Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Herdlevær 04 May 2016 - There's more to life than seawatching

Brisk southerly winds and sunny.

I may be exaggerating slightly when I say there is more to life than seawatching but I got the feeling that Herdlevær must be feeling rather neglected and decided to put that right today. It was a good call and there were certainly no regrets.

Slavonian Grebe horndykker - first seen in the shade

...and then in the sunshine

Note that the Red-breasted Merganser siland is already starting its moult into eclipse plumage

The first highlight was a cracking summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe (Horned Grebe I suppose these days) horndykker. Although a regular enough species around here it is unusual to see them in the spring and in breeding plumage,

Wryneck vendehals posing in the most photographed hand in Øygarden

Next up a Wryneck vendehals caught by ringers. A truly amazing bird in the hand,

A male Blackcap munk was the first I've seen in Øygarden this year (another was reported from Rong today). Other bird news included a Cuckoo gjøk reported from Tjeldstø.

Oystercatcher tjeld - probable mink victim

Now that all the bling is out of the way there was another far less pleasant find today. An Oystercatcher tjeld that appeared to have been taken by a mink. Each year in the spring I think about how I am going to start trapping and killing as many of these vermin as possible but I never get around to it. My dog has yet to kill one this year - although he has had a couple of near-misses. If we as birders don't do it who else will?

Non-breeding Cormorants storskarv heading south

A much neglected bird and one of the commonest in Øygarden - Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

A bonus bird in the evening was a nice Spotted Redshank sotsnipe beside Husvatnet, Tjeldstø - only seen because I had forgotten to buy a couple of things for tomorrow's dinner, the shops are shut tomorrow and it is almost impossible just to drive past Husvatnet without having a quick look....

Occurrence of Spotted Reshank in Øygarden

Spotted Redshank sotsnipe

The Spotted red was the first in the county this year; this species is not a common spring bird but occasionally turn up in late April / early May in Øygarden.

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