Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Here's Knobby!

This year’s summer holiday hasn’t followed the tried and tested formula of the mountains around Beitostølen and then northern Norway around Bodø. Instead we headed straight to Bodø once the school holidays started. I therefore got to bird the fjord at Fauske/Klungsett earlier than previously and my hope was to follow the build up of moulting ducks and to at least refind the Asian White-winged Scoter (Stejneger’s Scoter) from the last two years and the Surf Scoter from last year plus to find something else new and exciting (American Black Scoter would be a nice find for example).

I had my first check of the ducks on 3rd July (compared to the 7th in the last two years). There were fewer birds than later in the month in previous years with Goldeneye (300+) the most numerous. The best birds were two adult male King Eiders which had only just started their moult when I found them, 3 male Scaup and rarest of all (in local terms) a Great Crested Grebe. But no Knobby (found on 7th in 2016 and 15th in 2015). Despite near daily visits I couldn’t find anything more exciting although Velvet Scoter numbers did start increasing to ca. 300. We then went off to Lofoten on the 10th for a week (will have to cover that in a separate post) and my next chance to check out the ducks wasn’t until today, 18 July. The sea wasn’t that calm but it was clear that numbers had risen. The two King Eiders were still present at Røvika and with a very high tide ducks were feeding close to land. I was hoping to get good pictures of the eiders when I noticed Knobby – so nice of the local birders to let me find him three years running! In overcast conditions the light was not good but he was closer than I have ever had him other than on the day of discovery in 2015 and I managed to study the bill better than ever before. The bill of this bird is quite dull and mostly pink (differs to drawing and pictures of other birds of the species) and makes me quite sure that this is the same bird that has also been seen in Trøndelag. As in previous years he was in active moult with most of his primaries missing so will be around for a while.

Here are some pictures and a video (my best yet of the bird?). More blog posts and video from the holiday will follow at some time. Surprisingly the pictures from the superzoom have turned out better than from the bazooka.


Adult male Stejnegers's Scoter / Asian White-winged Scter (knoppsjøorre) 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Some videos

In the absence of time to post anything current here are some videos from earlier in the year. Here is the first instalment.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Little Gulls

It is now the summer holidays and the Oslo Birder is now birding in northern Norway.

The 1310km road trip up to Bodø was relatively uneventful except for fantastic views of Little Gulls. They were feeding so close to me that my pictures should have been totally amazing but unfortunately they didn't turn out to be that great.

Little Gull (dvergmåke)

this group flew high and were calling

the lake where they were was almost a village pond with a path all the way round and a few houses/cabins. It was a very bird rich lake with Slavonian Grebes, ducks, Arctic Tern as well as the Little Gulls and Black-headed Gulls (the gulls didn't seem to be breeding though)

Little Gull with Slavonian Grebe (horndykker)


mountains in Sweden
male Kestrel (tårnfalk)

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


The Greenish Warbler of course topped things for me this spring and I don’t really think I gave it enough prominence in my blog posts but there was always so much else happening and lots of guiding. It has proven to be a popular bird though and lots of travelling birders have seen it although at times it has proven elusive and some have had to make a couple of trips before connecting. It was last reported on 21 June but is probably still there and taking in the harsh reality that its genes won’t get passed on this year.

The Greenish wasn’t the only exciting singing passerine in Oslo’s forests this spring. Red-breasted Flycatchers look they might be finally establishing themselves with multiple singing males recorded as well as breeding. The stories around the flycatchers are fascinating and will be the subject of a long blog post later in the year as well hopefully articles/academic notes! Exciting indeed.

But rarer than the flycatchers and the real subject of this post was a singing male Firecrest present from 17-20 May. I was lucky enough to be told about the bird as I had the time to follow up on and check its progress but news was not spread more widely so as to protect both this potential (first time Norway) breeder (it is expanding greatly in Sweden) and a wealth of other breeding birds in the area from undue pressure This may prove to be unpopular but Firecrest itself is likely to be on the verge of colonising Norway so with a little caution in the early years we could well find this species is widespread and more easily seen in not too long. In the UK it would be a no brainer (and you would be legally obliged) not to share news of such rare breeding birds but in Norway there is little tradition for such caution and legally definitely no requirement. Hopefully both these species will become regular breeders in the years to come and therefore easier to share news about and Greenish Warbler may well also establish itself despite still being a national rarity (just as Blyth’s Reed seems to be doing) and therefore also require protecting….

Photography in a dark, damp woodland was challenging but a Firecrest does rather light things up!

Firecrest (rødtoppfuglekonge). The orange and not red crest suggests a 2cy male 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Birds and butterflies

I wasn’t guiding yesterday and was hoping to enjoy and get better pictures of some of yesterday’s exciting birds.

There was only a single Hobby present today and whilst I was present it spent most of its time perched and I did not have the opportunity to take the flight photos of it hunting dragonflies that I had hoped for.

Quite surprisingly and rather embarrassingly I saw that the Whooper Swan pair has 8 young and not the 7 that I have previously reported. I checked all the previous pictures I have taken and see only 7 but I did take a short video previously and here I saw there are 8! Well 7 is the largest clutch size mentioned in BWP so these birds are rewriting the history books!  I also need to apologise to Dan who yesterday was quite sure there were 8 young but didn’t push it when I said there could only be 7..

Butterflies were in abundance in Maridalen with two new species for me in the form of Heath Fritillary (marimfjellerutevinge) and Large Wall Brown (klipperingvinge). There were also lots of white butterflies flying around and I really need to start identifying these rather than just thinking “white”.

Hobby (lerkefalk) I suspect that this bird may be a 2cy due to very pale red trousers

Whooper Swans (sangsvane) with 8 young (not, repeat, not 7)

female Teal (krikkand) also with 8 young

this Jay (nøtteskrike) was finding some very large green bugs to eat

with the bug

A small pearl bordered fritillary (brunflekket perlemorvinge)
a Heath Fritillary (marimjellrutevinge)
both the above species together which at first confused me as I thought they were maybe male and female of the same species

this Ringlet (gullringvinge) is completely lacking in spots on the upperwing and had me really confused at first

this was a bit tricky as there are two similar species: Northern Wall Brown (nergringvinge) and Large Wall Brown (klipperingvinge). I have concluded that it is the later due to an absence of 3 bars on the forewing
I thought this was going to be a type of skipper butterfly but it is a lattice heath moth (rutemåler)

a Northern Damselfly (vannlig blåvannymfe)