Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Kingfisher is back

I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment.

I started the day putting out food in Maridalen which was soon being eaten by Crested and Willow Tits and a couple of smart Bullfinches with singing Common Crossbills nearby. I then set off for Fornebu which believe it or not I haven’t visited for a whole six days. The last few days have seen a lot of photographers adopting a typical behaviour of the species and flocking together at a site where a smart bird has been seen – in this case they have rediscovered the allure of the Bearded Tits which have been at times showing very well. I hoped that I could maybe enjoy the birds in some peace but whilst I was there nine photographers came, some even with small step ladders!! A group of 4 Beardies comprising 3 females and a male was showing very well for the photographers but I spent most of my time trying to get to grips with a separate group 200 metres away which were not at all photogenic. Here I had at least two females and a single male and these birds were once again in loose company with the five Reed Buntings. So that made seven birds in total with five females and two males. As I have previously seen three males together that means there are/have been a minimum of eight birds here since New Year.

I guess what happened next was destined to happen with so many photographers heading for the Bearded Tits and me heading in another direction. As I do on every visit I checked out Storøykilen where the radioactive water is still not frozen (it is apparently run off from a covered up rubbish tip) and initially saw nothing – and I mean nothing, not even tracks in the snow (there were Water Rail tracks by the Bearded Tits in Koksa). I then headed towards the car when a bird flew past. It initially looked dark but then hit the sunlight and boom! The Kingfisher was still here. It looked like it landed along the ditch that runs alongside the path and I soon spied it but had huge problems with the camera with my thick gloves and then realised it was still set to manual focus (as a result of trying to get pictures of the Beardies through the reed stems). I then got another opportunity but by the time I had demisted the view finder I only managed a single shot as it flew off its perch. All this time it had been completely silent and was not doing anything to help me find it. There is though very little open water in the reedbed and as long as it doesn’t perch on a reed stem low down then there are only a couple of bushes alongside the water so I started scanning these and there it was perched high and in the sun. I was of course on the wrong side and had to walk around to get the light behind it which I almost managed but never-the-less I can’t moan. All to quickly though it flew off towards the bay of Holtekilen which I have previously seen it flying to and here there is open water around boats where they are blowing air into the water so it could well be that this is where it has been hanging out all this time since it was last reported (by my good self) on 3rd December. Saying that though I’m not entirely sure it is the same bird. The bird I have seen before has been a clear cut male with what seems to be an all black bill. This bird though has a distinct reddish tinge to the base of the lower mandible. I still believe it to be a male and today’s pictures are much better than any I’ve taken before therefore allowing better study of the bill but in previous pictures the bill did loo completely black.

The prolonged cold spell we are experiencing seems to be having an effect on bird numbers. There were generally few birds at Fornebu today with no finch flocks and for the first time this winter I did not note any Wrens – let’s hope they were just keeping quiet and haven’t succumbed to the cold.

Kingfisher (isfugl) - must say I am happy with this shot

here one can see that the bill has a reddish tinge to the inner third of the lower mandible. Compare to this picture from 14 October where the bill looks to be completely black

my first shot after I flew past

exit stage top left

and then I managed this, but in the end it all worked out fine
the reedbed at Storøykilen where the I saw the Kingfisher. It first flew along the stream which runs through the reeds just in from the edge
this radioactive pool in the reedbed never freezes but does support life
this male Teal (krikkand) favours the radioactive pool

the larger reedbed at Koksa which holds the Bearded Tits. Here two photographers standing on small ladders to get the height needed to see over the fence and reeds

Bearded Tit is centre of attention

two females and a male (part of the group of 3 females and a male)

the three females from the same group

closer picture of  two of the females from the same group

and a pair from the same group
this was the only usable picture I managed of the other group which contained at last two females and a male

Three of the five Reed Buntings (sivspurv)

looking south over Maridalsvannet at 0953

a Red Squirrel in Maridalen


  1. Congratulations with good pictures of the Kingfisher!

  2. Thanks Jan Erik - I am pretty happy with my luck!