Friday, 22 September 2017

Værøy 2017 Day 2

Things did improve today. Egil found an Olive-backed Pipit although I failed to see it and Kjell found a Savi’s Warbler! I did manage to see the Savi’s although in similar fashion to last year it was a touch and go as to whether the views were tickable. The views were unforgettable though. Kjell had seen the bird very well although unfathomably did not have his camera with him! Once the rest of us had gathered where Kjell had found the bird we embarked on what is described as an “organised flush”. The only problem was that the bird didn’t want to flush. Instead I suddenly noticed it running like a mouse through the vegetation less than two metres from me! I got the others on it and the bird ended up being more or less surrounded but did we see it again? Absolutely not! Locustella warblers are famous for acting like this although I have not witnessed it before and it was incredibly cool to see it running away from us instead of flying and then managing to completely disappear. This was a great reward for Kjell especially after finding both Pallas Grasshopper and Lancy last year (or Stars and Stripes as they say here in Norway). We tried to find the bird again but it was a hopeless task.

After this things got very quiet. In what might be a Værøy first I did not see a Yellow-browed Warbler but may have heard one. I did have 6 Chiffchaffs though as my only warbler and got a dose of Hawkie with a bird showing well as it hunted from telegraph poles. It went down three times and looked to have caught something. In one of my pictures it looks like it is swallowing a mouse or shrew but I have understood that these don’t occur on Værøy…

Waders were the most (and only) photogenic birds today with a couple of Barwits and Grey Plovers and a few Ringed Plovers showing well. Jack Snipe also showed well but not exactly as I would have hoped. I searched a suitable area thoroughly and saw three lots of primary feathers from corpses that matched this species and later saw a cat that could well be the culprit. I did flush one bird and in trying to locate this bird on the deck I made an unexpected discovery. I came across a muddy area where there were LOTS of footprints and droppings from Jack Snipe. I immediately froze and started scanning hoping to find the bird and there it was. Only problem was that it was lying on it’s side in a puddle and was clearly dead! It appeared very freshly dead and had no visible injuries but was just skin and bones so maybe had been unable to find food. The areas where it was looked good but judging by the small was probably very polluted.

Let’s hope tomorrow delivers more birds and better views and the rain that is falling as I write this is definitelty promising.....

juvenile Grey Plover (tundralo)

juv Grey Plover

Hawk Owl with a rodent

a distant Iceland Gull which others have seen much better

northern lights

female Parrot Crossbill (furukorsnebb)

male Ring Ouzel (ringtrost)

Snow Bunting (snøspurv)

White-tailed Eagles (havørn)
floating dead Jack Snipe (kvartbekkasin)

footprints, dropping and beak marks of Jack Snipe
and the (presumed) Jack Snipe assasin

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