Just one last day and what better way to spend it than birding with Simon Rix around Oslo.
Off we went to the county of Hedmark and we put together a nice list of birds. I caught up with some old friends and met some brand new ones. It was nice to see the Yellow Hammer, “A little bit of bread and no cheese” which used to be common in England but is now in serious decline. I’ve not seen it at all during recent visits. It was also nice to see the colourful Common Teal and Goldeneye. A distant Black-throated Diver also turned up.
A Red Squirrel and a Red Fox made separate and very welcome appearances. You could put your foot in plenty of evidence of Moose but you are lucky to see them during the day.
A lifer is always a big thrill. Black Woodpecker and Slavonian Grebe made their very first appearance in my binoculars but the star of the show was the Great Grey Owl.
Simon showed me this female nesting in an abandoned Common Buzzard nest. They are not hole nesters like most other owls. Old raptor nests are not numerous and some success has been had with artificial nesting platforms.
These owls feed mostly on rodents and only breed successfully when rodents are abundant.
Her behaviour suggested that her eggs had just hatched.
Norway has extensive forest cover. Most of it is commercially harvested. Forestry practice has become a bit more bird friendly in recent years, instead of clear felling a few habitat trees are being left. This has helped some species considerably including the Great Grey Owl. Other beneficiaries are the many small birds that breed in woodpecker holes.
Simon is a real pro. If you are passing through Oslo a day out with him should be first item on the agenda. You can contact him through his website … Oslobirder. Just click it.