Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Au revoir winter

Winter said goodbye or more likely “au revoir” with overnight snow but temperatures are now at +5C and we will have rain tomorrow so spring is winning.

I had a hope that the change in weather would cause some fall of migrants but the snow started too early last night and there was low cloud so no sane birds were moving but not all birds are sane. One species I have been waiting to find in Maridalen is Snow Bunting and I have had my eyes on places where snow has been cleared on fields and stubble is sticking through and sure enough today as I drove past one such place I saw two Snow Buntings fly up. Getting out of the car revealed after a bit of searching three resting in a tree. These soon started calling and then flew off and joined a flock of over 20 that appeared over the field. They flew around quite a lot and touched down a couple of times but never looked settled and eventually flew off to the south. Apart from these birds there was very little in Maridalen but I still noted my first Goldeneye, Greylag, Starling and Green Woodpecker for the year plus Chaffinches were noted here and there. Green Woodpecker is a species that vanishes in the winter but come April suddenly seems to be everywhere (at least in Maridalen) as they give there yaffling “song”.

Earlier in the day I had visited Bygdøy. The snow covered fields held only a few Greylags and there were no flocks of thrushes – not even single birds. At Huk there were no grounded migrants but the six Purple Sandpipers showed incredibly well. Instead of their usual tactic of feeding on the wrong side of the small rocky islands they were feeding on the mainland and allowed me to get incredibly close. Whether it was the sleet or complete lack of other people (and dogs) that made them so confiding I don’t know but the sleet and bad light made photography more challenging than I would have liked because I was closer to this species than I have ever been before and they were feeding and preening without a care in the world.

mussels were on the menu today for this Purple Sandpiper (fjæreplytt)

not often one sees a Snow Bunting (snøspurv) high in a tree

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