Sunday, 4 November 2012


The last three days have seen me in Jæren for a meeting of the Norwegian Rarities Committee (NSKF). Jæren is the area south of Stavanger and is one of, if not, the best birding area in Norway and is an area I have not visited before. The timing of the visit was also perfect in terms of finding rare wheatears and pipits and the south easterly winds looked perfect for turning up something interesting.
The sheer volume of birds compared to south eastern Norway was very noticeable. In the fields were flocks of hundreds if not thousands of Starlings (stær) and various thrushes. There were also still Lapwings (vipe) on the fields and on the beaches Dunlin (myrsnipe), Grey Plover (tundralo), Turnstone (steinvender), Purple Sandpiper (fjærplytt) and Knot (polarsnipe). On and around the wetlands were thousands of Wigeon (brunnakke) along with many other species of waterfowl. Buzzards (musvåk) were still to be seen whilst they are long gone back home and I also had a single Hen Harrier (myrhauk) and 3 sightings of Peregrine (vandrefalk). A trip in away from the coast to see a Hawk Owl (haukugle) also gave my best ever views of a Golden Eagle (kongeørn) and we also saw a couple of White-tailed Eagles (havørn).
I was hoping to add a number of year ticks with species that are difficult to catch up with around Oslo and also hoping that we would turn up something really good.
We did have some good birding (alongside a lot of committee work) but the quality was unfortunately lacking. I caught up with the long staying male Surf Scoter (brilleand) and had a Black Redstart (svartrødstjert) but these were my only two year ticks.  A Hawk Owl was nice but wasn't of the most cooperative variety, a Yellow Wagtail (gulerle) and a Barred Warbler (hauksanger) were both late birds but had also been around a while and amongst a flock of White Wagtails (linerle) we had a classic Pied (svartryggerle). Amongst the waterbirds a couple of White-fronted Geese (tundragås), 5 Bean Geese (sædgås) and four Smew (lappfiskand) were the highlights. A Great Grey Shrike (varsler) was a good local bird but one that is far more numerous in the east.
We missed out on the influx of Pine Grosbeaks (konglebit)which continues and which were noted by others as flyovers and there were no wheatears of any description and no exciting pipits of larks. We did have around 400 Waxwings (sidensvans) migrating south and a good variety of passerines even if none were rare.
There was one good bird found by our group but unfortunately as we had split into two groups and covered different areas I didn't get to see it: an adult Yellow-legged Gull (gulbeinmåke).
In total though I had 98 species in three days which is way more than I could hope for in my usual tracts.
I only took my old 70-300mm lens with me as I wasn't expecting a wealth of photo opps. Despite this I  managed to take some half decent pictures of:

Sub adult (probably 5th cy) Golden Eagle (kongeørn) taking off

The immaturity is easier to see from above

Hawk Owl (haukugle) phone scoped

This Long-tailed Duck (havelle) was on a very small pond behind a beach

Kjell Mjølsnes and Long-tailed Duck

Adult male Surf Scoter (brilleand)

a late Yellow Wagtail (gulerle). The plumage is interesting but I haven't worked out yet what subspecies or even age/sex it is
Black Redstart (svartrødstjert)

1 cy Barred Warbler (hauksanger)


  1. NOW I share your feelings about Jæren, I just added Pine Grosbeak to my garden list...

  2. Lucky you - my quest to take the prefect Grosbeak picture today failed miserably. Not even the mighty Maridalen could deliver!!

  3. I was there (Reve) last Sunday and finally saw my Long-tailed Duck! And a (grey) seal snooping on some Common Eider; will bring a scope next time around!