I do not remember guiding in such constant rain as we had this morning but despite the weather we still had a good outing. Bluethroat, Red-backed Shrike, Whinchat and Nutcracker always make for a good day. In the rain we also watched Swallows feeding at grass top level and nearly hovering as they searched for insects. Weather like this which lasts for a number of days must be a real test for insect eaters and especially young birds ad helps one understand why so many summer migrants head south at the first opportunity – why risk being stuck in cold and wet northern Europe when the Mediterranean beckons?
After guiding I was naughty. A Mandarin Duck has been reported from Sandvika and I realised that after dropping Sean off at his hotel that my car was pointing in the right direction… I don’t normally think much of plastic but this year I have a chance of a quite good Akershus county list and every species counts. I have not previously purposely targeted this list but a number of good finds in the spring means I now have 201 species which compares to my previous best of 205 and a record for the county of 211. My lack of focus means that I am missing species like Wood Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Quail, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Nightjar, tawny Owl and Blyth’s Reed which would have been easy to pick up earlier in the year but that it is now too late for. However, I am missing nearly all the seabirds, for example I have not seen a single species of auk in the county, so with a few storms this autumn I could easily see another 8 species.
The Mandarin was interesting to see though as it is a male that is just coming into breeding plumage (a 1cy or an eclipse adult?) and the odd blue and green feather could be seen. If it hangs around it will be interesting to see how quickly the moult is.
|male Mandarin in coming out of eclipse plumage or possibly a young bird. Note the blue feathers plus the single thin bright green feather|