A few days ago it was snowing, today it could reach 20C for the first time this year! And the warmer southerly winds has brought in a new wave of seasonal migrants….it’s always nice to hear my first Icterine warbler (gulsanger) and I also heard my first cuckoo (gjøk)!
And a brambling (bjørkefink) was again singing its nasal song in the garden:
Bramblings (bjørkefink) are common breeding birds at higher elevations, but it’s just possible that they will breed here one day. This is the closest I’ve got with a male singing the last few days in the garden, here atop a Norway maple (spisslønn), the flowers still waiting after two very cold weeks!
I thought I’d take you for a tour of the lower parts of the garden including the forest garden. No commentary, let’s just listen to the birds and observe. In the first video, I unexpectedly stumble on a willow warbler (løvsanger), my first in the garden this year, foraging on the ground in the cold weather….you can otherwise hear singing redwing (rødvingetrost), great tit (kjøttmeis), fieldfare (gråtrost), meadow pipit (heipiplerke), house sparrow (gråspurv) and blue tit (blåmeis) in one of the two videos.
3 mornings in a row new snow has greeted me, but it mostly melts again during the day. I’m feeling for people in the north where the arctic city of Tromsø still has over 1m depth of snow and in the hills around here where the snow is accumulating. On the plus side I can still harvest for dinner in the afternoon and there’s entertainment with the abnormal numbers of birds in the garden foraging as open patches start appearing every morning. There are still several meadow pipits (heipiplerke) and many fieldfares (gråtrost) some coming right up to the house. This morning bramblings (bjørkefink) also made an appearance.
I was surprised yesterday to see my first swallows of 2020, 3 of them hunting in the garden for a few minutes. We’re experiencing the coldest weather this late in spring in my lifetime according to an article in the Trondheim newspaper yesterday, translating as “This burst of cold air from the North Pole is giving the coldest weather this late in the spring in 65 years”, my own arrival on this planet on 29th April 1955 coincided with this. In the UK “On the 17th May 1955, the heaviest SNOWFALL in London in May for about 100 years occurred when snow fell for 2-3 hours across practically the whole of England, accompanied by a widespread SEVERE GALE. One of the LATEST SNOWFALL events across southern England known”. I apologise for the disruption ;) I’m one of the few who enjoy this weather as it means that my perennial vegetables grow slower and actually yield more over a longer period as it’s too cold for flowers to appear but perfect for leaf production! I do feel sorry though for gardeners at higher elevations who will be getting a lot of snow this week :(
The swallows probably arrived on my birthday when the temperature crept over 10C! In this video they were flying over a maple tree whose flowers were trying to open! The 8 day forecast is just as cold with not a single day above 10C!
I’ve never been this close to a dunnock (jernspurv) before. They are normally really shy and although they sing every spring I have no sightings of young birds or nest. This one landed briefly on the balcony outside my home office, time enough for one photo!
I am so fortunate every year to hear the song of the curlew (storspove) singing in the bay from early April and through most of the summer, sometimes overhead too. Sadly, there are no lapwings (vipe) any more, but at least one pair of curlew is here. But, there are no definite breeding records from the whole of Malvik kommune ever (no young birds, eggs or nests observed)..so where do they breed? This video is from 4:40 this morning! You can also here both great tit (kjøttmeis) and redwing (rødvingetrost)
Following the blizzard like conditions over the last two days the low pressure system moved away eastwards and a high pressure ridge with light winds built up over Norway last night and there was a light drizzle and just above freezing this morning. I sat down at my desk with the fire going and window open and very soon I heard what I had been expecting…redwings (rødvingetrost) started singing and calling just outside the window right on schedule for their mid-April arrival time slot! Then, a bit later I spotted a song thrush (måltrost) foraging, later redwings were foraging on the ground and two dunnocks (jernspurv) also appeared, unusual to see this shy bird, no doubt also newly arrived. There was only bare ground near the fjord this morning, concentrating the birds hungry for some food….
For the second time a pair of coal tits (svartmeis) have taken up residency in the garden. It’s not often I see them as they don’t come to the bird feeder. I only know of their presence from the male’s song which I’ve heard regularly since January. They are probably building a nest now possibly in a bird box as there aren’t any natural tree holes although they also build in holes at ground level.