Monday, 1 December 2014

December guiding

Today I was guiding. I was guiding for Robert and Daniela with Daniela having arranged it as a surprise treat for the birding boyfriend on a weekend trip to Oslo. Robert turned out to Irish birder and illustrator Robert Vaughan and I felt a bit more pressure to deliver.

As I have been lamenting rather a lot recently this is the absolutely worst time of the year for birding especially as we have had no invasions so far this year of exciting northern species. Today was blessed with blue skies and no wind though so we would at least have a good chance of finding whatever was to be found.

I headed first for Larkollen hoping for Rough-legged Buzzards (fjellvåk). After a giving it a good go which had only given us a Peregrine (vandrefalk) and Ravens we had given up and were leaving when one finally showed although rather distantly. A flyby Little Auk (alkekonge) and Black Woodpecker (svartspett) were welcome aswell.

Moving onto Jeløy my goal was woodpeckers. We were able to pick out four birds of two species by listening for them tapping with three predictably being Great Spotted (flaggspett) and the bonus species being a fine female Lesser Spotted (dvergspett) that showed well high up on thin branches. Also many Treecreepers (trekryper) and Nuthatches (spettmeis) here.

After this a roadside Great Grey Shrike (varsler) allowed itself to be admired and sketched and rushing back to get to Maridalen before dusk (3:30pm) gave us 7 very close white-headed Long-tailed Tits (stjertmeis) and most surprisingly my first ever Norwegian December Chiffchaff (gransanger) which was feeding in dead grass and never called once although its plumage showed it to be a western bird.

Great Grey Shrike

this Lesser Spot showed well but was always high up constantly tapping on thin branches

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