Sunday 3 March 2024


One of, if not THE, highlights of early spring for me is goose migration. We get a very large passage of Pink-footed Geese over Oslo with some stopping to rest and always the chance of something scarcer amongst them (in the coming weeks we will be hoping to find the famous Ross’s Goose pair amongst them). And we also, of course, have the Scottish Taiga Bean Geese which I do not appear to have turned up yet but will do so soon.

In Oslo itself there are few places where one can find resting migrating geese. Østensjøvannet attracts lot of Canada, Greylag and Barnacles but is still frozen. Maridalen can have the odd flock of resting Pink-feets but perhaps the best place is on Bygdøy where the agricultural fields can attract quite a few geese although disturbance is a big problem here. Bygdøy’s big asset is its location at the head of the Oslo fjord so any migrating geese looking for a place to land will see the fields with local Greylags and Barnacles on and be tempted to land. Another pull factor is that every now again there can be big floods when melt water and rain outgun the pumps and drainage ditches. When this happens then a fantastic wetland is created which has you dreaming of it being a permanent feature (but those sort of (wet) dreams never come true in anti-nature Norway).

A visit to the fields at Hengsenga on Saturday revealed amazing flood waters. Two Whooper Swans were the first birds I saw but then I noticed the geese and there were grey geese of two sizes – the expected Greylags but also smaller birds. There were not one, not two but EIGHTEEN White-fronted Geese which is by far and away an Oslo record. With so many geese having been seen further south (see my last post) then we can hope for more to come here in the coming weeks especially if the flood waters persist. The longer they do then we can also look forward to dabbling ducks and even wader – LONG LIVE THE FLOOD!

the flood waters looking from the south

and the north - that ploughed field is just waiting to hold flocks of plover

White-fronted (tundragås), Greylag (grågås) and Barnacle Geese (hvitkinngås)

7 White-fronts and a Greylag

I am prepared to bet quite a lot that the Whooper Swan (sangsvane) pair are the Maridalen breeders who are waiting for conditions to improve there

the Smew (lappfiskand) is still delighting at close range at Østensjøvannet

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