Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Here's Knobby!

This year’s summer holiday hasn’t followed the tried and tested formula of the mountains around Beitostølen and then northern Norway around Bodø. Instead we headed straight to Bodø once the school holidays started. I therefore got to bird the fjord at Fauske/Klungsett earlier than previously and my hope was to follow the build up of moulting ducks and to at least refind the Asian White-winged Scoter (Stejneger’s Scoter) from the last two years and the Surf Scoter from last year plus to find something else new and exciting (American Black Scoter would be a nice find for example).

I had my first check of the ducks on 3rd July (compared to the 7th in the last two years). There were fewer birds than later in the month in previous years with Goldeneye (300+) the most numerous. The best birds were two adult male King Eiders which had only just started their moult when I found them, 3 male Scaup and rarest of all (in local terms) a Great Crested Grebe. But no Knobby (found on 7th in 2016 and 15th in 2015). Despite near daily visits I couldn’t find anything more exciting although Velvet Scoter numbers did start increasing to ca. 300. We then went off to Lofoten on the 10th for a week (will have to cover that in a separate post) and my next chance to check out the ducks wasn’t until today, 18 July. The sea wasn’t that calm but it was clear that numbers had risen. The two King Eiders were still present at Røvika and with a very high tide ducks were feeding close to land. I was hoping to get good pictures of the eiders when I noticed Knobby – so nice of the local birders to let me find him three years running! In overcast conditions the light was not good but he was closer than I have ever had him other than on the day of discovery in 2015 and I managed to study the bill better than ever before. The bill of this bird is quite dull and mostly pink (differs to drawing and pictures of other birds of the species) and makes me quite sure that this is the same bird that has also been seen in Trøndelag. As in previous years he was in active moult with most of his primaries missing so will be around for a while.

Here are some pictures and a video (my best yet of the bird?). More blog posts and video from the holiday will follow at some time. Surprisingly the pictures from the superzoom have turned out better than from the bazooka.


Adult male Stejnegers's Scoter / Asian White-winged Scter (knoppsjøorre) 

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