Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Loads of action

The birding day started when I looked out of the kitchen window whilst turning on the coffee machine at 0703 and there were already 6 Blackbirds on the snow waiting for food which I duly provided. It wasn’t going to start getting light for another hour and no other birds appeared at the feeders until around 0830. By this time there were at least 10 Blackbirds and also three Fieldfares one of which became the dominant bird although all seemed to get a chance to eat the apples I put out.

The day ended up being sunny with little wind and with snow covered forests it was all quite scenic. The birds seemed to enjoy the conditions as well. In Maridalen in addition to the Crossbills which have been singing for a while there were drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a “singing” Green Woodpecker. I also stumbled upon the Great Grey Shrike which was last reported on 26 December. I believe it is now mostly using an area of fields which are not visible from the road which explains why it is seen so infrequently.

It will be no surprise to hear that Fornebu was my next stop. I had hoped that in the sunny weather that I could get better pictures of the Beardies and maybe the Water Rail but as always seems to happen when I plan to take good pictures the birds had other plans. I did see the Beardies with at least 5 birds but they were not cooperative. The Water Rail called and all the food I put out yesterday had been eaten but when I put out new food the Blackbirds quickly came and started eating so I may have to increase the quantity I put out if the Water Rail is going to get any. A single Reed Bunting was present as well as Hawfinches and a flock of 30 Common Redpolls.

I have to make a naughty confession that the day included a twitch. Bad enough that but it was of a gull (and one of the ugly ones) and even worse at a rubbish tip. The Caspian Gull from Xmas was seen yesterday so I thought what the heck and hoped it would be quick and painless. When I opened the car door it was really smelly and there were no other birders (I had hoped someone else would have been kind enough to have staked it out!). Most of the gulls were sat on the roof facing away from me making them very difficult to go through so I started scanning another roof where the birds were at a better angle and almost immediately I saw a head sticking up that looked like just what I was searching for (it is made easy when the finder posts good pictures). Could I really be this lucky? It took a few minutes before it moved and yes this was the bird I was looking for: a 3rd winter Caspo. A few minutes later and all gulls took off and that was my cue to hit the road Jack. Talk about a surgical strike!

The day ended with some birds of beauty in a beautiful setting to aesthetic order was restored. I gave Maridalen another go in now gorgeous sun and had four roadside Waxwings eating red berries in the sun. The pictures I got are I am sure the best I have ever taken of this species (and definitely superior to yesterdays).
looking south over Maridalsvannet at 1010
looking north with Maridasvannet in the middle 1310

Maridalens Great Grey Shrke (varsler) now a 2cy

a male Yellowhammer (gulspurv) adds a bit of colour

a Crested Tit (toppmeis) enjoying the seeds I put out

and a Nuthatch (spettmeis) doing the same

the days highlights at Fornebu: Beardie (skjeggmeis) and Reed Bunting (sivspurv)

Rarest bird of the day: 3rd winter / 4cy Caspian Gull (kaspimåke). This was what I saw first and already at this stage I was confident I had found the right bird. Note the beady, dark eye and yellow long thin bill

it showed a bit more of itself

all looking good

even when asleep it was quite distinctive

at last I saw it fully. Long legs and with a hanging arse

in this picture the goyns angle on the bill looks pronounced but I think that is more of a photo effect from a heavily cropped picture
flight shot. Note that it has a broad black bar on P4 and a small black spot on P4 on the left wing

a very white underwing, little black on the tail
these two Herring Gulls (gråmåke) have completely different mantle colours. I glimpsed back primaries on the bird on the left but unfortunately did not see it properly
Six Blackbirds from the kitchen window at 0706. The light comes from a street light
a Fieldfare (gråtrost) in the garden
same bird
this Redpoll (gråsisik) was an unusual visitor to the garden

I've too many Waxwing photos to go through so will just post one today and save the rest for a dedicated post.

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