Saturday, 6 July 2019

Firecrest breeding in Oslo

Whilst we were staying at the cabin in Hulvik news came through of a singing Firecrest which Knut Waagan impressively picked out on song whikst walking in the forest north of S√łrkedalen (Maridalen’s larger but inferior ūüėČ sister valley).  Being only the second record for Oslo and the first twitchable one this naturally attracted some interest and it soon became clear that there was a pair and at least one newlyfledged youngster which made it Norway’s first ever (but long overdue) breeding record. Firecrest was a national rarity until a couple of years ago but many hundreds of pairs breed in southern Sweden so it was expected that they would breed in Norway but there have still only been a handful of singing birds recorded so it is amazing to think that a pair can find each other.
I visited early yesterday morning and the male was easy to hear singing and also showed very well at times. The female showed less frequently but I did see and hear both adults on a few occasions. They were clearly collecting food and returning to the same area high up in a tree a bit in the forest but try as I might I did not see the Firecrest youngster(s) with certainty. I did see though Goldcrest youngsters which on a couple of occasions got me going when the male Firecrest joined them and they then started making lots of noise begging for food. I was sure that I must have found Firecrest young but my pictures just show Goldcrests and in both occasions it was clearly just coincidence that the Firecrest was looking for food in the same place as the (vocal) Goldcrests).

A dog walk in Maridalen in the afternoon revealed a new species for Oslo and one which was caused the Artsobservasjoner website to ask me to double check my sighting – a Yellow-spotted Whiteface / Large white-faced Darter / gulflekktorvlibelle / Leucorrhina pectoralis

I also had my first ever Mazarine Blue / engbl√•vinge but I think this is because I previously have not spent enough time looking at every blue butterfly I see. With both blues and fritillaries I am not learning that a number of different species can fly together so you can’t just check one out and assume the others are the same species.

I took far too many pictures of the Firecrest and probably have better ones but these are the first two that looked good. We are now on our way up to the land of the midnight sun and hoping that the weather forecast will improve.

Firecrest (r√łdtoppfuglekonge)

look at that tongue!

Yellow-spotted Whiteface / Large white-faced Darter / gulflekktorvlibelle / Leucorrhina pectoralis
Oslo's first record and apparantly very unexpected. The next two photos are of a different individual but both are males. Not difficult to see how it gets its name!

my first ever Mazarine Blue / engbl√•vinge 

a Four Spot Darter (firflekkbedlibelle)

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