June 10, 2015, Starmoen, Norway — When I landed in Oslo today, Iceland seemed like a weird dream from the night before (which, in a way, it was). I bumped awake as the plane touched down just after noon, and met a friend at the Oslo aiport named Bjorn Olav Tveit. We’ll spend the next couple of days birding together in Norway.
I first ran into Bjorn three years ago in a forest in central Oregon where he was visiting on vacation. The next summer I spent a couple of days birding with him in southern Norway, and when I planned this big year I called him up again. Bjorn is author of “A Birdwatcher’s Guide to Norway,” the definitive word on the subject (available in both Norwegian and English!), and is finishing work on an updated edition to be released in the next year.
This afternoon the two of us headed straight into the forest northeast of Oslo and picked off some common northern European birds with one-word names: Fieldfares, Yellowhammers, Chaffinches, Jackdaws, Dunnocks, Redwings, Blackcaps, and Whinchats. We also admired a pair of Great Tits (as Bjorn pointed out, their song isn’t complicated, but they’re nice to look at).
It was exciting, after the past couple of weeks in North America, to be in a place where nearly all the birds are new again, even the most common species. At dusk we ended up on a dirt road in a pine forest. Bjorn pulled out a couple of pads and sleeping bags and we threw them on the moss amid the trees, under the open sky. In Norway, common law allows anyone to camp anywhere at any time, for up to three days, even on private property, as long as you’re not in the vicinity of buildings or agricultural fields. As I settled in, near 11 p.m., there was still enough daylight to watch a Eurasian Woodcock making display flights overhead as I drifted off to sleep.
New birds today: 43
Year list: 2826