Thursday, 24 November 2016

Hearing pins drop

I have had quiet walks in the forest before but today beats them all hands down. There was no wind so listening conditions were perfect but there was nothing to listen to except for running water every now and again. If I remember correctly, in the course of an hour and a half I saw a Blue Tit, heard a Jay and a Redpoll and some high pitched squeaking that was probably a Treecreeper. I saw fresh Hazel Grouse droppings under a favoured alder tree but that can’t be ticked can it? I’m not quite sure why it was so quiet today. It was cloudy but it was a high cloud base so was far from being as grey and gloomy as yesterday – just the time of the year I think.

I kept myself to Maridalen today with a quick stop at the rubbish tip at Alna (only Herring Gulls to see) on my way to Ikea. I had the Great Grey Shrike in the north of Maridalen just as I have the last two days but then surprisingly had another 3km away at Kirkeby only 8 minutes later. So it wasn’t that the shrike had moved to the north of the valley in search of better hunting grounds but there are now two birds in the valley. This is promising for the chances of a Hawk Owl turning up as there are clearly rodents to be had. The bird by the lake does seem to roam quite widely in its search for food but the bird in the north of the valley has been in a quite limited area the last three days so there would seem to be a higher density of food here which makes sense as there are more stubble fields in the north.

The Scaup and 3 Tufteds remains on the lake and there was also a single Great Crested Grebe and two distant swans turned out to be young Mute Swans rather than the expected Whoopers. It is interesting how Mute Swan parents push their young away before their first winter whilst Whooper Swan parents stay with their young until the next spring. It is presumably because Whooper Swans have long migrations which the adults need to teach their young whilst Mute Swans are far more sedentary with normally just local movements.

Tomorrow is the infamous Black Friday and I will be as far away from a shopping centre as I can manage to be.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the shrikes which would’ve been nice to see if they had any plumage features that would allow me to follow them later in the winter. The Scaup though offered up some better photos than before.
Scaup (bergand) on Maridalsvannet

Scaup with a Tufted Duck (toppand)

Scaup (bergand). The dark (not yellow) eye and diffuse dark nail to the bill age this as a 1cy bird and the lack of grey feathers on the back shows it to be a female

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