Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Twitchy Terek

Today reminded me how much I dislike twitching. It was not that I didn’t see the bird – it’s just that I’m a useless twitcher! I found the bird after half an hour searching, got to see it poorly for five minutes before it flew off and then waited another 4 hours in vain for it to reappear. If I had been a good twitcher I would have been fantastically happy with the tickable views and then moved on instead of hanging around for FOUR hours hoping for better views….

The bird in question was a Terek Sandpiper which was a Norwegian tick and as far as I can remember only the second one I’ve seen after one in Eilat in 1991.

Terek Sands are not super rare in Norway but are seen less than annually and mid June is the right time to see one. This bird was found on Saturday but it wasn’t until last night that I had worked up the enthusiasm to have a go for it. Yesteray, it was only reported early morning but with rain in the afternoon and overnight I reckoned it would still be there this morning and with the rain forecast to finish at 5am and be replaced by sun plus high tide at 7am I thought I would be in for a good chance to see the bird at close(ish) range and in good light with the chance of a photo (this doesn’t seem to have been the case up until now). I arrived at 0615 and was the only observer there. The water was very high and still rising with only a few stones sticking up above the water. Never-the-less it took me half an hour to find the bird and then 5 minutes after I had found it flew off with a couple of Greenshank probably due to the rising water. They flew to the far west of the bay where I definitely saw the two larger Greenshank go down although never quite saw what the Terek did. I decided to wait for the tide to turn and the mud to be exposed assuming the bird would come back. Well it took a long time for the mud to be exposed but slowly waders, including the Greenshank, appeared but after four hours the Terek hadn’t appeared and that was about all I could take. Additionally, the light had become challenging so any potential photos wouldn’t have been any better than those I had already managed.

The four hour wait did of course produce a few other birds but not so much as if those four hours had been a month earlier or later. Highlight was my first Honey Buzzard of the year with two sightings of presumably the same bird. Two Marsh and a few Reed Warblers sang in the area. There were few waders. Redshanks breed here and I saw a single half-grown juvenile, Oystercatchers also had young and Lapwings acted as though they did. Non-breeding waders comprised 3 Ringed Plovers, 4 Greenshank, 11 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel and 2 male Ruff.

Terek Sandpiper (tereksnipe) sleeping with a Greenshank (gluttsnipe)

It was only in flight I actually got to see the bill!

here one can see it is considerably smaller than Greenshank

Marsh Warbler (myrsanger). I don't really think it is possible to make a positive ID just from this picture but it helps to hear it singing

here it is IDable with the long primary projection, pale tipped primaries and "kind" face


habitat shot

Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk). I reckon you can call this a record shot but in the 'scope it was much easier

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