BIRD GUIDING AROUND OSLO

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Crested Tit



Judging by my sightings today I am indeed in my own version of Groundhog Day but the company of British student Matt Doherty assured me that it was a new day and a new day does bring new opportunities. I was showing Matt the best birding localities around Oslo so of course we visited Fornebu and Maridalen and yesterday’s rain had turned into light snow with temperatures again dipping below zero.

Fornebu offered up exactly as expected from the last couple of days: Great Grey Shrike (varsler) and Bearded Tits (skjeggmeis). The shrike has moved a few hundred metres to the waste areas around Nansen Park where there are fewer lookout posts but I would expect more rodent prey. It was perching quite low down on old weed stems which naturally gave a much smaller radius in which it can discover prey.

The tits were calling infrequentlu out in the reedbed and after a bit of searching we found them about 20 metres out. Then after a few minutes they started calling and flew towards us. They landed about 8 metres out and silently disappeared to the base of the reeds. Then about a minute later they popped up just a couple of metres away at the bottom of the fence seemingly having walked there. We could then see that they were drinking from some open water under the fence. My assumption is that this water is fresh whereas any water further out in the reeds will be brackish as the reedbed is in a salt water bay. This source of fresh water is presumably why they are so often seen in exactly this area of the reedbed, right by the path. After drinking they then went up in the reeds and the ringed (bold) female even perched on the fence and then came and fed on a reed on our side of the fence. Enthralling stuff and a tick for Matt.

Fornebu had little else to offer so we headed for Maridalen. The feeders here had good numbers of birds including pork eating Great Spotted Woodpeckers (flaggspett), good numbers of tits and especially Coal Tits (svartmeis) and a particularly confiding Crested Tit (toppmeis). This species is normally a rare visitor to feeding stations and then seems to pop in only briefly and take some food from the ground. As you will see from this picture though, this bird has developed a new technique! Interestingly none of the other tits at this garden were seen to copy the Crested Tit and instead stayed outside the feeder and hacked off small bits of peanut – I think the Crested Tit is on to something here!

Crested Tit (toppmeis) thinking out of the box

a crested Coal Tit (svartmeis)



belly of pork? Yes please! Great Spotted Woodpecker (flaggspett)
male Bearded Tit arriving by walking over the snow at the base of the reeds


fresh water at the base of the wire fence

the moustachioed male (not really bearded)
 
sitting on the fence

this one hopped over the fence

Great Grey Shrike (varlser) hunting from a low perch

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