Wednesday, 5 May 2021

White Stork at Bruserød, Tønsberg, Vestfold & Telemark on 2nd-3rd May 2021

A White Stork / stork Ciconia ciconia had been reported as stable in a ploughed field near Tønsberg on the evening of 1st May. The next morning I had a 5 minute stop at the area to find the stork was still present and as I arrived it walked across the road just in front of the car. Some frantic retrieving camera gear from its bag, resulted in several half acceptable images as it wandered off into the distance. Another errand beckoned, so no more time was used for this plastic tick. The next day 3rd May, we decided to visit Bruserød again although the stork was absent when we arrived and we had to wait over an hour for it to return. There were plenty of migrants feeding on the fields to keep us occupied while waiting, including a pair of Ring Ouzel / ringtrost  Turdus torquatus. On arriving, the stork stayed half sleeping in the middle of the ploughed field probably due to the chatting birders who could not stay concealed in their cars. A series of distant shots were taken to document this observation but when the rain started we left the area. The stork moved around a bit the next several days but was still in the area until at least the 5th May.  


White Stork, Tønsberg, Vestfold 2nd May 2021

White Stork, Tønsberg, Vestfold 2nd May 2021

White Stork, Tønsberg, Vestfold 3rd May 2021

White Stork, Tønsberg, Vestfold 3rd May 2021




Friday, 30 April 2021

Ferruginous Duck adult male again at Holmestrand, Vestfold & Telemark, Norway on 22nd-23rd April 2021

If last years Ferruginous Duck / hvitøyeand Aythya nyroca find was a sensation by Norwegian standards, then this years re-visit of what was presumably the same bird might be considered as weird. While visiting Snekkestaddammen, a small lake near Holmestrand on a weekly basis my thoughts often reflect last years experience but on the 22nd April, amazingly, this superb adult male duck was back on the lake. As last year the Ferruginous Duck was hindered to venture onto the open lake by the resident male Common Goldeneye and each time it tried, it was chased back into the reeds. During this hour-long afternoon visit, the duck seemed to feed successfully in the short reeds along the shoreline although mostly kept a fare distance from the observation point. As last year, a close companion was contacted and who soon arrived to take several film sequences, then also the landowner/farmer arrived and wondered if we had re-found the 'rare duck' which amusingly we could inform him that we had. Apparently last year there had been quite a commotion by the many visiting birders, and this flock gathering and indiscriminate parking was not particularly appreciated by the farmer or the nearby house owner. So because of this, it was decided to not release the news until the bird had gone. On 23rd April I arrived early morning with a plan to hopefully get some good photographs of the duck. On arrival the feeding duck was found very close to the observation place and it was possible to sneak inn close and set up the photo gear without disturbing it. Most of the time the duck was photographed against the early morning light, but also swam closely past in better light, allowing some reasonably good shots to be taken. The duck, although not ringed, seemed unusually tame as last year and there must be real doubt to it being a spontaneous wild bird and probably originates from a collection somewhere. 


Ferruginous Duck, adult male - Holmestrand, Norway 23rd April 2021


Ferruginous Duck, adult male - Holmestrand, Norway 23rd April 2021

Ferruginous Duck, adult male - Holmestrand, Norway 23rd April 2021

 

Ferruginous Duck, adult male - Holmestrand, Norway 23rd April 2021



Ferruginous Duck, adult male - Holmestrand, Norway 23rd April 2021


 

Ferruginous Duck, adult male - Holmestrand, Norway 23rd April 2021


Ferruginous Duck, adult male - Holmestrand, Norway 23rd April 2021


Ferruginous Duck, adult male - Holmestrand, Norway 23rd April 2021



Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Northern Pintail male in Horten, Vestfold & Telemark, Norway during January to March 2012

A male Northern Pintail / Stjertand Anas acuta was present along the shoreline between Strandparken, Steinsnes and Rørestrand in Horten this winter but was not seen here every day. The duck was always together with the wintering Mallards and was possibly the same bird that has overwintered here in previous years, maybe as long ago as February 2015. This winter the duck was first seen here on 25th October 2020 and last seen on 22nd March 2021 although when absent at least one male Northern Pintail was also noted at other local sites including Bastøy, Borrevannet and Langgrunn all of which are also in Horten municipality. The Northern Pintail was popular with visiting birders 'needing' a year tick or a photo for one of the birdy Facebook groups. 


Northern Pintail male - Strandparken, Horten, Norway 3rd February 2021

Northern Pintail male - Steinsnes, Horten, Norway 10th February 2021

Northern Pintail male - Steinsnes, Horten, Norway 10th February 2021

Northern Pintail male - Steinsnes, Horten, Norway 10th February 2021

Northern Pintail male - Steinsnes, Horten, Norway 10th February 2021




Saturday, 31 October 2020

Isabelline Wheatear at Akerøya in Viken (Østfold), Norway on 29th October 2020

During a telephone conversation with a birding companion it was decided to make a day trip to the island Akerøya, Hvaler, our second to Østfold (now known as Viken) this year. The main reason for this was a stationary Isabelline Wheatear / isabellasteinskvett Oenanthe isabellina that had been found several days earlier. However, due to varying poor weather conditions the bird had not been looked for during the two preceding days before our planned visit on 29th October. After an early start we arrived at the harbour at 08:00 and met up with two other eager birders. Shortly afterwards we met our guide and boatman who was also a local birder from the Akerøya bird ringing group. The weather did not look as though it would be kind to us and after a wet crossing we arrived to sunshine and a light breeze thankfully, making birding very pleasant the rest of the morning. We soon found our way to the other side of the island where the wheatear had been stationary earlier and by 09:30 we were enjoying distant but great views of the bird. We were told that several more birders were expected to visit the island during the following days and were reminded we should be careful not to press the bird unduly while photographing, so only distant images were possible. The wheatear did gradually come closer while we sat and patiently waited for it to do so, but time unfortunately did not allow for closer images. After about half an hour, we left the bird happily feeding and we made our way back to the house close to the island harbour and birded in the area around here. Two more local birders arrived in their own boat and walked off to see the wheatear. Later in the morning we were ferried back to the mainland and then drove home after another successful birding trip to Østfold. The long range weather forecast was fine weather for the rest of the day and night but for the following days, very wet and windy and it was wondered if the wheatear would leave in the fine weather during that night. Apparently a larger group of birders could not find the wheatear the next day, so it must have been just that which presumably the bird had done.

While adjusting the images the age and sex of the bird was addressed. At first it was considered to be a first year but according to the literature, aging of autumn birds is only possible with certainty with the bird in the hand and wing feather moult can be studied. It is also not possible to define the sex of this individual because this is only possible on extreme plumaged individuals and where a clear male would show jet black lores, not blackish-brown as this undefined individual. 

These images illustrate several diagnostic features that separate it from several other species of female wheatears including Northern Wheatear.  The first four images show the black alula. The fourth and fifth images show the species characteristic tail pattern and the sixth image shows the pale, almost white underwing.  


Isabelline Wheatear - Akerøya, Hvaler, Østfold 29th October 2020

Isabelline Wheatear - Akerøya, Hvaler, Østfold 29th October 2020

Isabelline Wheatear - Akerøya, Hvaler, Østfold 29th October 2020

Isabelline Wheatear - Akerøya, Hvaler, Ødtfold 29th October 2020

Isabelline Wheatear - Akerøya, Hvaler, Østfold 29th October 2020

Isabelline Wheatear - Akerøya, Hvaler, Østfold 29th October 2020

  

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Little Egret, first year, at Horten in Vestfold & Telemark, Norway on 23-24 September 2020

On 23rd September I received a telephone call from a birding neighbour to tell me he had found a Little Egret / silkehegre Egretta garzette at Langgrunn which is close to where we live. As it was blowing a strong wind and raining, I packed my photo gear in its rain jacket so prolonged photography was possible and drove the short distance to where the egret was still feeding. By slowly moving along the breakwater with reeds partially obscuring the egrets view to the intruder it was possible to get into position for extended photography. The egret soon became accustomed to my presence and continued feeding, often quite closely, and I was able to photograph the bird undisturbed for one and a half hours. The egret was watched actively feeding on crustaceans and small fish during the whole visit, although it did make a sortie to the other side of the bay once. The lighting was not at its best and there was drizzel to moderate rain in the air so a variety of camera settings were tried to find the optimal for the available light. For these images I used a Canon EOS 7D mkII, Canon EF 500 f/4 L IS mkII and Canon EF Extender 1.4x mkIII, mounted on a tripod. Several video sequences were also taken although following a very active bird at close range with 700mm was not always easy. 

The following day 24th September the weather had worsened considerably with very strong winds and a very high tide when I walked towards the breakwater. Suddenly the egret flew over me from some high trees and towards a large rock close to yesterdays favourite feeding place and disappeared from view. As I approached where it had landed the egret was found sheltering from the wind and rain behind the rock looking more like a white plastic bag than a bird. Unfortunately my presence disturbed the bird and it flew out to sea but then turned and flew southwards and landed in some tall trees surrounding the Borre Viking National Park, however, shortly after could not be re-found. Subsequently the egret has reappeared in Tønsberg.

What was presumably the same first year Little Egret was found at Larvik on 10th September and moved north to Tønsberg on 13th September where it had been present at various localities here until its two day visit to Horten. These observations constitute the second record for the species in Horten, with the first being from Bastøy on 6th May 2015. 


Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 23rd September 2020

Little Egret, first year flying southwards - Langgrunn, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 24th September 2020

Little Egret, first year landing in trees at Borre National Park, Horten, Vestfold & Telemark 24th September 2020




Monday, 31 August 2020

Dragonflies and other insects in Vestfold & Telemark, Norway during August 2020

By August it was very evident that there had been an almost total collapse in the local butterfly populations although in other parts of Norway they seemed to be enjoying good numbers of some rare and local species. At the same time insect numbers also plummeted making local insect and butterfly sorties rather mundane. To compensate this, time was spent registering the local dragonfly populations which seemed to be doing a little better although numbers were well down compared to 2019. The images here show some the dragonfly species seen as well as several insects found during these field days. 


Vagrant Hawker (septemberlibelle) Aeshna mixta, male - Borrevannet, Horten 27th August 2020

Yellow-winged Darter (gulvinghøstlibelle) Sympetrum flaveolum, male - Gjennestad, Sandefjord 29th August 2020

Moustached Darter (sørhøstlibelle) Sympetrum vulgatum, male - Borrevannet, Horten 12th August 2020

Ruddy Darter (blodhøstlibelle) Sympetrum sanguineum, male - Borrevannet, Horten 14th August 2020

Black Darter (svarthøstlibelle) Sympetrum danae, newly hatched male - Borrevannet, Horten 12th August 2020

Black Darter (svarthøstlibelle) Sympetrum danae, mating pair - Borrevannet, Horten 12th August 2020

Brown Hawker (brunlibelle) Aeshna gradis, female egg laying - Borrevannet, Horten 12th August 2020

Common Spreadwing (nordmetallvannnymfe) Lestes sponsa, male - Gjenestad, Vestfold 29th August 2020

Cinnamon Bug (rødrandtege) Corizus hyoscyami - Borrevannet, Horten 14th August 2020

Common Green Sheild Bug (grønnbreitege) Palomene prasina, nymph - Borrevannet, Horten 12th August 2020

Pellucid Fly (hvitbåndet humleblomsterflue) Volucelle pellucens - Borrevannet, Horten 11th August 2020

Noon Fly Mesembrina meridiana - Borrevannet, Horten 14th August 2020
A not so often registered fly in Norway with just over 200 observations and with this being the 4th for Vestfold and 2nd for Borrevannet.

Phasia hemiptera male 'First observation from Horten' - Skoppum, Horten 31st July 2020
The first Norwegian observation of this species was from Vestfold in 2006.
All of the ca. 70 recorded observations since, have been from southern Norway with 7 of these from Vestfold.

Kite-tailed Robber Fly (svarthårrrovflue) Tolmerus atricapillus - Borrevannet, Horten 27th August 2020

Great Green Bush-cricket (grønn løvgresshoppe) Tettigonia viridissima - Snekkestad, Holmestrand 24th August 2020 

       

White Stork at Bruserød, Tønsberg, Vestfold & Telemark on 2nd-3rd May 2021

A White Stork / stork Ciconia ciconia had been reported as stable in a ploughed field near Tønsberg on the evening of 1st May. The next mor...