Tuesday 27 February 2024

More Stonechats and geese

There is suddenly lots to see, to photograph and to write about. I have not been to see the Smew again but it has apparently been standing room only with up to 40 photographers filling their memory cards. Having been through the (many) images I took I am rather happy with the ones I got on Saturday so have no need for more.

 On Sunday Jack discovered Oslo’s second Stonechat of the year on Bygdøy and I chose to visit there on Monday and then found the third (a female) and then Anders found the fourth later in the day! Prior to 2021 there had only been 5 records in Oslo but it has been annual since then but 4 in a year is a new record and it isn’t even spring yet!

Bygdøy also gave me very up close and personal views of 16 Purple Sandpipers which appears to be an Oslo high count. I have also added Skylark and Chaffinch to my Oslo year list which now stands at 85 species.

Today Jack and I headed to Østfold and it was a visit that reminded me I should go more often as the 1 hour drive is well worth it. The fields around Kurefjorden were already free of snow and packed with geese and Skylarks. A lot of different geese have been seen here in the last few days including both Beans and both subspecies of White-fronted. Greenland White-front is a species that has eluded me before so I was really hoping to see it but we only found Russian birds but a count of 48 was very good. Taiga Beans also eluded us but we did see 2 Tundras.

Other new birds for the year included Lapwing, Ringed Plover and Shelduck as well as Slavonian Grebe and Scaup.

On the way home we witnessed a new experience with a Great Grey Shrike. I have seen this species hover occasionally before but only for a few seconds at a time but this bird was hovering in Kestrel style and was changing height and position for many tens of seconds at a time. It was hovering over an area if rough grass that was full of vole holes so there was clearly food there for it.

male Smew (lappfiskand)

the pattern at the back of the head changes a lot depending on the mood of the bird

Little and Large

with a male Goldeneye (kvinand)

a female Stonechat (svartstrupe) at Bygdøy

Purple Sandpipers (fjæreplytt)

from today's Østfold trip - a White-fronted Goose (tundragås) on the left with a Tundra Bean Goose (tundrasædgås)

the two Tundra Beans

Russian White-fronted Geese (tundragås) and Greylag Geese (grågås). Three of the adults had such extensive black barring on their bellies that it became solid

hovering Great Grey Shrike (varsler)

when it hovers the wings barely go above the horizontal

hovering head on

And some commoner birds

Stock Dove (skogdue)

Willow Tit (granmeis)

Yellowhammer (gulspurv)

Jay (nøtteskrike)

Mute Swan (knoppsvane)

landing on the ice

finally coming to a stop

This spring seems to be terrible for singing owls in southern Norway but there is at least some activity from Tawny Owl (kattugle) in Maridalen

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely stunning shots of the smew. Really close in. I'm always amazed how small they are. As you said you don't need to go back!!