Monday, 24 February 2014

Iceland Gull

With strong southerly winds overnight and continuing this morning I considered a seawatch from Krokstrand but given the time of the year thought I might have more to gain by sticking to Fornebu and Maridalen.
There were no seabirds to see off Fornebu but two Bearded Tits showed themselves in the reedbed and a very early Stock Dove (skogdue) was checking out the nestboxes. I had expected some more migrants here but singing Yellowhammers and Wren were unexpected and early.

A stop at Frognerpark revealed the Iceland Gull (grønlandsmåke) on the lake amongst the Mallards. This bird looks very settled and happy with a diet of bread – exactly as it was last year). It is now in its 2nd winter and has grey mantle feathers coming through, a paler iris and a paler bill than a year ago. The three female Teal which have overwintered were flying around and calling a lot – clearly on the look out for some males.
In Maridalen there is very little snow on the fields and a large amount of open water where the river enters the lake at Hammeren. Here there was a pair of Mute Swans (knoppsvane) and five adult Whoopers Swans (sangsvane) that were calling a lot and displaying. A family party two adult and three young of Whooper Swans flew over looking lost before heading south. The swans were very early but most surprising were two Skylarks (sanglerke) heading north calling.

Spring is over a month earlier than least year (which was exceptionally late) and crocuses are also out in the garden. It will be interesting to see how things progress as I’m sure we will have a spell of cold weather to disrupt things.
2nd winter Iceland Gull (grønlandsmåke) Frognerparken, Oslo

This Mallard (stokkand) is most likely a female with a hormone imbalance which produces a male like plumage

this Grey Heron (gråhegre) has overwintered in Frognerpark. An out of focus female Teal is above it

the overflying family party of Whooper Swans (sangsvane) from Maridalen

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