Thursday, 18 January 2018

Lapwings in January!

I had a plan to go searching for owls in the deep forests of Aurskog Høland and Nes but once I was on the road there was far too much snow in the air for that to be a good idea. So I thought I would check out what over wintering waterfowl I could find on the Glomma and Vorma rivers.

The most numerous species were Cormorant and Tufted Duck with over 120 birds of each and I recorded also Whooper and Mute Swans, Goosander, Goldeneye and Mallard but in no large concentrations and no rarer species of the type Smew or Scaup which I had hoped for. The last couple of days has seen small arrivals of geese and Lapwings along the southern coast of Norway and I had a vague hope of some geese on the river although with there being so much snow on the fields I thought the chance was very little. And indeed I found no geese but I did find 2 Lapwings which I had never expected because conditions here inland are completely unsuitable for this species and they will surely die unless they manage to fly a few hundred kilometres to the south very quickly. There are only two previous January records of Lapwing in Akershus both from 2006. One of these related to a dead bird and the other was at one of the locations where I had one today so two birds today was indeed exceptional.

I also had a magnificent adult White-tailed Eagle that twice put Cormorants and Goldeneyes into the air but never tried to catch anything whilst I watched. I had good views of Dippers which were also singing and a couple of Little Grebes on an ice-free river were an unusual inland record.

I had no owls or shrikes on my travels until I got back to Oslo when the Great Grey Shrike revealed itself in Maridalen and would therefore seem to be finding enough food despite over 50cm of new snow.

Lapwing (vipe). The chances of this bird are surviving must be close to zero. Note how its belly feathers are hanging down and were frozen

same bird looking for food

and the second Lapwing which had chosen an even worse place to look for food

the white island in the middle of the river is where the Lapwing was

a flock of Tufted Duck (toppand)

Dipper (fossekall)

Little Grebe (dvergdykker)

adult White-tailed Eagle (havørn). The bird is ringed but I cannot even work out what colour the ring is

Great Grey Shrike (varsler) in a wintery Maridalen

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