Thursday, 31 May 2018

Garganey Buzzes the Tower

The tropical conditions have not brought as many southern rares to Norway as one would hope for and in fact there have been fewer rare birds so far this spring than one would normally expect. Yesterday a couple of Spoonbills turned up south of Oslo and most surprising of all a 1st summer Ross’s Gull (hardly a southern bird..) turned up at the Great Big Dump so this gave me some hope.

The hot weather though has caused a rapid decline in water levels at Årnestangen and I interpreted the published water level this morning to mean that there would once again be some mud at Årnestangen. Årnestangen and Nordre Øyeren generally offer the best chance of something exciting around Oslo and although it would have been best with a thunder storm I thought that it would be worth the long walk out. From the car I could see that there was indeed a small sandbank exposed so I set off on the 45-minute walk confident I would find marsh terns, Black-winged Stilt, Red-footed Falcon, Spoonbill or something of that calibre as reward for the long walk and the extreme numbers of mossies.

Well I didn’t get quite that level of reward, but it was worth the trip. The sandbank held a 1st summer Little Gull, 7 Ringed Plover, 1 Redshank, 1 Dunlin and a Broad-billed Sandpiper! There were quite a few male dabbling ducks which were nearly all males but amongst 36 Teal were 3 females and this caused loads of commotion with displaying and calling. Two male Garganey were also calling a lot and showed very well. Both had started moulting and one was a particularly poorly marked bird which I don’t think was just a result of moult.

Raptors were again in very short supply with 3 Ospreys and a couple of Marsh Harriers the only ones noted. Marsh Warblers were singing but I failed to find anything scarcer other than a single Sedge Warbler.

male Garganey (knekkand). This picture worked out very well!!

this is the uncropped photo of the bird as it buzzed the tower (one for the Top Gun aficionados) 
and from below
the two male Garganey together. The bird in the bckground had a very poorly defined white crescent on the head

2 Marsh Harriers (sivhauk)
a pair of Lapwings gave grief to anything (me included) that walk past or flew over their field but I saw no young.Curlews and Snipe are also breeding in the area

a displaying Snipe (enkeltbekkasin) - note the two outer tail feathers which make the distinctive noise 

a Small Heather (engringvinge) butterly
same butterfly
and my first Common Blue (tiriltungeblåvinge) of the year

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