Monday, 24 August 2015

Lime Hawk-moth caterpillar

The hot sunny weather came to an abrupt halt at 1600 today – bad news for raptor watching maybe but hopefully will bring down some migrant and wader passerines.

This morning whilst it was still hot I was in Maridalen and walked up to the hillside which I have often seen Honey Buzzards flying over. I was in place at 0930 and only had to wait before I saw my first raptor but the views were not good enough to ascertain what type of buzzard it was. I then heard a calling raptor and felt pretty sure it was a Honey but it took a while to find where the noise was coming from. I did find another buzzard sp flying high and purposefully towards the east but this wasn’t’ making the noise and it was a few minutes before I saw two raptors below me starting to gain height over the valley. It was two Honey Buzzards, an adult missing an inner primary on the left wing and presumably the bird I have seen often and another bird that was clearly a juvenile. The two flew very close together, frequently calling and eventually made their way to the other side of the dale where they gained great height and drifted out of view after having been visible for 10 minutes. I suspect I was witnessing the first leg of the autumn migration for these two birds and possibly the youngsters longest ever flight.

I stayed watching until 1100 but had no other raptors although did hear a singing Hazel Grouse in the woodland close by which is my first record of this species in Oslo this year. A flock of 6 Grey Herons flying south at some altitude was noteworthy.

Over the weekend we have been at Hulvik and had a lot of butterflies so hopefully this year will end up being good. I managed to identify 12 species of (daytime) butterfly incuding Silver-washed Fritillary and Camberwell Beauty but find of the day was a caterpillar of Lime Hawk-moth which Emily suddenly found crawling on the picnic rug. There were also lots of grasshoppers but identifying them seems to be a challenge.

Best news of all though is that I have booked my annual trip to VÆRØY. The group I usually go with has evaporated and at the moment I look to be the only birder making the trip this September. It will be less fun than with a group but there will be no chance of someone else finding the big rare. I am currently booked in from 16-20 September which is earlier than I have previously been there. Whenever I have arrived in previous years it always feels that most birds were already on the island and that there are few new arrivals so hopefully an earlier visit this year will result in more birds but weather will of course be the deciding factor.
caterpillar of Lime Hawk-moth (lindesvermer). Although apparently not that rare in Southern Norway there are only a handful of observations each year in ArtsObs

I reckon these are both Common Green Grasshopper (grønn markgresshoppe) Omocestus viridulus but I am far from sure. Maybe they are different species and what about Common Field Grasshopper (gråbrun markgresshoppe) Chorthippus brunneus ?

Today adult and juv Honey Buzzard at some range

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