Wednesday, 28 September 2016


I started yesterday’s post by mentioning how everything is relative in birding and today I had an experience that exceeds twitching anything that others may have found on Værøy – forget Stars n Stripes, forget even White’s Thrush – I found a Yellow-browed Warbler in Akershus!! OK it wasn’t in Oslo which would have been almost unbelievable (although it has happened before) but from what I can see this is only the 5th record in Akershus. Every September when I have come home from Værøy my senses have been honed for Yb Warblers and I’m sure I heard one in the garden one year but with the possibility of confusion with Coal Tit that record was never more than a possible. Indeed, yesterday I heard Coal Tits and had to listen twice to convince myself that that was indeed all I was hearing.

This year I did find one and it wasn’t because of call. I went to Krokstrand this morning with a slight hope that very strong overnight southerly winds may have brought something in but as feared they were too brief to have pushed anything this far into the fjord. After 35 minutes 2 Black-headed Gulls were the undoubted highlight….. and I if I had checked my phone 5 minutes earlier I would have stopped but being a but obsessive and wanting to have watched for a round number I decided to stay another 25 minutes to make it a round hour. Just before the hour was up a guillemot flew through going north making it the bird of the watch and making me wonder whether I should stay a bit longer. Luckily I was sensible enough to cut my losses and made me way back to the car. When I reached the car I heard a Chiffchaff calling and as I looked around saw a small bird fly into a nearby tree. But this didn’t look like a Chiffchaff and as I raised my bins I expected to see a Goldcrest but it was green and yes it was a species that I had seen loads of just a few days earlier but this was awesome! Panic ensued! My camera was of course in my bag and the bird was flitting about in the canopy but by switching to manual focus I eventually managed some record shots. I tried playing the call but the bird wasn’t interested and did not call itself.

After a while another birder turned up (Kim Hansen had also been sea gazing but from a different spot) and we both tried to find it. Kim eventually saw it and over the course of the next half an hour it called twice and showed twice. There were three Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps in the same area which showed much better but the Yb unfortunately was incredibly difficult to pin down. There must be so many more out there just waiting to be found but luck is definitely required.
Yellow-browed Warbler (gulbrynsanger) in Akershus


Marsh Tit (løvmeis) is a very localised species in Akershus and one I have never seen in Oslo but Krokstrand is a good locality for them

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