Saturday, 17 August 2013

Pre-breakfast Fornebu

Bluethroat (blåstrupe). The pale tips to the tertials and greater coverts age this as a bird of the year (1 cy) and the blue on the breast make it a male.
It is always nice to have a good dose of birding before breakfast and this morning Fornebu provided a very good start to the day. Yesterday there had been strong southerly winds and heavy rain and I had hoped that some seabirds would have been blown into the inner Oslo fjord but a check at dusk yesterday and first this morning showed that wasn’t the case. Further south though at Brentetangen there was a nice southerly movement of skuas reported this morning which would have been birds pushed into the fjord by the winds yesterday evening/overnight making their way back out.

If seabirds weren’t to feature on the menu today then passerines would have to suffice as main course and dessert with a nice starter provided by a rail. Checking out Storøykilen I heard Water Rails (vannrikse) calling very agitatedly and then saw what turned out to be a mink splashing in the water with something (possibly a Water Rail) in its mouth. A little bit later I saw an adult Water Rail sunning itself and preening on the edge of the reeds and then this bird and another started calling constantly. The other bird was a juvenile and this is I reckon pretty solid evidence for breeding at this site. I even managed pictures (not great of the adult). The cows that are put in Storøykilen have grazed down a lot of the reeds and this area is looking good. As well as the Water Rails there were 12 Snipe (enkeltbekkasin), a Greenshank (gluttsnipe), 8 Lapwings (vipe) and a Common Sandpiper (strandsnipe). It wouldn’t surprise me if a Spotted Crake (myrrikse) turns up here although seeing it will not be easy.

Moving on into Nansenpark Wheatears (steinskvett) were noticeable and a Redshank (rødstilk) fed by the ornamental lake. Overhead there were large numbers of Swifts (tårnseiler) and Tree Pipits (trepiplerke) were flying over calling. One small area which always seems productive had a Bluethroat (blåstrupe), Whinchat (buskskvett) and Willow Warbler (løvsanger) and I felt quite happy with that. Ten minutes later though I had what Garner might describe as a “Boom” moment. Nothing rare but if I had been on the east coast of England I would have been very happy. Three birds in three seconds: Bluethroat, Wryneck (vendehals) and Red-backed Shrike (tornskate). A very small area (which in the spring had hosted a Great Snipe) was alive with birds. I found another two Bluethroats, another shrike, Whitethroats (tornsanger), Willow Warblers, Whinchats, Wheatears and attracted to these a Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk) and then a Hobby (lerkefalk).

It wasn’t yet 9 o’clock and most people would still be in bed and I was enjoying a great and warm morning with quality birds. Breakfast tasted even better than normal when I got home!
a different Bluethroat. Again aged as a 1cy bird but the lack of blue and red in the throat make this a female

Bluethroats are just as colourful from behind

Hobby (lerkefalk)

juvenile Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)

juvenile Redshank (rødstilk)

adult Water Rail (vannrikse)

Wheatear (steinskvett)

Willow Warbler (løvsanger)
a different Willow Warbler. Note the pale legs and long wings (primary projection) which help separate from the similar Chiffchaff (gransanger)

young Whitethroat (tornsanger)

same bird as above
Wryneck (vendehals)

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