Thursday, 7 September 2017

Black Tern

My Norwegian list is not large. The fact that I haven't yet seen 300 species bears witness to the fact that I am a lousy twitcher. My self-found list isn't too shaby though but both lists still lack a few breeding or regular migrants such as White-backed Woodpecker, Stonechat, Leaches Petrel and Black Tern. Today I reduced that list by 25%.

After first checking out the Taiga Bean Geese (more about them later) I made my way to Svellet and walked out to the northern end where a lot of geese have been resting and on Monday there was a nice mud bank with a few waders. The water had risen after all the recent rain so no mud or waders but there were loads of geese: over 700 Barnacle, 1400 Greylags and amongst them single White-front and Pink-foot.

After a bit I started scanning and picked up a distant tern (>1.5km). At this time of year any tern is unusual but the way this was flying immediately cried a marsh tern. At the long range I struggled with plumage especially as I was expecting a juv bird but then it clicked - adult Black Tern!!! I had to get closer but that wasn't possible on foot. The 1 km back to the car was half run and after a short drive and another run I was, 25 minutes later, where I thought the tern had been.
Scanning didn't reveal it at first but a blob on top of a buoy revealed itself to be the bird! Views were still distant but in the scope I could enjoy my first Norwegian Black Tern. It was very settled and spent most of its time feeding although did also perch on buoys or floating logs. Whilst hoping it would come closer (it never did) I also had a White-tailed Eagle and fly over 2BC.

The Taiga Beans had risen to 79 birds with a new collared bird (T8) plus a bird with just a metal ring (one that has lost its neck collar). I was able to thoroughly go through 54 of the birds and amongst them found only 2 broods: one of 3 young plus the 2 young with 27&29. This population doesn't seem to have had good breeding success recently and so far few birds have turned up - let us hope more make it to Scotland via another migration route.

It really was quite hopeless trying to photograph the Black Tern although that didn't stop me trying. This video shows the bird best:

Black Tern (svartterne) Svellet. In the top left picture we see the underside although if you thought this was the upperside then you might be asking why it wasn't a White-winged Black Tern!

I would like to live in one of those houses!

with Cormorants

Taiga Bean Goose T8

the flock likes undulating fields and many birds were out of sight


the three youngsters that I managed to identify due to rounder mantle feathers 

from a distance only a third of the flock was visible

these birds were very well hidden 
closer view


a particularly pale juvenile (male based on size) Goshawk

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