Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Oslo Island birding

It’s all a bit autumny at the moment with rain, northerly winds and a cold dampness in the air that does not do much to increase your desire to be outside. But it is exactly these sorts of conditions that one does need to brave if you want to see anything exciting. Jules Bell was out on Gressholmen yesterday and found two Red-necked Grebes which is a very good local bird. I persuaded him to join me today for a thorough visit to not just Gressholmen but also Lindøya and Nakkholmen. We listed up our expectations for the day. Mine included Mugimaki, Pallas’s Warbler, Hume’s Warbler and Firecrest. Jules who has now birded Oslo enough times to know where the expectations should lie settled with Rock Pipit.

Passerines were not very cooperative and there were no warblers, chats or pipits of any description with a flyover Snow Bunting the absolute highlight. Waterbirds were slightly better. The two Red-necked Grebes, an adult and a stripy juvenile, were still present and gave good scope views. We also had a few Common and Velvet Scoter, Guillemot and a single Red-throated Diver but not the large numbers of sea duck that I had hoped might have turned up. We did have some waders though with two Purple Sandpipers and a late Oystercatcher. So, my expectation may not have been met it wasn’t too bad.

We had a couple of Common Seals and foxes on both Gressholmen and Lindøya. We saw a lot of droppings on Gressholmen and it is clear that the animal was eating a lot of rowan berries and one must wonder how long it can survive on them.

distance and light did not make it easy to photograph the Red-necked Grebes (gråstrupedykker) but this should count as a record shot. The juvenile is on the left with a stripy cheek and red neck whereas as the adult is in winter plumage and no longer has a red neck.

2 Purple Sandpipers (fjæreplytt)

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