Saturday, September 19, 2009

Then it was off to Norway...

Golden Eagle
Family of Goosanders

Record shot of one of the Hawk Owls

Great Grey Shrike

In Oslo we went birding at Fornebu with an experienced local birder and friend Per Gylseth, with the highlight being seven or so Oystercatchers feeding on rocky islets, another lifer as well as an Osprey and two Red-backed shrikes. Quite a few other waders about too, Lapwings and Greenshanks in good numbers, also Green and Wood sandpiper, Ringed plover and Common snipes. A Water rail was an interesting addition to my Norwegian list. Finally a flock of 115 Greylag and Barnacle geese were fun together with Eiders (50), Goldeneyes (35), and Red-breasted merganser (30).
The following four weeks we spent at our family cabin in the mountains with a variety of habitats ranging from bare mountain slopes, birch and conifer forest, lakes, rivers and heath land. Birds of prey were in greater abundance than other years, not something we complained about! Rough-legged Buzzard (a long longed for lifer), Common kestrels and Merlins were the most frequent. With adult Golden eagles seen twice being just as exciting. I wasn’t expecting a Hen harrier (also a lifer) but it was very welcome although a female! Common Buzzards and Sparrowhawks were also present.
The magnificent Black-throated divers were seen including a family party of four. As other years Goosanders were abundant, watching from the window six young with their mother catching their dinner while we were eating ours was fun. No family parties of willow grouse unfortunately but still saw a few. Then there were the Hawk owls, what amazing birds, lifer and a dream come true! Even better we got good views of at least 2 individuals, probably a third, one staying around the cabin for two days.
Three-toed woodpecker was another great bird to see as were White-throated dippers and a female Ring ouzel (lifer). We were further thrilled to see a few Great grey shrike! Another great lifer which we also enjoyed good views of! The final birds of note were 2 Siberian jays, Crossbills (lifer) and a Mealy redpoll.
Back in Oslo we visited Scandinavia’s largest inland delta – Nordre Øyeren a great place but unfortunately due to very high water levels there were no waders except Common snipes. Well got a Black woodpecker on the way there as well as my first Marsh harriers and Pintails in Norway. Additional birds of note were Wigeons (5), Teals (35) and single Great grey and Red-backed shrike.
The following day we found a Greater spotted woodpecker busy feeding, loads of Eurasian jays and best of all three Spotted Nutcrackers (lifer) crops full after a day feeding in the city parks.
Then it was back to Stockholm for a day before taking the plane to Malta. We stayed at Lundby farm where we got a pair of Whooper swans (last lifer) on the lake. Two other great birds were White-tailed eagles sitting in an oak tree giving fantastic views! What beaks! Also of note (at least for a birder living in Malta) were a few Redwings, Fieldfares, Mistle and Song thrushes all feeding in the same field.

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