Friday, 4 November 2016

More Scaup

As usual with weather forecasts the actual weather today wasn't quite as expected. The snow has yet to come although temperatures are below zero and ice has formed on puddles. In Maridalen there was a change in the sea duck population. Scaup were down to 5 which were actively feeding in the same area as yesterday in the south west of the lake. In the middle of the lake was a tight flock of dark ducks at looong range. I initially assumed that these were the rest of yesterday's Scaup flock and even started to see plumage features that supported this but distance was just too great. I also couldn't be sure how many there were with counts ranging from 8-12. Clearly I needed to get closer which I eventually managed to and revealed 11 Common Scoters. They were quite a nervous flock and at one point a Herring Gull flew low over them and the whole flock dived.
There was otherwise little life in Maridalen although the Great Grey Shrike did pop up and after I while I realised why it seemed agitated - there was a fine adult male Goshawk sitting underneath it.

I decided to visit the Other Valley after this where I thought a walk in the woodlands to the north (which reaches further north into the vast forest of Nordmarka) might give me a better chance of finding an Oslo Hawk Owl or something ever more interesting. When driving past Bogstadvannet lake I saw there were some diving ducks on the water and a stop revealed these to also be Scaup. A walk around to where they were revealed all four of them to be young males and as I sat watching them they woke up and started feeding. They either didn’t notice me (I had a dark background behind me) or were just not bothered by my presence and one bird in particular came very close. It was interesting that all four birds were males whereas the flock of 18 yesterday only contained a few males (that I noticed). Hopefully there is some more excitement to come from sea ducks before the lakes freeze over.

My forest walk gave me nothing interesting other than a single Nutcracker but it is still early days.
Scaup (bergand)

it had a feather stuck on its bill after a serious preening session. This bird is going through its post juvenile moult as can be seen by the grey feathers (of an adult male) that are appearing on the back

all four birds. All have grey feathers on the back showing them to be males but have differing amounts. Also notice that the second bird from the left has much less white around the bill
a poor picture but showing the Great Grey Shrike (varsler) just after it had mobbed the Goshawk (hønsehauk)

The Goshawk - a fine adult male (based on size and proportions)

I did get to see the shrike a bit closer but had completely wrong settings on the camera

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