Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Kurefjorden and some geese

Mute Swans Kurefjorden

White-fronted Geese Kurefjorden

Back out in the field today to see if spring really is coming. With Rune as my chauffeur we headed for Kurefjorden where a few scarce birds have been reported recently. One of the very first birds i saw was a year tick in the form of Shelduck but that was one of only a few signs of spring. The sun failed to break though all day and a very cold southerly breeze kept temperatures within spitting distance of zero.
Eiders were back in the fjord in force with at least a couple of hundred and there were still 4 Rough-legged Buzzards over the Sletter Islands.
Geese had also returned in force with 160 Greylags, 24 Canada and best of all 2 White-fronted. They appeared to be an adult and a probable 3K (due to reduced black barring on the belly). 15 forlorn looking Lapwings were the only waders present but the mudflats did not look too enticing with ice still present in many places.
A flock of 300 or so Mallards was put up by an unseen raptor and amongst them were single female Teal and Wigeon. No rare grebes to see, just a couple of Great Crested.
No Starlings today and just a couple of Skylarks although one briefly sang which was very pleasant.
We also checked out Krokstadfjorden to the south and here had 16 Great Crested Grebes amongst a scattering of Goosander, Eider, Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye.
Not a single Great Grey Shrike the whole day is probably a sign that many birds have moved on from their winter territories but the spring migrants have not yet reached us.

I have gone on a couple of nighttime trips around Maridalen during the last week without hearing a single owl. I see also that some others have tried around Mangen (where i was a few weeks ago) without hearing a pip or a hoot. It looks like this year will be a terrible one for owls in these parts. Interestingly though a couple of Ural Owls have recently turned up in unusual places in Norway including one in Buskerud that will presumably have to fly past Oslo on its way back to the (known) breeding areas.

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