Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Heading west to Buskerud

Regular readers of this blog with an understanding of Norwegian geography will know that when I venture out of Oslo that it is normally to the east. This by no way means that there is no good birding within easy reach to the west of Oslo but with the traffic in Oslo being how it is then heading east is normally a quicker option for me. Today however I headed west. I have plans to find a Sibe Acc but there was rain and low cloud today so I have put those plans on ice until tomorrow and instead headed to Buskerud county (around Drammen) where a few locally good birds have been seen recently. Linnesstranda has had Spotted Crake, Jack Snipe, Kingfisher and Bearded Tit and Fiskumvannet has had Red-necked Grebe, Hawk Owl and a few different ducks.

I have visited Fiskumvannet only a couple of times before but had never got the taste for it even though it has a very good reputation. Today though I finally saw the potential it could have and almost wished that I could take it with me and plonk it in the middle of Maridalen ;-) On the walk out to the watch tower I saw the Hawk Owl that has been here a few weeks. It was perched up by the path in a small wood and was bedraggled and looking very sorry for itself. It was clearly actively looking for food on the woodland floor but it all seemed far too wet to me for there to be any rodents. From the tower I saw quite a few ducks but realised that there were a number of birds not visible behind the reeds. I eventually realised that I could get up onto the roof and here I had a much better view and saw a lot more birds. I found the Red-necked Grebe, 3 Scaup, 5 Long-tailed Ducks, heard a couple of Water Rails and had more common wildfowl. On the way back to the car Hawkie was still by the patch but had clearly just been hunting as it had a frog! In its claws which would explain why it was hunting in such a damp area. It stashed the frog whilst I watched but looking at its expression it is difficult to know whether it did so because it fancied a delicious snack later or whether it was just hoping to catch something furrier instead. BWP does mention frogs as having been recorded as a food item but very rarely and I’m sure this is a sign of desperation if it is hunting them.

At Linnesstranda, which also has a watch tower the water level was not as low as it has been the last couple of days and the area of mud where the Spotted Crake and Jack Snipe had been showing was under water. The crake however had been spotted in an area where the reeds were cut but not for me. A Kingfisher which eventually showed after I had been hearing it on and off for an hour was nice though.
iphone panorama of Fiskumvannet

a very bedraggled Hawk Owl with ears

frog for lunch?

stashing it in the larder

it was dark in the wood and this picture was taken at 6400 ISO and 1/160s

not quite sure what to do with the frog (bottom left)

Kingfisher (isfugl). The black bill shows it to be a male. I'm not sure if it can be aged

a Dipper (fossekall) in the same place was unexpected

this shot of the Red-necked Grebe (gråstrupedykker) can barely be called a record shot

this adult and juv Red-throated Diver (smålom) have been at Linnesstranda a few days and are often close to land. The youngster doesn't seem to want to look after itself

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