Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Birding Trondheim

With only a day before leaving on his next trip, Eirik took me birding around Trondheim to see if we could find some regional specials. We started the day early in old pine forests looking primarily for Hazel Grouse, with Eirik using a unique whistle to call out male birds. However, after several attempts at different spots we were still out of luck. Pygmy Owls were also nowhere to be seen despite repeated efforts to whistle them out. While birding the forests a host of other species were seen, including Goldcrests (I would almost consider them the equivalent of the African white-eyes), Coal Tit, Crested Tit, Chiffchaff, Robin, Brambling and Siskin amongst others. Bullfinch was a lifer for me, while I was also pleased to see my first Eurasian Jay for Norway. 

The agricultural fields around Trondheim.

Moving on to some agricultural fields we picked up Greylag and Pink-footed Geese, Yellowhammer and my next lifer, Reed Bunting. While i had had a number of probable sightings of this species over the past couple months, I was never able to get decent views until now. A visit to some lakes and tidal areas produced some good birds such as Slavonian Grebes, Pintails, Long-tailed Duck, and my first pair of Shovelers. A Coot amongst the Goldeneyes and Tufted Ducks on one of the lakes was a nice surprise, another Norwegian first for me.

At Verdalsøra we visited an interesting patch of grassland close to a beach, where we saw a Short-eared Owl being relentlessly harassed by two Hooded Crows. Owls have been pretty hard to see since the beginning of summer due to low rodent numbers, so it was at least good to know there were still some birds around. Yellowhammers were abundant in the area while a couple of Skylarks were also about. We ended the day scanning a large gathering of Pink-footed Geese in the hope of finding a White-fronted Goose amongst them.

A Yellowhammer at Verdalsøra.

Thanks to Eirik, I still had a place to stay after his departure the next day. Left to my own devices and with some tips on where to find some more birds around Trondheim. I was off exploring. I stopped by the Norwegian Ornithological Society’s office and was pleased to meet up again with Ingar and Tomas, whom I had met earlier on my travels at Starbbursnes where they were conducting bird surveys. After getting more birding tips and a map of the city, and browsing through the great collection of bird books, I went in pursuit of my first target species. The localised population of Rooks is easy to find, so it was not long before I found several birds at one of the regularly frequented parks. 

A Rook in Trondheim. Note the pale base to the bill.

The next target species was a little harder to track down, so it was only the following day that I caught up with another localised Trondheim species, namely the Spotted Nutcracker. The birds in Trondheim are of the Siberian race, and established themselves in town after an influx in the mid-1990s. Due to the presence of suitable pines bearing large seeds, a small population of birds remained after the influx, and have since become resident. An interesting phenomenon indeed, and as interesting as the bird itself. Watching Nutcrackers getting at the seeds of pines is something worth watching!  

A Spotted Nutcracker in Trondheim. An unusual species indeed.

Another species I was after in Trondheim was Hawfinch, but did not manage to find it at the recommended site. I did however get great views of other species, such as Eurasian Treecreeper, Marsh Tit (which looks superficially similar to Willow Tit), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Jackdaw, and Song Thrush. On the Nidelva River, which passes through the city, I saw my first male Goldeneye in full breeding plumage. While most male Mallards were in full colour by this time, the other waterfowl species were slower to follow. I was pleased with the prospect that I would soon get to see other waterfowl species in plumage, such as Teal and Pintail, which till thus far have only been in shades of brown. 

After a great stay in Trondheim, and experiencing some of the best weather in a while too, it was time to move on. I was planning on taking a detour through the mountains on my way to Molde at the coast, but little did I know that the seasonal clock was ticking, fast….

1 comment:

  1. You're on an exiting trip, and I'm really enjoying your blog! I've read your posts from Røst and Værøy (near where I come from). And I'm glad you got so much out of your stay here i Trondheim (where I live now). I know you've got lots of birding goodies ahead and look forward to read about them. Take care. And if your crossing mountains again you'd better change to studded tires :-)