Thursday, 13 February 2014

Winter's back

My attempts to find some early migrants were scuppered by heavy snow today. The temperature is +1C so the snow is heavy and wet and no self respecting summer migrant will be seen dead in this weather – which might well have been their fate if they were here.

Never-the-less a walk around Fornebu revealed the two headlines birds but pretty much nothing else – I didn’t even notice a Blue Tit. The Bearded Tits were again calling out in the reedbed and I suspected that I would again not see them. However after a few minutes I noticed some reeds moving about 10 metres out (there was no wind today so otherwise the reeds were all standing straight and still). I was able to see three birds feeding half way up the reeds and movement suggested one other bird. They then dropped down and were quiet before suddenly appearing by the fence just three metres from me. They were running over the snow so had probably travelled the 7 metres by foot although it did strike me that their incredibly short wings are probably an evolutionary adaption to allow them to fly through rather than over the reedbed. When they came to the fence they then started feeding high in the reeds. The reeds here do seem to be higher and have larger seed heads than further out so it may be that there is just more food here. I was able to see six birds (3 pairs) of which four were ringed (2 pairs). This doesn’t really help me confirm the exact number of birds present but I didn’t hear any other birds today.

The Great Grey Shrike was sat upon his favourite bushes in the middle of the island although didn’t seem too happy about the snow.
Male Bearded Tits. At one stage all six were feeding on the ground on my side of the fence

A double moustache

Great Grey Shrike. For once the grubby marks on the picture are not from a mucky lens but from snowflakes

A video showing the Beardies running around on the snow at the base of the reeds

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