Thursday, 23 August 2012


I really should have headed for Øra, the rubbish dump which has an attraction for birds, as it has just had records of juvenile Caspian Gull (kaspimåke) and Yellow-legged Gull (gullbeinmåke) but my interest in rubbish dumps and former sub-species of Herring Gull (gråmåke) are not high enough to motivate me to make the journey. Given that both these gulls are very rare in Norway, would be Norwegian ticks and perhaps most importantly represent a chance to get to grips with real identification challenges then I should be more motivated but.....
Instead I gave Årnestangen a go with the intention of finding a rare wader. However, the water levels that were falling nicely on Monday have started to rise again so there was very little mud. Additionally there were three young Peregrines (vandrefalk) perched out on the mud which may have scared off some birds although the birds that were present seemed unphased by the presence of these master hunters. Waders were thin on the ground with just 12 Ringed Plovers (sandlo) and 7 Dunlin (myrsnipe). Ducks were also scarce although Wigeon (brunnakke) had increased to 100 and 2 male Pochards (taffeland) were amongst 18 Tufted Duck (toppand).
Raptors were the real highlight of the day with 3 different Marsh Harriers (sivhauk) seen at the same time, at least 5 Ospreys (fiskeørn), a Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) which showed well as it thermalled, a Hobby and a young female Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk) that had fun chasing Magpies (skjære). I saw the Sparrowhawk at close range soon after I had left the car and had not checked that the camera settings were correct which meant that I missed the chance for some good pictures. Here you can see those I did manage which are unfortunately not very sharp.
juvenile female Sparrowhawk

half-heartedly attacking a Magpie
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On the way home I looked for a German ringed juvenile Mediterranean Gull that had been seen on Tuesday in Oslo but could not relocate it. In Maridalen I had a circling Osprey with a fish in its talons. It started calling and I looked around expecting to see another Osprey but instead found two high flying raptors that were interacting with each other. As they were always close to the sun I failed to get any decent plumage characters on them but concluded that that they were Common Buzzards (musvåk). I took some pictures which do not really help confirm the identification but do show one very dark bird to be moulting and the other looks very fresh indicating a newly fledged youngster. I have seen a very dark Buzzard a few times this year in Maridalen so today’s sighting points towards there having been successful breeding here this year. A Goshawk rounded off a good day for raptors.
Common Buzzard, adult top and juvenile below

Osprey with fish

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