I needed a walk today so chose the lottery trip that is Årnestangen at this time of year. The stubble fields were relatively snow free but there was still lots of ice. One bird that I hoped to find and succeeded in doing so was Snow Bunting with a whopping flock of 46 feeding rather distantly on the exposed mudbanks. Other than these birds though there was little else to justify the long walk although back by the car I did have my first two Starlings of the year thereby giving me another two and six in total of the eight spring migrants I mentioned on Wednesday – just Oystercatcher and Shelduck to go.
After Årnestangen I was planning on following the Glomma north to look for geese but had a message from Stig Helge that there were two Bean Geese at Kjelle. He was quite sure they were Tundra but I was inspired to drive there anyway with the small chance of them actually being Taiga. Well they weren’t but it was nice to see some more Tundra and later I checked the field where I had the 10 Tundras yesterday and today there were 11 there along with the Pink-foot.
On the fields where I yesterday had 3 singing Skylarks I discovered a flock of at least 100 feeding Skylarks (with only one singing). This is by far the largest flock I can remember seeing and surprising as I didn’t see or hear a single bird anywhere else during the day.
Whooper Swans were the bird of the day with a total of 553 noted. The bird that got away was a very probably Pine Bunting. Whilst driving a large flock of passerines flew up from a stubble field. I was able to park the car and view some of the flock distantly in trees. I first saw Tree Sparrows and then some Redpolls of which a couple looked good candidates for Arctic but were too distant to nail and then I found some Yellowhammers. One bird gave a very red and white impression but was too distant to be sure in the bins. I was standing by the car and reached in for camera and scope but couldn’t locate it again……
|Snow Buntings (snøspurv) at Årnestangen. All a bit distant|
|my first Starlings (stær) of the year|
|Tundra / rossicus Bean Goose at Kjell. Looks a bit like a Taiga in this picture but it wasn't and highlights the risk of concluding bird ID from single poor pictures|
|here the rossics bill can be better appreciated|
|here head, bill and neck looks good for rossicus|
|The flock of 11 Tundra Beans (up from 10 yesterday) with a Pink-foot on the right|
|a few of todays 553 Whooper Swans (sangsvane)|
|part of the large flock of Skylarks (sanglerke)|