Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 The Year That Was I

2016 was a good year. Lists are not something I concentrate on but they do give a good idea of how the year has been. My Norwegian year list of 244 (246 2015, 244 2014, 254 2013, 258 2012) was not that outstanding but I did not visit Finnmark or Rogaland during the year which would have given extra species. I had 6 Norwegian ticks though: Short-toed Lark, Terek Sandpiper, Little Egret, Turtle Dove, Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler and Pechora Pipit with the last two also being lifers.

I only found a single national rarity in the form of a Short-toed Lark but did find a couple of ex national rarities: Med Gull and Blyth's Reed and a Yellow-browed Warbler in Akershus and Little Bunting in Østfold were both very rare for the counties. My annual Værøy trip delivered the already mentioned Turtle Dove, PG Tips and Pechora Pipit but it was a very frustrating trip with the good birds being very skulky and all being found by Kjell M!

Local birding was very good and I had my highest ever Akershus list with 205 species and my second highest Oslo list with 174 species. What characterised these lists were not what they included but more what I didn't see. In Akershus for instance I did not record Tawny Owl or Wood Warbler which are widespread breeders and I missed out on a lot of the nocturnal birds such us Quail, Spotted Crake, Nightjar and Blyth's Reed Warbler which all could have been heard on a single nights trip if I had wished. My Oslo list had fewer obvious holes although I did miss Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and fear this is not a sign of my incompetance but more that this species seems to have fallen off a cliff this year as records have been very few and far between.

In Maridalen I recorded 144 species which records my record from last year. Short-toed Lark and Rock Pipit were both new species.

Here are the photographic highlights from the first three months

Waxwing (sidensvans)

a self found Great Northern Diver (islom) in Akershus of a surprisingly rare local bird
selfie with my Hawkie

and a bit of a close up
a Kingfisher (isfugl) which overwintered at Fornebu and went on to breed nearby

A White-beaked Dolphin (kvitnos) found conditions to its liking in the Oslofjord

Redpolls (gråsisik) and Twite (bergirisk) which briefly found Fornebu to their liking

Purple Sandpiper (fjæreplytt) - only my second ever Oslo record

over wintering Mistle Thrushes (duetrost) are very unusual in Norway and seem to always be associated with mistletoe (which is also very unusual in Norway)
a returning Caspian Gull frequented a recycling plant in Oslo but was never easy to find

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (dvergspett) was exceptionally difficult to find in 2016 but this male at Fornebu revealed itself a few times early in the year
for the first time on record a Great Grey Shrike (varsler) over wintered in Maridalen and was an exceptionally confiding bird

This male Teal (krikkand) found conditions in Frogenerparken to its liking
March sees the return of the well studied (and tracked) Taiga Bean Goose flock to its staging grounds by the glomma river. There are at least 7 ring collared birds in this photo

Lapwings (vipe) are a beautiful bird whose return at the end of March is an annual highlight. This species is decling rapidly due to agricultural changes on its breeding grounds and hunting pressure in the winter but is still hanging on as a breeding bird in Maridalen

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