Tuesday, 18 March 2014

White-billed Diver

The extensive forests north of Oslo (Nordmarka) must hold a large population of owls, especially Tengmalm's (perleugle), but the forestry roads are off limits to the general public meaning that I have only had one proper owling trip here before when a long winter allowed Per Christian and I to ski in xx km and hear 2 Tengmalm's. This year skiing was hardly an option but one of the forest roads is free of snow meaning a bike is an option. Yesterday therefore I set off at 1830 hoping to also hear Pygmy Owl at dusk. That didn't happen but I did score with Tengmalm's. I had to cycle for half an hour mostly uphill for the first bird which I heard briefly at great distance but then when cycling back i had a bird at a more reasonable range. With a cloud free, star filled sky it was a great way to enjoy my first bike ride of the year.

Today I twitched! White-billed Divers (gulnebblom) are locally common at certain times of the year but are decidedly rare in the south east and even more so inland. Therefore a bird that has overwintered on Mjøsa 2 hours north of Oslo was quite a sensation but even more exciting was one found last week on Tyrifjorden only 30 minutes from Olo. This bird has attracted surprisingly little attention but I thought I would have a go today. It took an hour of searching to find it but eventually it popped up in exactly the place where I had first had looked. Always at long range (like all the Wb Divers I have ever seen) it was never the less eminently identifiable. Also here a flock of 230 Snow Buntings (snøspurv) flew over which is a huge flock for an inland locality.

Flying visits to Fornebu and Maridalen revealed almost nothing except for a displaying pair of Goshawks (hønsehauk) in Maridalen which gained such height that I lost sight of them.

 Photographing a White-billed Diver with my equipment at a range of 2km does not exactly lead to satisfying results as you will see, although the video is slightly better..
With the 500m uncropped

i phone 4 through telescope at x 60 magnification

Snow Buntings

This Tree Sparrow (pilfink) in the garden at least allowed me to take a decent picture

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