Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Juvenile Honey

Today I had an enjoyable day guiding Eric from Connecticut. After over a week of rain it was relief to have some sun and little wind. We headed first for Årnestangen where there was an immediate autumnal feeling with lots of calling Meadow Pipits, Fieldfares and geese in the air. Unfortunately, all the rain has meant an increase in water levels so there was little mud but still around 100 waders. Best were a couple of Knot and 3 Little Stint. There were around 500 Wigeon and among them a lot of Pintail – I counted 35 but better eyes later counted 90 which is a site record.

I had hoped that raptors would put on a show as the weather was finally suited for soaring. We had no harriers unfortunately but did see Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Merlin quite close. A couple of distant soaring raptors were most likely juvenile Honey Buzzards but were just a bit too far to be certain. On the passerine side we had Wheatear, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and lots of Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits.

We moved on to Maridalen where good numbers of Swallows and a few House Martins were in the air. They started alarm calling and a search for a raptor revealed a clear Honey Buzzard (although this was doubtfully the cause of their alarm). It proceeded to fly right over our heads and was a juvenile in one of those confusing Common Buzzard like plumages. There are very few published photos of juvenile Honey Buzzards from Norway and one reason for this may be that they are passed off as Common Buzzards. The Swallows alarm called on two more occasions and we found a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel sparring in the air on the first and a close male Sparrowhawk on the second. We had two other Sparrowhawks and a Common Buzzard in the valley so today was probably a good day for raptor migration if one had spent time sky gazing.

The best passerine was a young Red-backed Shrike and we also had a Whinchat and a few Nutcrackers. On the lake 4 adult Black-throated Divers showed well.

juvenile Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk)

juvenile Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)

male Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk)

a black Adder

Two young Adders 

Black-throated Divers (storlom)

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