Monday, 9 March 2015

It's a funny old game

It had to happen didn’t it? After struggling to find much whilst guiding the next day was really good!

Searching for the Bean Geese (sædgås) was my goal for the day. The fields at Horgen were empty of geese and birds in general. Arriving at Udenes Church I was prepared to sit there for hours soaking in the sun and waiting for birds to come to me. The wait wasn’t necessary though. After setting up the scope I scanned the water and after going through some closer Whooper Swans (sangsvane), Canada and Greylag Geese (grågås) I noticed 12 geese much further out. Cranking up the zoom revealed Bean Geese and one with a collar glinting in the sun. Game on!

The birds drifted around the corner out of sight and after waiting a while I decided to drive round to the other side of the river and search for them (a 14km drive to come to a site 1km away). They didn’t take much searching as they were feeding in a stubble field between the river and road. This is the very first time I have seen these geese using fields on the east side of the river and I can’t remember the GPS plots showing them feeding on the east side although they often rested on the eastern bank of the river. There were only 45 Beans feeding alongside 13 Greylag Geese but they were close enough to read collars and 5 birds were marked. Four had inscribed neck rings: 6U, 6X, 6Z & 7P whereas one had a radio collar and a black colour ring on its left leg. Looking at my pictures was also a bird that has just a blank and difficult to notice collar which is I believe one where the solar cells have fallen off. I noticed this bird last year and was informed it was most likely Tag 03 (has a green leg ring on right leg which I didn’t notice). I have seen all these birds in Akershus before with 6U and 7P amongst the first collars I read in March 2012. 6X and 6Z are a pair and keep close together. The bird with a transmitter and black left leg ring is “07” who was sending signals until summer last year when the battery failed on his sender so nice to see his is still going strong.

 So it looks like I have just been a bit impatient and the geese had not arrived yet and hopefully numbers will soon build up to at least triple this amount.

Whooper Swans were in very small numbers today and have presumably moved on north of east already. Driving onto the valley at Bjørkelangen a new flood has arrived (after it being dry on Friday) although ice was covering some of the fields. There were not so many birds here although 5 Teal (krikkand) were new but it is looking promising for the weeks ahead.

Lapwings (vipe) were not widespread but a flock of 26 in one field was a good count and a check of Maridalen on the way home surprisingly revealed 2 here – the first in Oslo this year.
a group of Bean Geese including three birds with neck collars

pair 6X and 6Z

this bird with an uninscribed plan neck collar is probably a bird where the solar panels have fallen off transmitter collar
the upper bird in the middle is "06" in flight. The close ups show his neck collar plus the black colour leg ring on the left leg

Taiga (fabalis) Bean Geese in flight

6Z and partner (6X) in flight
the years first Starling (stær) in Maridalen
one of many Skylarks (sanglerke) today

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