Thursday, 2 March 2017

Wrong type of Bean

Although we had an overnight frost and temperatures barely scraped above zero, the sun shone for much of the afternoon and it did feel quite spring like. I decided to head out east to the Glomma river and Aurskog-Høland to see if any swans and geese had returned. I wasn’t really expecting to see much as I expected the fields to be covered in snow and ice but I had some hopes (as always). As I drive away from Oslo I soon saw that there was much less snow remaining on the fields compared to Maridalen (where everything is still white) and my expectations began to increase.

I started at the Taiga Bean Geese’s favourite fields. Two of the tagged geese are still in Denmark where they have been since 20 Feb and a single tagged bird is on Orkney having been blown off course as part of a flock and getting lost (visual sightings show him to be alone). I was therefore not expecting to find any today (6 March is earliest arrival date so far recorded) but you never know. The fields were mostly snow free but the overnight frost had not left them looking particularly appealing although 21 Whooper Swans were feeding here. Down on the river there were a few more swans and I heard my first Skylark of the year.

Continuing towards Aurskog Høland I noted small flocks of Whooper Swans on stubble fields where I always see them (there are a lot of stubble fields but there are only a few that are favoured and are used year after year). One flock was difficult to view and a bit distant from the road but I could see some smaller darker shapes and realised there were geese with them. I found a way to get closer and was very happy to discover no less than 4 species of goose! Two Canada, 3 Greylag, 1 Pink-foot and 10 Tundra Bean Geese. It took me a bit of work to (sub)identify the Bean Geese probably because I was automatically expecting them to be Taiga but they were also of the large more Taiga like variety of Tundra.... There are still quite a few Tundra Beans being seen in Norway after the winter influx so it was really not a surprise that some should turn up in Akershus – I will have to work carefully through the Taiga Bean goose flock later to see it there are any Tundras attracted to them (which I have not previously considered to be an issue).

In Aurskog-Høland there were no wildfowl at all in the Haneborg area although three singing Skylarks and seven feeding Lapwings were a fantastic sign of spring. At Kjelle there was already a lot of (frozen) flood water which bodes well and a stubble field held a great flock (so GREAT that humpty Trumpty would have liked it) of 74 Whoopers, 47 Canada Geese and 5 Greylags.

Hellesjøvannet was as expected still frozen but on stubble fields there was a family party of 8 Whooper Swans plus a lone adult. I reckon these were the breeding birds from last year and the lone bird could well be a youngster from an earlier year.

I had no raptors or owls during the day and only a single Great Grey Shrike. A flock of 5 Stock Doves on wires above a stubble field was a bit of a surprise.

With the Skylarks and Lapwings I have now seen 4 of the 8 spring migrants I am expecting to see in the coming days.

Pink-footed (kortnebb-), Tundra Bean (tundrasæd-) and Greylag Geese (grågås) with Whooper Swans (sangsvane). Taken with superzoom uncropped

Tundra Beans. Taken with bazooka and cropped a bit 
superzoom cropped

The Pink Foot and a Bean. Superzoom

A nice sight at Kjell 

The mostly frozen flooded fields at Kjelle. There were 170 Mallard here
The favoured fields of the Taiga Bean Geese - should be here within a couple of weeks
first Lapwings (vipe) of the year
I had a flock of 50 Cormorants (storskarv) feeding on the Glomma River. They suddenly took off along with other waterfowl and I expceted to find a W-t Eagle but couldn't see it

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