BIRD GUIDING AROUND OSLO

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 - the year that was part II

July is holiday time. This year we didn't have our usual week in Beitostølen so I missed repeated visits to lekking Great Snipe (although had got my fill whilst guiding earlier in the year) but I did pop in on my drive back from the north of Norway to see the male Pallid Harriers that had summered there.

this adult Little Gull (dvergmåke) showed very well on a mountain lake near Røros on our drive north

The Asian (stejneger's) White-winged Scoter (knoppsjøorre) near Bodø for it's third summer

male Pallid Harrier (steppehauk)



August is a good month for guiding around Oslo with wader passage in full swing, raptors up in the air and passerine migration starting up

this juvenile Arctic Tern (rødnebbterne) was a real surprise in Maridalen at the beginning of the month

this spot turned out to be a Red Kite (glente) and was a real surprise in Maridalen

juvenile Red-backed Shrikes are always a delight in August

the breeding male Black Redstart was looking very grotty when moulting in August

Honey Buzzards (vepsevåk) proved hard to find in 2017 but this male showed well

Cuckoos are also becoming scarce so it was nice to see this juv in Maridalen

and a photogenic Common Buzzard (musvåk)

September is about my annual visit to Værøy but there is still a bit to be found around Oslo with seawatching sometimes giving results. Highlight for me on Værøy this year was a Siberian Thrush with a good supporting cast of Siberian Stonechat, Savi's Warbler, Olive-backed Pipit, Little Bunting and of course Yellow-browed Warbler which on its own would make the trip worthwhile. Seawatching in the Oslofjord was quite good this year and I racked up Manx Shearwater, Sandwich Tern, Great Skua and record numbers of Gannets.

I paid my first ever visit to Lista where this Citrine Wagtail (sitronerle) was the highlight

a self found Black Tern (svartterne) at Svellet was also a Norwegian tick

every September I spend some time with the Taiga Bean Geese on their migration from Sweden to Scotland. Breeding success seems to have been very poor this year

an usually cooperative Water Rail (vannriske) although it never came fully out of the reeds 
Maridalen's Whooper Swan family. 8 eggs hatched but one youngster died young and then another youngster disappeared after this photo



Olive-backed Pipit (sibirpiplerke) on Værøy

Jack Snipe (kvartbekkasin) on Værøy

and of course Yellow-browed Warbler (gulbrynsanger)

the highlight of the trip - Siberian Thrush

of course it deserved a selfie

Siberian Stonechat 

October can be a quiet month around Oslo but southerly storms can always bring some seabirds into the fjord. Those storms didn't materialise this year but Maridalen came up with the goods when I found Oslo's first Great White Egret whilst on a mushroom picking trip with Mrs OB and Fornebu despite the continued development that is going on had some decent birds.

Great White Egret (egrethegre) and Grey Heron (gråhegre)

Siberian (tristis) Chiffchaff

and if I had revisited Værøy with Kjell and Geir then maybe I would have seen this - Mugimaki Flycatcher

it's difficult to get tired of Bearded Tits

or Snow Buntings

November sees the onset of winter so it is the more special over wintering birds that become my priority. Fornebu saw lots of visits in the never ending search for an even better Bearded Tit photo and Maridalen had a couple of photogenic Pygmy Owls. Trips into the forest revealed little (unlike last year) except for one very onfiding Three-toed Woodpecker.

Woodlark at Fornebu was definitely rare

but Three-toed Woodpeckers are just difficult to find

Pygmy Owl - a minature killing machine


more beards


Golfinches (stillits) - not rare but still nice

December should be the least exciting month but one bird ensured that the birding excitement continued until the year end. I paid regular visits to Fornebu from October to December and had a hope of finding something with stripes. Yellow-browed or Pallas's Warbler were at the top of my mind at the start of the period but after the middle of November I was thinking of Firecrest especially as a record 7 were seen together in SW Norway. On 6 December my stripes materialised - Akershus's first record of Firecrest!


Firecrest (rødtoppfuglekonge)



and a Treecreeper - common but not often you see them so close

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