Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 The Year That Was II

And now April - June (the exciting time of the year!)

I have concluded that this male harrier that I saw at Årnestangen is a Pallid x Hen Harrier which is the first record of an adult male in Norway although there have been a few autumn juveniles 
Twite (bergirisk) pass through Maridalen in the spring

huge numbers of  Common Crossbills (grankorsnebb) bred in Southern Norway in 2016 as a result of the a large crop of spruce crones. In Maridalen they could often be seen licking salts from bricks
this Long-tailed Tit probably bred in Maridalen and the dark head markings show it not to be of the regular scandinavian race but rather an intergrade with the continental race

highlight of the year was finding this Short-toed Lark (dverglerke) in Maridalen 
closely followed by this 2nd summer Med Gull

these Shore Larks (fjelllerke) were only the second record in Maridalen 
this male Steller's Eider in the company of a Common Eider was an amazing record in the inner Oslofjord

the breeding Kingfishers in urban Sandvika 
April is always a good time for finding Green-winged Teals in Southern Norway although this was the only one I saw in 2016

a most unexpcted find in Maridalen was a pair of Little Ringed Plovers (dverglo) that favoured a ploughed field for a couple of days (the same field that had held Short-toed and Shore Larks earlier)


My best ever views of Hazel Grouse (jerpe) - a species which I now have a number of sites for in the forests around Oslo
breeding Black Woodpecker in Maridalen

a fine male Bluethroat (blåstrupe) in Maridalen - it is not often one sees spring migrants 

singing Wryneck (vendehals) in Maridalen 
my first Dotterel (boltit) for Akershus

Icterine Warblers (gulsanger) are one of the last migrants to arrive 
a pair of Red-breasted Flycatchers (dvergfluesnapper) returned to Sørkedalen in 2016 but then promptly vanished

Sørkedalen also hosted breeding Red-backed Shrikes (tornskate) 
this Wood Watbler (bøksanger) is a rare example lacking most of the yellow tones and thus resembling a Bonelli's Warbler

Common Rosefinch (rosenfink) is now a regular breeder around Oslo
a very scarce migrant Broad-billed Sandpiper (fjellmyrlper) at Årnestangen

Østensjøvannet hosted this smart 2nd summer Little Gull (dverglerke) for a few days amongst the breeding Black-headed Gulls


my annual early summer trip to Hedmark included a trip over the border into Sweden where with the help of GPS tags I was able to locate some of the Scottish Taiga Bean Geese on their breeding grounds
Hedmark has lots of exciting breeding birds including Ortolan (hortulan)

Siberian Jay (lavskrike)
Three-toed Woodpecker (tretåspett)

Ural Owl (slagugle)
and the last remaining Rustic Buntings (vierspurv) in Norway

this youngster being possibly the only known one this year 

and Red-necked Phalaropes (svømmesnipe)
back home I had my best ever view of Corncrake (åkerrikse)

obliging breeding Long-eared Owls (hornugle)

twitched my first Norwegian Terek Sandpiper 
and enjoyed breeding Marsh Warblers (myrsanger) in Maridalen

Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 The Year That Was I

2016 was a good year. Lists are not something I concentrate on but they do give a good idea of how the year has been. My Norwegian year list of 244 (246 2015, 244 2014, 254 2013, 258 2012) was not that outstanding but I did not visit Finnmark or Rogaland during the year which would have given extra species. I had 6 Norwegian ticks though: Short-toed Lark, Terek Sandpiper, Little Egret, Turtle Dove, Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler and Pechora Pipit with the last two also being lifers.

I only found a single national rarity in the form of a Short-toed Lark but did find a couple of ex national rarities: Med Gull and Blyth's Reed and a Yellow-browed Warbler in Akershus and Little Bunting in Østfold were both very rare for the counties. My annual Værøy trip delivered the already mentioned Turtle Dove, PG Tips and Pechora Pipit but it was a very frustrating trip with the good birds being very skulky and all being found by Kjell M!

Local birding was very good and I had my highest ever Akershus list with 205 species and my second highest Oslo list with 174 species. What characterised these lists were not what they included but more what I didn't see. In Akershus for instance I did not record Tawny Owl or Wood Warbler which are widespread breeders and I missed out on a lot of the nocturnal birds such us Quail, Spotted Crake, Nightjar and Blyth's Reed Warbler which all could have been heard on a single nights trip if I had wished. My Oslo list had fewer obvious holes although I did miss Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and fear this is not a sign of my incompetance but more that this species seems to have fallen off a cliff this year as records have been very few and far between.

In Maridalen I recorded 144 species which records my record from last year. Short-toed Lark and Rock Pipit were both new species.

Here are the photographic highlights from the first three months

Waxwing (sidensvans)

a self found Great Northern Diver (islom) in Akershus of a surprisingly rare local bird
selfie with my Hawkie

and a bit of a close up
a Kingfisher (isfugl) which overwintered at Fornebu and went on to breed nearby

A White-beaked Dolphin (kvitnos) found conditions to its liking in the Oslofjord

Redpolls (gråsisik) and Twite (bergirisk) which briefly found Fornebu to their liking

Purple Sandpiper (fjæreplytt) - only my second ever Oslo record

over wintering Mistle Thrushes (duetrost) are very unusual in Norway and seem to always be associated with mistletoe (which is also very unusual in Norway)
a returning Caspian Gull frequented a recycling plant in Oslo but was never easy to find

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (dvergspett) was exceptionally difficult to find in 2016 but this male at Fornebu revealed itself a few times early in the year
for the first time on record a Great Grey Shrike (varsler) over wintered in Maridalen and was an exceptionally confiding bird

This male Teal (krikkand) found conditions in Frogenerparken to its liking
March sees the return of the well studied (and tracked) Taiga Bean Goose flock to its staging grounds by the glomma river. There are at least 7 ring collared birds in this photo

Lapwings (vipe) are a beautiful bird whose return at the end of March is an annual highlight. This species is decling rapidly due to agricultural changes on its breeding grounds and hunting pressure in the winter but is still hanging on as a breeding bird in Maridalen