Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Xmas shopping and some birding

Christmas shopping today gave the chance for some urban birding. I packed the cheap and trusty Sigma 70-300mm lens in my rucksack and stopped off first at Frognerpark. Here there were 80 Mallards and six Teal. The six Teal hold themselves apart from the Mallards and all carried on sleeping whilst the Mallards went into a frenzy when I threw out some bread. What and when do the Teal eat? One of the Teal, a ringed female (and possibly the bird seen on Akerselva?), kept itself away from the other five (a male and four females) which is exactly the same as I observed last year (same number of birds with only one male and a ringed female that didn’t mix with the others). If these are exactly the same birds then have none of them had young which have followed them?

Surprisingly there was not a single gull in Frognerpark and by the station in Majorstua there were only a few gulls with two adult Black-headed and 15 each of Common and Herring. It is my feeling that the numbers of gulls and especially smaller gulls that winter in Oslo has declined sharply the last few years but unfortunately the data set available is not as good as it could be due to the refusal of some to record their observations.

I also checked out Akersevla at Vaterland. Here there were 80 odd Herring Gulls but as usual no other gull species here. A young Cormorant of the subspecies sinensis was incredibly tame and would probably have shaken hands with me if it could. There are plenty of fish in the river and I don’t think the bird was sick but has just got very used to people (has been here a while).

uncropped iPhone photo of the juv sinensis Cormorant (mellomskarv)

This Mallard (stokkand) in Frognerparken was strange. It has many signs to male plumage but the bill is that of female (although it is also deformed). In addition it has a small, cute, head making it look strange. I'm not sure as to whether this is a female with an overdose of male hormones or a male with an overdose of female hormones although suspect it is a female. Such birds are known as intersex Mallards.

the Mallards went crazy when I threw out bread

but the Teals (krikkender) didn't even raise raise their heads.

A thin covering of snow and a cloudy sky had completely changed the landscape in Maridalen today.



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