Yesterday, whilst delivering xmas cards I bumped into per Christian who asked me why I wasn't doing any proper birding but instead wandering around parks like an old woman. Well PC today I tried to do something about that!
Yesterday evening there were extreme weather warnings concerning the outer Oslofjord and a check of the weather maps revealed storm force southerly winds were forecast for this morning. To my surprise I was given the green light for a trip providing I was back by noon. As I drove down to Krokstrand in the dark there were branches in the road which left me feeling optimistic for the seawatch but fearful that a fallen tree would prevent me getting there (or home later).
There were no problems in the end though and I arrived at Krokstrand at 0850 and in the half light (sunrise wasn't until 0910) I settled down and initially struggled to see if the white birds were Herring Gulls (gråmåke), Common Gulls (fiskemåke) or Kittiwakes (krykkje). I was there mildy surprised when a message came through that further south at Brentetangen they had already seen Sabine’s Gull (sabinemåke) and Manx Shearwater (havlire). Either there is a new night vision 'scope on the market, they are half owl or those guys were injecting carrot juice because they had outstanding (near) nocturnal vision!
As there were blue skies today there was eventually good light for seawatching. Even though temperatures were above zero I left there cold to the bone and a 45 minute drive home with the heating on full blast wasn’t enough to warm me up and I had to jump straight into a hot shower once home!
Well did I get any reward for some “real birding”? Kittiwake, Fulmar (havhest), Gannet (havsule) and Little Auk (alkekonge) were all seen and are “real” seabirds but there was no proper excitement. The Kittiwakes were present in good numbers with around 100 feeding in the fjord further south and a handful passing by my watch point. A single Fulmar spent most of the time flying around or sitting on the sea directly out from me.
Auks were noticeable by their absence except for a 5 minutes period when 2 Little Auks and 4 Guillemots (lomvi) struggled south. A single Red-throated Diver (smålom) shot past in the other direction with the tail wind giving it a very impressive speed.
Yesterday a pair of Great Tits were inspecting a nest box in the garden on the shortest day of the year in temperatures of +8C showing just show topsy turvy the environment is becoming.