Thursday, 22 July 2021

Summer holiday stage 4

A red moon
Cranberry Fritillary (myrperlemorvinge)

Mountain Fritillary (fjellperlemorvinge

Alpine Argus (fjellblåvinge)

A female Scarce Copper (oransjegullvinge) and a male Purple-edge Copper (purpurgullvinge)

Underwing of Mountain Fritillary

Alpine Argus

Silver-spotted Skipper (kommasmygger)

Alpine Argus

And a male Scarce Copper

We have retuned to Beitostølen for another week. It is glorious weather here but far cooler than in Oslo.

I am far more in relaxation mode and have hardly even thought of raising my binoculars although butterflies are still gaining my attention. There are so many blossoming wild flowers here that butterflies can be encountered anywhere. Most of the species I saw 2-3 weeks ago are still present although in smaller numbers and looking worn and a few new species are also on the wing.

I have made one specific trip to look for Alpine Argus (fjellblåvinge) which was succesful and is yet another new species for me (my 59th in Norway). Despite it being warm, sunny and windless they were  not in flying mode but I saw 4 individuals in the end. I have also seen a number of Mountain Fritillarys (fjellperlemorvinge) although telling them apart from Cranberry Fritillarys (myrperlemorvinge) that fly alongside them is a challenge. Silver-spotted Skippers have proven to be common and I now have the good pictures that evaded me last time. 

Redshank (rødstilk)

Young Redshank

Temminck’s Stint

Golden Eagle (komgeørn) with escort of angry Hooded Crow (kråke) and Kestrel (tårnfalk)

Goosander (laksand) family

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Holiday in Oslo

Circumstances this year have conspired such that I am not able to travel to our cabin north of the Arctic Circle near Bodø. And this after a solid 9 year run. This is a real highlight of every year and birding wise had resulted in my two best finds ever (Asian White-winged Scoter and Pied-billed Grebe).

Every cloud, silver lining and all that though it does mean that I am able to discover the bird and perhaps most interestingly the insect life of Oslo in July which I have missed out on before. Birding wise it has allowed me to follow up on some exciting, if not rare, breeding birds which I will have a long post on later in the year. Insect wise I was of course hoping to find some interesting butterflies or dragonflies. I hoped to see Poplar Admiral (ospesommerfugl) and White-letter Hairstreak (almestjertvinge) but have not succeeded so far.

It has been very good conditions for butterflies though and I have seen a lot of species with fritillaries with 8 species in Maridalen being all I could hope for with only the exception of Queen of Spain (sølvkåpe) which it is still early for. A moth stole the show though with a huge Bedstraw Hawk-moth (mauresvermer) having me initially thinking I was watching a dragonfly as it buzzed past me. Luckily it stopped to nectar on thistles for a couple of minutes and despite having the Beast with me I got some nice shots.

Another silver lining has been able to watch football and TdF on the big screen rather than on a phone as is the norm at the cabin 😊.

Bedstraw Hawk.moth (mauresvermer)

And now 8 species of fritillary seen in Maridalen this week:

my first Cranberry Fritillary (myrperlemorvinge) in the Dale

High Brown Fritillary (adippe perlemorvine)

Silver-washed Fritillary (keiserkåpe)

Dark Green Fritillary (aglajaperlemorvinge)

 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (brunflekket perlemorvinge)

Pearl-bordered Fritillary (rødflekket perlemorvinge)

Heath Fritillary (marimjelle rutevinge)

Lesser Marbled Fritillary (engperlemorvinge)

And some birds:

Black-throated Divers

Grey Heron (hegre)

Reed Warbler (rørsanger)

this Osprey was flying high over Maridalen calling and engaging in display flight with fish in talons. Why? I do not know

Goshawk (hønsehauk) - a 2cy bird I think

this Swallow (låvesvale) really made the hawk flinch

Three-toed Woodpeckers have not been easy (for me) to find this spring so it was nice to come across this juvenile and adult male

There is not much variety amongst the odonata at the moment but some of them do look quite stunning:

Beautiful Demoiselle (blåpraktvannymfe)

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (kongelibelle) 

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Snakes making more snakes

At the end of April there was a lot of snake activity in Maridalen. Both Adders (hoggorm) and Grass Snakes (buorm) were gathered in the same area for mating. I witnessed Adders mating for the first time after previously having seen courtship but the Grass Snakes were still in the courtship stage which didn’t seem to be quite as exciting as with Adders.

Adders mating. The female is the browner snake

here we see in more detail the males penis entering (and expanding inside) the female

male Adder

female Adder

male Adder approaching a male and female Grass Snake

all three together. The larger body of the female Grass Snake is easy to see

male Grass Snake

male Grass Snake following female

Two male Grass Snakes following a female

male on top of female but this was still part of courtship stage

male Adder

female Adder