Maridalen was just fantastic with Ring-necked Duck, Ortolan, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Pine Grosbeak and Great Grey Owl. It wasn’t just about the rarities though and there were some days of awesome migration.
My annual September Værøy trip did not result in any big rarities but was highly rewarding with good company and incredible close experiences with Rustic Bunting and Olive-backed Pipits.
Guiding was OK but the lack of breeding owls in Southern Scandinavia in 2019 lost me quite a lot of custom so I hope 2020 sees an upturn in rodent and therefore owl populations. The Grosbeaks at the back end of the year resulted in some in some unexpected and welcome business though.
January 2019 did not have a lot to offer with the Glaucous Gull and obliging Water Rail and Purple Sandpipers in Oslo being the best of the scarce birds. Trips into the forests of Hedmark revealed Hawk Owl and Sibe Jay and walks with the Beast in the local neighbourhood were rewarded with Arctic Redpoll and Blackcap.
|Purple Sandpipers (fjæreplytt) have become a regular winter bird in Oslo in the last decade|
|Water Rail (vannriske) may also be a more regular species that previously thought|
February doesn’t often have much to offer in the way of news birds but Grey-headed Woodpecker, an urban Hawkie and my first Great Grey Owl of the year stand out.
|two species for the price of one - a Mallard x Pintail hybrid that I found in Oslo and which was later seen following the Glomma River north|
|a Siberian Jay (lavskrike)|
|Great Grey Owl (lappugle) - one of 4 different birds I saw during the year|
March sees the start of migration and it is always a joy to see the first flocks of geese and Cranes, the first Lapwings and passerines such as Snow Buntings and Woodlark. This year a Stonechat at Fornebu (only my second Norway record) was a real highlight and this bird seems to be of the race hibernans whereas last years bird in April was a rubicola
|the Purple Sands remained in Oslo|
|a rare Stonechat (svartstrupe) at Fornebu|
|Smew (lappfiskand) at Østensjøvannet|
|an early adder in the snow in Maridalen|
|the Scottish Taiga Bean Geese are always a focus of my early spring birding|
|Kingfishers (isfugl) bred for at least the third year running close to Oslo|
Migrations really kicks off in April and already on the first day there was a quality bird in Maridalen with only the second Black Redstart and on the 6th I found Maridalens first Mandarin Duck. A pair of Cranes established themselves in Maridalen and could be often seen at close range. Easter gave good birding with Slav Grebe, Lapland Bunting and the first returning Black-throated Divers in Maridalen. Wader passage started early this year with good numbers of Ruff and a Black-tailed Godwit in the last week at Årnestangen. An early Grasshopper Warbler showed that Fornebu still has potential despite the continuing “development”.
|a late migrating Snow Bunting (snøspurv) in Maridalen|
|Mandarin - a new species for Maridalen|
|Only the second ever Black Redstart for in Maridalen|
|I had many close encoutners with photogenic Black-throated Divers this year|
|and this Grasshopper Warbler also showed well|
May 2019 is be a month I probably will never forget and all the main action happened on the patch: in Maridalen 😊
4 new species in the course of 5 days of which I found the first 3 (Bar-tailed Godwit, Ring-necked Duck and Ortolan) was only tainted by me not seeing the last of these: a Black Kite. But the rare species were only the half of it. 10 May will go down as the best day in the Dale ever. On top of the Ring-necked Duck which I had found the day before and the Ortolan which I discovered that day we had an amazing migration of waders: 125+ Golden Plovers, 40 Greenshank, 50 Wood Sandpipers, 4 Great Snipe plus Whimbrel, Common Snipe, Redshank, Lapwing and Common Sandpiper.
We ended up with both a male and a female Ortolan and briefly wondered whether breeding could be on the cards but they soon disappeared.
19 May was also a great day and this time at Årnestangen with Black Tern and Rt Pipit amongst others. On 24 May an unprecedented passage of hrota Brent Goose took place over Oslo with the birds ending up circling around and around and unsure where to go next.
|more Black-throated Divers :-)|
|Maridalen's first Bar-tailed Godwit arrived with some Whimbrels (småspove)|
|my only Norwegian tick of the year was of course a new species for Maridalen and Oslo - a Ring-necked Duck (ringand)|
|first this male Ortolan turned up in Maridalen|
|and then this female.|
|Black Tern at Årnestangen - the first record for Norway in 2019 and only record in Akershus|
|was nice to see a Red-throated Pipit (lappiplerke) and not jsut hear one flying over|
|a rare red morph female Cuckoo (gjøk)|
|it is difficult to tire of Slavonian Grebes (hornydykker)|
|this Hazel Grouse (jerpe) in Maridalen was good for guiding|
|as were Three-toed Woodpeckers|
June is always quieter than May but still offers much good birding. Close to Oslo a singing River Warbler was a rare but now expected guest and after arriving late Red-backed Shrikes were locally common. A trip to the mountains gave me my annual and much needed dose of. Dotterel and Great Snipe. I also finally saw Nightjar in Norway and although there was no breeding by Red-breasted Flycatchers in Maridalen this year a 2cy male male sang for a single day in the middle of the month.
|singing River Warbler|
|an old female Red-backed Shrike|
|not often I see Snow Buntings in this plumage|
|lekking Great Snipe (dobbeltbekkasin)|
|a singing 2cy Red-breasted Flycatcher (dvergfluesnapper) was just a one day guest in Maridalen this year|
|Maridalen's Whooper Swans (sangsvane) failed with their breeding in 2019|
|this Common Rosefinch (rosenfink) probably also failed in its breeding after a hedge row was destroyed in the middle of June|
|Thrush Nightingales (nattergal) bred successfully at Fornebu and seem to be thriving there|