Thursday, 7 November 2019

Grosbeaks becoming famous

What a great couple of days I have had!

Wednesday started with a radio interview on Grosbeaks that went out live at 07:50 (with the family eating breakfast and listening to it on the radio) and then went straight into two days of fun and successful guiding.

The radio interview also resulted in a web article including some of my pictures which you can read here.

I was guiding Peter Law (see blog here) and Ewan Urquhart (see blog here and also author of the Helm Stonechats Guide) who had read the article for Birdguides last week on the Grosbeak invasion and decided to hop on a plane to see them!

Whilst being interviewed for the radio there were 4 Grosbeaks to look at (not really that important on the radio but they wanted it to be authentic) but when I returned with Peter and Ewan a couple of hours later the glum faces of a handful of birders/ photographers told us the birds were no longer there. Luckily I had done my homework on Monday and it wasn’t long before we were at another site and enjoying loads of Grosbeaks in great light! We enjoyed these birds both days and had a minimum of 34 birds with the largest single group being 18 although there was lots of coming and going with the birds frequently being scared off. Sparrowhawks were in the area and this seemed to spook the birds but what could have been a fantastic experience happened when a Pygmy Owl shot over with its eye on either a Grosbeak or a Waxwing but it all happened too quickly and all the birds disappeared from sight without me seeing what the result was.

When we saw the Grosbeaks on Wednesday I commented that I wished that they had fed in one particular bush because the background could give some very interesting pictures. Well they did feed in this bush on Thursday so you can judge how interesting the pictures turned out…

Apart from the Grosbeaks we looked for Little Auk (a good find by Peter that gave amazing views), Hazel Grouse (heard singing repeatedly at ca.30m but we just couldn’t see it) and Great Grey Owl (a real long shot which didn’t pan out).

Although the Grosbeaks fed in rowan bushes a lot they also frequently disappeared in spruce trees where they ate buds. We also saw them feeding on the floor below a spruce (not sure what they were eating) and eating buds of pine trees and an unidentified deciduous tree (not birch) so showing how varied a diet they have.

Pine Grosbeak (konglebit) - adult female or  youngster

from a distance I thought I had found another Grosbeak but it turned out to be a berry eating rat 4 meters up a tree!

Peter and Ewan fulfilling their dream

a rather close Little Auk (alkekonge)

adult male Grosbeak

and in the bush I had hoped for. With the fjord, the city and a flag in the background. Only problem was getting angles right and composing the picture I wanted before the birds moved on which happened too quickly

9 birds together

and here in the unidentified deciduous tree where some were eating buds. 15 are visible in the picture and there were another 3 further down

spot the birdy

the Grosbeaks briefly joined some Waxwings (sidensvans) in a feeding frenzy

Nutcracker (nøttekråke)
a slightly small billed Parrot Crossbill (furukorsnebb)

still sources of air pollution in Oslo

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