Friday, 25 October 2013

Oslo the green way

With the car at the garage I chose to do Oslo by foot and public transport. As I waited to catch the tube a couple of Two-barred Crossbills (båndkorsnebb) flew low over with the wing bars visible to the naked eye and also the call quite distinct – a crossbill call with a twist of redpoll.

Encouraged by this I went to Vestre Gravland (cemetery) where there are many different types of spruce and pine which have attracted various crossbills in previous years. This time I only had two Common Crossbills (grankorsnebb) and a single Nutcracker (nøttekråke). Nearby Frognerpark had a surprising singing Chiffchaff (gransanger) and a flyover Goshawk (hønsehauk) but it is still too early in the winter for the lake to attract any interesting gulls.

Continuing down to Bygdøy the fjord was very calm and allowed me to pick out two Razorbills (alke) but most surprising was a male Long-tailed Duck (havelle) which flew inland and continued over the city. There were a few Crossbills flying over but it took me a good while before I heard the soft calls of feeding birds in the pine and spruce trees. It took me a good while longer to locate a bird and what helped was a couple of cones falling to the floor. I picked up three birds and the only one which I could see well was a male Common Crossbill.
male Common Crossbill (grankorsnebb). This bird revealed its presence when the large cones fell on the floor

I then heard the a very distinct trumpet call and was sure it was a Two-barred Crossbill (I had previously heard a Bullfinch giving its version of the trumpet call but this was very different). I had to walk a bit through the forest but soon located the tree where the bird was calling but couldn’t see the bird!! I did locate a crossbill but this was a male Common Crossbill. I couldn’t see this bird actually calling but neither could I detect another bird in the tree. The calling then stopped and I took a couple of pictures before the Common Crossbill flew off giving a normal call. I waited around but there was no evidence of there being another bird in the tree and I didn’t notice/hear another bird flying off. I am therefore left with either The 2 Bird Theory, a Two-barred Crossbill lacking wing bars or a Common Crossbill with a trumpet like call. I think I would have heard if there were two birds as crossbills are quite vocal when they fly off. A 2BC without wing bars – yeh right. So I’m left with a trumpeting Common Crossbill.

I managed to record the calls with my phone which are just about audible above my rustling and the sound of the camera as I took photos of the Common Crossbill. In the field I felt that the trumpet call was spot on for 2BC but what I can hear on the recording doesn’t sound quite right.

I have found a recording of Common Crossbill from Italy that sounds close to what I recorded:

Here is a "good" 2BC:

Maybe it is just me and the "trumpet like" call is actually a regular call of Common Crossbill but it certainly had me going.

Also in the forest Crested Tits (toppmeis) and the smallest Goshawk I have even seen, It was a juvenile making its identification easy but if it had been an adult I would have struggled to separate from a female Sparrowhawk based on size alone.

juvenile male Goshawk (hønsehauk)

the vertical stripes of juvenile Goshawk separate it from Sparrowhawk

I also had Waxwings (sidensvans) at various places today so they are arriving in force now.

Yesterday a trip to Fornebu gave a brief view of a silent Chiffchaff that looked like a tristis plus a Blackcap – so there are obviously still some warblers around.
hazy picture of a probable Siberian (tristis Chiffchaff)


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