Nordre Øyeren is an internationally important wetland but in the winter is normally frozen and therefore of little interest for a birder. In mild winters though there is open water that can attract some birds. This winter is nothing if not mild so I thought that it would be worth the risk of the long walk out to Årnestangen. Close to the car park were a lot of Blue Tits (blåmeis) feeding on birch catkins and amongst them a Marsh Tit (løvmeis) – the rarest of the Norwegian tits (excluding Bearded which is actually a parrotbill). Also in this area a calling but unseen Black Woodpecker (svartspett).
The walk out to the end gave me a good work out as I trudged through the snow (we had a dump of heavy wet snow last night and this morning). The delta was ice free except in the shallow bays and indeed hold some birds: 112 Whooper Swans (sangsvane), 2 Mute Swans (knoppsvane) and a handful of Mallard (stokkand) and Goldeneye (kvinand). I’m not sure that it was worth the walk out but I at least know the situation out there.
|Marsh Tit (løvmeis). In Norway (unlike the UK) it is relatively straightforward separating Marsh and Willow Tits on plumage with Marsh Tits being a much warmer beige compared to the grey of Willow|
I drove the scenic route home and stopped at Østensjøvannet. Here there was evidently a few more ducks with now three Goldeneye (kvinand) and a Tufted Duck (toppand) amongst the 300 odd Mallards, 14 Coots and a single Wigeon (brunnakke). The Mute Swans have moved off but the motley collection of geese remains.
|one of the overwintering Coots (sothøne)|
|The Motley Crew. There are 2 Canada, 6 Greylag, 2 Barnacle and a single Canada x Greylag hybrid wintering at Østensjøvannet and this picture shows an example of each.|
|female Wigeon (brunnakke)|
Amongst a small group of Herring Gulls (gråmåke) was one colour ringed bird but it unfortunately has a dull (recorded) life history with just sightings around Oslo and primarily at Østensjøvannet. Also an interesting (for me at least) 1st winter Herring Gull with a real Glaucous Gull type bill but there was nothing else odd about it.
|colour ringed 2nd winter Herring Gull|