|a well marked (old) female Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)|
|a Swallowtail caterpillar|
|a High Brown Fritillary (adippeperlemorvinge)|
|Norway's 6th Pied-billed Grebe (ringnebbdykker)|
|and the Asian White-winged Scoter (knoppsjøorre) back for its 4th summer and getting more and more distant every year|
My birthday on 10 August resulted in some very good birds but none seen well with Broad-billed Sandpiper, Red Kite and Med Gull. As the month progressed Black Redstarts, Bluethroats, Honey Buzzards and Hobbies became apparent around Oslo and the last day of the month was a red-letter day with King Eider and Red-necked Grebe on a boat trip around Bygdøy and the islands.
|Hobby (lerkefalk) in Maridalen|
|a recently fledged Black Redstart (svartrødstjert) in Oslo|
|migrating Bluethroat (blåstrupe) in Maridalen|
The Red-necked Grebe stayed through September and allowed some very close views. At Årnestangen there were regular Hen and Marsh Harriers and a Great White Egret to keep me entertained. Just before I headed off to Værøy a great days birding gave Great Skua, Fulmar and Gannet from Bygdøy (all v.rare in Oslo) and a Yellow-browed Warbler at Fornebu. Værøy of course produced lots of Yellow-broweds but the weather was against us and a fine Red-flanked Bluetail was the only really decent bird we had although Blyth’s Reed, Iceland Gull and Grey-headed Woodpecker were also nice.
|Great White Egret (egrethegre) Årnestangen|
|juvenile male Hen Harrier (myrhauk) Årnestangen|
|a very pale (old) male Marsh Harrier (sivhauk) at Årnestangen|
|a far from shy young Dunlin (myrsnipe)|
|Yellow-browed Warber (gulbrynsanger)|
|juvenile Red-necked Grebe (gråstrupedykker)|
|unusually good views of a Fulmar (havhest) from land|
|juvenile Iceland Gull (grønlandsmåke)|
|The highlight of Værøy 2018 was this Red-flanked Bluetail (blåstrupe)|
In October we had a few days with good winds from the south which resulted in some half decent seabird sessions but never anything too scarce. 9 Guillemots ended up on Maridalsvannet with 2 surviving into December. Just after I returned from Værøy in September I saw a 2nd winter Med Gull in Maridalen but never got any photos of it. Luckily it hung around Oslo and in mid October I was able to catch up with it eating worms with Common Gulls on a playing field. Some twitching saw me bag a new lifer in the form of an ultra skulky Brown Shrike which others were ticking based on a shadow in flight but which I was lucky enough to get photos of. Best bird of the month though was a Siberian Tit at Fornebu which must go down as the most unexpected bird of 2018.
|this Gannet (havsule) was blown in to Oslo by the strong winds|
|and these Guillemots (lomvi) ended up on Maridalsvannet|
|2nd winter Mediterranean Gull (svartehavsmåke) in Oslo|
|October is always a good time for seeing Long-tailed Tits (stjertmeis)|
|Brown Shrike (brunvarsler)|
|the (presumed) long staying Red-necked Grebe in nearly full winter plumage|
|and bird of the year - Fornebu's Siberian Tit (lappmeis)|
In November I got a glimpse of a Great Grey Owl but more than good views of a Golden Eagle at the same site were a very good compensation. The highlight of the month, and probably the year, was a spur of the moment trip to stay with Kjell in Jæren. We started off by twitching a Buff-bellied Pipit (there has been some discussion as the sub species ID but I feel confident it is an American bird), then finding two Firecrests and then finding Norway’s 6th ever Great Spotted Eagle! Next day we found a Water Pipit and twitched a Desert Wheatear as well as seeing Two-barred Crossbill and Short-eared Owl, so the trip was a resounding success!
Back home I eventually found some Bearded Tits after they had failed to turn up at Fornebu and a Marsh Tit in Maridalen was surprisingly my first ever there. A Pygmy Owl also showed very well in Maridalen.
|a Little Grebe (dvergdykker) at Østensjøvannet|
|Golden Eagle (kongeørn) making a Goshawk (hønsehauk) look tiny|
|Smew (lappfiskand) at Østensjøvannet|
|Norway's 6th ever Greater Spotted Eagle (storskrikørn)|
|(American) Buff-bellied Pipit (myrpiperke)|
|male Desert Wheatear (økernsteinskvett)|
|Peregrine (vandrefalk) chasing a Snipe (enkeltbekkasin)|
|Short-eared Owl (jordugle)|
|Bearded Tit (skjeggmeis)|
|Marsh Tit (løvmeis) finally in Maridalen|
December rarely brings much new but there were still Chiffchaffs at Fornebu, Pygmy Owls were easy to find and Smew and Water Rail showed well at Østensjøvannet. A Glaucous Gull gave me the run around but I finally got to see it at the 9th attempt.
|photogenic Pygmy Owl (spurveugle)|
|Water Rail (vannrikse)|