Friday, 11 December 2015

Green birding

I had an Oslo by public transport morning. First stop was the Botanical Gardens. There were a variety of finches including at least 21 Hawfinches but not a single Waxwing which seem to have abandoned Oslo completely now. I walked down to the fjord by the opera hoping to find some gull (after having found a grand total of zero at Vaterland which is normally a place where one can look at gulls whilst chatting with heroin addicts and hash sellers). There were quite a few gulls but just Herrings in various guises and a few GBBGs. A few of the Herrings were colour ringed but the four that I read had as usual a very sedentary history.  Three had been ringed within the last year and a half at the exact same spot as I was watching them, and one was ringed whilst breeding 6km away in 2014. Amongst them the longest movement noted was 13km and they have all been read multiple times. It is quite interesting that birds that carry colour rings are often the birds that are most interested in bread (even after having been caught). This suggests to me that the birds that are foolish enough to be snared and ringed are generally part of a group of particularly stupid and lazy local gulls which then means that the data they produce has to be treated with care when extrapolating to population level.

Also here was a ringed Barnacle Goose with a broken wing which explains why it hasn’t migrated to Holland with its kin. Judging by all the crap on the grass it was feeding on it has been here a while although you wouldn’t know that from the national ArtsObservasjoner reporting system.  When I reported it in the colour ringing system though I saw that it has been here since at least 5 November – I’m sure there are reasons why people who have an interest in bird recording don’t record their observations in Artsobs but I have yet to hear one that makes any sense. Then again any reason would be just as senseless as sitting on a local rarities committee and not bothering to report your own observations of species that the committee writes about in its annual report (providing of course the committee itself could be bothered to write the report)….all such a shame in a small country like Norway that can little afford interesting data not being recorded in the one and same system.
the Barnacle Goose (hvitkinngås). It was ringed on 09.12.2010 on its wintering grounds in Holland but since then all readings have been in Oslo including a breeding record

a couple of male Bramblings (bjørkefink) in the Botanical Gardens -  a scarce winter species

this Guillemot (lomvi) was amongst the Mallards by the Opera building

a number of birds in the Botanical Gardens were drinking and bathing in this small stream. Here a Fieldfare (gråtrost) and a male Hawfinch (kjernebiter)

a female Hawfinch drinking

a male Hawfinch bathing. Note the brighter plumage and the much broader grey nape

a 2cy Herring Gull (gråmåke) by the Opera. I always find this plumage exciting as it reminds me of what I believe a classic 1st winter Glaucous x Herring hybrid should look like

another dark Herring Gull giving some Smith vibes. A 2cy bird I believe

a yellow legged Herring Gull. This bird had a lighter mantle than most of the argentatus Herring Gulls

a couple of colour ringed adult Herring Gulls plus another bird with ticks above its eye. J8192 was ringed whilst breeding 6km awayon 24 May 2014. It spent last winter in Oslo but has not been reported since 22 Feb

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