The last few days have been holiday time in Norway with first the national day on 17 May and then a long bank holiday weekend. During the 17 May celebrations in the city centre I saw a female Pied Wagtail collecting food in the same area as one bred last year.
The long weekend was spent celebrating a good friend’s 50th birthday in Hardanger in the west of Norway. The long drive (six and a half hours with no stops) had to be enjoyed and we drove over Hardangervidda on the way there and then Haukelifjell and an overnight stop in Rauland in Telemark on the way back. On the way there I saw a female plumaged Smew on a lake near Geilo. When this bird started displaying to a female Goldeneye and raised its crest I realised it was a young male. There was surprisingly little snow on Hardangervidda but I did not stop as much as I should, so a Willow Grouse and a few Golden Plovers were the best birds whereas with a bit more perseverance I should also have seen Ptarmigan. Hardanger had few interesting birds.
The birding highlights of the trip came at Rauland. The area has unfortunately suffered from a lot of recent development with cabins everywhere, but the area looks great for mountain birds. I regret not having had a nocturnal drive as I would expect that Great Snipe are to be found here. I did get up nearly in the morning though and had brilliant views of Cuckoo, Bluethroat and Willow Grouse. Despite lots of marshes waders were surprisingly scare with just a handful of Redshank and Common Sands and a single displaying Snipe. There was evidence of rodents and I saw a couple of voles but the only raptor was a Rough-legged Buzzard and I found no owls. The Rl Buzzard was in fact the only raptor of the entire trip which was an exceptionally bad show!
I did get to watch and video record Cuckoo and Bluethroat at ridiculously close range though so was very happy with that but have so much video to go through that I will take bit of time before I can post it.
|singing male Bluethroat (blåstrupe)|
|male Rough-legged Buzzard (fjellvåk). The only raptor on a 910km trip!|
|2cy male Smew (lappfiskand) with Goldeneyes (kvinand)|
|male Willow Grouse (lirype)|
|sun set over the Hardangervidda as seen from Rauland|
|Folgefonna National Park and Glacier seen from Strandebarm looking over the Hardangerfjord|
|female Pied Wagtail (type)|