Monday, 9 May 2016

Hazel Grouse

A telling example of how little interest there is for birding (as opposed to listing) around Oslo is the fact that there were no reports from Svellet, Southern Norway's premier site for spring wader migration  yesterday (no reports of course doesn't mean there were no birders there as there are unfortunately still some who cannot be bothered to record what they see but are very good to turn up to tick the birds others find….).
I knew that the water level hasn't risen since last week so I was very excited to find out what would be there this morning. A quick sweep with the bins revealed shed loads of waders. With the water level low distances are great and with birds being on the west side light is bad in the mornings but with some perseverance I counted minimums of 500 Wood Sands, 160 Greenshank and an amazing 77 Ruff. Only 17 of the Ruff were males showing that migration may well have peaked already. There wasn't too much variety though (yet) with just 7 Lapwing, 1 remaining Curlew, 2 Common Sands and a displaying LRP.
Best bird here was an adult Little Gull but I had been hoping for a Black Tern.

In Maridalen at lunchtime under a roasting sun (temperatures reached 25C) I walked up towards Hansakollen which is close to Mellomkollen but not an area I normally go to. I should though as the forest is fantastic here - true old forest with loads of large dead trees. My reason for going was that Per B had walked up here yesterday and had Three-toed Wood. Keen to have a stake out for this species I was very happy to hear a drumming 'pecker which I was sure was the target. It proved very difficult to see though but when I did eventually see it I found out it had a toe too many! The huge dry spruce it was drumming on had given a wholly different sound to the drumming of a Great Spotted Woodpecker and fooled me. I couldn’t find any other woodpeckers not that the middle of the day is a good time to be searching but my trip was not in vain though.

On the walk up I had passed what looked like a great Hazel Grouse site and then on the way down I paused here and a male started singing! And then suddenly I had the best views I have ever had of the species. I assume that the female was nearby on eggs and the male showed both perched in trees and on the ground and I wondered if he was doing his version of the distraction display that waders often employ to lead predators away from eggs/young. The camera performed admirably well in the challenging light of the forest although when the bird was at its closest I missed the bazooka (not that I had missed carrying the bazooka up the steep path).
Uncropped. ISO og 1600 meant the picture loses a bit of sharpness but no doubt that this is by far and away my best picture of Hazel Grouse (jerpe)

I would probably have been satisfied with this picture

this is OK

the bird ran across the path in the sunlight which should have given me a chance for a much better shot but the exposure got all confused...

the bird was panting a lot and was clearly finding it too hot

proper old spruce forest with lots of large and dead trees

Black Woodpecker (svartspett)

they are nesting in the same hole that they excavated and successfully nested in last year

Common Sandpipers (strandsnipe) Maridalsvannet
Lizzard (firfisle)
Ruff (brushane) and a Litte Gull (dvergmåke)....

super zoom of the Little Gull. Svellet is not a photographers dream place..

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