Saturday, 14 April 2012

In the woods

The NSKF committee meeting is now underway with many interesting cases to discuss and interesting and educational discussions to be had with knowledgeable colleagues. We have had time for some birding in the endless forests but unfortunately yet to see so much. The forests here are commercial on a huge scale with few large old trees to see although nest boxes have been put up to encourage owls.
Over the course of two nights (one to go) we have not yet heard a single singing owl and this in an area where I heard many Tengmalm's and Long-eared last year. The reason for the absence is apparently the complete absence of small rodents in southern Norway after two years of abundance (although we did have mouse in the cabin). Whether there are still birds present but they are not singing as they have chosen not to breed or whether the whole population is nomadic and has gone to new areas I don't know. We did here "something" that could very well have been a calling (not singing) Ural Owl but couldn't be sure - they apparently have a very wide repertoire but little has been recorded and made available on the net.

Daytime and evening birding has revealed a few typical birds. We had singing Hazel Grouse (not seen) and roding Woodcock from the cabin, many Black Grouse including lekking birds seen on both fields and marshes. A single female Capercaille sat on a tree top and Black Woodpeckers were common although the only other woodpecker I had was Great Spotted (others had Three-toed and Grey-headed). Cranes were frequently seen either in flight or feeding in small fields and one damp field also held a Curlew, Lapwing, Canada Goose and Mallard.
Raptors were represented by a couple of local Buzzards and Goshawks plus Sparrowhawks and Kestrels, the latter of which seemed to be migrating through.
Mistle Thrushes and Chaffinches were the commonest passerines with more unusual birds being an early singing Chiffchaff, a Great Grey shrike, Long-tailed Tit and a couple of Twite.

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