Tuesday, 7 February 2017

An environmentally bad day

I get a bad conscience when I drive too much for the sake of birds – damaging the environment in the pursuit of enjoying – and that bad conscience obviously comes more to the fore on those days when the kilometres don’t result in payback.

Today was one of those days. My reason for the kilometres was that I am guiding for Hawk Owl on Saturday and wanted to do a bit of a recee as there has been a sudden decline in the number of birds reported. I had 7 sites lined up which have held birds within the last few weeks and really thought that I would score with the first two. Instead though I didn’t score at any of them and neither did I find Hawkie anywhere else despite the passing a lot of good looking habitat. I think that the reason for this sudden mass disappearance is that the winters first proper snow which arrived very belatedly at the weekend has transformed the countryside and caused the owls to look for new hunting grounds (although with the onset of spring birds are also thinking about finding breeding sites). I still have some other sites to check but don’t feel the Bird Gods are looking kindly on me.

My large number of kilometres didn’t give much other payback although a surprise White-tailed Eagle low over the road was good. It was hunting along an open river in farmland and presumably hoped to have duck on the menu. I also had my first Common Crossbills (grankorsnebb) of the year. At this time last year you couldn't fail to find the species with vast numbers breeding as a result of a vast and new cone crop. This year though this nomadic species has moved elsewhere in its continuos search for the perfect cone.

The day finished with some nice photos in sunlight! of Pintail and Grey Heron and helped me forget the previous 5 hours.

White-tailed Eagle (havørn) - a bird in juvenile /  in 2cy plumage I believe

1st winter / 2cy Pintail (stjertand). This is the same bird that I found at Bogstadvannet on 18 November and after the lake froze it has located along with 100 Mallards to the river that drains out of the lake 

adult Grey Heron 

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