Thursday, 7 March 2013

Ton up

Local birding close to Oslo again today. Fornebu was my first stop. Fantastic blue skies and sun but freezing temperatures as the weather system is coming from the north resulted in few birds. Surprise of the day was a pair of Stock Doves (skogdue) checking out a nest box. This is the first sighting of the year in Akershus and like the local Wood Pigeons (ringdue) they waste no time in getting into breeding modus. The male Kestrel (tårnfalk) is still in residence and it won’t be long before a female arrives and maybe a rival male that he will have to fight off.
Stock Dove (skogdue). This is presumably the female checking out the nesting box

here both birds can be seen. No song was heard but when they flew the wings made a strange whirring sound

close up - as doves go Stock Dove is quite smart

I spent half an hour looking over the pool in the reedbed in Storøykilen hoping to see the Water Rail (vannrikse). Quite what causes this pool to be free of ice when everything else including salt water is frozen I don’t know but it must be some form of pollution. The Water Rail called when I first arrived and I then sat down to wait. A couple of Wrens (gjerdesmett) caught my attention and one even started singing. Whilst watching them I heard a splash and saw some ripples. It may have been a fish but was perhaps more likely the Rail as just after it called very close by and then I glimpsed it from behind as it disappeared in some reeds. 10 minutes later I had another rear end view but try as I might I could not see it again despite it being in a very small area of reeds.
This small pool has provided enough sustinence to keep a Water Rail going through the winter

The sea off Fornebu held a single Little Grebe which is my first here this year and also single Oystercatcher (tjeld) and Shelduck (gravand). These were both year ticks as was the Stock Dove and takes me to 101 species for the year – a full 5 weeks later than I achieved the same total in 2012.

Dropping in at Frognerparken on the way home the Iceland Gull (grønlandsmåke) was sitting amongst the Mallards (stokkand) eating bread chucked out by some children. As I made my way to where it was hoping that I would be able to get some great pictures in fantastic light all the gulls and corveds were spooked (presumably the Goshawk again) and flew off at some height leaving me with just a couple of distant flight photos.
Iceland Gull

In Maridalen there was very little to see although there is now a small area of open water at Hammeren which will hopefully attract wildfowl soon.

Here some pictures of Herring Gulls (gråmåke) from today. I had three different age birds standing together and thought it could be educational to show them:

Herring Gulls. 2nd winter (left), 1st winter (middle), 3rd winter (right)

The 1st winter. Still mostly in juvenile pumage although some grey feathers appearing on th back

The 2nd winter. Much white underparts, two toned bill and lots of grey feathers on the back and wings

The 3rd winter. Starting to look like an adult but still brown in the wing covert, black mark on bill, dark eye and incomplete white mirrors on the black flight feathers.
I didn't take a picture of an adult today but here is the one I pictured two days ago. Herring Gulls do not attain full adult plumage until their 5th winter so a 4th winter bird would look something between the 3rd winter above and the adult below.
adult Herring Gull


  1. Cool! Good to see one of my nest boxes in use. It has been occupied by Stock Dove for the last two years. If you see any activity in the other two similar next boxes in the area, I would be happy to hear about it. :-)

    One of the chicks from 2011:

  2. It's a shame that the the nesting boxes were never used by their intended inhabitant, Tengmalm's Owl.