Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Signs of spring

Had some good birding today and there were some real signs of spring. Temperatures are again a couple of degrees in the red but the winds are from the north and minus temperatures are due to return on Thursday so although it doesn’t really feel very spring like to me it clearly is for some birds.

I had flocks of Greylag Geese in flight over both Fornebu (6) and Maridalen (4), Blue Tits and Great Tits singing, a Wood Pigeon heading purposefully over Maridalen and my first Snow Bunting of the year flying over Fornebu.

Add to this Bearded Tits, Water Rail and Reed Buntings at Fornebu, the Great Grey Shrike in Maridalen and the Peregrine sitting on top of the Plaza Hotel in downtown Oslo then there were loads of good birds to be seen today. And there was an even better bird – I caught up with JAY00, the ringed 3cy Caspian Gull. I saw him at the rubbish dump where he popped up a couple of times on the roof before disappearing down into the rubbish where I couldn’t see him. He was then seen two houra later down on the ice by the Opera which shows how luck is needed to find this and any other gull in Oslo although perseverance does ultimately seem to pay off.

There were a number of other interesting gulls at the tip including an adult yellow-legged Herring Gull and a red ringed Herring Gull which I unfortunately could not read.
3cy Caspian Gull JAY00. This bird overwintered in the Oslo are last year and received his bling on 28 Jan 2015. Here is a picture of him pre-bling on 13 Jan 2015

these pictures were when I first saw the bird before it disappeared down into the tip.

this is whem it turned up again on a roof further away

very clean white underwing
noticeably dark outer primaries and secondaries

this is a 3cy Herring Gull (gråmåke=. Note it has a pale eye, a much broader and less clear cut tail band, less dark secondaries and less contrasting greater coverts
Two very different looking adult Herring Gulls. I would imagine the bird on the left is a northern breeder whereas the one on the right is a southern breeder. The size difference is probably due to the left bird being a male and the right one a female
A striking yellow-legged Herring Gull with a normal ringed bird. The ringed bird was ringed  in Nov 2013 but has only been seen in the Oslo area. The yellow legged birds bill is particularly well coloured and the legs more orange than yellow which can indicate that its bare parts have changed colour due to diet
I didn't see this bird in flight but here one can see that the base of the outer primaries is grey rather than black which should dispel any thoughts that this bird is a Yellow-legged Gull rather than a yellow-legged Herring Gull

Four normal leg coloured adult Herring Gulls with different amounts of head streaking
red colour ringed Herring Gull but I cannot say for sure what the code is (ZOYA?). I think red rings are from the UK. (Edit: this is actually X4DT which was ringed on Rainham Tip London on 30.11.2013)
I couldn't read the ring on this one and must admit struggled a bit with ID but now it looks like a relatively straightforward 2cy Great Black-backed Gull (svartbak)
I did not see this noticeably small and dark gull in flight but concluded with it probably being a 2cy Lesser Black-backed Gull but am happy to be proved wrong (EDIT: I've had feedback that this is most likely a Herring Gull)

I'm not sure if this is the same individual but this bird I did see it with open wings and the primaries looked all dark although the picture does not really capture this. (I thought this bird to be a LB-b Gull but have received feedback that also this is more likely a Herring - understand why gulls aren't my favourite thing?)
Great Grey Shrike (varsler) in Maridalen
Reed Bunting (sivspurv) at Fornebu
absolutely terrible record shot of the years first Snow Bunting (snøspurv)
there were lots of Crossbills in Maridalen today but taking close pictures of them is another matter

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