Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Another day of fantastic weather – crisp freezing air, blue skies and no wind. I decided to give Fornebu a good go with a hope of getting to grips with how many Bearded Tits are remaining (I have a feeling that they are going to stay and breed this year) and also the possibility of some early summer migrants (of the type Skylark, Starling or Stock Dove).

The Bearded Tits are still present and birds were calling from three separate areas of the reedbed although did not show. I take this to mean that they have split up into pairs which supports my feeling that they will stay to breed but it is still very early and only time will tell (in 2014 the overwintering birds became increasingly difficult during February and the last record was on 12 March). Also six Reed Buntings today which is an increase and maybe a sign of early spring migrants? A definite migrant was a singing Stock Dove which is a week earlier than in 2014 which was a record early year. With this species I think early birds can be because there is a lack of nestboxes and a growing population and therefore competition over nesting sites.

In Maridalen the Great Grey Shrike was on show but there were no signs of spring.

The weather is going to change during the course of the night with temperatures increasing towards zero and a rain forecast for Saturday (or if we are really lucky snow) before temperatures again fall below zero. It will be interesting to see what changes to birdlife this brings.

I went out owling yesterday to the Mangen area which normally holds lots of Tengmalm’s Owls and is where we have put up the Ural Owl box and Great Grey Owl platform. In what were ideal listening conditions and I believe good conditions for the owls I did not hear a single owl of any species. I didn’t see any rodent tracks in the (little) snow so fear that there has been no improvement in the rodent population from last year (which was also terrible for breeding owls in Southern Norway). It is still early and there might be an improvement as the spring progresses but I fear not.
This Treecreeper (trekryper) showed well even if the Bearded Tits didn't but is never an easy species to photograph
it has incredibly long claws to help it cling to the trunk
and has no problem hanging on upside down
Bullfinches were feeding on the sunflower seeds I put out in Maridalen but light is always a problem here

possibly even smarter when taken from behind
I was using a very slow shutter speed and the flying Great Tit in the middle nearly disappears
GG is still present

taking pictures into the reedbed at Fornebu is always challenging with low winter sun
and when the sun is not a problem the bird gets shy
here four of the six birds (this would seem to be a winter record count for Oslo and Akershus)

Stock Dove (skogdue) record early and obviously had no time to waste as it was singing

not so easy to capture digitially but there was a thick layer of smog over Oslo today. In the foreground are all the apartments being built at Fornebu on old wasterground (after the airport was abandoned) which held breeding Little Ringed Plovers and large flocks of long gone pipits and finches

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