Sunday, 31 March 2019

Adding up

On Monday I had a really nice encounter with a couple of Adders in Maridalen one of which was a black individual. I took so many pictures and video that I have not had the time until now to go through them. When taking pictures of snakes one always hopes to get a shot of it “yawning” and exposing its fangs. This requires lots of patience, luck and a finger constantly on the shutter. I was lucky enough to see the black Adders yawn but didn’t have my finger on the shutter however I was even luckier that it then yawned again and I managed some shots. Unfortunately, it was in shade and looking towards me (rather then being in profile) but you have to start somewhere!

The black individual had clearly only just emerged from its winter hideout as it was still covered in mud including its eyes.

a yawning Black Adder (hoggorm) - looks like it has only one fang

close up of the head and toungue. The eyes were dry and still had mud on them but the nostril was moist

close up of the normal patterned individual

Friday, 29 March 2019

Pink-footed Goose day

Today was the big Pink-footed Goose migration day which is always one of, if not THE, highlight of spring. I wasn’t expecting it to be a special day but as I drove down to Bygdøy I saw a large flock at 08:50. Over the next 75 minutes I had over 40 flocks totaling 8150 birds and this was from a not particularly good watchpoint and I would have missed many flocks. I then thought I would go up to Maridalen where I would have a much better view of the sky but I knew that I would only see some of the migration as not all of it goes over Maridalen. I lost out on 20 minutes due to the drive but 3 hours in Maridalen gave only an extra 1360 birds so I think that the migration tailed off considerably. The wind which had been southerly had veered round to the west and become quite strong which resulted in some flocks heading due east and others turning round so the migration did almost certainly stop in the afternoon.

My 3 hours in Maridalen gave me a few other birds such as Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Brambling although only singles of each and 3 very distant Cranes but surprisingly little else. Lapwing numbers though have now increased to 7 which is heartening as I feared that the three that have been around the last week were going to be it.

skein of Pink-footed Geese (kortnebbgjess)

this Pink-foot flew around calling and had clearly not been able to keep up with its companions due to the very poor state of its wings

Lapwing (vipe) action in a still snowy Maridalen

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Still waiting

I intended to have another long sky gazing session in Maridalen today but by 1030 I reckoned that there was not much point. I had seen three flocks of Pink-footed Geese, a flock of Greylags and a single Buzzard but I incorrectly thought new pastures would have more to show. Passerine wise a couple of Twite were at least new for Oslo in 2019.

The news pastures I chose were Årnestangen but here it really was very disappointing with almost nothing to see. There was excitement on the way though when I stopped at a field that has recently held Snow Buntings and saw a flock of 80 very well and on the way home a large raptor that I saw from the car turned out to be an adult White-tailed Eagle after I was able to stop and use optics.

Snow Bunting (snøspurv)

White-tailed Eagle havørn) - seems to be an adult with an all white tail. It was heading towards Nordre Øyeren and was probably the widowed bird

Lapwing (vipe) in the snow

it is mating time for Roe Deer

Skylark (sanglerke)

There were 3 adders on show in Maridalen today and this one looks like it has changed its skin. Two were surprisingly on show at 08:55 when it was only +1C and the sun was out. By mid afternoon when it was quite warm they were able to move very quickly
Common Buzzard (musvåk)

male Chaffinch (bokfink)

I can't quite work out what this male Goshawk (hønsehauk) is carrying

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

A bit more like it

Yesterday, Anders and I did my frequent early spring circuit of Glomma and Aurskog-Høland. We started with the first Woodlark of the year at their regular site near Gardemoen airport before visiting the Taiga Bean Geese which are back after having temporarily retreated to Denmark. We had 100 birds in total split into a flock of 24 feeding with a 150 Pink-feets on fresh green grass (an unusual habitat choice) and a flock of 76 on the usual rough grassland field. I read a few collars but not as many as when they were here earlier suggesting some birds have not returned yet or else the flock is even more split up (usually they are all together here).

In Aurskog-Høland the flood is starting and although it is still very early days I think it will be a good spring. We had good numbers of Whooper Swans and Cranes, Teal and Pink-footed Geese are building up. There were hardly any migrant passerines with just a handful of Mistle Thrushes and Blackirds being the only thrushes we saw.

Common Buzzards were frequently and a couple of Peregrines but no small falcons yet.

Today, I had three hours of sky gazing in Maridalen. After waiting early an hour with nothing seen I then had 6 migrating Common Buzzards and a Goshawk in the course of 12 minutes and thought something bid was starting. That was pretty much it though except for a very high White-tailed Eagle and a Sparrowhawk. Passerines were only noticeable by their absence. But the weather was very nice!

Woodlark (trelerke). We also had Skylark singing at the same site and the song of Woodlark is so much finer!

Taiga Bean Geese: 30, 6U & 6Z with Pink-footed Geese

here is 6Z with a ringed but no neck collared bird. 6Z has previously been paired with 6X and I assume the other bird is indeed 6X who has lost its collar

here is 7U together with a ringed Pink-footed Goose. There were 2 ringed Pink-feet (R23 & R27) does not have the data on where and when they were ringed (although I wonder if the website is working as it should as many of previous reports seem not to be there) but 27 was seen in Holland in April 2012, DK Feb 2016 and then in NL and DK from Jan-March this year. 23 has only been reported in Jan-March this year and is paired with 27.

the other flock. Here one can see electric fences (not currently turned on) that the farmer has put which I think makes this area less attractive for the geese

the fences in the middle of a usually favoured field

I only saw a single ringed bird (S8) in this flock of 76

the geese left DK on 1.3 and arrived in Akershus, NO 2.3 where they stayed until 8.3 before fleeing south to Østfold until 10.3 before then heading back to DK where they remained until 22.3 when they returned to Akershus

Cranes (trane) 

the only open water at Hellesjøvannet..

migrating Buzzard in Maridalen today

and a White-tailed Eagle.....

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Weekend catch up

Weekend birding has been minimal and centered around beast walking. The sunny weather has continued although it has been windy which especially in Maridalen made it chilly as the wind blew across the ice-covered lake.
Some flocks of Pink-footed Geese went over but not the big migration that I had expected after the numbers that went over on Friday.

Here are some videos from last week.

The adder is still sunning itself in the same spot and the snow is rapidly disappearing around it. Good for the snake but a less interesting background for the photographer

note the grains of sand on the eye 

male Lapwing (vipe) in Maridalen

female left and male right. The female has a shorter crest and white feathers on the breast whereas the male is solid black

the female

Ringed Plovers (sandlo) which were in the car park at Fornebu when I had a non birding trip there yesterday

the Beast