Saturday, 8 October 2016

Daddy's reward

The autumn half term holiday is drawing to an end and whilst Mrs OB and Jr went up to Tromsø, myself and Jr Jr checked into a hotel with swimming pool complex and playland. On the way back today I chose as a reward to myself the (very) scenic route back through farmland and forest where I was hoping to find Hawk Owl.

In the end the scenic route delivered some fine autumn birding including Hawkie and Jr Jr didn’t complain too much……

The first decent bird was a Golden Eagle. I had seen a couple of buzzards and stopped the car in a layby to check what type. They were Common and I was about to drive off but Jr Jr wanted something from the boot (OK she wanted sweets). Whilst closing the boot a raptor flew low over me. I thought Common Buzzard, raised the bins and thought the plumage didn’t quite fit and wondered if it was a dark and very late juv Honey Buzzard. It then started circling and it took quite a while before I realised it was a Golden Eagle….. I had completely failed to judge the size correctly initially and also with Golden Eagle being very unexpected I was not putting the (rather obvious) plumage characters into context. I even managed some pictures with the superzoom but by then it had already gained some height.
Golden Eagle (kongeørn). Aging eagles is not a skill I have mastered but this bird would appear to have moulted its inner primaries and with the otherwise juvenile look this should make it a 2cy bird

Continuing on I had a stop at Hærsetsjøen. This small, shallow lake was covered in geese as it usually is in late autumn. There must have been a couple of thousand Greylags and I scanned looking for something more exciting. A few Canadas and Barnacles were not difficult to find and 7 Pink-feet were standing on the mud but it took 3 sweeps through before I found some Bean Geese. 14 taiga (fabalis) in total was an interesting record. There are regular spring records of Taiga Beans here but only a few autumn records. There have been no records of collared/ringed birds here so they are probably not part of the Scottish/Swedish population but are probably birds from another subpopulation and this could well be a regular stop over site. The tagged birds have also already left Akershus. They departed sometime after 8am GMT (10am local time) on Sunday (2.10) and were over Northumberland by 8pm GMT and then by midnight GMT they were roosting at their traditional site at Fannyside east of Glasgow. A quite astonishing flight! Previous tagged birds have not made the flight in one. They have either stopped in Southern Norway, spent a few days in Northern England or even seemingly roosted on the North Sea.

 Amongst the geese there was just a single (blue) neck collar to read on a Greylag. I read it as NC6 and have entered it into but this has not been recorded before so either it is from a scheme that does not use which I think is unlikely as I have successfully reported similar collars before or I misread the ring but don’t know what it would have been otherwise (maybe the N was a Z?)

Four species of geese in this picture (Pink-feet standing, many Greylags, some obvious Barnacles and in the middle a few Taiga Beans)

an uncropped picture using the digital zoom with a couple of Beans in the middle

Hærsetsjøen - small but very important for wildfowl

The highlight of the day came at Hellesjøvannet where when I stopped at the northern end to count the Pochard I saw a bird perched on top of a telegraph pole. Even though I had seen a Hawk Owl on this exact pole in March2013 I was expecting to see a Kestrel today. BUT NO, it was HAWKIE!! Ringed birds in this autumns invasion have as far as I know been adults suggesting a failed breeding season and it could well be that that this bird is the exact same bird as was here in 2013 – who knows but an interesting thought. There must be loads more Hawkie to be had out there on the streets.

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