Friday, 27 January 2012


Østfold with Rune Z today. It was a relatively warm 0 (zero) degrees today but a fresh wind from the east ensured that it felt bitterly cold all day. I had hoped to add a good handful of year ticks to take me over 100 in January for the first time but ended up with just 2 which takes me to 98 with 4 days to go. Today’s Great Grey Shrike count was five which equals (as far as I remember) my day record – I also “won” today’s Shrike count a rather impressive 5-0.
The first bird of any note was the regular Great Grey Shrike along the road from Råde to Fredrikstad followed by the long staying Carrion Crow by the road in Fredrikstad which allowed itself to (badly) photographed. We then headed for the dump that is Øra (it is literally a dump – an enormous rubbish tip) but one that is a favoured and exciting birding location for many but has never quite got me going. Here there were many gulls to go through but surprisingly nothing interesting. We did pick out 2 Scaup amongst 40 odd Tufted Ducks and a couple of Chaffinches here were of note but no White-Tailed Eagles showed for us.
We then tried a few sites south-east of Fredrikstad and picked up a Little Grebe, another Great Grey Shrike and a roadside flock of 70 Whooper Swans that were very vocal.
Whooper Swans
 Driving towards Kurefjorden a roadside Starling was the first of the day’s year ticks and then as we drove from Råde to Kurefjorden we had the third Great Grey Shrike of the day. Kurefjorden was ice free and also very low with vast (bird free) mudflats visible. 300 Goldeneye and 400 Mallard were the dominant birds but also 3 Slavonian Grebes, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 15 Velvet Scoters and 2 Common Scoters. Moving to Larkollen at the mouth of Kurefjorden we picked out 2 of the wintering Rough-legged Buzzards on the Sletter islands and after a lot of searching I picked up 2 distant divers. These turned out to be Red-throated but as I got Rune on to them he noticed a much closer diver – a Great Northern Diver, a fine bird, a year tick and a long overdue bird for me at this location. A few more Great Crested Grebes and Velvet Scoters here.
The drive back along the E18 added 2 more Great Grey Shrikes at the usual places near Moss and Vestby.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day with some good birds to boot!
A black bird or is it a Carrion Crow?

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