A natural history blog by Greg Roberts, Sunshine Coast, Australia
Sunshine Coast Birds
Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.
Friday, 7 July 2017
Europe Part 8 - Birding Norway's Mountains (Eurasian Dotterel, Great Snipe, Capercaillie); Sight-seeing the Netherlands
pottering around Oslo and the southern Norway coast (see following
post) we headed north to Lillehammer, where we looked without success
for Pine Grosbeak, making do with more numerous fare such as Meadow
Pipit and Common Redstart, along with some fine alpine scenery.
Mountains above Lillehammer
continued north to the Knudsen family's lovely cabin in the Synnfjell
Mountains in the district of Nord-Torpa, stopping to look at a pair
of Slavonian Grebes with chicks.
so many cabins
the length of Scandinavia's
the roof is adorned with a flourishing garden of wildflowers
(abundant at this time of year), grasses and small shrubs. The
weather was chilly but pleasant and sunny.
pair of Great Tits were feeding
a clutch of young in a nest-box
on the cabin wall.
birds about the cabin included Pied Flycatcher, Willow
Warbler, Eurasian Siskin and Willow Tit. Glenn
was fortunate to see a Long-eared Owl.
Spruce forest, Nord-Torpa
forests in this part of the world are mostly spruce with pockets of
the road through the forest behind the cabin I found Siberian Jay on
four occasions, with a maximum of 3 birds at one spot.
stumbled upon a female Capercaillie being
protective of a couple of chicks by the road. I also saw a single
female Black Grouse briefly. A
White-tailed Eagle overhead was unexpected.
I had seen Brambling just once before so it was nice to track down a singing male.
drove further north to the spectacular Valdresflya Plateau where
plenty of snow was about, notwithstanding the time of year. Onthe way we were surprised to find a Hawfinch by the road.
This beautiful area is a mosaic of highland moors, snowfields, lakes, forest patches and mountains.
At Valdresflya it took a couple of hours to track down a prime target – Eurasian
Dotterel, which nests on the rocky
mountain hillsides. An
nicely as it watched over two small chicks.
birds in the area included the distinctive regional race of Bluethroat, Shore Lark and Western Yellow
Wagtail. A Wood Sandpiper in breeding plumage was nice.
Arctic Tern along one of the lake shores.
Ketil sets up the hides at snipe lek
moved on to the Hersjomyrin Nature Reserve at Storhosaestren where
Ketil knew of a Great Snipe lek. Here we set up two tent hides and
waited until “sunset” at 11pm.
Night at this time of year consists
of 3 or 4 hours of dim twilight, and
that is when some birds such as snipe are most active.
Great Snipe displaying at lek - pic by Ketil Knudsen
weren't to be disappointed. We had 15-20 Great Snipe in full swing at
the lek with a cacophony of bill-snapping, whinnying and whirring
noises. They shut up when a Short-eared Owl soared overhead. A Merlin
also flew over while Red Grouse was heard. Mammals
in the area included Mountain Hare and Field Vole.
Common Snipe - Pic by Ketil Knudsen
the way back in the semi-darkness we encountered
Eurasian Woodcock and Common Snipe (with a noticeably longer bill
than Great Snipe) on the road.
had a couple of Moose cross the road.
extremely grateful to Ketil and Bente Knudsen for their warm generosity
and excellent company during our 10-day visit to Norway. Then it was
on to The Netherlands, the last of 12 countries we visited during our
6.5-week sojourn to Europe (the others were, in order: Italy, Vatican
City, Monaco, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Denmark,
Haarlem & Great Church of St Bavos
St Bavos concert
Haarlem's Adrian windmill
stayed near Amsterdam in the historic city of Haarlem with the tower
of the Great
Church of St Bavos shadowing
comfortable apartment; the
constant ringing of its 5-tonne bell offered mixed blessings. The
huge pipe organ in the church was played by Mozart when he was 10. We checked out the sites of Haarlem and Amsterdam including, in Haarlem - Teyler's Museum, the city's bustling Saturday market in the town square andthe Adrian windmill. We enjoyed the splendid mosaic of canals in both cities.
Amsterdam - marijuana shop
Amsterdam we saw
Westerkerk, Hermitage and the Auschwitz Memorial.
canal footpaths commemorating
people taken from their homes and murdered by the Nazis. The whiff
of marijuana in
crowded Amsterdam back streets was
in the air.
Amsterdam - Jewish people taken from their homes and killed by the Nazies WWII
Haarlem we did not expect to
large area of natural wilderness along the coast in Zuid-Kennemerland
National Park. Fallow
Deer were common here.