The targets were of course the Oslo Taiga Trio but with two days at our disposition we also had a day planned to look for Sibe Jay a couple of hours north of Oslo in real taiga forest.
Hawk Owl fell easily on day 1 with 2 birds seen at their usual spot including one which showed low down. Pine Grosbeaks did not show in Oslo (as expected as the birds I found last Friday are the the last records in the big smoke) but we did connect on day 2 in proper Taiga forest. GGO would just not play ball despite many hours and many kilometers which was made even more galling when I received a mobile phone photo (taken by a non-birder) of said GGO on a wire by the roadside taken whilst we were searching less than a kilometer away...
Day 2 birding was a thorough success though. We entered a taiga winter wonderland with the snow at the side of the road over a meter deep, blue skies and no wind. The target of Siberian Jay took a while coming but we eventually had amazing views of a group of three birds. Pine Grosbeak also showed really well in its proper Taiga habitat rather than on a street in Oslo. We had all 3 Crossbills with at least 10 Two-barreds, Golden Eagle, Willow Tits, Mealy Redpolls, Nutcracker and 3 of us glimpsed a Pygmy Owl although unfortunately it was Stu who missed it (due to where he was sat in the car) who was the only one who needed it as a lifer...
|the boys admiring Hawkie|
|and here Sibey|
|this is what winter should look like|
|female Pine Grosbeak|
|male Two-barred Crossbill|
|another slightly less red male|
|and another even more orange (rather than red) male|
|I didn't say that we had good views of the Golden Eagle...|