Thursday, 28 April 2016

Green-winged Teal ++

It will be May in just three days but at the moment it feels like winter. The continuing cold northerly wind has caused an almost complete stop in spring migration and a lack of rain has left fields dry and unappealing to birds. This means that a big backlog of birds is building up somewhere to the south of us and when the cork is removed we could be in for a real rush. Things might change quite soon as well with rain and a change to southerly winds forecast already this weekend although it will still be cold. Next week though there is forecast more southerlies and sun so there could also be a burst of insects and then loads more birds. Another upside from the current weather is that Svellet is almost dry so should be in prime condition in the next two weeks....

To highlight how late things are, during today's Aurskog-Høland trip I didn't have a single hirundine, only one (my first) Willow Warbler, one Wheatear and only a single Golden Plover. Also not a single tringa wader other than Green Sands. That's not to say the trip was not a success - far from it. One of my target birds on my two previous trips out east this spring was Green-winged Teal. I didn't find one (finding multiple Garganey instead) but two days ago one was found at Hærsetersjøen which is one of the sites I always visit. At 0645 I was there and so was the teal! This is most likely the same returning male I found in 2013 at Kjelle and 2014 at Hellesjøvannet (and which was seen in 2015 at Hemnessjøen). It was together with 107 Teal and very easy to find. Otherwise, the lake and its muddy margins held two Lapwing and a Snipe and that’s it.

Hærsetersjøen and Kallaksjøen are just over an hour’s drive Oslo and these were my first stops before slowly heading back to Oslo. I did have one roadside stop though in an area where Rune and I once had a chance meeting with a Capercaille. This time I was fortuitous enough to hear displaying Black Grouse and drumming Three-toed Woodpecker!

Hemnessjøen was very quiet and I didn't see a single diver! A small flock of Greylags though contained three Pink-feets, two Canadas and most unexpectedly a Tundra (rossicus) Bean Goose.
Hellesjøvannet was also very quiet on the wildfowl and wader front. Lapwings here (as in Maridalen and other places today) had clearly had their first breeding attempt ruined by ploughing but should hopefully try again (I think farmers are ploughing late this year due to the (dry?) weather). The two male Marsh Harriers were still present and the younger male has attracted a mate who was putting the finishing touched to the nest he had made. At one time the older male flew over the nest and was seen off by his younger and clearly more successful rival. I also heard a Grey-headed Woodpecker both calling and drumming but didn’t see it – not a species I see annually in Akershus.

At the northern end of Bjørkelangen the flooded field was no longer flooded but a small group of geese contained yet another Tundra Bean Goose – what’s going on?

At Kjelle there is very little water left and only 11 Teal. The rain at the weekend though should hopefully improve conditions for next week. The valley around Haugrim and Haneborg gave the most frustrating bird of the day with a distant ringtail harrier glimpsed briefly in the bins and she had a Pallid reek about her but I never got her in the scope and will have to let her go. A Perched Merlin was little compensation.

Svellet has too little water!! although the weekend rains will probably change that. 103 Curlew and 8 Oystercatcher were the only waders and there was not a single duck!

Maridalen was as equally quiet as yesterday. But what will there be tomorrow???
male Green-winged Teal (amerikakrikkand) with European Teal (krikkand). It was not paired

no head but still eminently identifiable

you could still make a tentative ID based on the lack of a horizontal white bar

some of the103 Curlew (storspove) at Svellet after a Peregrine put them up

Curlews and Black-headed Gulls Svellet

a very dry Svellet

I came very close to a pair of Kestrels (tårnfalk) by the road but did not manage any good photos

Kjelle drying out

Merlin (dvergfalk). A 2cy male I believe
one of the two Tundra (rossicus) Bean Geese today

my first Willow Warbler (løvsanger) of the year

Little Ringed Plover (dverglo)

one of two Pink-footed Geese (kortnebbgås) currently at Maridalen. I believe one has problems flying

And a highlights video featuring both the Tundra Beans, Merlin, Little Ringed Plover, all three Marsh Harriers and a strange pale Teal that may have been an "intersex" bird


terrible picture of the pale Teal but you get the idea

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