Saturday, 3 September 2016

Incidental sky gazing and creep crawlies

Last week whilst decorating I had a couple of short visits to Maridalen with the hope of seeing raptors and didn’t see very much apart from Sparrowhawk, Goshawk, a couple of Common Buzzard and a very distant family group that were possibly Honeys. My incidental raptors whilst painting were a far better result per minute spent gazing and today I had an even better raptor per minute gazing ratio. My youngest daughter was playing in a football tournament by Sognsvann and in the nice sunny weather I found my eyes occasionally gazing skywards. I did not have bins but the superzoom works well as a substitute and came in very handy. At 1319 I had 4 Cranes, a minute later 2 more Cranes, 2 minutes after that a couple of high flying Common Buzzards, at 1335 a probable Honey Buzzard migrating south and at 1419 a juvenile Honey Buzzard.

The last bird flew low over the lake and I spotted it after a group of Black-headed Gulls flew up and were obviously spooked. Looking through the digital view finder I concluded with Common Buzzard but took enough pictures to see that I was wrong. It was a juvenile Honey Buzzard in that plumage that can be very tricky. A nice sighting and one where the superzoom saved the day.

juv Hone Buzzard (vepsevåk). It is not often one sees them in this plumage as they migrate south quite quickly and everytime I have seen them in this plumage I've had problems separating them from Common Buzzard

look how the tail can appear so different based on angle. The right hand picture almost looks like a Kite tail

this bird heading purposefull south will remain unidentified but with that long tail is probably a Honey

but these two were Common Buzzards. a juv on the left and adult on the right

and some Cranes (trane)

Yesterday I spent the morning at Årnestangen. Apart from waders my hope was to find a Pallid Harrier. In the end I didn’t have any harriers but there were quite a few raptors with Common Buzzard, Osprey and Peregrine being nearly continuously visible. There was little diversity amongst the waders although Turnstone, Curlew Sand, Knot and Little Stint added some spice. Biggest surprise of the day was a Grasshopper Warbler that flew up from under my feet as I walked the boardwalk to the viewing platform. It flew far enough that I was able to get the bins on it before dropping down into the long grass. A male had sung close by most of the late summer but I had never heard that bird so it was nice to get this brief view.
this young Peregrine (vandrefalk) made repeated attempts to take a Teal (krikkand) which it had first pursued in the air before the duck crash landed and dived

everytime the falcon got close the duck would dive and the Peregrine tried hovering over it before eventually giving up
there were good numbers of Shoveler (skjeand) yesterday

There were a lot of grasshoppers sunbathing on the board walk and they did not fly off until they were nearly trod on. I am not sure if they were newly hatched but they allowed themselves to be closely studied and I have concluded with Large Marsh Grasshopper (sumpgresshoppe) Mecostethus grossus. I also realised that they were the source of the clicking noise (a bit like you can hear from an electric fence) that I’ve been hearing recently.

Dragonflies were also numerous (but didn’t attract any Hobbies). I decided to take some pictures to work out what they were. There was a number of small dragonflies with red males and green/black females (and also young males?) and I assumed that these were all the same species. Looking at my pictures and checking reference material I see that I photographed three species of darter (høstlibelle) sympetrum: Common (rødbrun) striolatum, Ruddy (blodrød) sanguineum and Yellow-winged (gulvinget) flaveolum and that I could also have had a chance of seeing Moustached Dater (sørlig) vulgatum. There were also some much larger dragonflies but these never allowed themselves to be photographed.

this one is I believe a Common Darter (rødbrun høstblibelle). It has pale stripes on the legs and yellow patches on the side of the thorax

I reckon this pair are also Common Darters

a female Ruby Darter (blodrød høstbillie) due to all blacklegs and a club shaped tail  It was I guess too good to be true that I would manage to ID all the dragonflies I saw. This is actually a Black Darter (svart høstlibelle) Sympetrum danae

same individual as above. This was resting very close to the uppermost male Common Darter so I assumed they were same species
male Yellow-winged Darter (gulvinget høstbillie). The yellow/orange patches on the wings and red as opposed to black patch on the forewing are the main ID features

Large Marsh Grasshopper (sumpgresshoppe). Having a poo?

the very red individual really stood out but is within normal variation

having a scratch

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