One of the highlights of the early summer in southern Norway is going out on warm, windless nights searching for nocturnal singing birds of the likes River Warbler, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Corncrake, Quail, Spotted Crake plus commoner Marsh Warblers and the chance of owls and even rarer birds. The majority of these species are scarce late arriving migrants and it would seem that by singing in the middle of the night when all other species are asleep and quiet increases their chances of attracting a mate.
The numbers of these species varies greatly from year to year with larger numbers seeming to be associated with warm southerly airflows at the end of May and beginning of June. This year does not seem to be a good year with even Marsh Warblers only being reported in low numbers. Observer coverage obviously also plays a role and you are not going to find anything unless you are out there burning the midnight oil. After long days of guiding my oil burning powers were quite diminished but with Per Christian as the designated driver and a reported River Warbler close to Oslo I managed to get myself out on Sunday night. With it being overcast, but still warm, we hoped that action would start early. We did have some action but most of the areas we checked were free of anything exotic. We found the River Warbler and heard and even saw it at close range which to be honest made the night but it is always nice if you find something new. All we had though was 4 Marsh Warblers and Tawny Owl including a bird giving the rarely heard Hawk Owl type song. An exotic sighting though came when the orange colours of a Ruddy Shelduck shone through the darkness. Undoubtedly the same escaped bird that has guested Østensjøvannet for a few years it was sat by a pond close to a farm.
|video grab of the River Warbler (elvesanger)|
|plastic Ruddy Shelduck (rustand) - an unexpected sighting at 23:12|