Observers: Paul Lewis, Steve Carter, Daniel Green, Michael Rhonnstad, Ian Currie, Vibeke Moeller, Flemming Moeller, Bridget Gregory, Peter Wilson, Brenda Wilson.
Our main focus today was to try and catch up with the woodpeckers of the Black River Valley and our guide for the morning and afternoon was Michael Rhonnstad. Our primary targets were Black, Three-toed and Grey-headed Woodpeckers. We were also on the hunt for any grouse species with Hazel Grouse our main priority. So after an early breakfast we were off out to the forested areas of the Black River Valley. At our first stop we managed to locate a calling male Hazel Grouse but despite Michael’s best efforts to entice the bird into more open habitat it did not show. So we then turned our attention to Three-toed Woodpecker. We slowly walked our way through some excellent habitat, dead or dying wet coniferous forest. The trees had been attacked by a species of beetle which so happened to be on the woodpeckers menu. It was very quite and still and several species of moss carpeted the rocky forest floor. After a few minutes of searching I suddenly heard the familiar tapping noise of a woodpecker coming from nearby. Panning around with my bins I focused on a small bird excavating a nest hole on the trunk of a medium sized conifer and it was then that I realised I had actually found a wonderful male Three-toed Woodpecker. It busily chipped away at the newly excavated hollow oblivious of it’s human admirers. After reeling off many shots with the camera myself and the rest of the group moved on to an area of open forest. Ideal habitat for Black and Grey-headed Woodpecker Michael mimicked their calls but we only caught up with the commoner Black Woodpecker. A female Common Goldeneye flew past and disappeared into an old woodpecker nest hole that looked far too small for it to ever successfully enter, but it did so with no effort. Then while making our way through an area of birch Brenda unknowingly flushed a nesting Eurasian Woodcock and we quickly photographed the nest and eggs within before moving on. I was on form today because shortly afterwards I located a pair of Red-backed Shrike and a lone Spotted Flycatcher. En route back to the hotel we visited the nearby church where a singing male Thrush Nightingale performed well. We then returned to our hotel for an afternoon rest before eating a superb dinner. Daniel then met us and we all headed off to a nearby quarry in search of the majestic Northern Eagle Owl. My good form continued and I managed to locate the male bird resting high up among the quarried gravel. Daniel then challenged us to find the nesting female but despite our best efforts we failed abysmally. He pointed us towards some large blue machinery and it was here that the female was resting quite happily on her nest. Apparently with the machinery on and workers busily moving about only a few feet away she is quite content and unperturbed. We then returned briefly to the forest to view Pygmy Owl and Eurasian Woodcock before visiting the wetlands at dusk. Here Wood and Green Sandpipers could be heard with the unmistakable boom of the Great Bittern erupting from the reeds across the valley.
A full list of species observed as follows:-
Black-throated Diver (pair), Great-crested Grebe, Great Bittern, Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Goldeneye, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Hazel Grouse (calling), Common Crane, Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Common Tern, Woodpigeon, Common Cuckoo, Northern Eagle Owl, Pygmy Owl, Eurasian Wryneck, Black Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Thrush Nightingale, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Common Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Wood Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Crested Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Common Treecreeper, Eurasian Nuthatch, Red-backed Shrike (2 pairs), Common Starling, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Common Raven, Hooded Crow, Tree Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, Eurasian Siskin, European Greenfinch, Lesser Redpoll, European Goldfinch, Northern Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Common Reed Bunting.
European Hare, Eurasian Moose, European Roe Deer, Red Squirrel.