Today I had my first outing with Zak for what seems like ages. As is our wont we had a Tour de Østfold. First stop was Kurefjorden. Here we had a rising tide that seemed to bear no resemblance to that which was predicted by the tide tables but conditions were very good with all the waders pushed up onto a small area of mud. Despite our best efforts (and an enormous variety in plumage and size amongst the many Dunlins present) we failed to turn up anything rare although there was a bit of variety with a Grey Plover, 2 Little Stint, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 9 Barwits amongst more numerous Dunlins and Grey Plovers. A low cloud base and threat of rain in the air produced a very quiet day on the passerine and raptor front.
We moved onto the great big dump without seeing a single harrier in the many good fields and wetland areas we passed and had a bit of success on the wader front although did not locate any of the hoped for Red-throated Pipits. Best wader was Black-tailed Godwit (my first of the year and not a bird I see annually in south east Norway) with two feeding rather distantly alongside their Bar-tailed cousin with another Barwit much closer. We also had a very flighty flock of smaller waders which at one stage tried to land at our feet and contained a Knot, a Little Stint, a Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin.
On the way home we had a stop in Maridalen. Yesterday a Hawk Owl was released there after having spent a few days in rehabilitation after crashing into a window about half way between my house and Maridalen. I had little expectation that we would find it but suddenly it was right in front of us low down in a birch tree right by the path with a horse and rider going past. Looking at the pictures from the release yesterday this may well be the same tree it flew into upon release. It was clearly not in a good shape with both its wings drooping at times and although it could fly from branch to branch it seemed to prefer hopping. I suspect that this bird will be a pile of feathers quite soon. I am addicted to Hawkie but I must say that this was a bad hit and it has left me feeling pretty bad – never good to see such a smart bad in a bad state. I went up again with the girls two hours after seeing it with Rune but the owl was nowhere to be seen (and I checked
under the tree) which I hope is a good sign (although it would also make an easy prey for a Goshawk). Elsewhere in Norway, it looks like two good rare birds might be even rarer birds.
An Arctic Warbler on Husøy in Nordland has a call (linked to from the picture)suggesting that it may actually bea Kamchatka Leaf Warbler and therefore a WP first and a Black-browed Albatross
seen today offshore in Vesfold(not too far from where Rune and I were) looks to be dark billed, dusky headed and have a lot of white on the underwing suggesting a Yellow-nosed Albatross? I’m off to Værøy in 8 days time and all this excitement means I can hardly wait!