Tuesday, 18 August 2015

It's hot in Maridalen

I was supposed to be guiding today but an early morning phone call informed me of an ill client so I had the opportunity to drive up with the ‘scope to Maridalen and watch raptors and hopefully improve on yesterday’s bike and bins totals. There was slightly more cloud cover today which made it easier to pick out raptors but a tradesman problem at home meant I have to leave the Dale between 0945 and 1045 which was the peak period yesterday. However I did have a good day. I positioned myself where I reckon I get the best 360 degree views of the valley and did see lots but most was distant ‘scope views. Only two birds came within photo range so you will have to enjoy pictures of an adult Hobby and a juvenile Goshawk – both nice birds though.

The raptors I didn’t photograph were at least 7 Honey Buzzards, 6 Common Buzzards, 6 Sparrowhawks, a Peregrine and another Goshawk. Of the Honey Buzzards I had a group of 4 in a thermal, yesterday’s bird with the missing primary on the left wing, a bird missing primaries on both wings plus a fully feathered bird. At one stage a Honey Buzzard flew through and was mobbed by a young Goshawk and then by a Sparrowhawk with all three birds in the same field of view - it would have made a great shot if it was within range...

I did also look down and had a group of three young Red-backed Shrikes (not the same birds as last week) plus nice close views of an interesting juvenile Common Crossbill.

juvenile / 1cy Goshawk (hønsehauk)

I have seen that young Goshawks have recently been misidentified as Honey Buzzards – seems difficult to understand how this could happen when as this picture shows the commonest confusion species is Song Thrush (måltrost)

adult Hobby (lerkefalk)

eating a dragonfly

This crossbill was interesting. It’s call was quite deep and when I first saw it I thought that it could be a young Parrot as it seemed bull necked and large billed. Luckily however I got to see it well and take some pictures which show that the bill belongs to a Common Crossbill (if they are actually different species….) It also had a couple of weak wingbars and birds with equally weak wing-bars have also been (mis?)reported as Two-barred Crossbills recently – young Common Crossbills frequently show such weak wing bars though.

juvenile Common Crossbill (grankorsnebb) - same bird as above

it appeared to be eating grit which I assume helps with the digestion of the pine/spruce seeds

here a not fully ripe spruce seed is stuck to the side of the bill. I have drawn line showing the height and length of the bill showing the length to be longer
juvenile Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)

two youngsters together

Tree Pipit (trepiplerke)

there were a lot of Nutcrackers today although none came very close

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