Friday, 4 August 2017

Oslo birding again

I am finding it very difficult to sit in front of a computer and blog. It is still the school holidays, I am decorating and it there are far more enjoyable and relaxing things to be doing that being online. I have had some enjoyable birding experiences since being home though and feel now that these have built up enough momentum that a quick blog post is mandated.

In Maridalen the record breaking Whooper Swan family has lost one of their young but the other seven are now almost fully grown. A Hobby is also still present in the valley. It looks to be a 2cy bird and I have seen no evidence of breeding (i.e apart from the first sighting of 3 birds on 21 June I have only seen a single bird and there is no sign of it taking food to a nest) although I did hear it calling yesterday. I assume that it’s just a young non-breeding bird that is hanging around an abundant source of dragonflies but maybe next year there will be breeding.

Nutcrackers have begun their annual movement into the city in search of hazel nuts and specific types of spruce cones.

Red-backed Shrike families are also moving off from their breeding territories and have turned up in Maridalen.

Biggest surprise in Maridalen though has been 2 juvenile Arctic Terns which turned up 30 July and are still present. They would not have bred in the area but this is a very early record – one would normally expect to find Arctic Terns around Oslo in late August or September. When we were in Northern Norway though I saw Arctic Tern chicks that were very large so clearly some areas have had an early breeding season.

Other than Maridalen I have had a couple of visits t Årnestangen where wader passage has started with highlights being adult Broad-billed Sandpiper, Turnstone, Sanderling, Temminck’s Stint, and Grey Plover. It is still early for much raptor passage but Marsh Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Hobby and Osprey are good enough to get started with.

Today, I had an interesting experience when I thought I heard a Spotted Crake singing from a suitable area of habitat. I played the song on my phone and the reply started approaching me and turned out to be a juvenile Teal! The volume was always low but otherwise it sounded just like a Spotted Crake. I wonder how many of the autumn reports of singing Spotted Crakes (heard only) could actually have been juvenile Teals?

From the top: Swift (tårnseiler), Osprey (fiskeørn) and adult White-tailed Eage (havørn) from Årnestangen. The eagles and Ospreys put on a spectacular display but I have a full memory card and managed just one picture which turnd out quite well..

A 1cy/juv Arctic Tern (rødnebbterne) in Maridalen
the lack of a dark trailing edge to the wing and the small, all dark bill help separate from the more expected Common Tern

10 adult Black-throated Divers (storlom) together on Maridalsvannet is  perhaps a sign of a poor breeding season
Hobby (lerkefalk)

2cy male Marsh Harrier (sivhauk). Not a very good picture but shows why this bird is a 2cy: it retains its juvenile outer primaries and nearly all the secondaries and ha only moulted its inner primaries

adult male Red-backed Shrike (tornskate) with newly caught prey

as soon as the male caught the insect this youngster appeared and started getting very excited
the male (left) then flew and gave the food to a youngster (right) and another youngster felt hard done by

Whooper Swans (sangsvane)

a horribly over exposed photo of my first Lesser Marbled Fritillary (engperlemorvinge)

and a fresh black darter (svart høstlibelle) 

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