Saturday, 23 April 2016

Always learning as Martin Garner always said

You know where you can find me on a Saturday morning in spring before breakfast - Maridalen of course! I was there before 0630 but was beaten to it by Halvard H. An overnight frost and no wind had left some ice on the lake and the ground was hard but with blue skies it didn't feel cold. Birds were not numerous but there were 3 each of Red-throated and Black-throated Divers on the lake and the first Swallow and Common Sandpiper of the year graced us with their presence with the Swallow even singing.
There were lots of Common Gulls on the lake (looked like they had roosted there) and after diligent searching I found the Med Gull (hybrid). It is a strange bird. I saw it much better today and got much better photos although had a problem with too many being overexposed. In bright sunlight the primaries looked white even in flight and it is only in pictures that the true pattern comes through. The extent of the black hood also varies – when resting (as it was doing all the time I saw it yesterday) then the black hood does not look extensive enough for a Med Gull but when I saw it feeding on a ploughed field then it suddenly looked completely OK for a 2nd summer (3cy) pure Med Gull. Comparing it with the bird from a week ago at Østensjøvannet the black hood still doesn’t look extensive enough but googling pictures of 2nd summer Med Gull I find birds looking the same as this one (although some are alsoclearly mis ID’d hybrids). I was also worried that the primary pattern was wrong and this with the Østensjøvannet bird in mind but googling shows an awful lot of variation. I used the powers of Facebook to get advice and it wouldn’t appear that anyone else has any worries about it being a hybrid (a hybrid should for example have a more B-h Gull like bill as can be seen in the link above). A rich learning experience for me although it has also caused me to go even redder in the face… (yesterday’s post will also need editing….)

why did I ever worry about a hybrid? snd summer (3cy) Med Gull

well this was why I worried. When hunched up the the hood just didn't look extensive enough and the black and white primary pattern wrong

this shot shows how the bird looked at range with the wing tips seeing to be all white

Here for comparison a picture of the ringed bird from Østensjøvannet which looks a quite differen beast.

And a video although the title can now be changed

The Lapwing pair were mating again on the field at Kirkeby and I observed the same behaviour I also saw on Thursday. The male positions himself 15m from the female and makes a strange grating sound. The female somehow gives her consent (not by calling as far as I could make out) and crouches and the male then flies to her, lands on her and three seconds later they are both fluffing their feathers and having a preen. If only it was so straightforward for us humans ;-)

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