Thursday, 4 May 2017

First Wryneck of the year

Today I was guiding the grandfather of one of Jr Jr friends as a 75th birthday present. I chose Østensjøvannet as the perfect place and we used nearly 3 hours here in perfect spring weather. The woodland around the lake was heaving with singing Willow Warblers which were easy to see as the leaves have yet to come out and Blackcaps were also back in force but it was still too early for many of the other warblers.

The lake was also alive with birds. I didn’t make any attempt to count the Black-headed Gulls but I would guess there are way over 500 pairs. The gull colony provides protection and encourages other birds. At least 7 Canada Geese were on nests but I believe all eggs have been pricked which may explain why a lot of the birds kept leaving their nests and looking confused. There were 3 Mute Swan nests but at least 13 adults on the lake with frequent skirmishes. One fight involved two males swimming side by side for a few minutes with wings raised before one viciously attacked the other by grabbing its neck and trying to push him under water. Both birds survived the event but one lost a lot feathers. Great Crested Grebes were also nesting with four nests seen and over 20 adults around the lake with some still displaying- There were many Tufted Ducks which are late nesters and have begun nesting yet. A pair of Wigeon were most likely migrants but three Teal may well try to breed.
The wintering female Pintail was not to be seen but she was seen not so long ago mating with a male Mallard so maybe she is on a nest and will produce some interesting hybrid offspring?

After guiding I popped up into Maridalen where I had my first Wryneck of the year singing away plus singing Tree Pipit. No doubt now that it is spring!

Incredible news has just surfaced of a Kentish Plover photographed on the dried out mudbanks at Årnestangen on Monday and posted in a "what's this bird?" group. Given the size of the area it must be pure chance that the bird was seen and was close enough to a path. The bank holiday weekend will surely go down as one of the best weekends for rarities in these (rarity scarce) parts.

not the most photogenic Wryneck (vendehals) but always a pleasure to meet this species

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