I twitched at the weekend but as is usually the case when I engage in this filthy behaviour I failed. The twitch was only a 15 minute drive for an Iceland Gull and I missed it by only minutes as all the gulls flew off just before I arrived – indeed I saw them all in flight as I drove up. This bird was a 2nd winter and study of the pictures (no ring needed!) shows it to be the same bird that I also missed on the dump in Askim on Friday the 13th. Where it has been for the two intervening weeks is not known but shows that there is plenty of scope for finding (and losing) gulls in the Oslo area.
Today I tried various sights for gulls around Oslo and found nothing interesting although there were around 500 Herring Gulls in total. I also headed out east and found little of note although 5 sightings of Great Grey Shrike during the day (probably only 4 different birds) was a pretty respectable count. A small flock of Yellowhammers that I scrutinised at some distance did contain a candidate for a female Pine Bunting but I didn’t get close enough views to rule out a dull female Yellowhammer. The chances of finding Pine Bunting in Norway at the moment must be high with quite a few birds around the place – it just requires luck (some turn up in gardens) or perseverance or ideally both!
A phone call threatened to turn the day into a big success. What appeared to be a Gyr Falcon was being observed on an island off Fornebu and I was only 15 minutes drive away. Apparently a Gyr had been reported from here yesterday (but on a website that only a handful of people use - why can’t people report on ArtsObservasjoner?) and it looked like the same bird was present again today. It remained in place until I arrived but turned out as I feared to be an adult Goshawk. This species along with large female Peregrines are probably the true identity of a number of undocumented Gyr Falcons in south east Norway where this species is a true rarity.