Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Oslo's own island birding

I found out this morning that the best way to deal with the Værøy blues was to visit Oslo’s own little Værøy (I exaggerate a tad) so I took the boat out to Gressholmen and transferred myself back to the small of salt water and windswept landscapes. I was hoping that by visiting Oslo’s best wader locality that I would have a chance of filling some of the gaping holes in my Oslo list – yesterday Rune had seen 2 Dunlin at Huk and on Monday there was an interesting record of a Grey Plover heard flying over a house at 0530 – not sure I would be brave enough to make a call like that. I also had a hope (dream) that I could unearth a bird like Yellow-browed Warbler, Barred Warbler or Dick’s Pipit.

Well the muddy bay contained a single Oystercatcher and that was it for waders. The bushes did have a few birds with 3 Blackcap and a Whitethroat the highlights (no phyllosc warblers) but nothing rare. I gave the sea a thorough scan and voila here was something – a grebe. My first impression was Red-necked and as I got closer it was indeed a Red-necked Grebe and an Oslo tick for me. From what I can see this is only the 5th record for Oslo with three of them now coming from Gressholmen.

I spent some time trying to get some good photos but it never came that close. As I sat there though I heard small numbers of Meadow Pipits flying over and amongst them the sharp call of a Red-throated Pipit (lappiplerke). This wasn’t too bad at all.

There were a number of terns offshore and from the boat I got to see them better and counted 15 juvenile Common Terns. No adults or Arctic Terns amongst them as far as I could see but to see so many here so late in the year is an interesting sighting and I guess these are local bred birds that hatched late.

The boat offers the opportunity to see small islands that one doesn’t normally get to check out and two of these small islands offered up another Oslo tick for me – finally I have seen Dunlin in Norway’s capital, and long overdue the sighting was…
Red-necked Grebe (gråstrupedykker) or grey-throated grebe as they say in Norwegian
it spent a lot of time preening but I could see no sign that it as oiled
the grebe and a male Eider (ærfugl) on a very calm sea


juvenile Common Tern (rødnebbterne) - note the dark bar on the rear of the secondaries that helps separate from Arctic Tern

a montage showing another 13 juvenile Common Terns resting on four different islands

Another Oslo tick - Dunlin (myrsnipe) on Galteskjær
and like London buses - another Dunlin on Kavringen
9 Velvet Scoter (sjøorre) and the Nesodden ferry
this Oystercatcher (tjeld) should have already migrated. It will be interesting to see if it tries to overwinter in Oslo like a couple of birds did last year for only the second ever time

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