Monday, 21 April 2014

Maridalen Smew

Up at 5am again and home before half the house had woken. Sunny weather and no cloud or wind didn’t make for very exciting birding but it was a very pleasant way to start the day.

First port of call was Svellet. I arrived here before sunrise and heard my first Willow Warbler (løvsanger) of the year singing his little heart out. The water levels in Svellet have risen a bit but there is still lots of mud and conditions seem perfect for Teal (krikkand). A huge flock of 1150 birds was feeding here. I went through the flock many times and in quite good light conditions (the rising sun illuminated them all nicely from my vantage point to the east of them) but apart from 6 Wigeon (brunakke) I could find nothing else. Amazing that there wasn’t an American cousin in amongst them!

Waders numbers are now declining before they will rise again at the end of the month. Only 38 Curlew (storspove) and 12 Oystercatcher (tjeld) but amongst them my first Redshank (rødstilk) of the year.
Continuing to Maridalen there was very little to see but talking to Anders Simonsen I was informed I had overlooked a female Smew (lappfiskand). After a bit of searching I found it and only my second sighting of the species here. But that was about the only interesting bird apart from a drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (dvergspett) and the single Pink-footed Goose (kortnebbgås). The Whooper Swan pair is spending its time on the lake suggesting they may not breed this year although the arrival of a third bird caused a lot of calling and shaking of wings.

Whilst I am struggling here I received a text from fellow NSKF member Kjell Mjølsnes who, as I have described before on this blog, lives in undoubtedly the best birding house in Norway. The view from his lounge is like sitting in one of the plush hides at a WWT reserve in the UK. Kjell’s text, and I quote, read as follows: “Lesser Scaup, ringnecked duck and lesser whitefronted goose visible from my garden now. When do you come visit?:-)”. My reply that they were all category D or E birds bears a strong whiff of jealousy!
Redshank and Oystercatcher at Svellet

female Smew with a pair of Goldeneye. This bird could well have come from a site on the other side of Oslo where a female Smew had been trying very hard to get the attentions of a male Goldeney

Svellet and a few hundred Teal

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