Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Pec Sand and wader bonanza in the rain

Even though we are back at home it is still summer holidays and we have been cooling off from the heat (30C) by swimming at Sognsvann lake which also gave me my first Brilliant Emerald dragonfly (glansmetallibelle). This is my 6th new dragonfly species this year which is just a result of paying more attention to them and also having the patience to wait for them to land and get a photo although I have also managed some flight record shots.

Today saw a complete change in the weather with temperatures falling to 12C, fresh winds from the east and rain forecast. Surely the type of weather to produce waders.  I encouraged the girls to have a lie in and headed out early doors to Årnestangen. It had not started to rain whilst I walked out and there was little to see. When I got to to end it was all a bit of a disappointment although a Peregrine may just have scared off some birds. There were +/- 10 each of Ruff, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Greenshank and Wood Sandpiper but no sign of any movement. The rain was forecast to come a bit later so I decided to hang on although it was starting to get cold! After a while Stig Johan arrived and casually asked me if I had seen the Great White Egret,
Curlew Sands and Knots that he had just seen on the way out. That really got me depressed!
Luckily the rain could be seen to be coming otherwise I think I would have left to look for these birds.

Before the rain came waders started appearing with their calls heard first and then they appeared out of the sky. It is fascinating how there is clearly a steady stream of migrating waders passing high and unseen over us that only get noticed when bad weather briefly pushes them down.

A flock of 8 Grey Plover accompanied by 2 Knot and 2 Dunlin appeared. I then heard an interesting trill call and eventually 2 Broad-billed Sandpipers appeared! Then another trill call and 4 (later 5) Temminck's Stints landed close to us. Then 14 Bar-tailed Godwits flew over and the Grey Plovers and Ruff joined them in flight.  A flock of Redshank appeared and there were more Wood Sands, Ruff, Greenshank and Ringed Plover than before.

The real excitement though was when a flock of Golden Plover suddenly flew over us. In their midst was a smaller wader that I couldn't place. It then left the plovers and joined some Ruff om the deck. Getting the scope on it I was momentarily speechless - it was a Pec Sand!! It never came close but showed well enough. It left the Ruff after a while and then joined Dunlins and Ringed Plovers and a Curlew Sand before later flying low over us calling. There were waders calling all the time and I couldn't always place the calls but did also pick out Spotted Redshank and Whimbrel to end up with a very respectable 21 species of wader (in addition to those mentioned already there were Common Sand, Green Sand, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Snipe). Pec Sand is a very rare species in the Oslo area and this is the first since 2009. My record (and I believe also an all time record) for wader species at Årnestangen is 23 on 29 July 2019 and this time of the year is undoubtedly the best for variety. Neither of these high counts though included Lapwing or Little Ringed Plover both of which breed locally!

The weather started to clear up and there were gradually fewer waders to see and I was shivering so I decided to head back to the car! I couldn't find the GW Egret where Stig had last seen it three hours previously but checking out Svellet gave me 2 of them!!!

One of those days you dream about and another day when the backlog of photos and blog posts grows 😊

The Pectoral Sandpiper (alaskasnipe) with a Curlew Sandpiper (tundrasnipe). I did not appreciate how small the bird was whilst watching it in the scope but it is clearly a female with it appearing smaller than the Curlew Sand
with Dunlins (myrsnipe)

I first picked it up flying low overhead with Golden Plovers (heilo) but at this stage had not worked out what it was

with Ruff (brushane) and an Osprey (fiskeørn)

14 Bar-tailed Godwits (lappspove), 8 Grey Plover (tundralo) and 2 Knot (polarsnipe)

unintentionally over exposed but works quite well

a very poor shot of the 2 Broad-billed Sandpipers (fjellmyrløper) but the bird on the right is just about recognisable

Great White Egret (egretthegre)

the plumes show it to be an adult

the other bird which has noticabely blacker legs

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