Monday, 4 May 2015

Back in Oslo in the rain

I was back in Oslo today and very keen to get out to Svellet and Maridalen especially as reports yesterday showed wader numbers were building up in Svellet. With easterly winds and rain and had huge (as usual…) expectations for even more birds today but curiously there were if anything fewer than yesterday but birds there were. Dabbling ducks are still numerous and alongside 560 Teal (krikkand) were 6 Shoveler (skjeand), 4 Pintail (stjertand), 7 Tufted Duck (toppand), 4 Mallard (stokkand) and 3 Wigeon (brunnakke). Waders were at some range but my approximate totals were: 80 Greenshank (gluttsnipe), 15 Wood Sandpipers (grønnstilk), 8 Oystercatcher (tjeld), 3 Curlew (storspove), 1 Whimbrel (småspove) and best of all 2 male Ruff (brushane). Nearby Merkja held 3 Little Ringed Plovers (dverglo), 16 Wood Sandpipers and 4 Greenshank. The water level is still low and things are now looking very good for the rest of this week and next week when the large numbers of waders should be on the move (weather conditions permitting).

In Maridalen there were no waders other than the local Lapwings (vipe) and a Common Sandpiper (strandsnipe) and the only duck of interest was a single female Common Scoter (svartand). Whilst I was in Jæren the Wryneck (vendehals) pair returned to Maridalen and I was naturally very keen to see them. With the rain I did not expect to find and definitely not hear them today but I chanced upon one sitting in a tree close to a couple of old woodpecker holes so hopefully there will be breeding this year.

At Østensjøvannet I hoped that the rain would have concentrated large numbers of hirundines but there were only 20 or so with a single Sand Martin (sandsvale) amongst them.

The national reporting system is being upgraded and will be down for three days so we are entering a dark period and it will be exciting to see what gets report for these three days when the system is up again. The system is used by the majority of serious birders in Norway (although unfortunately not all for reasons difficult to understand) and the database is now large enough that it can be used to extract much interesting information. It also has great reporting and validating tools which makes the work of the national and local records committees so much easier (if they can be bothered to use it). The upgrade will hopefully greatly improve the user interface and encourage even more people to share their sightings and be part of a national database where they records can have some value. We after all extremely lucky in Norway that we have such a national reporting system. Here’s hoping!

My camera stayed safe and dry today but here are a few pictures fro yesterday post by blog post. We birded our way to the airport and surpsiringly found a small arrival of passerines in one small area. We had 4 Pied Flycatcher (svarthvit fluesnapper), 3 fantastic male Redstarts (rødstjert), Blackcaps (munk), Chiffchaff (gransanger), Willow Warblers (løvsanger) and a couple of Whimbrels walking around under some bushes.


male Pied Flycatcher - the amount of brown in the primaries and mantle suggest a 2cy male

a different male with dirtier underparts and also a lot of brown suggesting it is also a 2cy

female Pied Flycatcher

the two males together

Whimbrel (småspove)
showing the distinctive head pattern well



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