I was in the garden this morning and heard the contact call of the (European) redwing (rødvingetrost), described as a thin, drawn and sharp “sreee”. It’s always a joy to hear the first one each spring. 10th April is the average arrival time here, so this is right on schedule. A little later I heard a snatch of song too. With snow on the ground this morning redwings that had arrived before northerly winds set in were forced down to near the fjord where there’s less snow. I made a little video of one bird close to the house before the flock (6 birds) flew off.
Large fly-past by pinkfeet (kortnebbgjess) yesterday. I noted 9 flocks in total and 6 flocks of in total 900 birds between 14:15 and 15:30. The map showing all reports of geese yesterday shows clearly the migration path first over the Oslo area and then north along the Gudbrandsdal valley to Trondheim along the Trondheimsfjord to the rich pastures near the fjord further north (northernmost dots).
Even though it was only 5 am, I was happy to be woken this morning by a wren (gjerdesmett) singing in the garden. Good to hear that at least one has survived the cold winter.
Nice to see a pair of shelduck (gravand) back in the bay this morning, the first time I’ve seen them in the bay since spring 2015. Before that they appeared most years and probably bred locally (there are spread breeding pairs along the fjord). Oystercatchers (tjeld) have also been back for about a week now. A bad long distance (on the other side of the bay) picture of the shelducks to illustrate:
With a polar low (polarlavtrykk) on its way, hooded crows (kråker) struggled on their way in to the roost this evening against the wind:
A flock of 41 goldfinches landed in a tree in front of where I am sitting writing this this afternoon. This is the largest flock I’ve recorded here so far!
A short video at 1/4 speed as they flew off:
With the huge shift in temperature this week, spring is suddenly here and several bird species are now singing in the garden: blue tit (blåmeis), great tit (kjøttmeis), greenfinch (grønnfink) and, down in the bay about 20 goldeneyes (kvinand) have been displaying. Yesterday, for the first time, I heard singing woodpigeon, bullfinch and this great spotted woodpecker (flaggspett) drumming on the metal cap of the electricity pole:
..and this nuthatch (spettmeis) was inpecting what I have in offer for nesting sites. The oldest painted bird boxes predate my time here and were put up for starlings (stær) originally.
As I’ve written before on this blog, nettles (Urtica spp.) are important food plants for birds, both due to insects and their larvae feeding on them in summer and the nutrient rich seed in winter. Today there was a small flock of redpolls (gråsisik) feeding on the seed on a small patch of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) that I’ve been encouraging just below the house and in good view of the living room.
There was a pair of marsh tit (løvmeis) in the garden one day this week and they showed some interest in a nest box. Hoping for first time nesting in the garden of this species! In the video, it can be seen interested in an unopened hazel catkin, which are eaten by other tits.
I heard a magpie “singing” this morning outside the front door. It has been desribed as a low-pitched, slightly chirping giggle and is in my experience most often heard on cold winter days. Indeed song has been recorded in January in Finnmark (the northernmost county of Norway) in an air temperature of -36C!
Unfortunately, the magpie discovered me as soon as I started filming and there’s only a very short snatch at the beginning.