The weekend has been spent in Edinburgh with Mrs OB and good friends. Birds were obviously not on the agenda and I travelled without bins or camera! A walk on Sunday up to Arthur’s Seat revealed how much further spring has come around the capital of Scotland when compared to the capital of Norway. Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap were singing and Swallow and Kestrel flying overhead. Leaves were out on the trees and I got quite a serious (even by my standards) case of sun burnt forehead. Waking up this morning in Oslo to blizzard conditions really rammed home the differences!
I went out birding today anyway, although had to drive very carefully, but did not find the big fall of birds that I had hoped for. The snow was so thick in Maridalen that there were practically no passerines on the fields although 13 Lapwings were gathered together. If this represents the breeding population for the valley this year, then it is good news as it is double the number of birds I had previously noted but birds from further away may well have taken refuge here.
If Maridalen had little to offer (there was no arrival of ducks either) then I thought that Svellet or Merkja may offer more. Here again though there was little except for my first Redshank of the year and a very large congregation of White Wagtails (ca.800) on the mudflats of Svellet alongside around 200 Meadow Pipits. Curlew numbers have fallen to 57 although I suspect that the birds that have continued north to breeding grounds may well be regretting their decision.
I also checked out Østensjøvannet and Bygdøy hoping for a swallow or martin but apart from many hundred Fieldfares at Bygdøy there was nothing exciting here either.
|MAridalen this mornging - only a week until it's May!|
|13 rather desperate Lapwings (vipe)|
|Lesser Black-backed Gull (sildemåke) in Edinburgh. This bird was typical of the LBBGs in Edinburgh and must be of the subspecies graellsii. For me the birds appeared quite dark mantled and I am not sure that I would react if I saw this birds amongst a group of intermedius in Oslo|