Friday 23 February 2024

First spring migrants

I have not considered this to be a particularly good winter for birds in Oslo. We have had a lot of snow and very cold temperatures which generally means fewer birds and there have been no unusual invasion species. I was therefore very surprised when I compared the number of species I had seen so far this year (83) to previous years and discovered that only once before, in 2019, have I seen more by this date (85). In 2019 I went on to see 191 species in Oslo which is my record and which had me thinking that 200 could be possible - maybe 2024 will be the year.

Over the last two days I have added 4 species so timing is of course important but only two of these were early expected spring migrants (Stock Dove and Oystercatcher) and one (Stonechat) is a very early but unexpected spring migrant (only my fourth in Oslo). In addition to the chat I have already seen 5 less than annual species (Shag, Rook, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Arctic Redpoll and Brunnich’s Guillemot) so 2024 is actually shaping up well.


Yeaterday’s Stonechat had been found the day before on the same day that the first bird of the year was seen on the island of Utsira and it is likely it was also a spring migrants but given how wintery it still is here makes me wonder whether it has been around a lot longer and had just found a site where it could eke out a winter existence. It was along a stretch of Oslo coastline I have never previously visited but which looks very good for migrants and deserves more attention.

male Stonechat (svartstrupe)

he was feeding along the beach

including around rockpools

blurred flight shots showing some of the characters which may help in subspecific identification. For what it's worth I think it is a hibernans

a male Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk) that made an attempt at the sparrows in the garden but left empty clawed

first Oystercatcher (tjeld) of the year at Huk, Bygdøy

a bit closer

1 comment:

  1. UTSIRA - an island I know from the Radio 4 shipping forecast. It actually exists? Would that be north Utsira or south Utsira then?