Tuesday, 30 April 2019


I had a chance to start early  today and eventually decided to get up at 6am after having woken at 0515 but thinking that was too early. My plan had been to go to Maridalen but a message from Bjørn Olav that 2 Red-necked Grebes were offshore from Fornebu made me change my plans. I dropped breakfast as I know that birds soon disappear from the fjord as they get driven off by boats. I was on site at 0615 and soon found them a good way out swimming purposefully towards Bygdøy. I quickly decided to head there as the chance of close views of summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe is not to be missed. I took a slight detour to Storøykilen but a whole minute of waiting did not reveal either the Grasshopper Warbler or Corncrake which was discovered singing yesterday evening.
Arriving at Huk, a pair of Great Crested Grebes flew by, the Red-neckeds were on the sea and a Slavonian was with some Goldeneye. The Red-neckeds were not as close as I hoped although definitely within Oslo territorial waters ;-).
I also heard and then saw a Whimbrel, a Common Tern was fishing offshore and there were still 6 Purple Sands on the rocks. It was very birdy!! Soon though a couple of "pleasure" boats shot past and all the interesting birds vanished.

Time to head to Maridalen then but here there was not much to see at all in the way of migrants. Breeding birds were better though with Three-toed and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. There was also action from the Whooper Swans.
The new pair has still not given up its hope of breeding in the Dale and today was at the traditional breeding site whilst the traditional pair was down on the main lake. They then returned to the breeding site and saw off the intruders with a lot of noise and proud wing flapping. All this rivalry seems to have delayed breeding and it would be possible for both pairs to breed but the traditional pair just seems too concerned with keeping the whole valley too itself that they have forgotten what they should really be focusing on now: nest building.

the distant view of the Red-necked Grebes (gråstrupedykker) from Fornebu as they swam towards Bygdøy

and 25 minutes later from Bygdøy

not often you see them in flight

with the buildings of Fornebu in the background

and a Slavonian Grebe (horndykker) with a Goldeneye (kvinand) - honestly!

female Three-toed Woodpecker - the deformed toes on the right foot show this to be the same female that bred last year. More to come on this bird and her mate later

male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (dvergspett)

female top and male bottom

close up of the female

Purple Sandpipers (fjæreplytt) now coming into summer plumage

my first Whimbrel (småspove) of the year

another Adder - this time a young(ish) female

Monday, 29 April 2019


The weekend saw me very much in (an involuntary) non birding mode and I feared thay with a lot of rain initially forecast that a lot of good birds would be found that I would be unable to see. Luckily for me the rain and the birds did not come.

Today I started by twitching the one good bird that did turn up which was a singing Grasshopper Warbler at Fornebu. There look to have only been 3 previous records from Fornebu with the last in 2009 although breeding occurred in 2003. It is ironic that this bird turned up in the reedbed at Storøykilen after all the bushes have been cleared away because usually this species avoids pure reedbeds and instead likes the bushy edges (which are all gone now). I actually got to see it really well in the reeds and also videod it singing which was a good start to the day.

I then decided to head for Østensjøvannet in Ås where I hoped I would be able to find some raptors as this seemed the best tactic on a day when temperatures reached 24C (in Norway, in April!). Two hours gave me a single Marsh Harrier, early Hobby, Osprey and Kestrel which was at the lower end of expectations but still a result of some sort.

Grasshopper Warbler (gresshoppesanger)

here the bird is walking away in typical mouse like style

a photogenic Jackdaw (kaie)

cleaning its eye

male Marsh Harrier

4 White-fronted Geese (tundragås) which have been aroudn for a while now

the Beast was very interested by the scent of Beaver on this newly felled tree and then turned Beaver himself

before discovering this Adders for me

Friday, 26 April 2019

Black-tailed Godwit

At some point early this morning I awoke and heard a Willow Warbler singing outside – a sure sign of migration and when I woke up properly and looked up it was cloudy and there had clearly been some rain overnight – a very promising sign! The signs though were a bit misleading. I didn’t start very early and went first up into the Dale. The water level in the lake is extremely high and there will be very waders here this spring unfortunately. The fields had a lot of birds – 500 Wood Pigeons feeding on seed the farmer had hoped would germinate and provide him an income. There were also 6 Wheatears and a Whinchat which was sign of an arrival. I heard a Red-throated Diver flying over and then shortly afterwards had a Great Crested Grebe fly over me which is an extremely unusual sight! It felt like things were happening and I then received a message that a Great White Egret had just flown over Østensjøvannet. Another sign!

I felt it would be best to head to Nordre Øyeren again although was a bit worried that the cloud was clearing and that too much sun would make viewing difficult. When I arrived at Merkja I saw Rune and stopped rather than continuing to Svellet which had been my initial plan. As we spoke it was clear that the sun was going to break through which would make it very difficult at Svellet. I decided to have a scan of Merkja before heading off and just as well because there was a Black-tailed Godwit! A rare bird in these parts it also looked to be of the subspecies limosa rather than the more regularly encountered (at least in autumn) islandica. We decided that we would come back to this bird and headed the short distance to Svellet. The water level had risen a touch from yesterday but there was still enormous areas of mud and shallow water but where were the birds? In the end we found just 8 Oystercatcher, 7 Curlew, 4 Greenshank, 2 Ruff and about 200 distant Teal resting in one corner. Had a raptor scared everything off or is there just little food? At this time of the year everyday should bring more birds so time will tell.

Tuentangen offered up three Garganey but little else and raptors were restricted to just Kestrel and Sparrowhawk with a pair of Kestrel looking to be breeding in an old crows nest on an electricity pylon.

Black-tailed Godwit (svarthalespove)

the extensive grey in the plumage and long bill suggest it is of the subspecies limosa

there is some barring on one of the tertials

Kestrels on a pylon next to what I assume to be an old crows nest 
a surprise Peregine (vandrefalk) in Maridalen

Ring Ouzel (ringtrost) in Maridalen

5 Wheatears (steinskvett) on favoured stones in Maridalen

and a close up of one of the females

and a smart male Whinchat (buskskvett)

this adult female? Goshawk was hunting Wood Pigeons which after an unsuccesful hunt settled in the same tree as her 
the same bird looking to be very sturdy (i.e female)

this bird flew over at the same time and appears smaller and is probably her mate

flyover Great Crested Grebe (toppdykker) - first time I can remember seeing one above me!

Black-throated Divers (storlom) often congregate in groups although I'm not sure why

Cranes (trane)

three Garganey (knekkand) and a Teal (krikkand)