Saturday 10 February 2024

Tree top birding

I have always said that one of the things I like so much in Norway is that there are 4 very distinct seasons rather than one and half the south of England now has and that these seasons bring about very noticeable changes in birdlife. In recent years the length and severity of winter has become quite variable but this year we are having a “good old fashioned” winter with lots of snow and very cold temperatures although it is interspersed with periods of warmer weather. When such a proper winter combines with absolutely zero invasive bird species (such as owls or Pine Grosbeak) then it does become very monotonous though, and one can’t but look forward to spring migration.

At the moment with there being so much snow and so few birds then I find that my birding is often confined to driving around and looking for anything interesting sitting atop a tree. Walking to find something is confined to walking on roads or prepared ski tracks and whilst giving some exercise doesn’t normally result in any more being seen.

Yesterday in Maridalen was just such a day. It was sunny but a cold -15C and a walk to look and listen for woodpeckers drew a blank but then a drive around resulted in both Great Grey Shrike and Pygmy Owl.

Maridalen's overwintering Great Grey Shrike (varsler) is moving around a lot and must be struggling to find food

spotting a Pygmy Owl (spurveugle)

calling. This one had a high pitched call meaning it is a female (I believe)

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