This means in total I have identified a minimum of 14 Blackbirds in the last week: 2 adult males without black on the bill, 5 (presumed) adult males with varying amounts of black on an otherwise orange bill, 2 cy males and 5 females. It’s all getting a bit complicated now keeping track of them. I’ve tried googling to see what I can find out about the varying amounts of black on the bill and there seem to be three reasons: age, physical form (affecting carotenoid levels which causes the bill colour) plus also a reference on the BTO website to males acquiring a brighter bill when breeding. The 2cy males are quite easy to identify but the 5 other birds with varying amounts of black may be very advanced 2cy birds, 3cy birds, not in top form or quite simply in non-breeding plumage (it could be they are immigrants whereas the two with no black are local birds who still consider themselves to be in their breeding territories)
|the other 2cy male. Yellow at the base of the bill. The picture was taken through the window but this bird was without doubt a 2cy male.|
I did manage a quick trip looking for gulls but could hardly anywhere almost as though there had been an exodus. At Kongshavn the Pintail (stjertand) which is usually at Østensjøvannet was seeking refuge as it often seems to do at the outset of snowy or very cold weather before it returns to Østensjøvannet again after a few days. Quite a few Goldeneye (kvinand) including an array of plumages which reminded me that my Blackbird problems are probably just down to individual variation.
|Three 2cy (1st winter) male Goldeneyes all showing different development of the white spot on the face|
|an adult male on the left with the least developed of the three 2cy birds from the first photo|
|The male Pintail|