Birding at weekends is usually an incidental affair: a tag-on to another activity. Yesterday we were skiiing in Maridalen in, once again, fantastic winter weather. I chose a route through varied habitat both for the aesthetic appeal but also hoping for some birds. We skiied through farmland, across a frozen lake, through decidous woodland and through spruce woodland. Birds were generally scarce with no grosbeaks and just a few Bullfinches (dompap) and tits (meis) giving themselves away. Highlight was a distant, tree top Pygmy Owl (spurveugle). We saw no mammals although there were lots of tracks in the snow including moose (elg), hare and roe deer (rådyr).
At Hammeren , the resident Dipper (fossekall) had the company of a Mink which was just hanging around on the ice by the small amount of open water created where the river enters the lake. This is not the first time I have seen Mink here and fear that they can take quite a toll on breeding birds in the area.