Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Warm in Maridalen

Maridalen again and this time a pleasant three hours in the morning. Today felt like a quiet day but by the end of the three hours the result wasn’t too bad at all and just shows how there is always something happening at this time of the year. Today was cloudy with little wind and with temperatures rising to 10C in the afternoon. Yesterday’s snow had all melted and left the fields damp which I had hoped would lead to a huge increase in thrush numbers but they were if anything a bit lower than yesterday.

The flock of 28 Pink-footed Geese (kortnebbgås) were still on the fields at Skjerven farm and clearly felt no pressing need to continue on their north bound migration. On the lake birds seemed to appear during the morning. First I found four Black-throated Divers (storlom) which were joined by a fifth bird that flew in from the east. Then there was a Great Crested Grebe (toppdykker) amongst some displaying Goldeneyes (kvinand), then a pair of Red-throated Divers (smålom), some Teal (krikkand), Mallard (stokkand) and both Greylag (grågås) and Canada Geese.
On the fields at Kirkeby there were still 3 Ring Ouzels (ringtrost), another bird flew north and I had another a kilometre away so five in total today. An Osprey (fiskeørn) migrated in a westerly direction, a Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk) drifted south and two separate hunting Merlins (dvergfalk) were so different in size they must have been a male and female.
I first heard some Cranes (trane) and picked them up flying low and into land on an unseen field in the east of Maridalen. Ten minutes later I heard them again and they were flying low towards the north. I went looking for them and although I never saw them on the deck I do now have a record of them on the deck in Maridalen!

I went to where I thought they may have landed and although I didn’t find them again I did have the pair of Whooper Swans (sangsvane) who look like they were settling into breeding mood. I also had a couple of calling flyover crossbills which went down in a small group of pines not far away. It took a while but I located them and saw they were of the same type I had a week ago. Although not hugely classic Parrot Crossbills (furukorsnebb) I cannot place them anywhere else. The male was feeding intensively on small pine cones and could be incredibly difficult to locate even though I knew exactly where he was. After a while the male burst briefly into song and then flew at the female and at least tried to mate with her although they then suddenly disappeared right in front of my eyes.
although Great Crested grebes breed commonly at Østensjøvannet in Oslo they are less than annual on Maridalsvannet but ususally at this time of the year

the Black-throated Divers have been far from photogenic so far this year (only 4 days down though..)
but more photogenic than the Red-throated Diver pair....

the Whooper Swans are back on their breeding lake. Let us hope this year will be a successful one for them - 2012 was the last year they fledged young in Maridalen

male Parrot Crossbill (furukorsnebb)

the female whose bill looks not massively arge

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