Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Urban birding

I am at risk of doing too much exercise! After yesterday’s tramp through the forest in search of Hazel Grouse I had one of my irregular Oslo by foot and public transport days although must admit there was a lower percentage of foot than normal.

One reason I chose to concentrate on urban Oslo today was that it has snowed all day so I thought there might be some concentrations of birds in the parks and I also had little desire to be out in the car.

My first stop Frognerpark where I thought there might be some signs of spring with an expectation of Greylag Geese, summer plumaged Black-headed Gulls and maybe some Starlings. Well none of those were present. The lake was nearly completely frozen and held just the expected ducks: 200 Mallards, 9 Tufted, 6 Teal and a female Goldeneye. The only gulls were four Herring and it is difficult to understand why there have been so few gulls here all winter.

Down on Bygdøy I was surprised to find that quite a few Greylags have now arrived with 82 on the fields of the Kings Farm. No other geese species amongst them but I expect something exciting to turn up before the end of the month.

By the grain storage facility at Vippetangen there were as usual a number of Goldeneye diving for spilt grain but amongst 400 of them I could only find 5 Tufted Ducks and a few Mallards.

By the Opera there were a lot of gulls resting and amongst them I saw a couple of ringed birds that I have also seen up at the Alna rubbish dump but found no Caspians or white-winged gulls. A Mute Swan family here with 7 youngsters was an unusual sight at this time of the year as the parents have normally sent the kids packing which was the case with another group of 4 youngsters who were looking a bit lost.

In the Botanic Gardens the Brambling flock has grown in size and added quite a bit of colour but I didn’t see any Blackbirds or Fieldfares which have presumably eaten up all fruit and berries in the park and have been forced to look for food elsewhere.
the snowy scene today with newly arrived Greylag Geese (grågås) on Bygdøy
there is only one male amongst the 6 Teal (krikkand) that have spent the winter at Frognerparken

a very smart bird
he was calling quite a bit but I didn't see him displaying and it didn't look like he was actually paired with one of the 5 females

three of the four duck species that were present at Frognerpark: Teal, Tufted Duck and Mallard

here is the long staying tame and ringed Teal who often keeps to herself and doesn't mix with the other Teal. I was unable to read the ring but see that it is from Stavanger Museum, Norway and starts with 62 and ends with 61

male and female Teal but I don't think they were paired. Note how the females speculum which should be green actually looks blue at this angle

an "intersex" Mallard. These birds which are probably females with an overdose of male hormones can resemble hybrids and I have previously mistaken a similar bird for a Mallard x Wigeon hybrid
Tufted Ducks (toppand) might boast fewer colours than Teal but are also pretty cool

This large swan family was still togther
but these 4 youngsters have been left to look after themselves. They won't find much food out there!
part of the Goldeneye (kvinand) flock at Vippetangen. Adult males are in a majority
Bramblings (bjørkefink), Tree Sparrows (pilfink) and a single Chaffich (bokfink) at the Botanical Gardens
a very large 2cy Great Black-backed Gull (svartbak) dwarfing an adult Herring Gull (gråmåke)

a ringed 2cy Great Black-back. Not many of this species are ringed in Oslo as they do not come to bread as readily as Herring Gulls. This one received his bling on 19 August 2015 in the same spot and has since been seen just a handful of times in Oslo. This bird is probably the one I photographed at Alna Dump on 9 Feb

one of the pale Herring Gulls that you occasionally see and wonder if they have a bit of Glaucous Gull (polarmåke) blood in them. This one is standing in front of the ringed GBBG
The red ringed Herring Gull that I have seen twice previously but have had major problems reading correctly. The code is X4DT but even with this view I have problems. This bird was ringed at Rainham on 30 Nov 2013
Greylag Geese are now back and despite being feral as f**k are quite smart


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