Monday, 28 October 2013

short billed Woodcock

Woodcock (rugde) with short bill. It wasn't obvious that the bill had broken off rather than being some form of deformation

With continued windy conditions it was time for a touch of sea gazing. Per B had sent me a text before I awoke (and before it was light) to say he was already sat at Huk on Bygdøy - get that man some help!

When I had got the kids sorted and was able to leave I chose instead Rolfstangen at Fornebu. This gives views of the same area as from Huk but this has always been the preferred seawatching place and I assumed for good reason. After my experiences today though it is clear to me that Huk gives far better viewing conditions - better light and a wider field of view - at least on a sunny morning. I'm not sure why Rolfstangen has been so preferred by "everyone" but I will be watching from Huk more in the future (as I indeed should if this blog is going to continue to be called OSLObirder).

Not that there were many seabirds to see though. In fact a single Fulmar (havhest) was the only thing of note. This bird ended up sitting on the water and prompted me to go over to Huk as it would me my 200th Oslo species (Huk is in Oslo whilst Fornebu is in Akershus). It was whilst watching from Huk that I realised how much better it is here.

Rolfstangen did give me a very unique experience though. I noticed a brown bird fly out low over the water with a Crow chasing it. I thought Sparrowhawk but then the brown bird splashed down into the sea and I realised that unusual behaviour for a Sparrowhawk. When I viewed it in the bins I saw it was a Woodcock (rugde) but this was not normal behaviour for that species either. The bird sat on the water for a few minutes and then managed to take off and flew low and weakly towards land. It disappeared into a small bay not far from me and a couple of Crows started calling and had clearly seen it. I walked round and initially saw nothing. Then the two Crows flew up from the water’s edge ahead of me. I couldn’t see anything else as it was a bit rocky but then noticed a couple of brown feathers in the water. I clambered down and was amazed to see the Woodcock cowering at the water’s edge and still alive. This bird was clearly not in good shape and hada bill that was only half the length it should be. Whether the bill had broken or was deformed I'm not sure but presumably a Woodcock with a bill half the length nature intended is going to have problems finding food which would leave it weakened. As I went to try to pick it up it attempted to swim but clearly was not liking it. It came into land, adopted a strange posture with tail raised and then eventually allowed me to pick it up. It was extremely light and thin and not in a good shape at all. I put it under a thorn bush where it would at least be safe from the Crows. It was still there 30 minutes later but not showing much sign of life.

Here are a number of pictures:
Woodock (rugde) swimming! Note the raised tail which seemed to be associated with it feeling threatened.

taking off

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when I refound it, it was crouching at the water's edge having been attacked by Crows

When feeling threatend it had its tail constantly raised - a bit like a Turkey

In addition to the raised tail it also frequently bobbed its head down. This behaviour was obviously because it felt threatened but could also have been an attempt at camouflaging itself

When I managed to pick it up it was incredibly light and thin - I don't expect it to survive the night

note the short bill which should be twice the length of the head. There is no obvious sign of a recent breakage and the colouration of the bill with a pink basal half and dark end mirrors that of a full length bill so it may just be a deformation

after release, looking a bit more natural

1 comment:

  1. high sorry for my English speak
    it s beautiful photo do you have other more