It was close to 30C and I was working outside this afternoon and decided that my saskatoons (Amelanchier) could do with a bit of water. The hose was on at the base of the trees and one of this year’s blue tits (blåmeis), which had fledged a couple of weeks ago, decided it would be great to cool off with a cold shower, probably it’s first!
One of the “problems” with being aware of nature is that I often sleep lightly. I was first woken at about 2 am by distant cuckoo (gjøk) song and then a short burst of song in the garden, the first time I’ve recorded this species in song here and I made the video below (I was bleary eyed which is probably why it’s not in focus!). I hear song from mid-May to early June most years but mostly in the distance and usually just for one day. I suspect that most of these are stopping over on the way north. Although I thought of cuckoos at one time as birds of the English countryside, my time in Scotland taught me that they were equally at home in the mountains and here in Norway they are widespread breeding birds throughout the country including the high mountains and the arctic tundra in the north. I’ve clipped in a sequence showing the sunrise in the north east at the same time.
When I woke this morning at 6:30, I noticed what looked like a goose in the field below the house. Zooming in with my camera, it was a shelduck (gravand), probably only the second time I’ve seen this species in the field!
North Pole? Yesterday I worked for the first time this year at the Væres Venner Community Garden where KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) and I are involved. When I arrived there was a pair of white wagtails (linerle) at the North Pole of the World Garden (I’ve planted mainly perennial vegetables geographically on a 12m diameter garden with the centre representing the north pole, marked by a pile of rocks) :)
Otherwise, honey bees were active on a group of dwarf daffodils (påskeliljer), significantly earlier than other Narcissus:
First serious dig of the year preparing an area for potatoes, removing the last of the couch grass (kveke) roots (I hope) and planted about 30 Sarpo potatoes (Sarpo Mira and Sarpo Tominia). Also sowed broad beans, planted onion sets and caraway root (karve). Overwintering of the 100+ fruit, berry and nut trees seems to be very good!
The annual large flocks of gulls are now here resting in the bay after feeding following farmers’ ploughs all day. They are mostly common gulls (fiskemåke) and black-headed gulls (hettemåke). The field below the house was ploughed today as you can see in the film below. Other things to notice are the goat willows (selje), Salix caprea, now in flower at the beginning and I zoom in briefly towards a diver/loon (lom) in the bay.
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).