Today I played away from home again and visited Sørkedalen where Kjetil Johannessen found a singing Grasshopper Warbler there on Saturday night. I paid a visit on Monday night just before 11pm and didn’t hear it. I knew I may have been there a bit early but as a couple of Marsh Warblers were singing and not the Grasshopper I only waited 15 minutes before concluding it had left and was half expecting to refind it in Maridalen which was my next stop.
A Common Rosefinch and Whinchat also sang in the area and a couple of Mistle Thrushes were a bit out of habitat and the rattling contact call had me briefly thinking I had heard a snatch of song from a River Warbler. I decided to try to see if I could some better pictures of Marsh Warbler than I usually manage as one of the birds was singing close to the path. There were two birds moving around in the raspberry plants and I assumed it was a pair. The singing bird was very skulkly but the other bird perched up and I fired off a load of pictures. Through the view finder I thought how with its white throat it could actually be possible to confuse Marsh Warbler with Whitethroat. Whilst I was reflecting over this I looked at the rest of the bird’s plumage and realised I had done just that – I was taking pictures of a female Whitethroat!
After pulling myself together I visited Oslo’s only nesting colony of Sand Martins. I have once before suspected breeding somewhere in Maridalen but Sørkedalen seems to have breeding every year. This year they are breeding in a sand quarry and there were at least 40 holes although I never saw more than 9 birds at one time and only 5 holes being visited. In one hole the adults were still excavating and were removing dried grass (how did this get there?) whilst I could hear a calling bird from another hole which I reckon was an adult although could I guess have been young. Photo opportunities here must be very good although it was too dark today for flight photos.
|singing Grasshopper Warbler|
|note the long rounded tail typical of locustella warblers|
|singing in the rain|
|the Whitethroat (tornsanger) which I initially took to be a Marsh Warbler|
|the Sand Martin colony. There are also some holes right at the top but these were not visited when I was there|
|this bird was removing straw and a feather - had another species used the cavity?|
|a flight shot of sorts|
|I'm not sure if these two had thought to mate but they didn't succeed when I was watching|