Thursday, 10 January 2019

Meagre pickings in the forest

It was time to move the body after the Christmas excesses and with no wind, blue skies and temperatures at a relatively warm -5C it was a good day for a walk in the forest. As regular readers of this blog will know walks in the forest can occasionally give some good birds but it is best not to get your hopes up too high. I chose to walk up to Mellomkollen which at 537m is one of the highest points close to Oslo. I started at 180m so had a good walk although I did turn around just below the top. At the beginning I was walking in tracks made by skiers and a few dog walkers in snow that had fallen on Monday night but after not too long I was walking where no human had been since the snow fell although it would be wrong to describe it as virgin snow because there were tracks in it. It was clear that a number of animals used the path and I identified roe deer, hare and saw some tracks from rodents and there were also 2 sets of tracks (and urine marking) from medium sized predators which I think was both fox and pine marten. With the area clearly not having had visits from human or dogs for at least 3 days I did allow my hopes of finding grouse to be raised but ultimately (and despite using every trick at my disposal) I failed to find any grouse. The day was saved though with a female Three-toed Woodpecker which showed at close range (which is usual with this species once you have managed to find one) and she even drummed a bit. The commonest bird in the forest was Goldcrest and two Wrens deep in the forest were a surprise and a sign that the winter has not been too cold yet. I only had a single tit which was a Coal Tit and the only finches were a fly over Redpoll and calling Bullfinch so not much to report after 3 hours walking. The species list was completed with a calling Black Woodpecker, a Treecreeper and a Dipper on a small stream that has yet to freeze over.

female Three-toed Woodpecker (tretåspett)

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