Friday 24 October 2014

Bird number 300!

Yesterday was an important benchmark day for my Big Year project, as I finally managed to catch up with Richard's pipit (tartarpiplerke). This bird has been a target species for the last few weeks of mine, and I have walked  several tens of kilometers in what I think is the right habitat for it. I've done it in rain, in sunshine and gale force winds as well as mornings and evenings. This Siberian species is normally easy to see during the autumn in Norway, but this year, as for most eastern vagrant, it has proved very challening to get a glimpse of it. Not a bird have I seen. Anyway, I got tip of a bird in Kviljo, so I went there to check it out. Just as I left my car, a Richard's pipit lifted from the field nearby. It flew a few circles over my head and then disappeared behind some of Norway's very few sanddunes. Number 300 safely ticked!

Shy as they are, Richard's pipit (tartarpiplerke) is always difficult to get a decent pic of.
But you take what you get, when it is number 300!

As far as I know, I am only the fourth person in Norway to manage to see 300 bird species during one single year in Norway. It is still ten birds to the record, so that will be hard to manage as new birds are getting far between in this time of year - especially since I am going away for work for the whole of November....

Yellowhammer (gulspurv). Not new for my Big Year list, but
since it posed so nicely in the rain, it just asked for being taken
picture of. 

Walking along the beach I found a shore lark (fjellerke), and on some other fields behind the beach, I flushed another Richard's pipit! My very own Richard's, and you know how it is. The birds you find yourself are the ones that taste best. Later that day, I found another two Richards's pipits. What can I say other than that I don't understand the world and the tricks it is playing on me sometimes. 

Earlier this week, I caught up with another bird that I had actually given up on this year. Bewick's swan (dvergsvane) is a typically winter bird in Norway, but last winter was only 3 observations of it. I tried for two of them but missed. This time luck was on my side, as I stopped by a field with lots of pink footed geese (kortnebbgås) on it. I had got a bird alarm about bewick's swan yesterday, so it was not totally by coincidence that I found myself just at this place now - Orrevann at Jæren in south western Norway. As I stood scanning the geese for anything rare, the two swans, an adult and a juvenile came flying in. They landed on the field, and sat for five minutes before lifting off again and as they did, they passed me quite close before they continued towards the south. Finally some luck....Though, only one adult with one young means that one of the parents had died somewhere along the migration probably. For geese and swans, the young stay in family groups their first year of living, and this time is important for them to learn important skills for surviving later on. I do hope the young will make it, even with only one parent.

Bewick's swan (dvergsvane). A bonus species as I had given up on them
this year when I missed the species twice with only a couple of hours earlier
this year. This is only the fourth time the species visit Norway this year.

New birds: 2
Total: 300