Saturday 1 November 2014

Is this the end?

The last week has been busy with office work, that needed to be done before my next work assignment. But before that, I managed to see a couple of birds that always have been very high on my wish list as I still lingered around in the south of the country. First out was the message of a Radde's warbler (viersanger) at the famous rarity island of Utsira. The day after its discovery was forecasted very strong winds and lots of rain. I skipped the plan of going there, and as I suspected - the bird was not seen the next day. To my surprise, two day after this, a message suddenly came out that the bird had been seen all day at the same spot. So off I went! Once the 1 hour ferry trip was done, with a pomarine skua (polarjo) following the boat for a few minutes, I went straight to the reeds where the warbler had been seen. Before long, a group of us relocated the bird, but to be able to see this skulky warbler properly in the dense vegetation was a bit more challenging. One time it was pushed out on the edge of the field, and I managed to see it properly for a few seconds. Moments later, it flew into the mistnet the local birders had put up in the area to try to catch it. It was time to take a closer look at this Siberian rarity. This was only the 16th time this species have visited Norway, and it was also a new bird for my Norwegian list.

The skulky Radde's warbler (viersanger) ringed, and at the same time studied
close up by the ten or so birders that visited the island this day.

At the same time, a Bird Alarm about a Firecrest (rødtoppfuglekonge) came in. I decided to go for the Radde's first, and then hope that the firecrest would still be around the next day. This is a southern species, that never have been seen in my home area. This is why it was a bit important for me to try to see this. It would be another new bird on my Norwegian list as well. The only problem is that a Firecrest is a very small bird, and the forest it had been seen is rather big. I started my search in the area it had been seen the previous day and worked my way along the edge. Several small groups of Blue tit (blåmeis) and Goldcrest (fuglekonge) heard along the way. I spent quite some time with these, trying to see each single bird as the firecrest was seen in a this mixed bird party the first day. But no luck. I had almost given up, when one single goldcrest like bird came flying and landed in the small trees next to me. Strong green back, and when it turned its head a second later it was no doubt in the world! Firecrest safely ticked!

In the dark undergrowth of the forest, a single small but stunning bird trying
to hide from my Big Year list. But almost three hours seaching, ment finally that
I got a few glimpses of the charismatic Firecrest (rødtoppfuglekonge).  

As I am on my way to Antarctica to do some guiding, the Firecrest might very well be the last new bird for my Big Year list. The record seems to be difficult to take this year as I am not back before end of December - when most rarities have left Norway. If I only had two more weeks, I would acutally have had good chances to make it as three late eastern rarities have been spotted the last couple of days and there are still some birds to arrive which normally are typical November birds. Well, we will see where it all ends, but I am afraid that to reach 310, which is needed to set the record, will be difficult. Maybe bad planning, but who doesn't need to a little bit of money to survive the winter?

But hey, spending a few weeks around albatrosses and penguins in Antarctica is not the worst substitute to have.

New birds: 2
Total: 302