Monday, 25 August 2014

Oslo birding

I kept things local this morning with a trip to Fornebu and Maridalen with quick stops at Bygdøy and the Opera.

Fornebu was for the first time this summer/autumn a shrike free zone although Bluethroats (blåstrupe) are still around with three revealing their presence. Still not large numbers of warblers or pipits and wagtails but they are starting to come through and alongside a few Meadow (heipip) and Tree Pipits (trepip) and I had a flyover Red-throated (lappiplerke) which gave itself away by its call. Waders were also in good numbers and variety with 4 Ruff (brushane), 2 Dunlin (myrsnipe), 2 Greenshank (gluttsnipe), a Wood Sandpiper (grønnstilk), 10 Lapwing (vipe), a Common Sandpiper (strandsnipe) and 4 Snipe (enkeltbekkasin).

A stop at Bygdøy revealed a single Red-backed Shrike (tornskate) and a stop at the Opera revealed many gulls but nothing rare (more on that later) and for the first time in 5 days no other birders either.

In Maridalen the sun came out after frequent showers earlier in the day and with it a few soaring raptors: a single Buzzard (musvåk), three Sparrowhawks (spurvehauk), a Goshawk (hønsehauk) plus 3 Ravens (ravn). There is still a single shrike in the usual place and nearby were two Spotted Flycatchers (gråfluesnapper), 3 Whinchat (buskskvett) and 2 Wheatears (steinskvett). So all in all an OK days birding plus I also heard a flyover Red-throated Pipit in Maridalen so it looks like they are starting to come through now.

male Bluethroat (blåstrupe) at Fornebu

Whinchat (buskskvett) and Wheatear (steinskvett) in Maridalen

juvenile Goldfinch (stillits) Fornebu

juvenile Greenfinch (grønnfink) Bygdøy

these two Sparrowhawks (spurvehauk) in Maridalen flew around together and were interacting including with talons. As both were the same size this wasn't a pair but most likely two youngsters playing

Willow Warbler (løvsanger) Fornebu

same bird

The Birder's Echo

And in other news a foreign tourist to Oslo, a Mr.Pallas, was mugged on Saturday and his current whereabouts are unknown. This follows similar attacks on two of his compatriots, the Caspian brothers, earlier in the week. For the locals the risk of mugging is well known but it appears that Oslo’s mugger(s) are targeting tourists this summer. 

Indeed following Mr. Pallas’s arrival on Wednesday there was a marked decrease in the reported incidents of mugging but initial investigations reveal that this was because the assailant(s) had their eyes set on Mr. Pallas and ignored other potential victims as they carefully planned their attack on the unsuspecting foreigner. The attack happened in broad daylight and was witnessed by a number of people. Although some were believed to be in league with the attackers and had possibly abetted the crime by luring the victim with the offer of a free lunch it is thought that the majority of the other witnesses were shocked by what they saw. We do not know the reasonwhy none of these witnesses to hear stopped this crime but it is believed that many of the witnesses were themselves tourists and were unsure of local customs.

The muggings in Oslo are quite strange as the assailants are not out to rob their victim but more to give the victims leg a hard yank, bear hug them and then adorn them with a couple of items of bling such that other gangs of muggers can see their mark – a bit like a graffiti tagging. Although witnesses to the attack have been silent a number of other people have come forward and announced that they are cancelling their planned trip into Oslo to meet Mr. Pallas as a result of this attack. They feel that by boycotting Oslo they will communicate their dislike of the crime wave sweeping the city and do not wish to be seen to condone the crime by admiring the poor victim. A number of others though, perhaps unaware of the previous days event, did come to visit Mr. Pallas on Sunday and were rather disappointed that he was no longer to be seen.

Although he had seemed to be enjoying his stay he now appears to have left town although whether this is just to continue his sight-seeing or him fleeing to a safer place to lick his wounds is not known. The relevant authorities are aware of this incident and similar incidents but are far too busy ignoring crimes to pay any attention to this one.

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