Friday, 30 September 2016

Lots of ducks....relatively

I decided to head out east in Aurskog Høland today and Hellesjøvannet where I hoped for some raptors and an interesting duck or two. After all the Rough-legged Buzzards I had seen at the Bean Goose site a few days ago I was expecting to see many today but didn’t have a single one. Common Buzzards were around with 8 in total but 2 Kestrels and best of all a young Hen Harrier were the only other raptors I saw. I had a hope to have close and prolonged views of Hen (or Pallid) Harrier to day but the Hen was flying over at some height.

I was a bit more successful with ducks. Incredibly I recorded two max counts for the whole of Norway so far in 2016. At Hellesjøvannet 135 Pochard outnumbered all other ducks combined and at Merkja 18 Shoveler were also a max high. It is quite interesting that Akershus hosts such large numbers of these species and that they don’t have higher numbers in Jæren which generally has much higher numbers of wildfowl but both of these species have only a tiny breeding population in Norway so the birds I am seeing are coming from further east and perhaps never make it to Jæren. One species they definitely see more of in Jæren is Scaup but I had one at Hellesjøvannet today which is the most reliable site in Akershus for both this species and Smew with normally of a few of each later in October and November.

Summer migrants are now getting thin on the ground and I recorded no warblers or swallows today but did have a single Wheatear.
This Hen Harrier (myrhauk) looks to have unstreaked reddy cooured underparts plus a dark boa and pale neck collar which are considered the classic plumage features for Pallid. However note the broad wing with 5 "fingers" shows this is a Hen Harrier. The dark secondaries help age this bird as a bird of the year (1cy)

3 Shoveler (skjeand)

6 Shovelers

here the blue forewing and green speculum of Shoveler can be seen

Teal (krikkand) left with 3 Shovelers

a male Wheatear (steinskvett). My last of the year?

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