Today was one of those fantastic winter days: very cold (below -15C) with clear blue skies and white frost on the trees. I paid a visit to Fornebu hoping there would be some birds on the sea as the inner fjord is fast freezing over. I stopped first at Storøya where I picked out the over wintering Kestrel (tårnfalk) perched atop a tree â la Hawkie. There is obviously a good supply of rodents here as wintering Kestrels are a rare sight in these parts – would be nice if a Hawk Owl joined him.
I also had a flock of small finches feeding in alders which turned out to be Common Redpolls (gråsisik). In the warm early morning light they looked very brown initially and I assumed they were a flock of Lesser Redpolls (brunsisik) which breed here in small numbers. Seeing them better and in more neutral light though showed all the birds I saw well to be Common. Lesser Redpolls have also been reported here recently but I couldn’t ID any conclusively today. Norway stands (nearly) alone in treating these as two separate species rather than subspecies something which must soon be changed.
|Common Redpoll (gråsisik)|
The sea at Furst Brygge was nearly ice free although further in at Halden Brygge there was a lot of ice. Velvet Scoter (sjøorre) were the commonest duck with a grand total of 29 counted but the rarest was a female/immature Smew (lappfiskand). This bird has been around for over a week but only reported once in the meantime. It was at quite some range frequenting the sound between the two Vassholm islands but showed every now and again. 14 Mute Swans here were a high number and a sign that other areas have frozen forcing them to move on. Another observer had (and took good pictures) of Little Grebes and Common Scoter here later in the day which were absent when I was there thus showing that there is some (local?) movement going on.
|Mute Swans (knoppsvane)|