BIRD GUIDING AROUND OSLO

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Valdresflya

I woke early yesterday morning and used the opportunity to get up to Valdresflya where I hoped there would be some song activity. It was sunny but on the top there was mist off the snow and the wind was stronger than I had expected (I need to stop trusting the forecasts on yr.no – when they choose to present data by the hour it is easy to believe there is a high degree of accuracy to the forecast but experience time and time again shows that to be foolish). Three hours of watching and listening between 0500 and 0800 gave me a surprising number of birds and there was a lot of song activity. I was confined to the road as attempts to cross the snow and get closer to the birds were normally thwarted by my what my wife calls “rotten snow” meaning old snow that even though it is thick is in the process of melting and therefore doesn’t hold your weight.

I had two Dotterels: one on the ground but whose presence I was drawn to by it calling and another engaged in song flights over the snow. A single Temminck’s Stint feeding by the road that then display flighted. A Dunlin that did the same. Two Ringed Plovers flying over displaying and at least 8 Golden Plover of which some were also flying around displaying.

Passerines also got in on the act with at least 4 singing Shore Larks and a singing Lapland Bunting and both these species were also engaging in display flights. I also had at least four other Lap Bunting that looked like they were newly arrived and were flying together. Meadow Pipits were also quite numerous and I had a couple of Wheatears. Flyover Redpolls and Siskins completed the species list – giving a grand total of 11 species!

A short afternoon visit to Valdresflya resulted in far fewer birds although I did have my first predator(s) with a Raven searching for food on one of the bare patches of ground plus a potentially very unusual record. Whilst scanning the mountain sides with the bins a large white bird shot through. I immediately concluded Gyr Falcon and reached for the camera. I fumbled around and failed to find the bird in the view finder. I switched to bins again, found it, immediately reached for the camera again and again failed to find the bird which must have disappeared over the top of a peak. If it was a Gyr and I can’t think what else it was then it would have been a white phase bird and these are not supposed to be in Norway (at least not in the breeding season) so I’ll let this record pass (it was all far too brief and distant anyway) but it is reason to spend a bit more time up there.

I gave my Cuckoos another visit and got some slightly better pictures. At 0830 there were none to be seen but at noon there were two feeding together although I realised in the evening that a visit around 2000 would have given the best light.
calling Golden Plover (heilo)
my only proof that I saw Dotterel (boltit)

Dunlin (myrsnipe)


it was also displaying in flight including over my head

 
female Lapland Bunting (lappspurv)
male Lapland Bunting

comparison of the two
 
reindeer

Shorelark (fjellerke) in song flight
 
male Cuckoo (gjøk)

a different bird - this one had miscoloured eyes




snowy mountains in the background

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