Friday, 29 December 2017

2017 - the year that was Part I

2017 goes down in the annals of the OsloBirder as my most successful year (although hopefully only to date). I saw some great birds, most of them were self-found and a lot were found whist guiding.
Highlights of the self-found were: Greenish Warbler, Firecrest, Caspian Tern, Asian White-winged Scoter (returning bird that I found in 2015), Black Tern, Pallid Harrier, Red Kite, Olive-backed Pipit and Caspian Gull.

In addition, seeing Siberian Thrush and Siberian Accentor for the first time and having repeated and close encounters with Great Grey Owls, Red-breasted Flycatchers and 2 male Pallid Harriers helped make 2017 a truly memorable year.

January saw me visiting rubbish dumps in search of gulls plus bumping into the odd Hawkie and Kingfisher

Glaucous Gull (polarmåke) on a dump in Østfold 
A Caspian Gull (or perhaps a hybrid) at the same dump

February saw Glaucous and Iceland Gulls in nice (i.e non dump) localities in Oslo plus quite a few Hawkies to choose between. Nightime owling trips also revealed Tengmalm's and Great Grey Owls

Iceland Gull (grønnlandsmåke) in Oslo

Glaucous Gull in Oslo

Hawk Owl in the forests north of Oslo

Tengmalm's Owl (perleugle) in the forests of Akershus

March is always an exciting month with the first spring migrants appearing and this year I also enojoyed a 5 second view of the undoubted European rarity of 2016 - Siberian Accentor

Siberian Accentor (sibirjernspurv) which showed for me for 5 seconds and allowed one over exposed picture.. 
my first Brent Goose (ringgås) in Oslo was a lot more photogenic

Snow Buntings passed through Maridalen in good numbers

although Twite (bergirisk) are becoming scarcer

breeding Tawny Owls (kattugle) provided lots of entertainment

April sees many more migrants appearing although is often an irritating month as the first migrants have already arrived at the end of March and then can be few new species before the big surge of insect eaters comes in May,
a male Pied Wagtail (rather than White) is a rare sight around Oslo

April is good for migrating raptors and Marsh Harrier (sivhauk) is a species increasing in numbers

May is always the best month with the last migrants appearing and exciting breeding species revealing themselves. 2017 also saw a return to wintery weather on 10 and 11 May which caused a huge grounding of migrants around Oslo

May 11 was a very special day in Maridalen. Snow and many birds. Here a male Lapland Bunting (lappspurv)

and male Bluethroat (blåstrupe)

and Slavonian Grebe (horndykker)

and migrating Greenshanks (gluttnsnipe)

The good birds continued later in May including my first Norwegian Caspian Tern (rovterne) 
this gorgeous male Scaup (bergand) showed well in Maridalen

Common Rosefinch (rosenfink) is a late arriving migrant but one that makes your day

2017 was a record year for breeding Great Grey Owls (lappugle)

I found breeding Grey-headed Woodpecker (gråspett) for the first time

and Ortolans (hortulan) seem to be holding on at their last remaining sites

Oslo's first ever Firecrest (rødtoppfuglekonge) was a singing male that stayed around for only a few days

but this unpaired Greenish Warbler (østsanger) which I found whilst guiding for Hazel Grouse hung around for weeks to the delight of many

not often that one gets to see (rather than hear) Corncrake (åkerrikse)

Norway's only known singing Rustic Bunting (vierspurv) was unpaired and may wellbe the last singing of bird of a species that is in global decline

this female Red-necked Phalarope (svømmesnipe) laid an egg in front of me
young Hawk Owl

June is about getting to grips with all the exciting breeding birds that southern Norway has to offer with trips to the mountains in Oppland and the deep forests of Hedmark

Black Redstarts sing in Oslo every year but this year they also bred

the first time I have found a juvenile Hawfinch (kjernebiter)

young Great Grey Owl

and a watchful parent

Hobby (lerkefalk) in Maridalen
2017 was in many ways the year of the Red-breasted Flycatcher in Oslo and this is the adult male who had a very complicated family life in Maridalen

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