Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Scorching Guiding

Yesterday I went to check out Nordre Øyeren. Very high water levels have caused the whole of Årnestangen to be under water although apparently we are still 1.3m below levels reached in 1995. The water has of course ruined nesting for any ground species that had already laid eggs but will recede quite quickly so hopefully many species will start again. All the fields which had held rodents on which Long-eared Owls, Kestrels and harriers fed are under water as well and I wonder what this means for the rodents and in turn the predators. Time will tell.
Although all the usual areas for waders are under water, fields have also flooded and these now hold some waders although not the huge numbers that would have been on Svellet.
In Maridalen I believe I have found the nest hole of the Three-toed Peckers but will need to confirm this over the coming days.
Today I was guiding Anne Kari from Oslo and we had a goal of seeing raptors. With 3 Marsh Harriers, 5 Common Buzzards, 2 Ospreys, a Peregrine and a Honey Buzzard I think we did quite well. We also had many warblers with Reed, Sedge, Icterine, Garden, Willow, Whitethroat and Blackcap and also waders. At one stage we could see Wood Sand, Dunlin, LRP, Oystercatcher and Lapwing in the same scope view and with 9 Temminck’s Stint nearby!
It was very hot today with temperatures reaching 26C and the sun being burning hot. I was therefore expecting to see my first Honey Buzzard of the year and expect that if one were to stare skywards in the next few days that there will be quite a few to see as they return to their nesting sites.
There were a number of Lapwings to see today which was a shame as they acted like they were failed breeders probably as a result of famers only just having ploughed their fields as a result of the late spring.

Two Swifts today in Maridalen were my first for the year as were the Honey Buzzard and Dunlin so there are not too many common summer migrants left to come.

Garganey (knekkand) yesterday in flood waters

and a male Shoveler (skjeand) on a flooded field

a flooded Årnestangen

a Crane (trane) panting in the heat today
first Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) of the year. A issing tail feather seems to me to be a common feature of this species 
I was not expecting to find a Dunlin here
there are 5 species of wader in this photo: a Little Ringed Plover (dverglo), 2 Wood Sandpipers (grønnstilk), an Oystercatcher (tjeld), a Lapwing (vipe) and the Dunlin
5 of the 9 Temminck's Stints which were very hard to find amongst the equally sized clumps of mud

3 of them a bit closer

male Marsh Harrier (sivhauk). We saw this bird bring food to his mate who flew up off the nest in the reedbed and we also saw him escort another male out of the area

Peregrine (vandrefalk) being angrily (and carefully) chased by a breeding Lapwing (vipe)

mating Green-veined Whites (rapssommerfugl). They actually flew which seems quite a feet given they are facing different directions

presumed Three-toed Woodpecker nest hole

the pair with female on the left

and the female on her own

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three toes are good for a scratch

Monday, 14 May 2018

Birthday guiding

Well Cuckoo has fallen with a rare singing bird in Maridalen but there is still a real dearth of many migrants. Where are the Wrynecks? I haven’t heard Willow Warbler singing from the house yet. I’ve read that GPS tagged Montagu’s Harriers and Ospreys are still in Africa – what is going on?

Early yesterday morning I was guiding as a birthday present and chose Fornebu as the perfect location for a walk and a good variety of birds. We had lots of singing Warblers but 3 singing Thrush Nightingales at close range was the definite highlight. There were surprisingly few people around despite sunny, windless conditions and many birds showed well. The arrival of migrants that I had hoped for did not (as has been the case this spring) materialise and there was only one obvious migrant to see, but it was a good one with a Temminck’s Stints feeding alongside Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers.

Temminck's Stint - a rare bird at Fornebu

both of these Common Terns (makrellterne) were ringed

most female Eiders (ærfugl) are already on eggs so this bird will probably not breed although the male was keeping close contact should her mood change

Thrush Nightingale (nattergal)

Black Woodpecker (svartspett) in Maridalen

Saturday, 12 May 2018


Three-toed Woodpeckers have never been an easy species for me to tie down and the couple of occasions when birds have hung around in Maridalen have never resulted in me having a stake out. This may finally have changed with a pair now settled in an area that is fairly well defined although I have yet to find the nest (if they have indeed started breeding). Both birds drum which is not something that I think is widely understood and it can be surprisingly difficult to tell them apart with this male at least having a quite light-yellow crown that could only be appreciated at certain angles. The birds are in an area with a lot of dead trees which seems perfect habitat for them.

female Three-toed Woodpecker (tretåspett) with white crown

male with yellow on crown


male but here the yellow is not visible

is here though

male again

yellow easier to see here

not quite sure what male was doing here

Friday, 11 May 2018

Thrush Nightingale

May, guiding and demanding kids makes blogging difficult!

Yesterday I guided Gene and Susan from Minnesota and we had a great day under a hot sun. Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Shoveler, Ruff, Wryneck, Osprey, Icterine, Reed and Sedge Warbler plus all three flycatchers was a pretty good showing.
Today, as forecast, we had rain in the morning and I had really high expectations such that I was out in Maridalen before 6am. Lots of fogs mucked things up though and there was not a new migrant in sight! I headed for Fornebu where I hoped the lack of fog would result in all the downed migrants being here but that was not to either. However, my best ever views of Thrush Nightingale more than made up for the lack of migrants.

There are still a few common migrants left to return: Swift, Marsh Warbler, Cuckoo and Common Rosefinch and with the right weather there are still lots of interesting birds that can turn up. I’m already looking forward to tomorrow…

Thrush Nightingale (nattergal) Fornebu. There were 2 singing males plus a third bird give alarm calls

this young male Sparrowhawk was causing consternation amongst the Nightingales and was possibly hunting them

Sedge Warbler (sivsanger) at Hellesjøvannet - a common species in Norway but very scarce in the Oslo area

Shovelers (skjeand)

Spotted Flycatchers (gråfluesnapper) are back

this Buzzard (musvåk) had intersting symmetrical moult of the inner primaries
I can't ever remember finding a Chaffinch (bokfink) nest before

my first Icterine Warbler (gulsanger) of the year

Wednesday, 9 May 2018


Yesterday was hot and sunny but with southerly winds blowing new birds were bound to turn up. I visited both Maridalen and Sørkedalen and Wheatears, Whinchats and Pied Flycatchers were all in evidence plus the first two Yellow Wagtails of the year in Maridalen. A pair of Pintail resting on Maridalsvannet were also a clear sign of migration.

In Sørkedalen a fine male Red-backed Shrike was expected but not expected yesterday was a singing Red-breasted Flycatcher which is very early and bodes well for this species which seems to be establishing itself around Oslo.

The Steller's Eider is still present and people have been able to view it from the city waterfront and take pictures at a range of 1km!

The peak time to find a migrating Great Snipe is soon upon us and hopefully one will grace Maridalen. Rain forecast on Thursday night may well do the trick.

male Red-backed Shrike (varsler)

Camberwell Beauty (sørgekåpe)

this Pied Flycatcher had a song that had some elements of Red-breasted Flycatcher in it and also had very little white on its forehead

Pintails (stjertand) at long range

male Whinchat (buskskvett)