Tuesday, 5 December 2017


I have said that there are few (if any) new birds to see at the moment but my current birding is not exactly designed to find anything new. I seem to be visiting the same locations all the time and seeing the same birds but the problem is that they are nice birds and I am always hoping to see and document some interesting behaviour. It is the Bearded Tits at Fornebu and Pygmy Owls in Maridalen that have captured my attention.

Both these are getting more and more difficult to find but I see it as a badge of honour to be able to find them when others fail, and it of course is good for guiding if I know where they are. The Pygmy Owls in Maridalen are clearly not settled anymore and this is because there is not a high density of rodents for them to find so they need to move around. Yesterday I found a single bird atop a spruce in the forest where he was being scolded by Coal Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker and he also sang a bit. I didn’t observe him hunting though which is the behaviour that I want to document.
Otherwise Maridalen was quiet and the lake is now 50% frozen.

At Fornebu the shallow salt water bays have been frozen for a long time and there is snow on the floor of the reedbeds, but this doesn’t stop the Bearded Tits spending almost all their time searching for food on the ground. They are very difficult to find because they also call very infrequently and if they do call it is normally a very weak contact call. Yesterday though I was very lucky though as a group of three birds were feeding right by the path and I was able to observe and document them over a long period. I had them high up feeding on the seed heads for about a minute but the rest of the time they were running around like mice on the ground feeding and for the first time I was able to properly observe this behaviour. There seemed to be very little food for them to find compared to when they were up on the seed heads so one must wonder why they choose to feed on the ground. My theory is that it is to avoid predation. When they are high up they must be easy targets for Sparrowhawks which could also explain why the number of birds always decreases as the autumn/winter progresses. So, they face a trade-off between easy to find food and the risk of predation.

Sunrise in Maridalen at 09:45

the lake was half frozen but it is forecast to be warm on Thursday and Friday so will probably melt 

the Bearded Tits (skjeggmeis) were briefly up eating from the seed heads

Pygmy Owl (spurveugle)

still recognisable in silhouette

it looks like this bird is very thin judging by how the ribs seems to be sticking out

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