Sunday, 26 February 2012

And The Gull Team……

 ….won!!  We were not at all confident that our 65 species would be enough and kept on discussing the species we had missed but in the end we won by the narrow margin of 2 species!
The day ended at a pizza restaurant with strict instructions not to reveal our total before the official registration began. The registration was done in a very exciting manner with each team calling a species they had seen and the other teams  saying whether they had seen it or not. This kept the suspense high until the end when each team turn by turn had no more species to add.
Our 65 species included only one national rarity (The Med Gull) and really no other species of any scarcity but we were rewarded through hard work and probably an extra pair of eyes (2 of the other teams consisted only of 2 members whilst the third team had 3). We saw 6 species not seen by any other team but also missed 14 species as the total number of species seen was 79.
Our 6 “aces” were Long-tailed Duck, Canada Goose (very surprising as every team visited Østensjøvannet where we saw them but they were feeding in an obscure area which we luckily saw from our viewpoint), Common Scoter, Waxwing, Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker  (we had at least 3 different birds) and one other which escapes me at the moment (update: it was believe it or not Sparrowhawk)
The biggest misses we had were Treecreeper (seen by only myself and not 3 team members as was required), Wren, Pygmy Owl (we ran out of time to visit Maridalen), Crested Tit, Razorbill, Grey-headed Woodpecker (not seen by any of the teams but seen by others today at the site we visited) and Great Grey Shrike (again not seen by any other team but we tried 4 sites so should have scored). Other species seen but not by us were Hawfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Peregrine, Whooper Swan, Short-eared Owl, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Lesser Redpoll and Nutcracker.

We began the day at 6am when the other 3 arrived at my house. Whilst they were waiting for me to appear they heard a Robin singing which I did not hear. We then drove to the Drøbak area for dawn where we did not score with all the species we had hoped, noticeably not seeing Iceland Gull but this area proved to be very good for woodpeckers with Green, Black, Great and Lesser Spotted. We also had a single Waxwing in a garden here. Marsh Tits proved to be common which teams staying closer to Oslo failed to see. Seawatching from Hulvik and Krokstrand provided very little although it was here we saw our Common Scoters. The drive along the E6 drew a blank for Great Grey Shrike although we picked up Dipper at Årungen and our stop at Fløisbonn also drew a blank for Grey-headed Woodpecker but we did get Sparrowhawk and Common Crossbill.  Østensjøvannet provided the expected 3 species of geese and Coot and the docks gave up the wintering Kestrel from the car. The Med Gull fell at Marienlyst fairly quickly although luck was on our side as there were only a handful of gulls and they were not interested in bread. A run through a people-packed Frognerparken gave us Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Black-headed Gull and the Tawny Owl was seen from the car. By now it was approaching 3pm and time was running out. Fornebu was next on the cards and some gazing from Rolfstangen gave us Guillemot and a very distant Long-tailed Duck but precious little else.
Sandvika turned up trumps with Bean Goose and Little Grebe which some of the other teams missed and then we had our last 45 minutes walking through the woodland around Dælivannet. Here we hoped for amongst others Three-toed Woodpecker but we failed on this score although did have a strong finish with Goshawk, Brambling and Redpoll and fine views of a male Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker.
All-in-all a great day and thanks to Bjørn Olav, Per Christian and especially Rune who drove, for a lot of fun and the 2 Andreas’s for organising the day.

No real time for pictures today although I hope to add some pictures of the team later. Here are the Tawny Owl and Little Grebe doing a good job of hiding) though :

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