Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Frustrating Beans

Still more rain yesterday so yet another good reason not to paint but the weather forecast for the rest of the week looks like I'll run out of excuses ūüėČ.

Over the weekend some really exciting plots had come in from the Bean Geese showing different roost sites they have used over the last week and how different birds were able to join up despite having been feeding over 70km apart. Yesterday the birds were feeding on a favoured autumn field. I had driven past this field on Friday and it had been half harvested with rain having caused a stop. As in previous years this is one of the very first fields to be harvested which in turn leads to it being suitable for the geese earlier than other fields. I visited this field this morning and located the geese. They were feeding, as they often do, in a depression and only a few heads were available. Surprisingly there were 14 Canada Geese with them which is the first time I have seen these two species together here. I tried to get a better angle so I could see the geese to try to read neck collars and age the birds (at the request of WWT). At 500 m range though the Canada Geese flew up calling and after that it was just a matter of time before the Beans followed. In the autumn the geese are far warier than when they are here in the spring and I wonder how I will manage to get close enough views to attempt ageing. Before the birds flew I was able to read ring S6 and the paired GPS collars 27 & 29. When they flew off in a northerly direction I counted 106 birds but took photos to cross check. Back home I counted exactly 90 birds on the PC screen. I used to always undercount in the field but appear to have over compensated....

I drove up to the peat bog x km away which is where the geese looked to be heading. Here I saw no geese on the deck but a flock flew up from over 600m away which I hope was not due to me as if it was then these geese will struggle to settle down and feed up. I estimated around 100 birds and assumed them to be the same as before but again took photos. This time the computer screen revealed only 66 birds... I've got some clear counting problems. It is possible therefore that these 66 birds were different to the previous birds although there could have been more geese that remained on the deck (I turned round after they flew up as I didn't want to cause any unnecessary disturbance). The 66 flew off to the south but I was unable to relocate them any fields.
At the peat bog Friday's Woodlark was still present and after a game of cat and mouse I got a picture although drizzle and dark clouds meant it was poor light for what otherwise could have been a good photo.
The on march of autumn was clear to see with lots of passerines in the fields and in the air today.

I had intended to also go out to √Örnestangen to see what new waders the rain had brought down. I ran out of time for this but a small patch of mud along the Nitelva river had 3 Knot, a Turnstone and 4 Ruff so I may well have missed out a wader-fest (I will find out later as others were going out...).

Also an interesting duck that I reckon must be a hybrid of some sort although may just be a Mallard with a large dose of strange domestic duck genes.
The Canada's and a few Beans flying up at 500metres range. Just to demonstrate how a long lens (500mm) can make distances difficult to judge: the car in the background is 1.3km away and the house is 2km away! This field is a favoured field in the autumn because it is one of the first to be harvested and therefore suitable for the Beans. Here it is possible to see that only half the field has been harvested so far.
these two tagged birds are GPS tagged birds 27&29
I only noticed this bird in photos. It really resembles a White-fronted Goose but must just be a rather extreme plumaged Bean
90 Beans flying north from the fields

66 Beans heading south from the peat bog an hour later
Woodlark (trelerke)


There have been lots of Turnstones (steinvender) this autumn around Nordre √ėyeren. This one was on a very small area of mud along the Nitelva river
Knots (polarsnipe) have also been numerous. Here with 2 Ruff (brushane)

this duck really stood out. It had a very green head which is strange since no other male Mallards had anywhere so green heads (still coming out of eclipse plumage)

it also had a white area near the bill and a mostly grey bill

it was  large duck with a distinct head shape. I cannot think of hybrid combination that would produce such a large bird and suspect that it is the result of a pairing between a Mallard and a domestic duck. Note also the Shoveler (skjeand)

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