Monday, 23 November 2015

Waxwings and some cr*p

I needed to scrub my body after today’s birding which was an experience that was not good for either my physical or mental health. I am lucky that I enjoyed some Waxwings at close range which allows me to focus on something beautiful and positive whilst I try to forget going gulling at a dump.

I’ll get that out of the way first so I can finish on a high. A juvenile Glaucous Gull (polarmåke) was found on Saturday around the large complex of rubbish dumps and recycling sites that is Alna in Oslo. It was seen by others yesterday and I felt compelled to look for it today as it is a pretty smart gull and being a high Arctic species is also quite a special bird – why it had to ruin its charm by choosing to become a rubbish eater only the bird itself can answer. Well needless to say I failed to find the bird despite two visits. I did see an array of Herring Gull plumages and sizes which is enough to drive you crazy and there were a couple of brutes of bird with pale fringed brown primaries that very closely resembled this Russian ringed birdfrom last winter and are considered by many to be a result of hybridisation with Glaucous Gulls at some (not necessarily recent) point. There was also a dark juvenile that resembled an American Herring Gull (or a Smith as they are known in the trade).

OK, I’ve got it off my chest and can now move on to what I did between the two trips to the dump. At Fornebu the overnight temperatures of -6C and no wind had caused the bays at Storøykilen and Koksa to freeze but the Kingfisher was still present. Yet again I came close to it but yet again I bungled the photo – this time because I had managed to turn off the autofocus and whilst trying to turn it back on (not easy with gloves on) the bird saw me and flew off. A flock of 40 Waxwings was much more photogenic though and the Arctic Tern was still present and flying ridiculously close as it looked for fish. I purposely chose a higher shutter speed than I have used previously to hopefully get sharper flight shots but had to cut my attempts short after nearly blinding myself when the bird flew in front of the sun whilst I was following it at 500mm. Ouch!

The ice today had clearly caused a movement of Mute Swans most likely from Østensjøvannet, which I believe is now frozen. I had a flock of 16 flying over Fornebu and there were 5 on Maridalsvannet.

I will doubtless find myself checking the dump again this week for the Glauc but hopefully can find it down on the sea by the opera which will be a far more aesthetically appealing prospect.
Waxwings (sidensvans)

dropping a berry

Arctic Tern (rødnebbterne) nearly in focus

this is when I was blinded

this 1cy Herring Gull (gråmåke) with its dark plumage and pale bill with dark tip bears some resemblance to an American Herring Gull. I did not get any photos of it in flight showing tail or wings

Lesser Redpoll (brunisik) at Fonebu

Mute Swans (knoppsvane) on Maridalsvannet - never a common sight here

1 comment:

  1. Superb Waxwing photos.

    (I hope the Waxwings apply for a British Passport this year - missed them completely last year).