Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Oslo quality

This morning Mrs OB needed to be driven to a course which was close to Sørkedalen and when I saw the length of the queues to drive back towards town it was a no brainer to have a bit of a session in Sørkedalen and allow the queues to disappear. The Red-breasted Flycatcher has now found a mate! Apart from one quiet and short burst of song (I wondered if it was actually from another more distant bird but never found one although wouldn’t be surprised if there are more out there) it has now stopped singing which is a sure sign that the pair bond has been formed. The female showed regularly and I do not believe they have actually laid eggs yet although expect that to happen soon. I did not see them visiting a nest hole but the area has plenty of natural holes and nest boxes so they have plenty of choice. I suspect that in future visits the female will not be seen as she will on the eggs and the male will become difficult to find but that once the young are large and need feeding that they will be easier to find again. I hope that I can find the nest such that I can follow their progress.

After one rare Oslo bird, it was time for a few others. A Black Redstart was found singing in the city centre yesterday (in the traditional area around Youngstorget where I have searched a few times without success already this year) and despite me visiting at 11am with all the expected noise of the city it was easy to hear it singing (a sure sign that he does not have a mate). I glimpsed it a couple of times in flight and once perched but never saw it properly (and no pictures) although it looked to be a brown bird and therefore a 2cy. Whilst trying to see it (and with the company of Stig Johan Kalvatn) a passing journalist took an interest in once and filmed and interviewed us with his phone so there maybe an amusing video story about the event soon.

After this I then went to Østensjøvannet for my third visit on consecutive days with the hope today of seeing a White-fronted Goose that was found on Monday, and also seen yesterday (but not by me despite me searching for it). Zak had seen it early this morning but when I arrived a few others birders had not seen it despite searching and had also not seen Little Gull. A couple of comments were made along the lines that Simon is here so it will turn up now…. Well I couldn’t find the large and obvious goose but I did find not one but two Little Gulls! The first was the 2cy bird that has been seen regularly since Saturday but the other was a much smarter 3cy bird that had been seen on Saturday and on a park lake in Oslo on Friday but not since. This bird was hanging around on the edge of a B-h Gull colony and feeding on the edge of rushes and was not an easy bird to get to grips with and it is not difficult to believe that it has been here all the time since Saturday.
At home in the afternoon whilst working in the garden I had a garden tick in the form of a fly-over Yellow Wagtail.

I got a big rush when I saw this female R-b Fly (dvergsnapper) - she might be dull in comparison to her mate this is an extremley scarce breeding bird in Norway (less than annual) although looks like there will be breeding in Oslo for the second year in a row!

the happy male

look at those whiskers which I assume with catching food

the female at times also showed well

3cy (2nd summer) Little Gull (dvergmåke) - a very smart bird although an adult with pure white primaries would have been even smarter. In flight this bird did not have as dark an underwing as an adult would have. Note how much smaller it is than the B-h Gull

some workers got too close to part of the B-h Gull colony at Østensjøvannet and a cloud of angry birds rose into the air

this Black-headed Gull (hettemåke) has been around a couple of days and looks to have been sprayed with paint (a prank in bad taste rather than for scientific reasons). It kept to itself probably because it is suffering from the paint but it may well also be chased away by its kins

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