Monday, 4 September 2017

Lista Bird Fair

My first trip to Lista was a very enjoyable affair. The company of like minded souls, good weather and some good birds all contributed to a great weekend although 2 x 7 hours driving in a car packed with 5 males and lots of baggage would ideally not have been part of the experience ;-)

The Bird Fair consisted of a 9 hour bird race and then a social gathering with a talk about feathers on owls (don’t ask) and then a competition which would result in the rather ambitious title of Norwegian Birding Champion being awarded. The team I was a member of (in the illustrious company of Andreas Gullberg, Rune Zakariassen and Knut Eie) recorded 112 species which put us in joint second place which given our lack of local knowledge was a very satisfactory result. The members of the best four (?) teams were then allowed to compete in the competition which started with 20 mystery bird photos which were just shown for a few seconds and could consist of more than one species. I came joint first in this part of the competition which then went to a counting competition where four of us were briefly shown five photos and had to estimate how many birds there were. I started very badly when I estimated 100 birds from a photo that had 50 and where everyone else was in the 30-50 range but came back strongly and ended up joint first after the second phase. Two of us then went into sudden death. We both got the first two photos right before getting the next three wrong (and both giving the same wrong suggestion) before I didn’t have a clue on the 6th picture (wasn’t even completely convinced it was a duck…) but my 18 year old opponent, Benjamin Grimsby, deservedly saw it for what it was (a Long-tailed Duck) and I had to settle for being the second best birder in Norway….

What birds did we see though? On the way down we twitched a Little Egret and then on the day we had White-billed Diver, male Two-barred Crossbill and Citrine Wagtail (although this was after the race had finished). Lista is definitely a great birding locality although it was a bit strange to see how excited the locals were with Black Woodpecker and Nutcracker which I am used to seeing in Maridalen. Both these species turn up rarely at Lista where they often try to migrate out to see but end up turning around (as they did when we were there). British birders will undoubtedly wish that they didn’t turn around and it could well be via Lista that the very few British records of Nutcracker have originated from Lista and although Black Woodpecker hasn’t made it to the UK maybe one day…

The lighthouse at Lista. The bird observatory uses the lighthouse buildings and rings in the lighthouse garden
The two black spots are Black Woodpeckers that thought better of flying out to see but did stop in a bush and on a pylon

juv Citrine Wagtail (sitronerle)

this young Great Spotted Woodpecker also looked like it was heading out to see before stopping in the last tree

male Two-barred Crossbill (båndkorsnebb)
this bird was particularly large billed but frequently gave the distinctive trupet call
Little Egret (silkehegre) at dusk

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