Monday, January 22, 2018

Øygarden 22 January 2018 - A cracking day out

High cloud and SE winds, temperatures creeping over freezing.

The intention today was a quick walk at Hjelme Vest and then home again to get on with things but this plan went horribly, horribly wrong. There was just too much to see.

Hjelme Vest was rather quiet with just a nice Great Northern Diver islom on the sea, a few small flocks of Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt, a couple of White-tailed Eagle havørn, Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke and many of the usual suspects.

A Fieldfare gråtrost in a bad way...

.....and another just slightly worse off

A Redwing rødvingetrost working its way along a snow free area of ground. This spot is often used by sheep to shelter from the worst of the weather and the soil is therefore no doubt a little richer - hopefully providing something in the way of food.

A Wren gjerdesmett worked the same section of ground and even passed under the Fieldfare gråtrost.

It is obvious that the Fieldfares gråtrost are struggling - a few good sized flocks came in off the sea heading south -numbering some 250 in total. I found three dead and one moribund bird on the short walk. The first dead bird looked like it had just dropped dead from its perch in a tree - it is quite possible this bird used the last of its energy evading a bird of prey and then could not survive the night. Other dead Fieldfares gråtrost had been dead slightly longer - two of them along a stretch of ground protected from snowfall by an overhanging cliff.

I left most of one of my sandwiches along this stretch -hoping it might just be enough to save a thrush or two as they work their way along looking for food. Very shortly afterwards a Redwing rødvingetrost showed up working its way along in the direction of the sandwich crumbs.....

Above: two Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin

Woodcock rugde feeding very close to my house.

A Woodcok rugde fed just outside my house and gave good views from the car. Elsewhere a couple of Snipe enkeltbekkasin also gave an excellent roadside showing.

Best sighting of the day - two albifrons Whitefronts tundragås

The drive-bys continued with a pair of adult albifrons Whitefronts tundragås at Sture.

Trying by now to limit the birding I swung by Blomvatnet as I neared the grocery shop - where I picked up a Dipper fossekall.

Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett

An unseasonal Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

On my way home I drove through Hatten where a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke put in a very unseasonal appearance, my first Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett of the year showed up and a Goshawk hønsehauk flew over.

Not bad at all.

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