Friday, 24 January 2014


Today was another interesting day of combining birding and traffic safety, i.e I was with Turbo Zac for a tour of Østfold. We went right down to the Swedish border to Berby on a tongue of Norway that sticks into Sweden – there is surely a good (although most likely strange) historic explanation for this land being Norwegian. This area often has winter records of both Golden (kongeørn) and White-tailed Eagle (havørn) with the former being a particularly difficult species to see in South Eastern Norway. As soon as we arrived at 1030 after a long drive we had a young Golden Eagle riding the air currents over a nearby ridge being mobbed by a Raven. This bird soon disappeared but we had a couple of other distant sightings. Then after about half an hour three White-tailed Eagles and another Golden Eagle flew up from behind a fairly close ridge and we had five eagles in the air along with Ravens!! Quite a sight although not particularly close and my photographic efforts were nothing to write home about (or write on a blog about).

After a while a man pulled up and spoke to us. After some general chat about the eagles he revealed that he puts out carcasses for them and the birds we saw fly up had been scared by him when he went up to put out a new carcass – no wonder this area is so popular with these majestic species.
We had an additional Golden Eagle later giving us three of each. All the Goldens were young birds, woth two either in their 2nd or 3rd calendar year and one in its 5th and two of the White-tailed Eagles were also young without white in the tail whilst one was in nearly full adult plumage but still had some black tips to the tail. There was a good deal of interaction between all the birds with both eagle species flying together and the two young White-tails frequently tumbled together with outstretched talons.

Other sightings during the day were a single roadside Great Grey Shrike (varsler), an additional White-tailed Eagle at Krokstadfjord, a female Scaup (bergand), a couple of Little Grebes (dvergdykker) and a rare winter observation of Nutcracker (nøttekråke) – where do they all disappear to after they have eaten all the hazel nuts in the autumn?

Back at home, whilst going to pick up my youngest I discovered where yesterdays overflying Waxwings (sidensvans) were going. Just 150 m from the house 35 birds were devouring apples from a single tree that was still covered in fruit despite the late date. I of course had no camera although came so close (just a couple of metres) in the fading light that I am hopeful that an outing tomorrow morning will give good results. Most exciting though was hearing a tacking call from a Blackcap from a nearby evergreen tree. I found the bird but without bins I wasn’t able to see more than that it was a warbler but hopefully it is also still present tomorrow as it is also presumably attracted by the apples – just a short flight to the garden.....

Some very poor photos:
Golden Eagle (kongeørn) below and White-tailed Eagle (havørn) above. Note the differnt silhouettes - Wt Eagle looks like a barn door!

Golden Eagle and Raven

one of the Golden Eagles

the two young White-tailed Eagles - play fighting or flirting?

Great Grey Shrike (varsler) in the snow

Tufted Duck (toppand) and Scaup (bergand) before it got light