Saturday 11 January 2014

Slowly but steady

This week has mostly been office days, but a few short trips in the local area have ensured my list to be growing virtually every day. Northern goshawks seems to be showing off well during the start of the new year, and I have seen 8 different birds already in the 2014. It became part of my list already 1st January.

5th January
Short trip to Buvika just outside Trondheim to look for ducks, and maybe some late shore birds as frost and snow is still absent for this winter. Highlight were three River otter (oter) babies playing in the sea. I always love to see this animal, that luckily has become very common along the coast of this part of the country. They always seem to be in a good mood, and if you don’t see them feeding on some fish they just caught they will be busy playing. The best part about them is that they seem to be dominant over the American mink (mink) which is an introduced species (escapes from mink farming industry) and it seems like the otter is the most efficient way to eradicate the mink from our country. The American mink is a big problem for many of our seabird populations, as it is an efficient predator on eggs and chicks in the nesting season. So hands up for the otter! The only two new birds for the year were House sparrow (gråspurv) and Greenfinch (grønnfink).

New species: 2
Total: 49

6th January
Birding the river where I live, in hope of finding a rare gull or something else fun. Of course, a hunting goshawk (hønsehauk) was seen almost immediately. More interesting, and new for the year, was a glimpse of Norway’s national bird – Dipper (fossekall). The dipper was swimming around in the river, diving for aquatic invertebrates as they often do this time of the year. This is one of very few birds which doesn’t have hollow bones – exactly because he wants to be a better diver.

New species: 1
Total: 50 (hooray!)

The local dipper,, that lives outside my garden.

 7th January
Again birding the river. Treecreeper (trekryper) in the neighbour’s garden was the only new one.

New species: 1
Total: 51

9th January
Went searching for some forest specials today. A friend and myself went to a forest just outside Trondheim in hope to find something interesting. First thing we noticed (actually after walking for half an hour or so) was that we didn’t hear any bird sounds at all. Total quietness! Winter birding in the forests in Norway is never easy, and with this in mind we didn’t loose faith. Thy who search shall find. An hour or so later, we were chasing the sound of a drumming woodpecker. Not any woodpecker, but the sound clearly belonged to the Norwegian woodpecker I most rarely see – the Three-toed woodpecker (tretåspett). This bird, I normally only see a couple of times each year. Not only because I rarely walk in the forest (contrary to most of my friends’ beliefe), but also because this species is highly dependent of old forest. Something which is unfortunately less and less abundant in this world – Norway included. Afer some chasing up and down the hills, we finally managed to figure out that the bird didn’t actually move as much as we thought, but that there were in fact two different individuals that made us run back and forth thinking it was the same bird moving a lot….A tiring experience (but I guess needed after Christmas feast), but I feel we won the battle at the end. These two rivals (the drumming woodpeckers), finally met as well, and then we were there to observe it. The two males had a long and hard territorial fight, and they sat on the same trunk showing off to each other. Having a drumming competition, wings flapping and chasing each other through the forest. We observed this very interesting behaviour for more than an hour, before we decided to leave the rivals to themselves. Ticking new birds is not only about making the longest list, but I hope to see many interesting behaviours and learn more about the birds I tick off like this during the year. Great!

I don't see you, you don't see me. But I am drumming loudest in the forest here.

Searching through the forest for more forest special yielded a few parties of Crested tits (Toppmeis), which was also new for the year. Arriving back to the car, there was a nice surprise in the form of a Hawk owl (haukugle) waiting for us in a treetop next to my car. This bird (like any owl I guess) is certainly one of my favorites in the Norwegian fauna, and this winter it seems to be a small influx of them – at least in the southern half of the country. Needless to say, I enjoyed the owl very much.

New species: 3
Total: 53

Not the best picture I have ever made I admit, but
the shape of a hawk owl in a tree top is always a
 highlight during a birding trip.

10th January
Again searching the harbour area in town for any interesting gulls. None seen. Saw a few Rooks (Kornkråke) and an unusual (for this part of the country) wintering Wood pigeon (Ringdue). This is the good thing about the early season birding, that even on days I don’t necessarily find any rare birds I anyway add species to my list.

The coming week, I will do some birding at the coast. Of course, unless something better turns up….

New species: 2

Total: 55


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