Yesterday I covered a lot of ground.
I started at just after 7am at Årnestangen but it was a bit too cold and windy for a successful birding trip and I saw little. A pair of adult White-tailed Eagles sat distantly on a mudbank was the highlight. They appeared to be eating something and at one stage may also have mated but I can’t be sure as I was looking through the camera at the time (and didn’t take any pictures at the right time…) There was a pair here last year but they were still hanging around in May so clearly didn’t breed. Maybe they will breed this year although established pairs are already on eggs so it may well be that they won’t breed this year either.
In Svellet Curlew numbers have grown to 25 and there was also Lapwing and Oystercatcher there so the wader bonanza is starting.
I had intended just to visit Nordre Øyeren but with few birds and lots of time I headed out east. At Hemnessjøen I had Red and Black-throated Divers and Osprey which are all early. Best birds though came when I stopped to view some gulls feeding in a sheep field. Nothing exciting amongst them but there were some wagtails and I immediately noticed a Pied amongst the Whites. It was a female type and then just a couple of metres away was a fantastic male. I then concentrated on the male and forgot about the female until the birds had moved too far away although luckily did get a couple of record shots of her too. Pied Wagtails (the UK race of White Wagtail) are very scarce in these parts but this is the time of the year to find them.
I crossed over into Østfold to see a pair of Garganey found yesterday and also had my first Green Sandpiper of the year and then continued up the east side of Hemnessjøen. Here I had a couple of Ring Ouzels.
Hellesjøvannet didn’t have too much but the fields to the north had lots of thrushes and starlings (all through the day there were lots of thrushes to see) and also 5 Golden Plovers.
Kjelle delivered the goods as usual. Just before I got there I received a text from Stig Helge that there were 7 Bean Geese there. When I got there I could only find 5 together with some Whooper Swans. I struggled a bit at first but eventually satisfied myself that they were Taiga/fabalis. I changed viewing position and then found the other two about 150 metres away with 4 Pink-feets and these two were clear Tundra/rossicus. Very frustratingly they would not join up and to be honest the subtle differences between them could be difficult to see especially if you just focused on the bill. But the clearest different was in size. The Taigas are big geese around Greylag in size and had long necks. The Tundras were no bigger than the Pink-feet they were together with and had short thick necks.
There is also a nice amount of flood water at Kjelle which held 106 Teal and 2 Wigeon and which will hold a lot more in the coming weeks unless it dries up.
I finished the day in Maridalen, where else? Here I had a new bird for the valley in the form of a hybrid Greylag x Canada Goose as well as a fly over Lapland Bunting.
A very good day and just how it should be in early April!
|The Pied Wagtail I first noted - a female|
|and then I noted this male!|
|montage of male|
|both birds. The male is jet black on the back whilst the female sees the black on the crown gradually becoming lighter on the mantle but still much darker than on a White Wag. Note also the dark flanks|
|5 Taiga/fabalis Bean Geese|
|the birds left Kjelle at 1345 but 10 minutes later I saw them in flight to the north|
|Two Tundra/rossicus Bean Geese with a Pink-footed Goose (left) and Canada and Greylag|
|the size difference was also very noticeable. The Taigas are the size of Greylags whilst the Tundras are the size of Pink-feets|
|Cranes (trane) - I had way over 100 today|
|Golden Plovers (heilo)|
|Great Grey Shrike (varsler) one of three I saw|
|the flood waters at Kjelle|
|Lapland Bunting (lappspurv) in Maridalen. With a lot of good will you can even see it is a male.........|
|aerobatics from a displaying male Lapwing (vipe)|
|Mistle Thrush (duetrost)|
|Ring Ouzel (ringtrost)|
|Teal (krikkand) at Kjelle|