Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Today was a day that fully deserves the use of many experlatives. It was fantastic, it was awesome but most of all it was just GREAT. I had the company of Per Christian which maybe did the trick of perhaps it was the continuing warm weather, southerly winds and low cloud that did but today delivered good birds and really early in the season.

We started in Maridalen where Hawfinches (kjernebiter) showed well on a feeder and then a stop at Kirkeby really delivered the goods. Whilst looking through a flock of Yellowhammers and checking a paler bird we had some Whooper Swans (sangsvane) and Greylag Geese (grågås) flying over south (obviously not quite suitable for them just yet further north). We then heard Skylarks (sanglerke) and a flock flew up from the field – there were at least 19 birds and then a bubbly call announced the presence of Snow Buntings (snøspurv) and a flock of five of these beauties and rare Oslo bird flew up. As if that wasn’t enough a Green Woodpecker (grønnspett) started calling and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (flaggspett) drumming. Migration and spring were upon us!!

As we wandered around the fields a familiar dry call announced the first Mistle Thrush (duetrost) of the year and we had a few other sightings later on culminating in three together. This is exceptionally early – my first Maridalen record last year was 10 April (and the corresponding date for Skylark was 4 April)!!
Continuing around we added little else although a Great Spotted Woodpecker sitting on a wire next to a Mistle Thursh was worthy of a picture if only I had been quick enough. We decided to head for Fornebu but the sight of some thrushes in a tree top prompted us to stop. After checking them out: three Mistle Thrush and three Fieldfare (gråtrost) I scanned the ice covered lake. Four Whooper Swans were resting but behind them was a big black bird – a White-tailed Eagle (havørn)! After a while it flew around the corner and revealed a very white tail with dark tips – most likely meaning it is in its 5th year and not yet adult. We drove to where we thought it had flown but couldn’t find it (although it was refound later on the ice in a bay) but we did find an adult Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk) sitting in the top of a pine – a Maridalen tick!! This was truly phenomenal.

We eventually did head to Fornebu but with much higher cloud cover it just didn’t have the same exciting feeling about it. Never-the-less 12 Snow Buntings flying over, a few Skylarks, singing Stock Dove (skogdue) and Wood Pigeon (ringdue) and the Great Grey Shrike (varsler) continued the spring feeling.

A stop in town to look at gulls revealed no Caspians (which seem to be turning up everywhere in Norway at the moment) but one young Common Gull (fiskemåke) deserved a prolonged second look but remained as just a Common Gull. As we drove past the Plaza hotel a (the) Peregrine was sitting atop it.

What will tomorrow bring?

The first Mistle Thrush (duetrost) in Maridalen - nearly 7 weeks earlier than last year

Fieldfare (top) with two Mistle Thrushes

adult Peregrine Falcon - a Maridalen tick for me

Snow Buntings - only my 3rd observation in Maridalen

White-tailed Eagle sitting on the ice with four Whooper Swans (sangsvane)

the tail looks white here but did have a black band at the end

This rather large Common Gull had me thinking of its american cousin for a while

1 comment: