Teal and Kjetil picked out a Garganey that I failed to see. I also had 3 Velvet Scoters in flight which due to their pale bellies were (early?) 1cy birds. A distant Slavonian Grebe and 41 Pochards were also notable.

In addition to the Peregrines we also had a couple of Hobbies. We picked them up on call chasing each other high in the sky and I initially took them to be Peregrines but when they came closer their true identity became apparent and even more so when an adult Peregrine flew at them and the difference in size and shape was very obvious. If I had not been so intent on enjoying the spectacle there could have been some good photos there! We also had a perched Hen Harrier which looked to be the same adult female I saw here a couple of weeks ago.

Bird of the day though was a Red-throated Pipit. Picked up on call it flew around us calling repeatedly (and in the company of another non calling pipit) before briefly landing in a bush and then flying down into the vegetation at the water’s edge. All the R-t Pipits I have had in Oslo and Akershus have been birds identified on call and I still yet to see one properly on the ground and today was no exception.
In the original picture the bird is underexposed and just looks black. However even though I take picture in jpg and not Raw format it was possible to lighten up and show this was an adult Hobby (lerkefalk)

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