Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Oslo and Østfold guiding

I've been having fun guiding Jeff from Virginia, USA for the last couple of days. Autumn is now upon us and the bird scene is fast changing. A trip to Kurefjorden yesterday revealed hardly a single wader in stark contrast to a week or so ago but geese were to be seen in large flocks in many places.

Raptors were numerous during the day with good conditions for soaring birds. We had 9 Marsh Harriers (sivhauk), 20+ Common Buzzards (musvåk), 4 Ospreys (fiskeørn), Peregrine (vandrefalk), Hobby (lerkefalk), Kestrel (tårnfalk) and a single Honey Buzzard (musvåk) that flew right over us. With my lens it was still too high for a decent picture but with Jeff's 500mm and 1.4 converter his picture was much better ;-)

Ruff (brushane) were another feature with a flock of 120 and one of 45. This is hopefully a sign of a good breeding season and maybe we'll have more breeding birds next year which will be welcomed as this species seems to be declining fast and its range is contracting northwards.

One target bird for the day was Crane (trane) which proved far more difficult to find than usual but after 10 hours in the field I found a flock of 20 and we could head back to Oslo with a good feeling.

Today I kept us close to Oslo concentrating on Maridalen. We had good views of a few hoped for species such as Nutcracker (nøttekråke), Brambling (bjørkefink), Jay (nøtteskrike) and Black-throated Diver (storlom) but a number of others were not cooperative. Green (grønnspett) and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers (dvergspett) only called (a Black Woodpecker (svartspett) yesterday was glimpsed from the car at speed) and who would have thought that Redwing (rødvingetrost), Siskin (grønnsisik) and Song Thrush (måltrost) would only be seen flying over. Red backed Shrike (tornskate) proved my biggest bogey bird though and I just couldn't find it any of the sites where I have been enjoying great views over the last couple of weeks - with the beginning of September they have started on their southerly migration. Two flyover Two-barred Crossbills (båndkorsnebb), Long-tailed Tits (stjertmeis) and Hobby were nice bonuses in Maridalen and a trip to Østensjøvannet allowed us to end the day with lots of good photo opps. The Ruff has now moved to where the ducks get fed and looked extremely out of place but showed ridiculously well. Ducks are now in good numbers and variety with a pair of Pochard (taffeland), 4 Shoveler (skjeand), 14 Wigeon (brunnakke), 20 Teal (krikkand) and a Pintail (stjertand) alongside the commoner Tufted Ducks (toppand), Goldeneye (kvinand) and Mallard (stokkand) and the plastic Ruddy Shelduck.

Tomorrow I'll be looking for the Scottish/Swedish Bean Geese (sædgås) on their autumn staging grounds in Akershus. After no transmissions since June Tag 07 suddenly sent an SMS on Tuesday showing he was back in Akershus - a couple of days earlier than last year. It will be interesting to see how many birds I can count and how many are youngsters.

the translucent inner primaries of a Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) make it distinguishable even in a very poor photo
pair of Pochards at Østensjøvannet. Presumably the pair that was here in the spring and looked like they were going to breed but where have they been since?

Ruff having a shake

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