Monday, 13 June 2016

HOT guiding

Today I was guiding Kathy and George from Connecticut who had a stopover on their way to Svalbard and we had a pretty good day. As is often the case when I guide in June, it was HOT, HOT, HOT and with little wind it was starting to get unpleasant to be birding by midday.

Maridalen had as usual good birds to offer with Rosefinch, Marsh Warbler, Wryneck, Black-throated Diver and Goshawk alongside the commoner species.  The water level in the lake is starting to fall after the prolonged warm and dry weather and there is mud beginning to show. Whilst too late for the spring wader migration there is a chance that conditions will be good for autumn migration. Now though there are some Teal starting to congregate. Seven males may represent the breeding population for the closest areas of Nordmarka but I have never seen so many here in June before. Most surprising though was when a female appeared out of some sedges with 4 youngsters. Although I have suspected breeding elsewhere in the valley this is the first time I have witnessed breeding on the lake. Also on the mud at Kirkeby were a pair of Lapwings with three half-grown young plus another two adult Lapwings which the pair kept chasing away. We saw no Lapwings on the fields at Kirkeby but I am not sure which (if any) of the Lapwings on the mud were the Kirkeby birds. Is it possible that the pair with three young are the pair from Kirkeby (who I only saw with one young in long grass last week) and that they have managed to lead the youngsters across the road, through a couple of fields and onto the mud? Or were the other two adults the Kirkeby pair who have now lost their youngster? Or were the Kirkeby pair still on the fields but just hidden in the now high crops? I have seen Lapwings occasionally in the bay at Kirkeby and flying over the fields on the other side of the bay so it is possible a previously undetected pair has bred here and it would certainly be easier for them to bring their young down to the lake.

Rarest bird of the day in Maridalen was a Red Junglefowl. This extremely smart bird betrayed its presence through its calls before we saw it in thick vegetation just before it ran towards us and followed us around! Due to its location I do not think this bird has escaped from a farm in Maridalen but rather suspect it has been released here either by a town based owner who had grown tired of its cock-a-doodle-doing or perhaps it had been kidnapped by a tired neighbour?

In addition to the magical Maridalen we also visited Østensjøvannet, Fornebu and Sandvika and added to our list of species. The two disappointments of the day (and there are always disappointments with birding) were with two special birds that should have been dead certs as both were nest sites. When guiding one cannot spend all day waiting for a bird to turn up but 25 minutes at both the Black Woodpecker hole in Maridalen and at the Kingfisher nest in Sandvika should have given results when I know that the birds are still there. I’m sure they visited the nest 5 minutes before we got there and 5 minutes after we left…..
George, Red Junglefowl and Kathy
long range, sun and heat haze but here is a female Teal (krikkand) with four youngsters and a baby Lapwing

the other two baby Lapwings (vipe)


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