Thursday 25 May 2023

A Tale of Two Twitches

Two very different twitches yesterday and only one involving a bird. The day started with Jr and I rushing down to Drøbak to see the USS Gerald R Ford entering the inner Oslo Fjord. This is the largest military vessel in the world and was quite a sight. It carries more aircraft than the entire Norwegian military has and has more sailors on one ship than are in the entire Norwegian navy. We have previously seen the USS Iwo Jima in Oslo which is classed as an Amphibous Assault Ship although for all intents and purposes is an aircraft carrier with additional capabilities and last year HMS Queen Elizabeth which is the UKs pride and joy but looks a bit puny in comparison to what our American cousins sail in.

The arrival of the ship was covered constantly all day on Norwegian TV and we were far from alone in travelling to see it in Drøbak – the narrow streets of this tourist town were gridlocked for over an hour after the boat had vanished from sight. It is of course an impressive display of military strength but when you see it you also realise how vulnerable it must be to a hostile attack.


The birding day had begun with a singing Icterine Warbler on the morning dog walk and the return (finally) of screaming Swifts. On the way back from Ship Twitch I had a couple of minutes roadside at Østensjøvannet and year ticked a Pochard and then headed into town for Twitch #2. The Mountain Marsh Runner was still present and the chances of it moving on mid day were so little that I felt that a successful twitch was as good as guaranteed. It was quite stressful getting out to Gressholmen though as there were SO many tourists and the ferry was delayed but I quickly left the masses on Gressholmen (after saying hi to two happy birders who were leaving after enjoying the bird). It was easy to find in the tidal bay and had the company of Oystercatchers, 3 Redshank and 2 Ringed Plovers. The Ringed Plovers were local (unsuccessful?) breeders and kept taking exception to the MMR causing it to fly around. It was generally fairly distant but did come a bit closer after one of its alterations with a plover. There was VERY little passerine life on Gressholmen but I hoped strong southerly winds would produce something on the sea (skuas were being reported heading north further south) but I couldn’t find anything on the sea. The MMR takes my all time Oslo list to 247 – I remember well passing 200 and thinking that was the pinnacle but 250 must now be within reach.

Broad-billed Sandpiper (fjellmyrløper)

here being scared by a Ringed Plover (sandlo)

and fleeing the plover

USS Gerald Ford. Here the tug boat is pulling the back left to help it turn

and here pulling it right

very Top Gun

you need good balance to stand there

with an escort of Norways finest

male Eider (ærfugl)

Eider family

Redshank (rødstilk)

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