Yesterday was a sunny but cold day with an unpleasant northerly wind. Today was without wind and temperatures warmed through the day from -6C to around zero with snow now falling which will turn into rain overnight. Yesterday I checked out the Glomma and Aurskog Høland but found much less than last week with the cold spell clearly having forced birds to look for more appealing sites.
Today was a bit better and I chose a trip to the Drøbak area. The sea was calm and revealed lots of seaduck: 300 plus Eiders, 80 Common Scoter and 40 Velvet Scoter. As is normally the case the Velvet Scoters were dominated by adult males whereas probably all the Common Scoters were 1st winter birds – it is interesting that the different age groups of these two species choose to have such different wintering areas (the adult Common Scoters winter further south but I am not sure where the young Velvet Scoters spend the winter – further north?).
Amongst the duck were a stonking 11 Common Seals which is by far the highest count reported for Akershus. There was a lot of play or possibly courtship amongst them. I picked out a high count of 6 Purple Sandpipers on a different island but saw no sign of the local White-tailed Eagles which I had hoped may have been enjoying the weather and displaying in the blue skies. Quality photos have been a rare commodity recently with birds at great distance, heat haze and too bright light giving me problems.
male Common Eider (ærfugl)
a 2cy male Eider and an adult male
4 of the 11 seals
another a failed picture but this moose (elg) was one of three I saw in Maridalen which is my first sighting of the year. The mild winter with little snow had meant that they could find food deep in the forest but as the winter wears on there is less food to find plus the recent snow has made conditions more challenging so they are drawn to agricultural land.
This video really only gives you an idea of how far away the Purple Sands and seals were
Even if I found no Bean Geese along the Glomma River yesterday it was a lovely day!
I’m not quite sure what caused these circular clouds – maybe the Almighty was blowing smoke rings?
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Simon Rix is an English Birder who has lived in Oslo, Norway since 2001. Birding has been his passion since primary school and after an education as an economist and career within oil and gas and then drinks industry he turned his attention full time to birds as middle age approached. He is particularly interested in patch birding and migration and is an active guide, blogger and photographer. He is a member of the Norwegian Rarities Committee (NSKF).
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