Sunday, 19 May 2019

Black Tern!

Friday was Norway’s national day and a public holiday with lots of parades and dressing up in national costume. For me highlights were my first ever house Canada Geese flying over plus an also flyover Common Sandpiper.

Yesterday the promise of rain had me (and others) out early in Maridalen but the reality was just getting wet and seeing nothing interesting. Later in the day though I heard a Red-throated Pipit flying over the house whilst taking the Beast out for some airing.

Today though was the big day. More rain was forecast early in the morning and I thought that Årnestangen deserved my attentions. Goal for the day was a mountain marsh runner but at this time of the year anything can turn up. I parked the car at 6am and had a 45 minute walk in constant rain that was only enlivened by a mixed flock of waders heading north. I only managed to identify the large birds which were ca.20 Ruff but this was both a good and a bad sign. Good that there were waders but bad that they were flying off in the rain (made me think they had been scared off from the mudbank at the tip of the peninsula). When I got to the end I could initially not see a single wader which I thought confirmed my suspicions of everything having been scared off. I did see three Little Gulls though (an adult, a 2nd summer and a 1st summer) and 6 Arctic Terns as well as the Common Terns that breed here and when I eventually got my eye in (the rain and light were not making things easy) I realised there were waders: Whimbrel, Redshank, Ruff, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Temminck’s Stint! I heard a Red-throated Pipit flyover and after an hour or so hit the jackpot when I suddenly saw an adult Black Tern. The first in Norway this year and only my second ever in the country. I put the news out and Anders quickly called as he was already on his way out. I lost sight of the tern but by the time Anders had walked out over half an hour later the tern was back on show. Our attention was taken by the Red-throated Pipit which flew over again with a Meadow Pipit chasing it and with a bit of enticement it landed not far away and allowed itself to be admired in fine breeding plumage!

summer plumaged Black Tern (svartterne)

there seem to be 2 generations of primary feathers  - which may allow the bird to be aged?

summer plumaged Red-throated Pipit (lappiplerke). Although the species breeds in the far north of Norway it is a very scarce migrant in the south

Two Arctic Terns (rødnebbterne) 
three Little Gulls (dvergmåke) resting with 2 Arctic Terns

the adult Little Gull

and the 1st summer and 2nd summer
the first Lapwings (vipe) have hatched in Maridalen. This female had three young

male Whinchat (buskskvett)

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