Saturday, 15 April 2017


I’ve just returned from 5 days skiing in Trysil with the family. There were remarkably few birds to be seen or heard in the forests through which the pistes ran but I did hear a single Pine Grosbeak. The view from the top of the mountain was fantastic and revealed the true extent of the forests in the area which support Rustic Buntings, Great Grey and Ural Owls, wolves and bears and it is not hard to believe that the populations of the birds are much higher than ornithologists know of given the vastness and inaccessibility of the area.
On the drive up I had a roadside Hawk Owl and on the drive back a roadside Pygmy Owl but no raptors.
On our last night there was a fall of around 30cm of snow which must have proven a challenge for the earliest migrants. A stop at a petrol station revealed two Robins searching for food around the cars which was a real sign of how desperate they were.
On the drive home I persuaded the girls that a stop at Starene would be worthwhile and whilst they played on ipads I viewed this great area. There were hundreds of Pink-footed Geese and amongst them 6 geese with orange legs. Two were White-fronted Geese, 3 were Tundra/rossicus Bean Geese and the last a Taiga/fabalis Bean Goose.  I didn’t have my scope with me and only the superzoom but at one stage had a Taiga and Tundra in the same field of view. The Tundra’s were pretty straightforward to ID but as is usual with a lone bird the Taiga took a bit of time before I felt happy but its large size, long thin neck, relatively small head and long thin bill eventually made me happy with the(sub)specific ID.
There were lots of Teal feeding amongst flooded areas of long grass but they never showed well and I didn’t see the Green-winged Teal that had been seen amongst them a few days previously.
My first Hen Harrier of the year also showed briefly from the car.

Hawk Owl at 80km/h (I was in the passenger seat...)

Pygmy Owl (spurveugle) at 50km/h (also from the passenger seat)

Petrol station Robins (rødstrupe) 

Pink-footed (kortnebgås) and a Barnacle Goose (hvitkinngås) at Starene 
Pink-foot EC3. Ringed 30.4.16 in Trøndelag in the middle of Norway. Spent the winter in Denmark and seen at Starene since 03.04
BA8. Ringed 30.4.16 in Trøndelag. Also spent the winter in DK and seen at Starene since 03.04

Pink-footed Geese 

The Taiga/fabalis Bean Goose (sædgås) 
Tundra/ rossicus Bean Goose #1



a very poor photo. But top right is the Taiga and in the middle is Tundra #3 
Two sleeping White-fronted Geese

This morning I was up early and in Maridalen before breakfast. In the course of six days the ice on the lake has frozen and the farmer has started ploughing the stubble fields. Clear skies and an overnight frost meant there were not too many birds though. Eight Curlew were the (expected) highlight. Passage of this species is very concentrated to the middle of April and it is always a thrill to see and hear this species. Five Green Sands were also a welcome sight and with Snipe and Lapwing I had four species of wader.

Five Black-throated Divers were on the lake and two flew north. There were few thrushes or finches and only a single Mipit but Robins and Dunnocks were very noticeable. I heard a singing Black Grouse and amazingly found it sitting on the top of a spruce on a hillside over 2km away!

singing Black Grouse (orrfugl) at at least 2km range

5 Black-throated Divers (storlom) were on the lake and two headed north 
These two Curlew (storspove) were resting on frost covered fields first thing

and then flew up to join six that came in from the south. After making a few circuits they landed on an island in the lake

Jay (nøtteskrike) 
male Tufted Duck (toppand) with forsty vegetation

Twite (bergirisk) one of a flock of six

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