Friday, 5 August 2016


Yesterday was one of those days that feel like payback for all those other less productive days. I did work hard though - getting up at 0410 and returning home 13 hours later. The reason for the early start was overnight rain which I hoped would cause a mass arrival of waders at Årnestangen. Numbers weren't huge but flocks of Barwits (14) and Grey (18) and Golden Plovers Plover (70) arrived whilst I was there so the rain did have some effect. I had in total 20 species of wader which although not a record is pretty close to it. All were regular species with no rares but species like Curlew Sand, Little and Temminck’s Stint and Knot are always nice to see especially summer plumaged adults. I was only missing 5 species that I could otherwise have had an expectation of seeing at this time of the year: Spotted Redshank, Whimbrel, Great Snipe, Sanderling and Turnstone. A trip out to Årnestangen today revealed the last two so I'm left with 22 species of waders inland over the last two days! Today in much drier weather there were far fewer waders with the Barwits and Grey and Golden Plovers having moved on but the Sanderling (adult) and Turnstone (2 1cy) show that new birds can turn up regardless of the weather.

Yesterday's outing was also noticeable for good numbers of raptors and Red-backed Shrikes. After Årnestangen I continued to Hellesjøvannet and had shrikes at 5 locations showing that post breeding dispersal is well underway and also suggesting a good breeding season which is nice to see after I had very few spring observations.

Hellesjøvannet was fantastic for raptors with 8 species seen from one spot. I had a minimum of 4 Honey Buzzards (plus a couple on the drive), 14 Common Buzzards (incl 8 in one thermal), 3 Hobby, 2 Osprey, 3 Marsh Harriers (2 fledged young begging for food which dad provided), Sparrowhawk, Goshawk and an adult White-tailed Eagle (also saw one at Årnestangen) The one surprising species I did not record during the day was Kestrel but one revealed itself today.

At Årnestangen the Common Terns that had their first breeding attempt ruined by flooding have successfully re-laid a d at least 15 young were close to fledging and being fed by their parents. I also had Marsh Warblers at two locations including one young bird that continually gave the sylvia (and Blyth's) like chacking call so this would appear to be a common call for Marsh despite it being hardly mentioned in the literature. Maybe it is used by young just for a short period of time after fledging?

Today I popped into Maridalen on the way home and had to sit out a biblical like (and very local) deluge. Right after this I had close views of a Honey Buzzard circling up with some food in its talon and then gaining great height before drifting off to the east. This bird was as a male but not the same as the bird on Wednesday.
Bar-tailed Godwits (lappspove) yesterday at Årnestangen

Grey Plovers (tundralo) and Barwits in flight yesterday

and on the deck

Grey Plovers with a single Knot (polarsnipe)

Curlew Sandpipers (tundrasnipe). Photo taken today but also seen yesterday

Knot today

adult Sanderling (sandløper) and Dunlin (myrsnipe) today

Male Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) yesterday on the way to Hellesjøvannet. In the field I had though this was a female due to it being so brown and dark but the grey head shows it is a male

Honey Buzzard at Hellesjøvannet - one of at least 4. This seems to be a female due to barring in secondaries and a brown (?) head
these two Honey Buzzards flew over Hellesjøvannet whilst the female above was also in the air. I assumed it was a pair but the photos show both are males. The right hand bird was flying first and displayed over my head. The paler bird was not visibly chasing the other bird but may have been the resident male seeing off the other bird? Or else both birds may just have been passing through?

the bird that wing-clapped over my head. Note also how the colouring changes depending on exposure

a male Honey Buzzard in Maridalen today. This bird is carrying some food in it claws - probably a wasps nest. Plumage plus feather damage on wings and tail show this to be a different male to that seen on Wednesday. As in 2015 multiple Honey Buzzards suddenly turn up in Maridalen in August presumably when they are having to travel greater distances to find food for large nestlings

1cy Marsh Warbler (myrsanger) which gave a chacking call

one of 2 Ospreys (fiskeørn) at Hellesjøvannet yesterday
a 1cy Red-backed Shrike (tornskate) yesterday

adult male Red-backed Shrike today in Maridalen

Two young moose (elg) by the road yesterday

mum was looking on


  1. Are wasps still nesting under the pathway towards the wooden platform? I was stung by one on monday and it has been a close call on other occasions, as they turn quite aggressive by the disturbance of people walking right above their nest.

  2. Hi Anonymous (can't work out who you are!), yes, the wasps were still there. As the nest is under the right-hand boarding (as you walk out)I found that if you walk just on the left-hand boarding that you don't disturb the wasps and it is safe :-)

    1. Thanks for the helpful info! My name is Morten Kvam, btw. A pleasure to "meet" you:-)