I had quite a days birding with Conor Cunnigham today and finally the forces of spring migration could be felt. We headed south to the Glomma River near Mysen in Østfold. One of the tagged Bean Geese has been transmitting from here and after I sent out a request to local birders to visit the area to find out how many geese there were there it became clear that this is where all the action is. A number of stubble fields are snow free and there were thousands of birds here.
We had 97 Taiga Beans, 400+ Pink-feet, 500 Whooper Swans, 70+ Cranes, 300+ Skylarks, 1000+ Wood Pigeons plus smaller numbers of Greylags, Canada Geese and Snow Buntings.
There were also a number of raptors: a male Hen Harrier, at least 2 Merlins, 2 Sparrowhawk, 5 Goshawks including 3 together, 2 Peregrines an adult White-tailed Eagle and 10+ Buzzards.
New species for the year were a flock of 24 Mistle Thrushes and a White Wagtail.
It was not just a feast for the eyes but also a concert for the ears with continuous noise from Cranes, geese, Whoopers and Skylarks. It is days like this that make the winter bearable but unfortunately this period risks passing very quickly if we get a rapid thaw now such that birds can move rapidly north.
Amongst the Beans I saw five collared birds, three of which I had noted earlier at Udenes, but which have most likely subsequently returned to Denmark and then moved north again with other birds and chosen to stop where they could see conditions were favourable. It will now be interesting to see how many birds move on to Udenes or whether they don't bother this year (and should that be the case what will they do in subsequent years?). We are also missing a number of birds (I would expect the flock to be at least 150) so where are these birds now?.
A non-birding trip to Fornebu yesterday gave me my first Linnet and Green Sandpiper of the year. My year list now stands at 133 which is remarkably similar to previous years despite the late spring:
|male Hen Harrier (myrhauk) always a delight but it could have come a bit closer|
|the Harrier with a Merlin (dvergfalk) in a tree|
|adult White-tailed Eagle (havørn) being chased by a crow|
|Merlin - I reckon the bluey grey back makes this a male and the striped tale shows its to be a young bird|
|but this Merlin would look to be a female and probably also a young bird|
|here the Taiga Beans are in the bac of the field with a mixture of Cranes, Pink-footed, Canada and Greylag Geese closer to the camera|
|the first Green Sandpiper of the year on a thin strip of mud in the ice at Fornebu|