Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Flippin snow

Another day of falling snow where being inside and not driving was the smartest choice and further obervations of the gardens Blackbirds followed. I finally managed to take better pictures of the definite 2cy male Blackbird but are still unsure about the other bird.  On these pictures you can see the browner wing feathers contrasting with blacker body feathers which is typical of 1st winter birds whereas the other bird had a more uniform colour suggesting it is an adult and therefore cannot be a male.

There was also a new adult Blackbird with a large amount of black on the bill or so I thought. The pictures actually show it has a lot of muck on its bill in addition to some black so could well be a bird I’ve recorded previously. These pictures show that it has black wing feathers meaning it is an adult rather than a 2cy (1st winter) and therefore does show that there is a lot of variation in the bill colour of adults (3cy + ). Following me? Intersted? Probably not….
The  2cy male Blackbird

one of the black-billed females and not, I think, the one I've shown before

red female

the male with dirt on his bill
 Well I didn’t find it that interesting either and instead decided to head out but today with rather more public transport and a tad less walking. Checking the downtown gull sites revealed nothing interesting (a white-winged gull must surely turn up soon) except for a very smart yellow-legged Herring Gull (rather than Yellow-legged Gull) but at Aker Brygge the dolphin was again showing well. It was once again keeping to a very small area (reminds me of tales of tigers that have lived in cages and once released into bigger enclosure continue to pace the same small area of their old cage) but had moved a couple of hundred metres from yesterday. Today it was possible to take pictures with the city’s landmarks in the background. I switched to my 18-55mm lens today which made finding the animal in the view finder easier and also gave the pictures and video more context.

A local boat owner asked me if I was watching the Porpoise (nise). I replied that it was a Bottle-nosed Dolphin (tumler) but he said he and the other boat owners were sure this was a porpoise although there has been a dolphin before and they believe there are 3-4 individuals. His reason for this being a nise were that it was larger than a dolphin, wasn’t jumping as the dolphin had and was darker. The size argument is incorrect as adult Bottle-noses are upto 3.5metres whereas Porpoises are rarely over 1.5m. I had actually worried that this animal was too small but that was more an illusion from being so close as when viewing the animal at longer range today it was clearly much too large for a porpoise. That it isn’t jumping is I imagine more to do with how it is feeling and it wouldn’t surprise me that with the cold weather it has less desire to jump. The colour though is very dark for a Bottle-nose and also worried me yesterday. However I have found pictures of individuals that are so dark, see here , and colour is clearly very variable in this species. In addition it is beaked although this has been hard to see and this rule out porpoise. I have looked at other dolphin species or small toothed whales but can’t find anything else it could be.
dolphin with the City Hall (Rådhuset) in the background

and Akershus Festning

To give an impression of size - here from Aker Brygge with Hovedøya in the background. The video an other pictures were taken by the boats on the right when the animal was right by the boats
adult Comorant (storskarv) in breeding plumage. This bird is of the southern race sinensis which used to be considered scarce in Norway but now has a colong at the Great Big Dump (Øra) which numbers hundreds if not thousands of pairs and this now appears to be commoner than the northern race carbo around Oslo

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This Herring Gull really stood out with its yellow legs and clean (unstreaked) head (although a few other adults also had clean heads). Such a bird naturally leads your thoughts towards Yellow-legged Gull (gulbeinmåke) but this is actually just a Herring Gull with yellow legs. Note here that the eyering is orange instead of red and.....
the wing has much too little black


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