Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sunday installments

Per Christian and I had a pre breakfast trip to Fornebu today. No wind made viewing conditions good but it was just one of those days when nothing was happening. Between 06:00 and 08:30 the only obvious migrants we had were 2 Curlews (storspove) flying over and our first Blackcap (munk) of the year. There were a few Wheatears (steinskvett), Chiffchaffs (gransanger) and Willow Warblers (løvsanger) around plus a single Ring Ouzel (ringtrost) but this is no more than over the last few days. The Little Ringed Plovers (dverglo) were displaying and seven Stock Doves (skogdue) in total was a good count.

A Skylark (sanglerke) in bathing itself in the day's first rays of sun

Yellowhammer (gulspurv) among willow catkins
PC dropped me home just after 9am but seeing as the curtains were still drawn I thought I would be permitted a lightening trip around Maridalen. Just as well I did. Ring Ouzels were showing well with seven different birds on the fields. The single Whooper Swan (sangsvane) now has a companion although I couldn’t tell if they were a pair but this bodes well for an expanding population with the established pair still on site waiting for the ice to melt on their breeding lake. Maridalsvannet is still frozen but the ice frees areas where the three stream enter are expanding and I had 10 Teal (krikkender) today and 6 Green Sandpipers (skogsnipe) but it is still too early for Common (strandsnipe) or Wood Sandpipers (grønnstilk) to turn up.

The highlight today though was the return of the Wryneck (vendehals). As I was driving towards where they bred last year I heard either a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (dvergspett) or Wryneck singing through the open window as I drove. I decided to drive another 100 metres to where I could park the car and there was a Wryneck sticking his head out of last year’s breeding hole!! I’m not entirely sure if this could have been the bird I heard but as I watched it I did not detect either another Wryneck or a Lesser Spot in the area. The rotten tree where they nested last year has suffered some damage over the winter and I wondered whether the hole would still be suitable for breeding but the bird (presumably the male although both sexes sing) had been in the hole and was then calling from the neighbouring tree so it looks like it is approved for use. The bird is back 10 days earlier than last year so despite many birds being delayed it seems some have not had problems.

I just missed a picture when the tongue was fully out as it is much longer than this!

Wryneck (vendehals) in Maridalen. Both the English and Norwegian names refer to its ability to turn its head 180 degrees

Driving home I had a large flock of Pink-footed Geese (kortnebbgås) heading north and counted ca.380 from a picture I took – maybe there is some migration happening today afterall.

Pink-footed Geese (kortnebbgås). I estimate 380 from the picture and reckond 400 in the field

male Ring Ouzel (ringtrost) feeding on a field of burnt stubble

Willow Warbler (løvsanger)
The day isn’t yet over so expect postscripts as happened last Sunday.

A family trip to Fornebu failed to add any new species but three small flocks of Pink-footed Geese headed north. The big news of the day took a long time to filter out but a male Pallid Harrier did a fly-by over Oslo City today. Frustratingly I was close by at the time had I only known to have my eyes peeled skywards..... This is the second report of a male Pallid Harrier in or close to Oslo within the space of a week but both have been fly-bys identified and reported hours after the occurence. What we need now is a bird to hang around and show itself well enough for a positive ID to be made and the word to get out.

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