Saturday, 1 April 2017

A goose and some thrushes and some fog

I posted a picture of a flock of 144 Pink-footed Geese on the ice in Maridalen yesterday. I went through the flock twice with the telescope with the aim of finding something else amongst them. It was therefore a bit annoying to see that someone with more patience than me got to see them feeding on a field at close range and voila there was a Tundra (rossicus) Bean Goose amongst them and the picture was rather good!

Overnight there was rain and when I awoke at 8am thick fog so chances were good that the geese would still be there. I wasn’t able to go up until 10am though which was probably just as well as the fog was finally lifting. I met Halvard H who had already been there for a couple of hours and notched up Oslo’s first Ring Ouzel of the year plus a Chiffchaff. He was peering at the flock of geese through the mist and thought he had seen the Bean but it was incredibly difficult distinguishing colours. I too thought I could see the Bean but then just couldn’t find it again. Eventually though there was good enough light for us to be sure it was there and later the fog lifted enough for pictures. This is a rare species in Maridalen and is only the second or third record. It is always lost individuals of the rossicus (sub) species that turns ups with Pink-footed Geese on migration and there are enough records around Norway that there must be a good possibility that the two species are hybridising on Svalbard (where the Pink-foots breed) although I am not aware of any proven records.

I didn’t have much more time in Maridalen but in the mist heard Ring Ouzel and Mistle Thrush and saw the four commoner thrush species – getting all six in a day is not a frequent occurrence although Maridalen in April is as good a place as anywhere to experience it.

My photos of the geese today were pants but I’ll include some anyway…

Geese in the Mist 
even though the bill and leg colour is difficult to discern the darker plumage of the Bean Goose can be see and the distinctive bill shape

later on the light improved although finding a Tundra Bean amongst Pink-feet can still be difficult
I reckon you can make out the irange bill here
the Bean Goose is top right and the darker back compared to the Pink-feet is just about discernible

Here are a few videos I have taken recently. They are of the usual varying quality but are still short enough that you won’t get dizzy watching them..

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