Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A Polish swan

Another pre-breakfast Tour de Maridalen with PC gave some new signs of spring but generally few birds. Chaffinches have now become a part of the dawn chorus with 4 males singing and a singing Reed Bunting was unexpectedly early we also heard a singing Redwing but it turned out to be a mimicking Starling.

The Great Grey Shrike also showed well and is now gaining a more adult like and smarter plumage. It was preening a lot so is presumably moulting some body feathers. At one stage it flew 60-70 metres up in the air and flew around circles. It was unclear what it was doing, maybe seeing what conditions were like further away as it was thinking of starting its spring migration but it eventually returned to where it had been. There were three male Lapwings on their field but no females have yet arrived which is not surprising as it looks like food would be hard to come by just now.

In the afternoon a family trip to Fornebu gave close encounters with Mute Swans, Greylag Geese and Black-headed Gulls. Like all self-respecting Norwegian Mute Swans these birds were carrying bling and junior noticed that the female had pale feet. She wondered whether that was because she was a female which I was pretty sure was not the case but had no good reason for why she would have pale(r) feet. Thanks to the ringing history though I found out she was a “Polish” Mute Swan as a juvenile and this is clearly a plumage trait that they carry into adulthood. We also saw this pair mating which is quite an elaborate affair as far a bird s*x goes.

female Mute Swan "27E" ringed as a chick 12 August 2008 6km away from Fornebu and now breeding on Fornebu. As a juvenile this was a so called "Polish" Mute Swan and its pale feet are a sign of this

same bird

its mate 64E

here is the pair performing foreplay. The female is on the right with a smaller knob above the bill and the paler bill is probably also a sing of its "Polish" heritage


climax has been reached

This video of sorts shows the act

Skylark (sanglerke) in Maridalen

the Great Grey Shrike (varsler) in Maridalen

lots of preening

the birds bill and lores are getting darker as it assumes adult plumage

there were lots of Common Crossbills (grankorsnebb) in Maridalen

a ringed Black-headed Gull (hettemåke) which I though had a particularly contrasting wing plumage. This bird J0J3 is a local breeding bird which was ringed as an adult on 14 May 2011 but has never never been recorded anywhere else than Oslo

close up of Greylag Goose (grågås)

My daughter Emily's beautiful shot of a Herring Gull (gråmåke). This bird had an injured leg

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