Lesser Short-toed Lark in the Arctic

Hornøya! 30th May 2013

Hornøya is one of the must see destinations during Gullfest in Varanger, Arctic Norway. It’s the last island… Tormod and I have mused on where to look for the big rarities in Varanger and Hornøya is right up there. Ace bird finder Anders Faugstad Mæland struck again on 30th May with this one following this adult Semipalmated Plover just up the coast one year ago in June 2012. Unfortunately this lark didn’t stick around, though Anders got some fine photos.

From where? (any thoughts/knowledge/experience from readers welcome here…)

A tricky question of course. This region of Arctic Norway has had some uber rare birds such as White-winged Lark (twice) and Asian Red-rumped Swallow. So in theory ‘anything is possible’. Must admit my thoughts were soon casting in a more easterly than southerly direction on hearing of this cool find even musing on the possibility of the little known Asian Short toed Lark cheleensis’ (which by all accounts can be very hard to tell from Lesser Short-toed).

LST lark anders

photoAbove 2: Lesser Short-toed Lark, Hornøya, 30th May 2013 by Anders Faugstad Mæland

and by way of  comparison:

Lesser Short-toed Lark Lanzarote June 2012

Lesser Short-toed Lark Lanzarote early June 2012Above 2: Lesser Short-toed Lark, ssp. polatzeki , Lanzarote, Canary Islands. early June 2012 by Martin Garner. Bit of a scruffy, worn and moulting bird, but at the same time of year.

Lesser Short-toed Lark b Sept 12 Lanzarote

Lesser Short-toed Lark Sept 12 LanzaroteAbove 2: Lesser Short-toed Lark, ssp. polatzeki , Lanzarote, Canary Islands. September 2012 by Martin Garner. Taken at exactly the same location as 2 photos in June- though now a nice fresh plumaged bird. Look how apparent size of bill differs!

Alonza’s video of twitching and dipping the Lesser Short-toed Lark…

This was the ‘tweet’ that went out as they headed to the boat…

Breaking news: short-toed lark or poss lesser short-t lark on Hornøya now. Heading out to confirm/docu #birding #Varanger


Hornøya lighthouse tormod AmundsenThe lighthouse and buildings on Hornøya, Varanger. THE ARCTIC. Woop! Lovely mix of summer and winter scene spliced together by Tormod Amundsen. Location of our Killer Whale watch in March 2013 and of spectacular Gyr Falcon hunted seabird cliffs. Within these grounds Anders struck gold with a super far north Lesser Short-toed Lark– from who-knows-where…

More interesting and rare birds are sure to be found here in years to come.

with Anders (on left) and whole bunch of lovely people ‘King Eidering’ at Båtsfjord in March 2013…: Plenty more on all that here

gullfest2013 Ateam of birding båtsfjord Amundsen Biotope

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
This entry was posted in Arctic Norway, Larks, Varanger. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lesser Short-toed Lark in the Arctic

  1. Hi Martin. Fascinating stuff.

    As I am sure you will have been told multiple times already the hyperlink to the bird in the first para is a little misleading…… .

  2. Sorry, ignore me. Just re-read it. I obviously have the attention span of a gnat!!!

  3. Martin Garner says:

    no worries Brian- great looking website you have

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