Monday 22 July 2024

Life choices under review

Just when you think you are happy with how your relationship is you discover that maybe you are just fooling yourself. I gave Fru. Gressholmen the best of me this morning. I thought the early morning rain and a gentle south easterly wind was a sign from the Bird Gods and I boarded the 07:30 ferry full of expectation. Getting off the boat 3 Ringed Plovers on a rock by the quay made me think I had hit gold but getting to the bay an extremely high tide (I had checked the tide tables so knew it would be high tide but not this high..) meant no mud was exposed. I searched all the offshore skerries and islets for roosting birds but only found a handful more Ringed Plovers. A flyover Redshank briefly got my hopes up but I soon had to accept that this relationship is stuck and I unless the other party wants to make changes then I think I need to reassess my life choices.


With no pictures from today here are some raptors and the like from the last few days.

male Hobby (lerkefalk) with prey (a bird) in his bill and the female about to take it from him

the female with the prey in her talons. She then removed the feathers before taking to the nest and feeding the young

this years nest is viewable in the telescope but is too distant to  satisfactorily record the comings and goings digitally

a quasi raptor - male Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)

Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk). This bird was calling like it was one of the juveniles but from this angle looks more like it is mum

I can see you

Friday 19 July 2024

Sun and absence

Fru Gressholmen has clearly chosen the treat them mean, keep them keen strategy but now I have chosen to follow the absence makes the heart grow fonder strategy and see if she will show me some kindness when I next give her some loving.


We have 4 days of sun now so I feel can ignore her and shift my focus away from waders and #Oslo2024 to butterflies and breeding raptors, but only until Monday…when I will undoubtedly be rejected and wet but stronger for it😇

The Honey Buzzards continue to incubate and will not be finished for about another 10 days. At the same time Goshawk young have already left the nest - why would a species that migrates to equatorial Africa nest so late whilst one that is a resident species breed so early? I have also finally found the Hobby nest which had at least one large although still downy young and also found a Sparrowhawk nest (my first ever!).

Butterflies have been dominated by hairstreaks with all three of the Norwegian autumn species showing very well nectaring which for Purple is the first time I have seen this. I had 3 Purple and 4 Brown at Fornebu today.

White-letter Hairstreak (almestjertvinge) - my second nectaring individual

my first Brown Hairstreak (slåpetornstjertvinge) of the year and my earliest ver by 10 days. Even though it can only be a day or two old it has already survived a bird attack

another freah individual

and another

a Purple Hairstreak (eikestjertvinge) - the first time I have seen one nectaring. Unfortunately none of the ones I saw opened their wings

this individual has been attacked by a bird and lost its tails

Swallowtail (svalestjert)

Brimstone (sitronsomerfugl)

Comma (hvit-C)

not often Ringlets (gullringvinge) show their upperside

my firt, and a very early, Brambling (bjørkefink) of the year

and this juvenile Wood Sandpiper (grønnstilk) is the first migrating juvenile wader I have noted

Wednesday 17 July 2024

Relationship counselling

 Well, that was Wednesday.

 My attempts to form a relationship with Gressholmen are teaching me much more about myself than a psychologist ever has and it is much cheaper too! I clearly deal with rejection quite a lot better than I though, and perhaps should, and I am a sucker for punishment who just keeps going back for more. Four visits to in the course of a week has to be some sort of a record which Fru Gressholmen and the bird gods have to reward. I am a simple man to please and just need a Spotted Redshank or a Ruff..

 This morning’s visit in the obligatory rain on the 07:30 ferry gave me 3 Redshank, 2 Greenshank and 2 Common Sandpiper as the only indication of wader migration. Putting my naive optimist hat on (which I suit quite well) then the increase in Redshank numbers is a very positive sign and can be extrapolated to show that the coming weeks have much to offer.

It is still early in the autumn migration for adult birds and the end of July should be a lot better.

 Some good news was that I saw two juvenile Ringed Plovers with their ever vigilant parents and they are nearly fully grown. Three were seen soon after hatching but then just one has been noted although I was quite sure the adults behaviour meant that was at least one other young hiding somewhere which has now been confirmed.

 Beast walking at Fornebu gave me a fly over Yellow Wagtails which goes into the notebook as my first autumn passerine migrant of the year.


I have no pictures from today but have this from a walk in the forest last week.

Monday 15 July 2024

Coping with rejection

As a wise (apparently) man once said «you have to be in it to win it». My hopes for yesterday it turned out were not misplaced just mis-timed. Halvard visited Gressholmen 6 hours after me and had double digit counts of both Wood Sand and Redshank and visitors to Ã…rnestangen had a good selection of waders despite high water levels meaning hardly any exposed mud.

I therefore put the additional disappointment of the football behind me and decided to give Gressholmen another chance. I didn’t wake until 08:30 so hopefully the extra sleep would leave me mentally stronger to face the rejection that was sure to meet me. But, hey, maybe Gressholmen rewards persistence?


If she does reward persistence then it may be more than I can offer. At least a Redshank had joined its Green cousin and there were 2 Dunlin resting on rocky islets (not feeding on the mudflats) but I clearly need to reassess this relationship. The fact that I was not the only birder (we were three) who has been taken in by Gressholmen’s seductive promises perhaps makes me feel a bit less foolish..


the view from Lindøya looking north with rain over Oslo. Perfect conditions you (I) would think for a wader fest. The rocks in the water are Galteskjær where there was at least a Dunlin

this photogenic Common Tern (makrellterne) was the only bird I took a photo of

note that the tip of the upper mandible is broken, perhaps from hitting a stone whilst diving for food?

the island which 5 days ago had nesting Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns now only had these two pairs of Common Terns which were not necessarily nesting. There are still plenty of feeding adult Common Terns around but I am not sure where or if they are nesting. In Nordre Øyeren a couple of days ago I saw already fully fledged young

A new species in Maridalen! This Cockatiel had be braking to a screeching halt but will not be featuring on any lists. It was calling a lot and clearly not quite at home

Red-backed Shrikes (tornskate) haven't been very showy this summer in Maridalen but have young to feed now and are more obvious

Sunday 14 July 2024

An unhealthy relationship

I have known Gressholmen for over 20 years and have a strained relationship with her. From my side it is characterised by naïve optimism that keeps me hoping that we have a future together but also a vulnerability that makes me promising to avoid her after yet another of her frequent rejections. I do not have the strength to leave her though and find myself returning again and again to only leave hurt and humiliated.

We have had some good times together and it is the memories of these that keeps me going back for more. Wednesday's successful visit fueled up the naïve optimism tanks and I was up again at 06:30 this morning buoyed by a forecast of rain and north easterly winds. It was definitely raining and I was wet enough but what was my payback? A single Greenshank….. Will I leave her? Hell, no!! There is rain forecast again on Wednesday and I have #Oslo2024 to consider 😌

the ferry arriving just before 07:30 and my naive optimism is at maximum

arriving at the tidal bay to find just a single Greenshank - feelings of vulnerabilty and rejection max out


Saturday 13 July 2024

Beitotsølen wrap up

The second half of the week in Beitostølen added a few new birds with a 2cy male Hen Harrier and Siberian Jays the highlights. I had another sighting of a Long-tailed Skua and 9 Rough-legged Buzzards one day with 7 in one sweep of the horizon. They were all hunting and I saw 2 take small rodents so it looks like rodent numbers may be on the way up.


Back in Oslo dog walks resulted in nice views of Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks with the later nectaring on a thistle which is the first time I have seen this.

this male Lapland Bunting (lappspurv) was singing in exactly the same place as the beginning of June and was probably unpaired

a Long-tailed Skua (fjelljo) showing off its amazing tail

a Meadow Pipit (heipiplerke) which clearly had young nearby

a Scarce Copper (oransjegullvinge) - note the tiny rip in the wing.

Roughlegged Buzzard (fjellvåk)

and another one

a 2cy male Hen Harrier (myrhauk) in exactly the same place I saw a male Pallid Harrier in  July 2017

Shore Lark (fjellerke)

Slavonian Grebe (horndykker) pair with 3 young. This is the first registered breeding in the Beitostølen area although I have long expected to find them on this lake

a female Teal (krikkand) with 4 young

The Beast is now a learner driver

fresh snow fell over about 1700m one morning

a Purple Hairstreak (eikestjertvinge) on an elm
as it was on an elm I first thought it would be a White-letter but I don't think they ever rest with their wings open which Purple's do frequently

and a White-lettered Hairstreak (almestjertvinge) on a thistle