Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Same, same but a little brighter

It was back to Fornebu today in the hope of sunshine and better photo opportunities. The sun did shine at times and the birds showed and the photos are probably a bit better than yesterday but it still smells a bit of same, same but different.

A Little Grebe was a new bird for me (although had been seen already on Saturday) and a Water Rail actually showed itself, albeit distantly. The Jack Snipe continued to fly up from the same place so I might be able to view it on the deck if I have some luck. The three Snow Buntings were still present and equally confiding. It is quite possible that I am the first homo sapien that these birds have seen and as is often the case with birds of the high mountains they foolishly do not associate the most vicious species on the planet with danger. A Skylark and Linnet were late birds but as usual these days Nansenpark was otherwise devoid of birds.

The Beardies were still present in the same reedbed as yesterday. I had a group of at least 6 birds which seemed quite settled and then a group of 5 that were making a lot of noise and moving around. These birds showed at close range although never moved into a patch of reeds with sunlight to give me an ultimate photo opp. This group eventually flew high and off to the south. As I wrote yesterday, one can really wonder how many Beardies have been through Fornebu this year. One can also wonder how this species manages to find its way to these small reedbeds more or less every autumn.

There are lots of Redpolls around at the moment but they never really show very well. Based on other observations there appear to be a few northern/Arctic birds among them and hopefully as winter progresses the flocks will become easier to view.



I was quite happy with the quality of the first two videos despite them being handheld. This final video though is pants but that is due to distance.


male Bearded Tit (skjeggmeis)

double moustache

Snow Bunting (snøspurv) finding plenty of seeds to eat

all three

the brightest bird of the three -  a male but I'm not sure about age

Water Rail (vannrikse)

Little Grebe (dvergdykker)

Monday, 30 October 2017

Snow Beard

Temperatures were down to -2C at dawn today and with it being even colder and with lots of snow further inland we can hope for some movements of birds looking for slightly more hospitable conditions. There are signs that we will have an invasion of Pine Grosbeaks this winter and the first bird was found in Oslo on Saturday by Stig “Mr. Grosbeak” Kalvatn who seems to have a magical ability to find this species in the forests around Oslo.

I also have high hopes of finding Great Grey and Hawk Owls given the good breeding season both species have had in mid/southern Norway and the large numbers of birds that should be moving around looking for food. Before these exciting species hit us though we can hope for mountain breeding seaducks which will be forced to head for the coast and maybe another wave of geese as the last birds leave Trøndelag heading for the coasts of northern Europe.

A species I had today that is probably weather related was three Snow Buntings which showed very well on one of the few remaining open areas at Fornebu. They seemed to be finding plenty of seeds to eat and will maybe stay for a few days. I also found a minimum of 14 Bearded Tits in a new area at Fornebu (with none being located in the two normal reedbeds). It really makes you wonder how many there have been in total this autumn and how many will stay the winter.

A shoal of cod feeding in very shallow water close to land was an unusual sight.

Snow Bunting (snøspurv) - one of three at Fornebu

Bearded Tits (skjeggmeis)

8 birds visibile in this picture

and 11 here!
cod (torske)

loads of them!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Hairy appendages

Nice and sunny with no fog today so I thought I'd try for the hairy titties again.

I found them and at times had them close, sometimes also with sun light on them and also close enough to use the flash but am I happy with any of the pics? Don't think so.

Behaviour wise though it was fascinating to watch them. I first found a pair (or a at least a male and female that were keeping each other company) and these two were quite noisy and flew around the reedbed. Sometimes also landing in birch trees and engaging in high flying but always plummeting back into the reedbed. On one of these high flyings they suddenly had the company of a third bird and after plunging down they carried on calling and allowed me to find them - a male had joined them. Whilst watching these three I could hear another bird in the reeds and eventually a female joined them. All four birds were very active and started go up a tree (never seen that before!) until they were all at the top and then they launched themselves into the sky. After a couple of rounds they headed towards Storøykilen. 

I checked out Nansenpark where a single Meadow Pipit didn't quite meet up to my expectations of a rare wheatear or shrike.

In Storøykilen everything was very quiet until after a long while I heard a ping. The Beardies were here but they were hardly calling, feeding low down out of sight and not interested in playback. I eventually confirmed 4 birds so they were presumably the ones from Koksa but their behaviour was so different. Now they were settled and focused on feeding rather than seemingly being more interested in finding a new location and other Beardies which their behaviour in Koksa suggested was top of their minds earlier. If they are now settled for the winter then they will become increasingly difficult to find them but it is still early in the season and more birds may turn up and be lively for at least the first few days post arrival.

Otherwise the Jack Snipe was still present and four Water Rails were calling. One of them clearly got frightened by something in the reedbed because it flew up squealing and perched in the reeds before again flying up in a noisy panic and flying 15 m over the reeds before tumbling down. There was also a late(ish) Reed Bunting which showed really well but why wasn’t it a rarer bunting?

Stopping to do grocery shopping on the way home gave me my first Waxwings of the autumn and reminded me how much I like hearing their call. Let’s hope there will be lots this winter.

male Bearded Tit (skjeggmeis) taken with superzoom using flash

a female feeding on the ground 

always something between me and the bird

and again a reed is in the way

never seen Beardies in a tree before

the four leave Koksa  in the direction of Storøykilen
the light was great in Storøykilen but the birds were far less cooperative

although I did get a couple of close up opportunities

and the Reed Bunting (sivspurv)