One of the highlights of spring for me are the large flocks of pink-footed geese (pinkfeet) or kortnebbgjess in Norwegian passing Malvik on the final stage of their journey from their overwintering grounds in the low countries to their staging post just north of here before the final journey to Svalbard. We heard yesterday that an estimated 15,000 pinkfeet had been observed flying north over Oslofjorden and on up Gudbrandsdalen the broad river valley north from Oslo to Trondheim. However, last night we were told that due to bad weather they had stopped south of the mountains. I heard a few last night so a few had flown over the mountains….but I was woke at 07:30 as the first flocks started passing and they continued in a steady stream until I had to leave at 12 pm. I recorded as many flocks as I could by pictures and videos….and estimate that at least 3,590 birds passed in 22 flocks during the morning…so today was very different to what I’d planned! This is the largest number I’ve recorded here and the main migration is nowadays 1 month earlier than it used to be, one of the most obvious and dramatic signs of climate change here….
Here are all reported pinkfeet (kortnebbgås) observations in Norway the last two days showing that the birds fly along a narrow corridor from Denmark into the Oslo fjord, on up the Gudbransdalen valley and then over the Dovrefjell mountains (few observations) to Trondheimsfjord. The furthest north observations are at the staging post area (farmland):
This is the best time of year for getting up at the crack of dawn, lots of birdsong too! The sunrise at the moment is about 6 am…..but, in a few weeks, it will be 3 am which is a bit early! The long-term forecast is for clear-blue skies for the whole of Easter week here….with over 10C during the days…cold at nights to start with (it was -5C when the picture was taken) but frosts disappearing in a few days! Should be a great Easter week working in my gardens!
A small number of goldfinches spend their winter holiday in the lowlands around Trondheimsfjord, a very good choice I would say! I’ve never seen them in summer here . I heard the characteristic twittering flight call this morning for the first time this winter and then saw 4 of them this afternoon on burdock (borre) seed heads next to my outhouse (see the two videos below). Goldfinches have long and thin bills allowing them to extract seeds from burdock, other thistles, sunflowers and teasel /kardeborre (Dipsacus), although they have never shown any interest in the teasel I’ve grown for them.
You can read how my growing burdock as a vegetable attracted them to my garden , at that time a rare bird in this area: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=8810
The map below shows the concentration of sightings of flocks of goldfinches in Malvik in my garden and elsewhere nearby from Malvik to Midtsandan, on the southern shores of the fjord (only flocks of more than 20 birds are plotted).
Pictures from a great day last Sunday in the company of a great group of permaculture interested folks from Oikos Nord Trøndelag (Oikos = Organic Norway)
We started in my garden in Malvik at 10:30, then travelled north to Johannes Moen’s place just south of Steinkjer, stopping on the way to collect some fertility and for a swim in Leksdalsvatnet! I got home by train at 11:30 pm!