Sunday, 20 September 2015

Værøy over and out

Well that’s Værøy over for another year (my fourth September trip in a row) and although there was not a single national rarity you’ll have trouble stopping me coming back again. The island and its residents are very welcoming and it deserves the attention of more birders which would undoubtedly result in more being seen as there is a lot of good habitat to cover. This year I stayed in the extremely pleasant and good vale guesthouse at Gamle Prestegården and this makes a great base for birders as well as serving fantastic food in huge quantities. My trip this year was earlier than previously but yet again I still got the feeling that there had been more birds present before I arrived and that numbers were falling awawy during my stay.
So how did the last day go? I slept in until 0730 as I was expecting strong northerly winds and rain but the wind wasn’t too bad and there was in fact sun at times. Although there was not a lot of birds on my pre-breakfast round of Nordland two Willow Warblers and a Woodcock were new arrivals and a Wood Warbler may have been new or just the bird I had earlier. I therefore attacked Sørlandet with high hopes (one has to be optimistic) and after sitting in the living room of my wife’s aunt and seeing a Blackcap feeding on redcurrants I definitely thought there might be hope (I had afterall only seen 3 other Blackcaps so far this trip). When the first bird I saw in the next garden was a Barred Warbler then there could be no doubt something was afoot. A calling Yellow-browed Warbler a few gardens along and there was no limits to the birds I was thinking of finding. But then things sort of fizzled out. I tried to turn a sandy coloured Wheatear that was feeding in a garden into something rare but failed to and then things returned to usual. I pulled out three Yellow-broweds in the plantation and had good views of the Hawk Owl who was intently looking for rodents but seems not to know there are no mice on Værøy just big rats.
A couple of Merlins included a very fine, blue male and a large Sparrowhawk had me scratching my head for a bit. A high flying flock of waders which disappeared into the cloud were Golden Plovers with one smaller species amongst them which I failed to ID but had the feeling may have been a good’n. The Citrine Wags appeared to have moved on and my day fizzled out with me looking at the weather forecast and wishing I could be here a week more!
finally a Barred Warbler (hauksanger) and as usual difficult to photograph
Arctic redpoll  a too close encounter with a fluffy snowball

Chiffchaff – another dodgy Chiffchaff on Værøy. In this photo the pale outer-taile feathers, pale underparts and pale bill might have you think hippolais/iduna

Coal Tit (svartmeis) one of 19 I recorded today


this birds large size especially in comparison to a Merlin that was mobbing it had me tconsidering Goshawk but it looks like a large female sprogger

Wader – what the small wader is I really don’t know. The slightly long and thin bill plus strong breast band could lead thoughts to Pec Sand but it doesn’t extend far enough down the chest and the wing bar is too extensive. Maybe just a Dunlin?

Wheatear – this bird which was feeding on a lawn was very sandy coloured but on jizz I took it to be a Common Wheatear. Looking at my pictures I have a slightly worrying feeling that I should have spent a bit more time with it.

. After not having seen a single bird in the rain yesterday White-tailed Eagles were out in force today including a flyby from this immature bird.

another phyllosc with a defect – this one a Willow Warbler (løvsanger) with a hanging wing

Yellow-browed Warbler – a post from Værøy would hardly be complete with out a shot of one of these

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