The snow came last night and it kept snowing all morning. Wet, heavy, slippery snow – the worst type to drive on. I braved it though and drove up into Maridalen. The main road was OK as it had been ploughed but as I drove up Greveveien the car had more and more problems and in the end I whilst going slower and slower up a small incline I decided enough was enough. Using the incline I was able to reverse 300 metres and turn the car and with a bit of determined driving get back onto the main road.
I was keeping my eyes peeled on birds in the roadside trees as I was searching for something red. A flock of 12 Bullfinches (dompap) was nice and there was quite a lot of red but they weren’t what I was looking for. Gamle Maridalsvei had just been ploughed so I decided to try here. Halfway along there were a couple of birds high up in a birch tree. Surely more Bullfinches but they looked on the large size. Through the bins from a distance one also looked a bit orange. Driving closer and YES, not just two but five PINE GROSBEAKS (konglebit). Finding them high up feeding on birch buds was not how I expected to find them but hey, who cares! They were entirely silent (unlike the two birds Kjetil had yesterday) and stayed high in the tree. This combined with falling snow and bad light meant the pictures are nothing special. But for my first sighting in Maridalen I can’t complain and hopefully there will be further opportunities to get to grips with these beauties. There were two adult (red) males, one young male (orange) and two females.
|Two female and one adult male Pine Grosbeak (konglebit) in Maridalen!|
|The young (1st winter) male|
|Female and male|
|A female coming into land next to the young male|
|the best picture I managed of a red male|
|The young male Pine Grosbeak|
|young male, female and adult male|
On Maridalsvannet there were 13 Common Scoter (svartand) and 11 Goosander (laksand) although in the afternoon when I visited again I could not find them so there is a lot of movement going on. Also on my afternoon visit I had a fine Pygmy Owl (spurveugle) which had its eye on a flock of Yellowhammers (gulspurv). It was not the hoped for Hawk Owl but still nice. My dream scenario right now now would be to get an awesome picture of an owl (any owl will do) capturing a male Grosbeak in Maridalen!
|Pygmy Owl (spurveugle)|
But the day was not just about Maridalen. Oh no!
I dropped into Fornebu hoping to see if there were any Bearded Tits (skjeggmeis) and during a 10 minute break in the snow I had three birds down to 5 metres and some great pictures. The pictures of the male show how it gets its name – it is one of the few species where both the English and Norwegian names mean the same.
|pair of Bearded Tits (skjeggmeis)|
I also stopped off in Sandvika to add Scaup (bergand) to my Akershus year list and saw the young female in a snow storm. Also here a Little Auk (alkekonge) briefly showed at ridicously close range under a jetty before diving and resurfacing 100metres away under a motorway bridge!
|Little Auk (alkekonge) under a jetty|
|spot the Little Auk under Norway's busiest road|
|female Tufted Duck (left) and Scaup (left) in a snow storm|
Back home a flock of 80 Waxwings (sidensvans) flew over – maybe they will bring some Grosbeaks with them into the city.