Monday, 3 February 2014

The sun has got his hat on, hipp hipp......

The leading weather forecasting website could not have got the weather forecast more wrong today. They had forecast for it to be overcast the whole day but the morning was blessed with blue skies and the first sight of the sun for weeks. It felt like spring and birds were suddenly very obvious as they were singing and chasing each other around as their thoughts turned to spring. They will have to get used to winter again as snow and cold will return later this week. With positive temperatures and rain yesterday there has been a huge shrinkage of the snow with many bare patches and green grass showing through today. On paths though where the snow had been compressed there is now life threatening ice – the joys of winter life in Oslo!

With the sun I thought that I might have a chance of getting that better picture of Bearded Tits (skjeggmeis) that I know is waiting for me so headed for Fornebu. Perhaps as a result of the warmer weather, the tits were much further out in the reedbed and were very dispersed and no longer in a tight group. They were also calling more often and louder than recently presumably as they needed to if they were to communicate with each other. I also heard song (if you can call it that) which is a promising sign. No pictures unfortunately.

Another possible sign of spring was a Great Grey shrike (varsler) which has replaced the Kestrel (not seen for over a week) as the tree top perching predator here. This is the first record of this species here this winter and could possibly be a bird already heading north. As usual with this species it was not easy to get close to it but it was easy to see as it always perched high up. A male Hawfinch feeding on rose hips was also a welcome sight.

A stop at Bygdøy revealed that the Long-tailed Duck (havelle) flock has increased to 4 birds – a fine male and three females and also two Velvet Scoter (sjøorre) here. Driving home a flock of 60 Waxwings (sidensvans) flying over the car was a large flock and shows there is still some food for them to find.
Great Grey Shrike (varsler)

male Hawfinch (kjernebiter)

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