Tuesday, 8 August 2017


Yesterday morning I successfully ignored the IKEA flat pack furniture that needed un-flatting and went up into Maridalen. With no wind and sun I had high hopes of seeing soaring raptors (and finally a Honey Buzzard) and butterflies. This year has been poor for both of these groups but a day like today should be as good as any for them.

Raptors were really hard work and apart from a single hunting Sparrowhawk I had to wait 5!! hours before I finally (and a long time after I had intended to return to the un-flatting) found some soaring raptors when I had a group of three Common Buzzards. These were followed by another Common Buzzard a little later but that was to be it. I have a feeling that something has happened with the larger raptors around Maridalen this year – hopefully it is just a bad breeding season rather than something more sinister.

I fared a better with butterflies. There were not large numbers except for the whites (which I still struggle with) but I ended up with quite a lot of variety although had no blues or hairstreaks. Here are the 15 species I saw:

Queen of Spain Fritillary (solvkåpe)
Silver Washed Fritillary (keiserkåpe)
Lesser Marbled Fritillary (engperlemorvinge)
Dark Green Fritillary (aglajaperlemorvinge)
Red Admiral (admiral)
Small Tortoisehell (neslesommerfugl)
Peacock (dagpåfuglsommerfugl)
Painted Lady (tistelsommerfugl)
Comma (Hvit C)
Ringlet (gullringvinge)
Scare Copper (oransjegullvinge)
Brimstone (sitronsommerfugl)
Green veined White (rapssommerfugl)
Large White (stor kålsommerfugl)
Small White (liten kålsommerfugl)

Queen of Spain Fritillaries seem to have established themselves in Maridalen after an individual I saw last year was the very first to be reported from Oslo in ArtsObservasjoner and I had up to 4 together including mating. I find that this species can vary a lot in size and also in colour on the upperwing and I spent lots of time trying to see the underwing of fritillary butterflies only to be “disappointed” to see the silver spots of this species. I do suspect though that I had at least one other species of fritillary (medium large) in addition to the ones I have recorded.

The copper butterflies were interesting. I was sure that I had seen a couple Small Coppers (ildgullvinge) but the pictures I took show (based on the underwing) that they were actually female Scarce Coppers (oransjegullvinge) of which I also saw the very distinctive males.

I tried my luck with dragonflies and damselflies and identified 3 species of dragonfly – Black Dater (svart høstlibelle), Four-spotted Chaser (firflekklibelle) and Brown Hawker (brun øyenstikker) - and one of damselfly - Common Blue Damselfly (stor blåvannymfe) although there were other species that I never managed to photograph of dragonfly that I didn’t manage to photo (ID in front of the computer is as far as I have come with these species groups). Black Darter remains by far the commonest species with thousands of them and I only saw a handful of large dragons.

What about the non-raptor birds though? On the lake there was an adult and two juvenile Arctic Terns one of which was begging for food. I had a couple of juv Red-backed Shrikes and 2 very fresh and presumably juvenile Marsh Warblers where a male had been singing in the late spring strongly suggesting successful local breeding. The Whooper Swan family is still going strong and I found the remains of the missing youngster although couldn’t make out how it had died. I also had a pair of Cranes and I reckon this species will attempt to nest in not too many years.

More signs of migration were my first returning Meadow Pipits.

I took a ridiculous numbers of photos. Here is jut a selection.


juvenile Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)

an adult and 2 juv Arctic Terns (rødnebbterne)

Cormorants (storskarv and an Arctic Tern)

Cranes (trane) - an unusual summer sighting in Maridalen

flyover Black Woodpecker (svartspett)

all 9 Whooper Swans (sangsvane) 
Willow Warbler (løvsanger)

juvenile Wren (gjerdesmett)
 Butterflies (please inform me of any incorrect IDs:

Comma (Hvit C)
Brimstone (sitronsommerfugl)

Dark Green Fritillary (aglajaperlemorving)

Green-veined White (rapssommerfugl)

Large White (stor kålsommerfugl) I believe
and I believe a Small White (liten kålsommerfugl)

Lesser Marbled Fritillary (engperlemorvinge)

Painted Lady (tistelsommerfugl) - one of 4 I saw

Queen of Spain Fritillary (sølvkåpe)


3 QoSF in mating mood 
note the sexual organ? or egg laying opening? of the bird on the right

and much more visible here

female Scarce Copper (oransjegullvinge) which in the field I mistook for a male Small Copper (ildgullvinge)

Male Scarce Copper

Silver-washed Fritillary (keiserkåpe)


SwF and bumblebee sp

Small Tortoiseshell (nesle sommerfugl)

Brown Hawker (brun øyenstikker)

Common Blue Damselfly (stor Blåvannnymfe) 
Four-spotted Chaser (firflekklibelle)

frog sp - there are two species of frog in Norway and I haven't worked out how to tell them apart..

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