Up at 5am this morning and 4 glorious hours in Maridalen before breakfast was a fantastic, if not particularly bird rich, start to today.
The first good bird was before I even left the house when I heard the croaking of a Red-throated Diver flying over the house whilst I was sitting on the loo! What was quite possibly the same bird was flying many circuits of Maridalen when I got there and seemed to be very annoyed that the lake was still frozen. A heavy overnight frost meant that the temperature was -2C at 0520 and all the edges of the lake had frozen over again.
Migration was pretty much non-existent except for a single Curlew (I had hoped for Whimbrel) and also a few gulls heading north. So I had no new birds for the year and instead concentrated on finding breeding species.
On the main island in the lake 2 pairs of Barnacle Geese seemed to be vying for ownership of the island although I suspect that the Mute Swan pair that was also there will win that fight should they decide to breed. A stop to listen into the forest east of Maridalen revealed a singing Black Grouse but no woodpeckers. Woodpeckers did reveal themselves other places though with a couple of Green and many drumming Great Spotted. The biggest surprise though was when I heard the drumming of Three-toed from an area I had always hoped would house one. After a lot of work I eventually confirmed that there were two birds drumming close to each other plus a Great Spot. It also looked like both the Three-toes were females but I will try to confirm that later in the week as I onnly saw one bird well at close range. After this I was able to enjoy the growing warmth of the sun and the sound of 100’s of frogs croaking and swimming in an enormous lake of spawn. I also found Whooper Swans on the nest, had drumming Common Snipe, displaying Green Sandpipers, singing Tree Pipits, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiffchaff and a male Kestrel catching and ripping the head off a mouse.
So, there may not have been anything too rare and the wonders of migration evaded me but Maridalen delivered the goods as always.
|male Kestrel (tårnfalk) with mouse|
|here it has just started on the mouse and a large chunk of fur is sailing through the air|
|a still frozen Maridalsvannet and the main island where a few gulls try to breed plus Barnacle Geese (maybe also Greylag and Canada) and perhaps this year, for the first time, Mute Swans|
|female Three-toed Woodpecker (tretåspett) one of two drumming birds. It will be interesting to see if they were jsut moving through to a breeding site or whether they have already found their breeding site|
|a huge concentration of frogs and spawn|
|a family trip to Fornebu revealed this Moorhen trying to hide from us by submerging itself. I have never witnessed this before but have frequently wondered where Moorhens have disappeared to and this would probably explain it|