Canada Geese (Kanadagås)
Canada Geese (Kanadagås) in heavy rain
Fornebu observation tower
Observation tower
Holmenkollen ski jump as seen from tower
Greylag Geese (Grågås)
Greylag Geese (Grågås)

Birding in Fornebu, Oslo

In September 2008, I went bird watching in the nature reserve at Fornebu in Oslo. Up until 1998, Fornebu was the closest major airport to Oslo. But Fornebu airport closed when the new Gardermoen airport opened, and the area is now under redevelopment. Much of the surrounding coast has been turned into a nature reserve boasting hundreds of bird species.

This is a good area to go when visiting Oslo, just 10 km west of the city center by car or taxi.

On the day of my visit the weather was poor, with cloudy skies, heavy rain, and occasional thunder and lightning. Despite the weather, since I'd planned to see the reserve and had only one day available to do it, I went ahead and drove out to Fornebu.

I parked in the parking area at the entrance, which is on Oksenøveien, at GPS coordinates N 59 53.762 E 10 36.237. There is a sign with a small map and a list of regulations for the area.

Fortunately I came prepared with a rain cover for the camera. I managed to see a number of Canada Geese and Greylag Geese swimming in the water on the western side. But the rain got heavy enough to send me under the trees for cover for long periods, and I finally was so wet I decided to head back early.

Goldfinch (Stillits) quartet
Goldfinch (Stillits) quartet

I had just closed the trunk of the car in disgust and I turned around, only to see four Goldfinches perched in a small tree about ten feet away. I quietly got the trunk open again, retrieved the camera, and got back to business. Goldfinches are common in other parts of Europe, but not in most of Norway. The area around Oslo is known to hold them, and I was pleased to see these four. I decided to take a break for lunch and a dry set of clothes.

When I returned, the weather had improved a bit, and the sun was breaking through now and again. I went looking for the observation tower, and found it about 10-15 minutes walk south and west of the parking area.

The platform is open but has a roof, which I appreciated given the weather. There is a very good view in all directions, as the tower is built on an elevated area, and I could see both the reserve and distant Oslo sights like Holmenkollen.

Tufted Ducks (Toppand)
Tufted Ducks (Toppand)

From the tower I saw a Grey Heron flying across the nature reserve, as well as Hooded Crows, Swans, Tufted Ducks, and some other waterfowl.

Unfortunately, the lightning picked up dramatically and I had to leave before I would have liked. Despite the weather, I found it a nice spot, especially given the proximity to Oslo, and I am sure to return in future – on a sunny day!

View of wetlands near parking area, in a rare moment of sunshine during my visit
Goldfinch (Stillits)
Goldfinch (Stillits)
Grey Heron (Gråhegre) over Oslo
Grey Heron (Gråhegre)    over Oslo
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