Monday 3 March 2014

Big Year - Saturday night entertainment!

It has been a while since the last update. The reason is that I have been on a rather nervous trip to Turkey. Nervous because Turkey is a rather long way away from Norway should a mega bird suddenly turn up. But, timing was chosen well, and late Februrary are usually fairly quiet times for rarities. This trip was more about relaxing and getting to know the area than a birding trip, but the binoculars was of course with me as usual and my father and myself managed to take a few days up in the mountains. Turkey has amazing mounttains and very interesting bird life - especially from mid April onwards when summer migrants start to return and the snow up in the mountains melt away.

In total I got 7 lifers - meaning birds I have never seen before anywhere in the world. I managed to complete my European woodpecker (hakkespett) list, but the star for me was the incredibly beautiful Krüper's nuthatch (tyrkerspettmeis).

Krüper's nuthatch  (tyrkerspettmeis) - a long wanted lifer on my world list! 

Nuthatchess are always cool to watch, this one is a bit different than
his sister species in the way that he lives mainly on rocks. Rock Nuthatch (klippespettmeis).

Turkish mountains. This almost treeless landscape is the preferred habitat for
 Rock nuthatch (klippespettmeis). 

The day before I left back to Norway, I got an exciting phone call from the team of one of Norway's most famous TV talk-shows. They wanted Big Year to be Saturday night tv entertainment on national tv! So off I went, and made my best possible effort (birding style) to entertain the Norwegians.

Since birding is such a small hobby in Norway (only about 15 000 members in NOF, but only about 300 twitchers), some of the idea with my Big Year project is to visit different media and to bring birding as a hobby and the joy we have with it in all different forms and shapes out to the public. Hopefully, this can bring some most wanted recruitment into this fantastic activity. And in the end, the more birders, the more power, and the more we can help the birds that for some reason struggle here and there. So a big thank you to the host Anne Lindmo for devoting 10 minutes of her famous talkshow to birding! Well done!

Anne Lindmo - the tv host - and myself amongst some famous and not so
 famous people. Even though it might look like I am incredibly busy taking
photo of Anne's curly hair, we did actually talk about birds. Maybe she,
herself will end up being a birder some day....Thank you Anne for having me on your show! 

While there, getting ready for the fame of tv, I tried for a Bewick's swan (dvergsvane) which had been seen just outside Oslo the day before and early morning the next day. I was at the site at 10:15, but by then this winter rarity had flown off and I missed it by only an hour or two. This species is getting increasingly difficult to see in Norway, and best time to see it is when some migrating birds pass Norway in March. I hope some more will turn up soon....I did tick off Greylag goose (grågås) for my Big Year though.

In the weekend I've been busy guiding an English birder. We got quality birds and stunning views of king eider (praktærfugl), male Hazel grouse (jerpe) feeding in a tree, Siberian jay (lavskrike) on an arm's length and Arctic redpoll (polarsisik) together with both lesser, and mealy just for comparison. The wind was unfortunately too strong to score high on owls, but we mananged a singing Long-eared owl (hornugle) and brief views of a Hawk owl (haukugle). Little auk (alkekonge) and the long staying Water pipit (vannpiplerke) also contributed in making this weekend birding a great time. All in all, I managed 7 new species for my Big Year the last three days.

Siberian jay (lavskrike) in its typical old forest habitat. A locally common, but always
hard to find bird in the Norwegian forests. 

March is already started, and the next two weeks will be devoted to owling and maybe some woodpeckers. Spring migration has just started, with the first oystercatchers (tjeld), shelducks (gravand) and skylarks (sanglerke) already returned. From mid March onwards, the real busy times starts, and I am ready!

New birds: 7
Total: 123


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