Sunday, 12 January 2014


Have you ever wondered why the most popular blog post here is of a Black Duck? The reason is that after I published one of the pictures on Surfbirds, the bird in question (which has been in residence in Tønsberg for over a decade) ended up being discussed on the US ID Frontiers forum. I had hoped the picture would be picked up as the bird has long been controversial and I have always been under impressed by its appearance. The pictures on my blog which were quite good (!) have contributed to an overweight of opinion that this bird is a hybrid rather than it being the currently accepted genuine 100% Black Duck. NSKF is currently reviewing all Norwegian Black Duck (rødfotand) records and it is pretty likely that the status of this bird will not remain unchanged.

I renewed my acquaintance with the bird today and whilst it being quite an obvious bird it is easy to see that it most likely has a small percentage of Mallard (stokkand) genes in it although I would imagine it that these have come more than two generation back in time which raises another question as to where you draw the line for what is pure or not (re. That other favourite of mine: gulls).
We were visiting my brother-in-law in Tønsberg for the weekend and I snuck out before breakfast this morning. Snow and freezing temperatures have now, and finally, descended on Southern Norway and it was good to be out in the cold. The duck is normally to be found at Rosanes and here there was also a male Smew – surely the finest duck in Europe. It took me a while to locate the Black(ish) Duck which was with Mallards under boat moorings but it showed pretty well and I got some pictures in the low morning sun.

Otherwise today I had both Marsh and Willow Tits together on a bird feeder although didn’t have the camera for what would have been a very educational picture and also a rare winter record of Dunnock – this also on a feeder.

My posting on the blog this evening  was delayed due to watching a FANTASTIC Norwegian nature program. This is part three of an eight part series and I would highly recommend watching it. I don't know if this link will work for those outside of Norway but I hope so as you will get to see unique footage of nesting Snowy Owls.

male Black(ish) Duck. The pale fringes to the flank feathers are one feature that was highlighted as showing hybird influence

in the warm first sun of the morning the bird looks too brown for the real deal. Also (and despite some people denying its existence) you can, too my eyes, see a green sheen  to the back of the head which is a clear indication of Mallard genes

distant male Smew (lappfiskand) and Goldeneye

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