Tuesday, 4 August 2015


I was birding in Maridalen again yesterday after a long absence and Mari proved her love - she is the good mistress who welcomes you back with open arms and always satisfies ;-)
It was hot today but in August once migration starts and there are lots of young birds looking for food then that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I had a hope of confirming breeding for Marsh and Blyth's Reed Warbler and succeeded on both accounts by finding juvenile (1cy) birds at sits where I had had pairs of both species and where the male had abruptly stopped singing. I aged these birds as 1cy due to their very fresh plumage as I would expect an adult to look very worn at this time of the year. I only found the birds by pishing intensly where I had hoped to find them and they first responded by calling and then eventually showing occasionally in the thick vegetation that both species like. I was again surprised by the silvia warbler like Tak call given by the Marsh Warbler and managed to record both this call and the call of the Blyth’s Reed. Although similar there is a difference but not one that I would necessarily notice in the field unless they were calling side by side. It is also interesting to note how these young birds look noticeably different from the spring adults and are far closer in appearance than the adults.

I also had a young Red-backed Shrike although this may well have moved a fair distance to get here. Best bird though was Honey Buzzard. I initially had a distant medium sized raptor that gave away its identity when it started sky dancing. Reading up it seems that adults can sky dance over a feeding site late in the season so this wasn’t evidence of a close nest as I had hoped. About 45 minutes later I had a bird a bit north of where I had seen the distant bird. This bird flew low out of some woodland, continued right over my head and then thermalled a bit before heading north into Nordmarka. My photos show it to be an adult male carrying honey comb so it was presumably taking food back to the nest (they feed up to 3.5km from the nest). My fuzzy pictures of the first bird suggest it to be a different bird due to what looks to be a loose tail feather but the pictures are not of good enough quality to be sure. There have been a few records of Honey Buzzard in Maridalen in July this year and one photographed bird looks to be a female so it maybe that a pair is breeding further up in Nordmarka and using Maridalen as a feeding ground. I believe that they can return to the same wasps nest so I may be lucky enough to see them again. It was great to finally get a good view of this species as my few sightings in 2015 had all been very distant. I just need to see a Hobby well now.
male Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk)

the honey comb structure and the claws can be made out in the inset

young Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)
Blyth's Reed Warbler (busksanger) - the fresh plumage indicating a youngster
young Marsh Warbler (myrsanger) - note the kinder expression, lighter plumage tones and longer primary projection

Marsh Warbler

Marsh Warbler

the young Black-throated Divers (storlom) on the lake are getting bigger but are still begging for food

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