After a slow start to the autumn birding scene in Norway things really kicked off today when a Cape May Warbler was pulled out of a net on the famous island of Utsira – this is a first for Norway and I believe only the fourth in the WP. With the winds dying down after westerly storms have pounded the coast of Norway it won’t be a surprise if more Yanks are uncovered. The forecast for the coming week is for easterlies so there should also get a good arrival of sibes. I won’t be able to get to Værøy but maybe I can find something good locally.
Yesterday I did decide to leave the forests of Oslo and head south east to Hellesjøvannet and then worked my way back via Nordre Øyeren. This proved to be a good choice and I had a number of good species. Hellesjøvannet gave me my first Great Grey Shrike of the autumn plus a flock of 36 Pochard (this species is surprisingly scarce in Norway and Hellesjøvannet is the best place for the species in the country). I also got to hear and then see at least 4 Bearded Tits – the species bred here for the first time in 2019 and if we have some more mild winters could become a regular fixture.
Buzzards were very visible over the stubble fields but I had no harriers and only a couple of Kestrels. I was hoping for Rough-legged Buzzard and did eventually find one which gave my probably best ever views of the species. It was a juvenile and I saw it first on the deck in a stubble field where it clearly had something in its claws. Two Ravens then gave it grief before it flew up with a mouse in its beak. The Ravens pursued it and the mouse was transferred to its claws before it flew away and evaded the Ravens. It turned up again not too long later and I was able to view it hunting whilst I used the car as a hide and sometimes it was too close for the 600mm lens. I also saw it sparring with Common Buzzards, had another one in the distance and a male Kestrel that caught a vole so it was all good but a Hen or Pallid Harrier would have topped it off.
Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were numerous on the fields and the presence of so many Skylarks reminded me of how I haven’t noted this species in Maridalen since the early summer. There were many singing males in Maridalen in May and there must have been breeding but during the course of July they all just seem to have vanished.
I checked out the Svellet area of Nordre Øyeren and did finally see a harrier with a juvenile Marsh showing well. A pair of White-tailed Eagles were eating something, probably a goose and looked very majestic. There were lots of geese during the day but I found nothing unusual amongst the hordes of Greylags and Barnacles.
I took so many pictures of the Rough-legged Buzzard and have struggled to choose the best ones to bare with me...
|juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard (fjellvåk) with me in its sights|
|they hover a lot|
|getting grief from a Raven. Here with a mouse in its bill|
|which it transferred to its talons|
|female Bearded Tit (skjeggmeis) the faint black streaks in the crown make it a 1cy bird I think|
|it was quite windy which made it difficult to see them in the reeds but they made a lot of noise|
|and flew around occasionally so may be getting ready to irrupt as the species often does in the autumn (which is when they may turn up at Fornebu)|
|this Dunlin (myrsnipe) was a surprise at Hellesjøvannet|
|first Great Grey Shrike (varsler) of the autumn|
|biggest surprise of the day was this eacaped Swan Goose - not a species that turns up very often in Norway|
|a late and very warm coloured Wheateat (steinskvett)|
|White-tailed Eagles (havørn)|
|Comon Buzzards (musvåk) were numerous|
|juvenile Marsh Harrier (sivhauk) playing with a bullrush|
|some of the Pochards (taffeland) at Hellesjøvannet|