Thursday, 2 November 2017


A couple of sightings caught my attention on Tuesday. The first was a Turtle Dove just south of Oslo plus a report of 100 Guillemots Razorbills (but no other species) from the Oslo Fjord. The dove was interesting because I have only seen the species twice before in Norway but given the late date there was also the possibility of it being even rarer. The Razorbills were quite fascinating because as far as I am aware there has not been any particular winds that would push them up and also the fact that there were no other auks reported was unusual.

I decided therefore to investigate both these sightings yesterday. I first stopped at Østensjøvannet (not the one in Oslo, but the other one). Here there were no interesting wildfowl but a very interesting passerine. I picked it up on call and couldn’t immediately place it and then saw it flying over. It was clearly a bunting but I saw no plumage features. I then had a memory. Last week saw a mini influx of Black-headed Buntings in to Norway and I had listened to the call just in case. Wasn’t this the same call? I whipped out the phone and played the call and yes, I would say it sounded pretty darn similar! Of course, the observation can never be anything more than one that got away but it gave me a nice little adrenalin rush.

I was, unsurprisingly, unable to find the Turtle Dove although did have a Great Grey Shrike nearby which was to be the first of three in total during the day.

I then headed to Krokstrand to view the fjord. The sea was dead calm and there were indeed Razorbills everywhere. They were sitting on the sea in small groups and flying in all directions. There were a minimum of 100 and amongst them I had a single Little Auk which was my first of the year and 2 Guillemots. I can never before remember an influx of auks where Razorbills have been the commonest species with it normally being Guillemots or Little Auks that predominate.

Even more interesting than the auks was a Dutch Submarine that sailed south past me. Submarines are not exactly a common sighting for me and I really can’t think why a Dutch one would be in the Oslo Fjord but I’m sure it was a friendly visit!

Razorbills (alke) heading north
one on the sea

a Cormorant (storskarv)

and a submarine


  1. Guillemots or Razorbills .... a bit like a French submarine or a Dutch submarine ....

    Sorry, I am being pedantic but the auk species suddenly (and correctly obviously!) changes very early on in this post.

    Hope all good Simon. Check out the new buttons on the ringing and migration page of the Bean Geese website for some very interesting data on the multiple sightings of the marked bean geese (i.e.,



  2. Cheers Brian, mistake is now corrected :-) T