Sunday, 26 September 2010

Rarity Alert!

My interest for nature started with birds. From bashing through the forests in the outskirts of my hometown looking for bird nests as a 8 year old kid, I evolved my interest further and stronger and before long found myself spending all my spare time searching for new birds I had previously only seen in the book. This was about twenty years ago, and as funny as it is – I still find myself doing exactly the same thing today. I just have to admit and acknowledge, that I am a genuin bird nerd!

One of my best times through the year is a couple of weeks in the autumn, where myself and some equally bird nerdy friends meet at my local patch to do some birding. The end of September is THE time in Norway to find migrating birds that are a bit off track from their normal flyways. Birds that should have gone to the Far East, South America or at least in a totaly different direction than Norway, suddenly find themselves exactly here – in Norway. The reasons for the unfortunate circumstances are often a combination of weather and misnavigation. But for most and for all – it’s still a mystery. Bird migration has been studied since the beginning of yesterday's century, but are still one of natures’ biggest secrets.

The thrill and adrenalin kick, that rush through my body when I find a new bird that I have never seen before is enormous. The good feeling is uncomparable to ANYTHING – yes, even ... can’t come close to it.

This is what makes birding at this time of the year so interesting and exciting – you never know what is luring in the next bush – it might be a new adrenalin kick!

The Yellow-browed warbler  (gulbrynsanger), is not a huge rarity, but is what we call an indicator species. When seeing this bird in Norway, breeding in Siberia and supposed to reach the wintering areas in India and South-East Asia, you know that some easterly winds from far away have reached our west coast. Such winds can also bring adrenalin kicks :-) Ona, Sept. 2007

This North American White-crowned sparrow (hvitkronespurv) is the biggest "bomb" that has ever hit my local patch Ona. Only the 11th bird of this species ever to be found in Europe, and a 1st record for Scandinavia. This bird certainly made rush hour for my adrenalin! Ona, Oct. 2009

This Masked shrike (hvitpannevarsler) was together with the white-crowned sparrow certainly one of the most adrenalin rewarding birds that I saw during 2009. Only the 2nd record for Norway. Lista, Nov.2009.

At the same time, and only 300m away from the stunning masked shrike above, this Steppe-grey shrike (steppekrattvarsler) was lingering for a few weeks. This bird was about the 6th record in Norway. Lista Nov. 2009.

The Barred warbler (hauksanger) falls into the same category as the yellow-browed warbler. Contrary to the yellow-browed, this species can be a real skulker - meaning it hides really well in the bushes and can be frustratingly difficult to obtain good views of. When you see this species, you know you are doing a firm job, by checking the gardens properly and it's only time before you find the real skulky "sibes" which makes the adrenalin flow. Ona, Oct. 2008.  

Lista, the south tip of Norway delivers yet another time! This bird is the 3rd record for Norway (and 2nd for myself), and even how much of a "little brown job" this bird looks like - beeing able to photograph it in a stunning evening light was certainly a mindblowing experience! Isabelline wheatear (isabellasteinskvett), Lista, Nov. 2008. 


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