Friday, 20 April 2018

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

Yesterday evening/night and this morning I was guiding Rob Tizard who I had previously guided in June 2014 when we had a great Oppland and Hedmark trip seeing Dotterel, Great Snipe, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Siberian Jay and Great Grey Owl amongst others.

This time round Rob had some specific world lifer goals with Tengmalm’s (Boreal) Owl top of the list. We went to where I had a number of singing birds earlier in the spring and where I felt very confident we would both hear and most importantly see the owl. Not to be though. We did not hear a single owl let alone see one which would suggest that the rodent population has crashed and the owls have moved on. Very frustrating! A big surprise was a drumming Snipe in the dark over a clear fell area – it is only in the last week that migrant birds are turning up at wetland sites so for one to be in the forest displaying was not what I had expected although the Woodcock that we also heard was not a surprise.

Today we were going to look for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Parrot Crossbill and Capercaillie. In the end we used up most of the day in a fruitless search for the pecker. We went to Årnestangen where yesterday I had great views (pictures below) of two territorial females. Today in the course of 6 hours we only heard a bird calling from the other side of the river! It was very foggy until 14:30 today and conditions were not good for birding even though they were atmospheric. We only had a single raptor which was a male Hen Harrier that showed at close range and highlighted how different yesterday’s hybrid was. Willow Warbler and Sand Martin were new for the year. A Woodlark close to the airport at the end of the day was a good end note.

female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (dvergspett)

both the females. The bird on the left was calling on the other side of the river and flew for a bit of a bust up. I assume that both brds were unpaired and are searching for a mate

pulling a grub out of the tree

this male Hen Harrier differs noticeably from yesterday's hybrid with much more black in the wing, black outer primaries, a broader and darker trailing edge and a more blue grey colour to the upperparts

Woodlark (trelerke)

big chunks of ice were floating down the river at Årnestangen!

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