Wednesday, 6 January 2016


I had a bit of a tour today in temperatures down to -14C. The initial aim was to get some good photos of Three-toed Woodpecker on Jeløy near Moss. Before I got so there though I had unseasonal Buzzard and Kestrel along the motorway. Once on Jeløy a flock of finches flew up from beside the road. A quick stop revealed 80 Common Redpolls and the opportunity I have been looking for to grill a flock for an Arctic. They were in constant motion looking for seeds but I soon saw a bird that even without seeing rump or undertail coverts screamed Arctic. It was very pale with seemingly unstreaked flanks and a notably small bill. I endeavoured to take some photos which I managed but only afterwards did I realise that the ISO was set to 3200 so quality was far from what I could have been. The pictures though do confirm that I did have an Arctic. They may well have been more but the ever moving flock was difficult to grill and a Sparrowhawk made them jittery. I look forward to finding more flocks of Redpolls and a chance for better pictures.

My search for the Three-toe was in vain. I chased up every tapping sound I heard but found only Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Nuthatches. The mixed woodland here is full of rotting trees and has a very high density of birds with many tits and finches. After giving it an hour and half I set off back towards Oslo. I followed the same route that had given me three Great GreyShrikes four weeks ago and this time had only one but this was the bird which I didn’t manage to photograph last time and this time I did get a photo.

I twitched a Little Grebe at Drøbak which showed well alongside Mallards and had a stop at Østensjøvannet when I got back to Oslo. Here the birds are managing to keep two tiny area of water ice free and all the usual suspects were still present.
looking south over the Oslofjord from Jeløy 10:44

Arctic Redpoll (polarsisik) on the left and inset along with Common Redpolls (gråsisik). Note the white unstreaked flanks, tiny bill, straw coloured head and breast with greyer back.
in flight the extensive white rump is obvious

this bird is possibly a different individual but is also an Arctic. Note the seemingly complete white undertail coverts
Great Grey Shrike (varsler). The black bill, solid lore and clean underparts show this to be an adult

Little Grebe (dvergdykker) with Mallard

the larger area of open water at Østensjøvannet (the other area is under a road bridge).
the deformed young Coot is amazingly still alive. It is still a long way from acquiring adult plumage (will it ever?) and its plumage is in such a poor state that water freezes on it. It must be a born survivor

the hybrid Mallard x Wigeon has unsurprisingly been enveloped by some sweaty human palms. Of course it was necessary to ring it such that it can be told apart from the hordes of other similar looking hybrids........ Having it in the hand may have been useful for documenting its plumage in detail (from my research this would appear to be a slightly unusual look for this hybrid) but I have not seen any pictures published yet.
a yellowy legged Herring Gull (gråmåke) with a normal pink legged bird

the female Pintail looked to be in good form today with no shivering of the wings

another shot with the wrong camera settings although I could claim this was an intentional attempt at art...

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