Friday, 21 August 2015

Some honies i the Dale

I’m visiting Maridalen so regularly now looking for raptors that it could even qualify as an ornithological survey. I arrived earlier than I have been and was on site from 0850. The sun was hidden behind some hazy clouds at the beginning and there was more passerine activity than I have been witnessing later in the day although the birds were pretty much the same. Whinchats, Tree Pipits and Yellow Wagtails were on the fields around Kirkeby and a Red-backed Shrike was favouring exactly the same bush as yesterday. I didn’t note as many raptors as I did earlier in the week and the first one didn’t show until 1010. This was the Honey Buzzard missing inner primaries (although the new ones are already in place and just shorter) on both wings and it appeared over the hills in the north west of Maridalen exactly as it did on both Tuesday and Wednesday. It cruised over the wooded hillside for quite a while seemingly looking for food before I lost it from view. I then wandered a bit and had my second raptor of the day when at 1030 a Buzzard flew straight over me – its weak tail bar showing it to be a bird of the year.

Around a weedy field corner there were lots of birds including Nutcrackers, 5 Hawfinches, an Icterine Warbler and a young Common Rosefinch although no Bluethroats hopped out and Willow Warblers were nearly non-existent.
I decided to go to the north end of Maridalen at Skar which is where over the last few days a number of the raptors seemed to have flown over and at 1130 I had the same Honey Buzzard again and this time within some sort of photo range. I only observed the bird through bins and the camera and did not notice until looking at the photos on the pc that it was carrying something green, brown and yellow in it claws. I think that it may be carrying a frog/toad plus some vegetation including a yellow flower that it grabbed at the same time as the amphibian but the pictures are not good enough to be sure. I believe that this bird is a male and if the bird missing one inner primary is also a male (as I believe) then I have taken photos of three males in Maridalen over the last 17 days and behaviour suggests all of them are breeding birds rather than migrants (the male on 4 August was carrying a honey comb) and the two birds with missing/growing inner primaries have been observed on multiple days. At around 1150 I observed from distance a Honey Buzzard missing one primary over pretty much the same area and then at around 1200 I had a bird over this area performing its sky dance display although I couldn’t ascertain the state of the primaries. It’s all really quite exciting but also a mystery as to why I noted no Honey Buzzards in June when there seem to be so many here now.

I also saw two young Red-backed Shrikes at the site where there were 3 on Tuesday. These two birds kept very close together and were not actively feeding – they gave the impression that they were not coping too well on their own. Also here a brief view of a young (and migrant) Cuckoo which is a scarce bird close to Oslo.

The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is continuing to wake me up when it calls in the garden and made itself known at 0637 today – not the worst way to be woken up!
the days closest raptor - a young Common Buzzard (musvåk)

same bird as above
Honey Buzzars (vepsevåk) - the white secondaries with a clear dark band plus primaries "dipped in ink" make this bird and a male but a different one to the two others I have photographed in August. This one has symmetrically lost moulted inner primaries on both wings

the head looks all grey confirming it  as a male

a headless Honey Buzzard

a close up of whatever it is carrying showing something yellow - a flower?

a fuzzy photo but showing the colours best

not easy to judge but on this and other photos I believe one can see the long legs of frog/toad dangling

Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)

an uncropped photo of the same bird

Tree Pipit (trepiplerke)

Yellow (gulerle) and White Wagtail (linerle)
this Icterine Warbler wasn't straightforward but the strong bill, blue/grey leg and wing panel can be seen here

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