Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Less sea to see and more birds to see

I definitely deserve points (birds) for trying and today I got some reward. After heavy overnight winds I was on station at Krokstrand at 0845 just 15 minutes after it became light to see anything. Winds were still moderate and the light and viewing conditions were excellent so I felt that yes this could be a good day. Auks were immediately obvious with Little Auks and undetermined Guillemots/Razorbills heading in both directions but mostly south.
The first really good bird took only 10 minutes to get itself in the notebook. A young skua was picked up going south on the other side of the fjord but slowly made its way towards my side and sat on the sea a few times. It was a dark, almost black bird with nice double whhite flashes on the underwing, a barrel chest and strong two-toned bill - in other words a dark phase 1K Pomarine Skua. Whilst watching this I also noted Fulmar and Kittiwake. Things then calmed down for a bit but there was always good numbers of Little Auks and especially Common Gulls moving south. The next bit of excitment came in the form of a 1K Little Gull making its way slowly south and then not long after this came the absolute highlight but also most frustrating bird of the day. I always start my scan looking at the closest shore before scanning to the left over the water and on this scan I picked up a Grey Phalarope at less than 100m range. I immediately saw what I needed to confirm the ID with the thick bill confirming it wasn't Red-necked (however small the liklihood of that would be so late in the year) and then decided to run to the end of the small breakwater with camera raised in the hope of getting a fantastic point blank picture. Well 15 seconds later I was in place but where was the bird? I just couldn't locate it. I assume it had landed as it had been flying slowly but I couldn't see it. How frustrating!! (45 minutes later Ketil Knudsen had joined my and he briefly glimpsed a Grey Phalarope flying around the corner from where I had seen it so chances are it was the same bird that had landed and remained invisible to me).
After this excitement there was another Little Gull and more Kittiwakes and Fulmarts. I gave up at 1230 by which time I had racked up 75 Little Auks, 8 Fulmars, 6 Kittiwakes, 68 Common Gulls, 42 Guillemots/Razorbills the majority of which were most likely Guillemots, 17 Commn Scoter and 6 Velvet Scoter.
One of my hopes for the day had been Leaches Petrel and I got news later in the day that one had been seen going south just a few kilometres north of me. Unfortunately I got the news 4 hours after the bird was seen so it had presumably slipped past unoticed.



I decided on a quick trip with Ketil to Kurefjorden to see if I could see Red-necked Grebe as one had been reported there since my visit last week. Well no red necks (on the water at least) but 3 Slavonian Grebes, 14 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Little Auks (looking very our of place), a Great Grey Shrike (I've now lost count!), a flock of 12 female Scaup, a calling Chiffchaff, Black Woodpecker and a few Common & Velvet Scoters.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A tasty morsel

The strong winds from the south continue so seawatching was again on the cards for today this time from Krokstrand. I was joined by Per Gylseth whose company allowed me to persevere longer than I would otherwise (but also probably longer than was necessary!).
At times there was enough movement of birds that it felt worthwhile and the hope of something rare was there but there were also long periods of nothing more than white capped waves, drizzle and mist.
Totals were 30 Little Auks many of which came very close to land, 2 of which actually few over our heads and 3 of which became a tasty meal for Great Black-backed Gulls. The auks didn't seem to realise the threat the gulls posed as I witnessed one land next to a gull (which was the only other bird to be seen at that time) and then promptly be pounced upon.
9 Kittiwakes flew south although saw only one flying north, 2 Fulmar flew north and one south and there was a scattering of Guillemots and Razorbills. 34 Common Scoter were offshore in a few small groups alongside 3 Velvet Scoters.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was a flock of 30 Wood Pigeons I saw in a field close by the seawatching location - this is a late record especially for such a large flock.

Off the southern tip of Norway today 10,000 Little Auks were counted and the observers noted that 100 were eaten (the predators noted as being GB-b Gulls, Glaucous Gull,  Peregrine and Gannet). Our 30 with 3 falling victim to GB-b Gulls feels rather insignifcant in comparison!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Lots of sea and a few birds to see

Ever the optimists Per Christian and I were at Hulvik at 0820 before it was even truly light. The wind was strong and from the SW as predicted and we knew some good birds had been not too fat to the south yesterday so our hopes were high. As the light improved we were however disappointed to see very little other than waves. The first hour was in fact very quiet with 9 Velvet Scoters and a few Little Auks the only excitement. Then at 0920 we had a really good bird with a monster of a Great Northern Diver heading south at reasonably close range. Unfortunately we picked it up a bit late so couldn’t enjoy this local major rarity as much as we would have liked but it gave us enough energy to keep going. The volume of birds picked up a bit after this with a total of 3 Kittiwakes and another 20 or so Little Auks most of which were heading south although a few also went the other way.
We were sea watching from under the cover of a small pine tree which hosted 3 Goldcrests for much of our vigil. At one stage I had a bird less than a metre over my head and was just centimetres away from being able to grab it with my hand. I was able to take some passable pictures of these little gems although the bad light took some shine off the final result.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Lots of sea to see you see

Strongish winds were again forecast for today, although not as strong as the near hurricane hitting the west coast of Norway, so of course I had to stare out to sea again. I chose the inner Oslo fjord from Fornebu this time (no point in travelling a long way to most likely just look at waves) and indeed there was quite a lot of sea to see. Luckily there were three others who had the same thought as me so an enjoyable time was had birds or no birds. There were some birds out there and a single immature Kittiwake was at least a proper seabird and 2 Little Auks also looked like they may have recently arrived. Otherwise just 8 Razorbills alongside the usual suspects and 5 Waxwings dropped in and allowed me to snap off one picture before heading off again.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Quite a day

Well the strong winds never really happened and Rune Z and I spent only 45 minutes at Krokstrand this morning with 8 Common Scoter, 1 Velvet Scoter, a couple of unidentified auks and 40 Common Gulls being pretty much it. Not a great start to the day but you only find birds if you go looking so we sat course for Kurefjorden. Arriving in the Kurefjord area a Common Buzzard flew low over the road which is a good record so late in the area. So started we to drive towards the bird tower and when we could see over the fjord we stopped to scan with the scopes. As I got out of the car I thought I had the Buzzard again but hang on, wasn’t this bird a bit too large and wasn’t that plumage more like an immature Golden Eagle?! Indeed it was and it gave great views as it flew over us and then headed off leisurely to the other side of the fjord. Unfortunately the camera was in the back of the car and by the time I got it out the bird was flying away. The resulting picture was however a touch better than the effort from Fornebu.
Golden Eagle
After getting over the excitement of the eagle we started scanning the water and picked up a Great Grey Shrike perched on a fence post on the water’s edge (my 14th of the autumn!). On the water were scattered grebes and ducks. In total 10 Slavonian Grebes and 20 Great Crested Grebes. Also a probable Red-necked Grebe at great distance but we couldn’t clinch the ID due to the distance and bad light. 100+ Goldeneyes, a handful of Eider and Red-breasted Mergansers and 2 Common and 2 Velver Scoters. As we scanned from the bird tower I picked up another large raptor and this turned out to be a Rough-legged Buzzard which gave great if slightly distant views as it hunted over fields and frequently hovered. To round things off we had a calling Chiffchaff in the bushes although failed to see it.
We still had a couple of hours available to us so decided to head inland where a Ruddy Shelduck has been present a couple of days. Driving along we had a couple of groups of Whooper Swans by the road including one of 53 birds with a single Pink-footed Goose in the midst.
Arriving at Levernes near Rakkestad it was clearly a fantastic area for birds with a river valley with much farmland and damp fields and is presumably a great area on spring passage and for breeding birds. We couldn’t locate the Canada Goose flock that the shelduck has been associating with at first although did find a few Whooper Swans with a single Bean Goose (too distant to safely assign to race) and yet another Great Grey Shrike (taking me to 15 sightings at 10 different localities this autumn). Also a flock of 30 Bramblings and a calling Black Woodpecker. We  eventually located the geese distantly and chose to drive around to the other side of the valley to get better views. 190 Canada Geese were feeding on spilt corn in a field and amongst them was a colourful (if plastic?) female Ruddy Shelduck and a Pink-footed Goose. Also a goose that has been reported as a hybrid CanadaxBarnacle but all I could see was a Canada Goose with an abnormal amount of white on the face (size was same as Canada and all other plumage details looked the same as the Canada Geese it was associating with). Also around 80 Mallard here with a single Wigeon amongst them.
All in all a very good day with 3 species of raptor, shrikes, grebes, geese, a national rarity and good company.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Only incidental birding today. At Smestaddammen there were still 2 Wigeon alongside 80 Mallard and the family of 5 Mute Swans. The male was giving the three young a hard time and trying to drive them off the lake - there childhood is now over, time to fend for themselves.
Two flocks of Waxwings seen today, one of 50 birds and another of 15 with a male Sparrowhawk in fast pursuit.
Strong winds are forecast overnight so tomorrow I'll be doing some seawatching. There are even stronger winds forecast for Friday so there is a good chance something good will turn up in the next few days although it is starting to get a bit late. Maybe a Grey Phalarope of Leaches Petrel.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Little Gull

Time for a bit of birding today. I spent sometime at Fornebu searching for the Shag (a real local rarity) that was seen yesterday but failed on that score. However I did find an adult Little Gull which is a pretty good record this far up the fjord. The bird was at first sat on the sea and didn't look so healthy but later flew around a lot and then looked very perky showing off its smart white overwing and black underwing.
Otherwise 19 Razorbills including a flock of 13 and only 4 Guillemots indicating that many have either died or hopefully found there way out of the fjord. 34 Common Scoters and 4 Velvet Scoters were the best of the ducks and a well marked male Sparrowhawk briefly perched and showed itself off.

Then off to Sørkedalen where I had thought to go searching for woodpeckers again but the forest was covered in freezing fog so I lost my interest quite quickly. However the fields were under the fog so I tried for the Bean Geese that have been seen here and succeeded. Just a single bird present rather than the 10 seen on Saturday. This is quite a strange location for Bean Geese but the stubble field which has attracted them is presumably rich in split corn.
Taiga Bean Goose
This bird wasn't straightforward to assign to race but I believe that even though there is little orange on the bill that this is a Taiga (fabalis) Bean Goose based on the bill being long, no grinning patch  and narrow lower mandible plus there being some white around the bill.

Monday, 21 November 2011

It’s mine, it’s mine!

Having, on Saturday, received evidence via SMS of the continued existence of the mythical Three-toed Woodpecker I summoned my energies for one last attempt to see this bird. Destination was Sørkedalen where I had also searched for this species less than 2 weeks ago. Parking at Skansebakken car park I headed off into the forest armed with bins, camera and loudspeaker for the iphone – I was determined to be successful no matter what!
The forest definitely looks good with many large spruces and much dead wood but haven’t I thought the same many times before? A flock of 6 Long-tailed Tits was as always a nice sight but otherwise the forest was quiet. A few Bullfinches made their presence known and a Great Grey Shrike sat in a clearing (my 13th sighting this autumn) but neither sight nor sound of woodpeckers of any description. Out with the phone and loudspeaker and I played bursts of 3-toe call and drumming. After 3 km of walking (although only 1km from the car as the 3-toe flies) I played the recording and heard the sound of a bird flying towards me. Nothing to see at first but then YES!!! A THREE-TOED WOODPECKER. By the lack of yellow on the head this was a female although it did very briefly drum (according to BWP both sexes do drum). It was quite misty and dark so I didn’t manage any good photos but I was able to enjoy the bird for a couple of minutes before it flew off. It did call in response to provocation but otherwise was entirely silent with no tapping sounds heard as it fed. I am quite sure that I would not have been lucky without using sound provocation – no wonder I have not been lucky before. I will have to return in the spring to see if I can localise some drumming birds.
Three-toed Woodpecker

Long-tailed Tit

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Others have all the luck

Had an enjoyable although largely bird free day guiding Belgian, but living in Spain, birder Albert Savijn. First port of call was Mellomkollen for the grouse I had seen yesterday. Well, surprise surprise nothing to see or hear today. Two hours of trudging around the forest revealed a mixed tit flock and a calling Green Woodpecker.
Then off to Nordre Øyeren where we encountered thick fog. Upon checking my phone I saw I had a missed call and a message from Kjetil Johannessen. Whilst we were in Maridalen he had been in Sørkedalen (the next valley to the west) and had found a flock of 10 Bean Geese and also had been lucky enough to take the following picture of a bird he knew I needed (the picture is taken with his mobile of the display on the back of his camera):
A bird I never see but that others just stumble across.....

Well, at least I have a site to try out next week.
Due to the fog we saw very little at Øyeren although a flock of Common (Mealy) Redpolls was a new (sub)species for Bert. The 3 Common Scoter could just be made out through the fog and we flushed a Common Snipe.
With an hour of sunlight left we checked out Fornebu where a Kestrel, Red-throated Diver, Velvet Scoter and 9 Razorbills were the only birds of interest.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Hazel Grouse

A 3 and a half hour walk up to Mellomkollen was not exactly a bird rich experience but there was a sniff of quality. Temperatures were hovering around zero and there was a thick frost on the trees. On the way back it began to drizzle which made things very slippery under foot/wheel.
I had of course hoped for Three-toed Woodpecker but needless to say no joy although the area does look fantastic for them and there is a lot of evidence of woodpeckers but the only ones I saw were 2 Great Spotted.
The undoubted highlight was Hazel Grouse. I flushed one bird which gave me a second long glimpse then heard a bird singing which then responded to me playing the call on my phone but remained invisible. On the way back I went off track alongside a stream where there was a good mixture of decidous and spruce trees.  Here I flushed 2 birds which were feeding in trees above me. They landed not too far away but were obscured although one did allow half decent views and this cr*ppy picture.
Hazel Grouse

Then when I was leaving another bird flew out of the tree right above me! Oh well, better luck next time.
I flushed 3 three Black Grouse but only glimpsed shadows and heard their (noisy) wingbeats.
Passerines were extremely scarce with a handful of Blue, Willow and Coal Tits, Treecreeper and Goldcrest.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

On top of the world

Another day of freezing fog but today I was able to get on top of the fog and enjoy blue skies and sunshine. Destination was a walk to Kolsås which should give a great view over Oslo and more importantly is supposed to be (yet another) reliable site for Three-toed Woodpecker. Well no surprise when I report failure to find the woodpecker but we did have a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nutcracker, Treecreeper and  Nuthatch. There are very few birds being reported at the moment with Waxwings and finches being scarce and nearly no rarities or scarce birds in the area. We need either some real winter weather or a good storm from the south to bring some interesting birds now.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Today I awoke to -5C, blue skies and no fog. Time for another try for the geese. Well viewing conditions were perfect but were there any geese? Of course not! They may very well still be in the area but it could well be that the freezing conditions have given them the final nudge to continue on to their wintering grounds in Denmark.
There were still 64 Whooper Swans on the fields which allowed me to take some nice pictures. The thick frost is very evident and in the second (unfortunately slightly out of focus) picture you can see the breath of the calling swan.
Whooper Swans

Otherwise little to see. A flock of 40 Goosander were feeding very actively with a few gulls flying overhead so were presumably chasing a shoal of fish. Still 3 Common Scoter and around 40 Canada Geese. An immature Goshawk flew past me at such close range that I heard it flapping its wings.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Simon what's that bird?

Every now and then I get requests to identify a bird and in this day and age it could be a recording or a picture via SMS. This summer I was sent a recording of a Nightjar and today I was sent the following picture taken outside a friend's cabin in Valdres about 3 hours drive from Oslo.
Do you know what it is?

Birding in the mist

Whooper Swans

Geese of some description

Over the weekend a number of birders had got to grips with the goose flock at Nordre Øyeren with 10 Taiga Bean Geese being found in addition to the White-fronts although not the Tundra Bean Geese I saw earlier. There are also growing numbers of Whooper Swans and a flock of 28 Long-tailed Ducks was also found so I thought it would be worth another visit to day.
Glorious sunshine in Oslo gave way to thick fog as I left Oslo but coming through the tunnel to Lillestrøm there was again thick fog. I waited 2 and a half hours for the fog to lift but there was no sign of any improvement so I was home for lunch. There were definitely birds present. 59 Whooper Swans were grazing close enough to the road to be seen through the fog and geese were to be heard and glimpsed but some shooting (or I hope bird scarers) put everything up and they could be heard disappearing out on to the water. The video gives a bit of a feeling for the atmosphere!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Father gets to choose

Mute Swan

Guillemot Diving


As usual little birding for me at the weekend but as it was Fathers Day in Norway I was able to chose the location for our walk to today and chose Fornebu. It was lovely crisp weather with ice on the puddles and a clear blue sky but precious little avian action. Best were 4 Red-throated Divers which were calling and actively fishing and still a few Guillemots.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Short-eared Owl

It really is getting quiet now on the birding front. Three and half hours around Fornebu was quite hard going but as is often the case hard work gets rewarded, this time in the form of a Short-eared Owl. Disturbed from its roost in an area of bushes it did not give stunning views and I was not able to take any pictures but it definitely made my day. Otherwise the divers are still present and 2 Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel  are still finding enough food. The Kestrel caught a vole whilst I was there and I also had a vole running around my feet so there is porbably quite a healthy rodent population which may encourage the owl to hang around. There were a few Redpolls flying around but none allowed themselves to be scrutinised to see if they harboured an Arctic in their midst. On the fjord still good numbers of Common Scoter and the lone male Velvet Scoter alongside a few Guillemots and Razorbills.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Number 12... 10 locations. Yep, another Great Grey Shrike was the highlight today.
The goal for today was to find Three-toed Woodpecker and to that end I walked 10km through promising spruce forest from Skanskebakken in Sørkedalen to Triungsvann. The misty, damp conditions did not help the birding but the forest were strangely quiet. The bird list in total was a single male Black Grouse flushed from close to the path, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Willow Tits, 2 Nuthatch, a Bullfinch, a jay and a few Great and Blue Tits plus of course the obligatory Great Grey Shrike.
I did glimpse a bird that could have been my target and shortly afterwards a woodpecker could be heard tapping but I failed to relocate the bird - this is now the third time I have possibly glimpsed this, for me at least, mythical species!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Jack Snipe

Todays birding trip was with the very enjoyable company of Rune Zachariassen. We decided against trying for the Blyth's Pipit at Mølen which turned into a good decision as it was reported as not being found today and instead headed for Nordre Øyeren. Coming out of the tunnel at Lillestrøm we were met with a bank of fog and decided that we woudl head south towards the coast. However, as we drove down the west side of Øyeren the fog was lifting so we instead decided to stay local. A walk out around Monsrudvika was not particularly productive with a single Scaup as the highlight.
Stopping to scan Svellet there was a very large and compact flock of geese on the water: ca.700 Pink-feet, a handful of Greylag and Canada Geese and despite the mist and distance we were able to pick out 2 adult White-fronted Geese (surely the same birds I had last week). Little else on the water here so we headed over to Årnestangen. We made a concerted effort to find Jack Snipe here which resulted in wellington boots full of water but also succeeded with a single Jack Snipe flushed along with a single Common Snipe and another snipe sp. that could very well have been a (very) late Great Snipe but we didn't get to see the tail properly. Also here 6 Common Scoter, another Scaup and 50 Mute and 80 Whooper Swans but little else of note.
Later in the afternoon I had a Blackcap close to the closing calling very loudly - perhaps it was trying to find out if it really was the only Blackcap left in Oslo.

Birding in the mist

A trip out to Hellesjøvannet on Tuesday was a game of patience as I had to wait for fog to lift before I could see anything. I could hear geese calling on the lake and as the fog lifted I estimated 200 Greylag but as I finally got to see clearly I saw there were 640 Greylag and 70 Canada Geese. Close scrutiny bird by birds revelead single White-fronted Goose and Pink-footed Goose. Ducks were few in number but there was variety: 2 Pochard, 2 Scaup, 1 Smew, 2 Teal, 4 Mallard, 10 Goldeneye and 5 Goosander.
Otherwise on the trip there was a high count of 179 Teal at Hemnessjøvannet, scatteredfamily parties of Whooper Swans in roadside fields and yet another Great Grey Shrike taking me, I think, to 11 birds at 9 localities this autumn

Geese in the mist

3 Roe Deer ran over the road


Monday, 7 November 2011

Same old, same old

Red-throated Divers
Birding today was restricted to a couple of hours at Fornebu. No obvious new birds in but much of the last couple of weeks better stuff wa still to be seen such as Red and Black-throated Divers, Scaup, Water Rail and Kestrel. 2 Hawfinches were also nice. Others saw Wood Lark and Arctic Redpoll today and there was a Richards's Pipit yesterday so there are obviously birds to find out there. 2 hours drive from Oslo there is a Blyth's Pipit but I don't feel any real compulsion to make the journey. Instead it gives me motivation to find something good myself closer to home

Friday, 4 November 2011

Geese gone

Thought I would have another look at the geese today to see if I could get any better pictures. Unfortunately they were not to be found. Instead 74 Canada Geese and 80 Greylag Geese were more than I had yesterday and only 16 Pink-feets. I trudged some damp feilds hoping to find some snipe but no luck although a Great Grey Shrike became my 10th sighting of the autumn. I am sure that the mild weather is encouraging more to hang around. Out on Svellet a single Pintail, 2 Wigeon, 2 Great Crested Grebes and a few Teal and Mallard. I saw a female Goshawk feeding on prey in a field as I drove by - shame that not more raptors are encouraged to the area, for example Gyr Falcon.
I drove to the other side of Nodre Øyeren to the Årnestangen area to see if the geese were here. No sign of them I didn't bother walking all the way out. Scanning Snekkervika and Fautøya produced another 100 Canada Geese, 20 Common Scoter, another Pintail and 10 Wigeon.
A strange and unfamiliar grunting sound was coming from the marsh area at Snekkervika and with a limited number of possible species it could be I checked out the call of Jack Snipe on the i-phone and sure enough it was one! I've never heard Jack Snipe call before and according to the literature they are pretty much silent. However someone managed to record the call that I have on my phone so there must be some birds that are vocal.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Aurskog Høland

Today was time for one of my occasional tours of Aurskog Høland. First stop was Tuen near Lillestrøm. There have been upto a couple of thousand Pink-footed Geese here recently which is quite a late date and also a high number. As I drove along I saw a flock of a few hundred geese in a roadside field and was in two minds as to whether to stop but I thought that there would be little to see today so there would be no harm in spending some time grilling the flock. It took a bit of time to find somewhere to safely park the car off the main road but on my first scan I saw a flash of white amongst the numerous Pink-feets. Putting up the scope I found two White-fronted Geese and also 2 (tundra) Bean Geese. It was quite difficult going through the geese as the stubble was very high and many birds were invisible until they raised there heads. In total after a number of recounts I came up with 1000 Pink-footed Geese, 2 adult White-fronted Geese, 2 Bean Geese and 40 Greylag Geese. Both White-fronts and Beans are local rarities so this was a good find. On a couple of occasions the geese were very nervous with all of them having their heads up and cackling away but I could not see what had got their attention. However when they all took flight I soon picked up an adult male Goshawk that seemed to be trying to punch a little above its weight although it gave chase without me seeing if it had any luck. Shortly afterwards an immature male Goshawk flew over and at the end of the day as I drove past the field again there was a female Goshawk feeding on something (presumably a goose) in the middle of the field. Obviously the geese are an irresistible snack for the Goshawks!
White-fronted Goose

Tundra Bean Goose

Pink-footed Geese

A quick scan of Svellet showed a flock of 59 Common Scoter - a rare inland sighting along with 3 Tufted Duck and a handful of Goldeneye.

Drving into Aurskog Høland a Great Grey Shrike flew over the road in hot pursuit of some sort of passerine. There was little to see around Haneborh/Haugrim except for yet another Great Grey Shrike - this being my 9th sighting this autumn at seven different locations. Also here 6 Ravens and a mother and calf moose.
A couple of small groups of Whooper Swans were seen from the car before arriving at Hellesjøvannet. Here a flock of around 100 Bramblings in hedgrows by stubble was an unexpected late sighting and there was also at least 1 Chaffinch with them.


Hellesjøvannet itself looked empty at first glance but a thorough scan with the scope gave up 6 female Smew (a high count in these parts), 5 Goosander, 12 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Goldeneye, only 2 Mallard, a female type Scaup and 4 Snipe which took flight as though they had been disturbed. It took a while to find out by what but then I picked out a female Hen Harrier perched on a fence post. I then drive closer which was only a minutes drive but when I got there it had gone and I could not see it in flight over the fields either - frustrating!

Driving home a flock of 30 Canada Geese by the road gave me 5 species of Geese for the day.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Two-barred Crossbill

Today I decided that there was no point in waiting for a Two-barred Crossbill to come to me so I went to it. An hours drive from the house and I was by Tyrifjorden, one of Norways most renowned birding areas but an area that has received virtually zero attention from me. Upto 6 Two-barred Crossbills have been reported from here for over 5 weeks, seemingly from a very confined area, although seem to have attracted no interest other than from the initial observer.
On the drive along the fjord I noted a few waterbirds in the shallow bays: Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Coot although in only small numbers.
Coming to the area where I expected to see the 2BC there was an obvious line of ornamental spruce trees by a farm which were laden with cones. This seemed to be a good place to look. There were very vocal Coal Tits feeding in the trees but no sign of Crossbills although I thought I had heard a crossbill like call I could not see any. Then a lady came out of the farmhouse in her dressing gown to put some rubbish in the bin (which was right by the trees) aswell as to give me a very inquisitive look. 3 Crossbills then flew from low down in the trees close to the bin and landed at the top of the furthest tree. Fantastic! 3 Two-barred Crossbills. An adult male, an adult female and one other female coloured bird (possibly a 1K). Unfortunately I only managed a poor picture of the adult female before they flew off (not far but to an innacessible area) and did not return in the next half an hour.
Female Two-barred Crossbill
Also here a Twite flew over and Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker were heard.

Back in Oslo I popped into Smestaddammen and saw the Little Grebe that has been present for over a week. This is a small lake and views were good of this local rarity although the light was so poor that I didn't manage a decent picture
Little Grebe

Also on the lake 2 Wigeon, one of which is a tame male that has been around Oslo for a few years and the other a wild female that hang around the Mute Swan family and took vegetation they displaced from the lake bottom rather than hang around with the Mallards and eat bread.