The festive season normally sees a visit to the Bro’ in law in Tønsberg (an hours drive south of Oslo) which allows me some birding at Presterødkilen and this year was no different. There have been quite a few White-fronted Geese with a smaller number of Bean Geese in the area and on the journey down I just managed to see a flock of 20 White-fronts and a single Bean Goose which were feeding on a green field by the road into town. The White-fronts were of the European albifrons race and the Bean was a tundra rossicus which is the expected race for the time of year. The Bean though has been reported as a tundra fabalis which can be understood as this is an individual with an exceptionally long bill however the neck and head shape show it to be a rossicus. These two races can at times be very difficult to tell apart.
Today I visited Presterødkilen and here too were some geese: 10 White-fronts and a single Bean but different birds to those I saw yesterday although of the same races. The birds were unusually close and were perhaps in fairly poor condition. The White-fronts contained two 1cy birds lacking white fronts and barring on the belly and with dark bill nails (and one of these got confused with a Greylag). There were also 1 or 2 birds with reduced white and very little barring which I took to be 2cy birds whereas the remaining birds were clear adults. The closeness of the flock clearly led to difficulties in counting them as the count of White-fronts ranged from 9-11 depending on who reported them!
Presterødkilen held a number of other birds (it is always much better here mid winter than Oslo) including 2 Smew, 3 Scaup, Bearded Tits, Pochard, Wigeon, Common and Velvet Scoter and Rook. After I left a couple of Kingfishers also entertained all and sundry.
|Tundra Bean Goose (sædgås) with White-fronted Geese (tundragås)|
|an adult White-fronted Goose with a far less obvious 1cy bird|
|5 White-fronts including a 1cy (second left) and an assumed 2cy (2nd right)|
|all 11 geese with the Bean on the left|
|the male Pochard (taffeland) with Mallards and Tufted|