Thursday, 30 August 2018

A days birding to be happy with

I have had a goal of giving Årnestangen and Svellet good coverage this autumn so that was where I headed again yesterday. The Great White Egret found on Tuesday was distantly on show as I walked out, and an Osprey, Marsh Harrier and Cuckoo also showed on the walk. Out at the point there was a large expanse of exposed mud but few birds at first. The closest wader though was a fresh juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and there were also over 70 Dunlin but no stints. Passerines provided perhaps the most entertainment with many pipits and wagtails feeding in the grass and on the mud and occasionally flying around calling. Amongst them I heard at least one Red-throated Pipit and a Lapland Bunting and had what sounded like a Citrine Wagtail (but I would need to see that well to claim).
On my way back I heard (but without realising what it was) and then saw the Egret flying over me which was a far cooler experience than twitching one as it was so unexpected.

Svellet was full of birds with around 1000 each of Barnacle and Greylag Geese. The 3 Blackwits were still present as were 2 Hobby and nearby 5 Shoveler.

I decided on a trip into Maridalen as Lars Petter had photographed a perched Honey Buzzard early in the morning and if they have found a wasp’s nest then they visit it again and again to dig it out so I thought I may have a chance of finding the bird again. And sure enough I did find one but not necessarily the same bird as LP’s picture appears to show a female (brownish head) whilst my bird is a male (grey head) although the rest of the plumage looks similar. I didn't see it perched but did have it fly over me 4 times! At 1338 it flew west carrying food and returned 9 minutes later and I watched it going down ca 1km to the east. It then flew over me again 27 minutes at 1414 with food and again 9 minutes later it returned and looked to go down in the same area but didn't reappear despite me waiting 30 minutes. So clearly it takes its time getting the food but feeding the young is quick. I assume a bit of time is spent perched and checking for threats before going to the ground to then dig out the wasp’s nest. The HB nest though can't be that far away as it was a 9 minute round trip including delivering the food and it was flying fairly leisurely. I have written before about how I am amazed that I don't see the Honey Buzzards earlier in the summer but how they always turn up in August when they have large young to feed. My previous observations had suggested that nests were a very long way a way but clearly not this one (max 2-3km?). They are clearly just very secretive early in the season.

Whilst waiting for my Honey I had Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Peregrine so the Dale delivers again.

The bazooka lens has taken its last picture unfortunately and whilst I choose which new lens (and camera) I will buy I am left with the superzoom and the old 70-300mm lens started with. Today I forgot to pack the superzoom so all pictures are the old kit and I mst admit I think it works perfectly fine for documentation.

juvenile Curlew Sandpiper (tundrasnipe)

distant Great White Egret (egretthegre)

flying over me

spot the egret

juvenile Cuckoo

the Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) on its way back from the nest just 9 minutes after I saw it flying in the other direction with food in talons

and returning with a wasp's nest in its talons

and then returning 9 minutes later after having delivered the food to the nest

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