Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Another enjoyable days birding with Rune Z but noticeably fewer birds today.  We headed north of Oslo to the Tyrifjord area which is one of the best areas in southern Norway during migration but as we found out does not have too much to offer on a cold winters days.
Pretty much the first bird we saw when we arrived in the area was a roadside Great Grey Shrike which showed well as it sat on top of a snow covered birch tree. I saw this bird in flight and it had the expected small white primary patch of an excubitor.
Great Grey Shrike
Driving around the fjord most of the usually bird rich shallow bays were frozen. There were a few Mute Swans with 52 at Rossholmstranda and alongside these were 2 Coot and perhaps the days highlight a Slavonian Grebe. We also had two family parties of Whooper Swans during the day plus small numbers of Goldeneye and a handful of Goosander. Another roadside Great Grey Shrike makes 12 sightings of 10 birds in 2012!!
In Vikersund the river had a few swans and ducks (same species as we had seen elsewhere) plus 8 Coot. Highlight here though was 7 Dippers that we saw from the bridge – I have never seen so many before.

A stop at Bergsvingen near Fiskumvannet produced a fine adult Peregrine sitting on a mast and a final stop at Linnestranda revealed an ice covered bay and hence no waterbirds but there was a nice Marsh Tit that allowed me to get my best ever picture of the species. In Norway it is quite easy to separate March and Willow Tits on plumage whereas the races in the UK seem to be pretty much indistinguishable unless you see a pale spot on the bill of Marsh Tit. Note the lack of pale wing patch and generally much browner plumage.
Marsh Tit
Willow Tit
 Here is a picutre of a Willow Tit from Maridalen in October showing the greyer plumage and white wing patch. Something interesting to note from these pictures is that the Marsh Tit looks to have a dull (i.e not shiny) black cap and the Willow Tit to have a shiny cap. This is the opposite of what many books tell you to look for.

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