Sunday 9 June 2024

Maridalen's first ever Great Northern Diver

Since coming back from Valdres I have been really trying to find some more “night singers” in Maridalen and to have more sightings of the Long-eared Owl but the owl has not been seen again and it is only Marsh Warblers, with now 4-5 males singing in the valley, that reveal themselves. Blyth’s Reed Warblers seem to be arriving in good numbers close to Oslo so there is still a chance one of these will turn up.

Day time visits have been revealing though. The young Lapwings are now all back together under the protection of a single adult but would be interesting to know what had caused the split before. The crop is now getting too high to see them most of the time but I had all four on a rainy day on the 5th when they were all trying to seek cover under mums wings.

The Whooper Swans finally had young on the 6th which I think were hatched that day. It took me a while to be certain of the identity of the young but they were Whoopers and not Mute so the exciting scenario I had hoped for of Whoopers raising Mute young has not transpired. Interestingly a (the?) pair of Mutes was on the breeding island whilst the Whooper family had moved into nearby bay. This is my first sighting of Mutes here for a few weeks and it seems amazing that they would return on the day of the eggs hatching. The Whoopers did not chase the Mutes off as both parents seemed too busy with shepherding the cygnets but when the Mutes decided to fly off the Whooper pair did their usual calling and wing flapping to celebrate their “victory”.


I have saved this weeks Maridalen highlight until last. The end of the week saw lots of strong southerly winds and rain which even resulted in a Fulmar being seen over the city but in Maridalen a couple of Common Terns had been all I could must up until yesterday evening. I squeezed in a trip after dropping off Jr Jr at a friend which also coincided with a break in the rain. I noticed a diver in my bins which I couldn’t quite place. On collecting the scope from the car I was shocked to see a 1st summer Great Northern Diver!! This is the first record in Maridalen and probably only the fourth in Oslo (following on from the bird Jack and I saw at Huk on May 9th). Maridalen’s list according to is now 226 species (although now passed away old boys regaled me with stories of 3 species not entered there – Dotterel, Ural Owl and Caspian Tern) with me having seen 210. Presumably blown in by the winds it was at times associating with Canada Geese and allowed close approach. In the field I saw nothing wrong with the bird but in my pictures there are possible signs of oil on its breast.

1st summer (2cy) Great Northern Diver (islom) on Maridalsvannet! Mote what may be oil on its breast

it really was quite close even though it is only a dot in this photo taken with my phone

with Canada Geese and a Canada x Greylag hybrid. 

look at that foot!

Whooper Swan (sangsvane) family

the pale legs and bill show them to be Whooper and not Mute

the Mutes flying off and the Whoopers celebrating

the four Lapwing (vipe) young reunited and seeking shelter from the rain under mums wings

two new Canada x Greylag hybrids have turned up in Maridalen in addition to the gander that has been here all spring and bred unsuccessfully with a Canada Goose

more Canadas have turned up in the last few days presumably to moult. These two with varying amounts of leucism in the face may well be related

Common Tern (makrellterne)

I have also discovered where the Wrynecks are breeding which seems to be in an old Lesser Spotted Woodpecker hole which is right below an old Great Spotted hole – this tree has clearly been of value to peckers 😊

Wryneck nesting hole in the middle with a larger hole above

And finally, an unsuccessful session trying to find if Honey Buzzards are breeding again resulted in hearing the trumpet call of Two-barred Crossbill which becomes Oslo #185. There have already been records on the west coast so it looks like this may be an invasion year.

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