Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Great Grey Shrike in Maridalen

The Firecrest was Bærum Kommune’s most visited tourist attraction and perhaps the best pictures to date were the result although I of course was not in the vicinity as I prefer to visit when the light is bad and the crowds non-existent.

Yesterday I paid another visit to the Drøbak area but again without finding anything too exciting although Rock Pipit and Twite were good winter records. Both these species were feeding on an offshore island 1km from where I was viewing. The Rock Pipit was just about identifiable but the six Twite were another story. I managed to conclude they were small finches and the choice therefore lay between Redpoll and Twite. Their behaviour pointed in the direction of the later but I was only able to nail them when they luckily flew off the island and eventually over my head calling.

Today the weather was suitably dreary that a visit to Fornebu was appealing. At least three Bearded Tits were calling and two showed in the reedbed and the Firecrest gave itself up relatively easily by calling just often enough that I first found it and could then follow it. It moved over 500m in the hour I was watching it with I assume continuous movement necessary to keep warm (temperatures are down to about -7C). It was mostly low down but for about 10 minutes was feeding up in the top of small low pine trees where it then became quite vocal. I have previously assumed the bird to be a 1st winter male due to the orange but not deep red colour to the crown. The only way to really age them though it the shape of the tail feathers and good pictures have shown them to be pointed which confirms the age as 1st winter and the crown colour confirms it to be a male. Otherwise there was really very little at Fornebu and the two Goldcrests seem to have moved away.

A trip to Maridalen surprisingly revealed a Great Grey Shrike. It was in exactly the same tree as the last bird I saw in the Dale on 20 October but this bird has more white in the wing than that bird and is presumably a bird pushed out of a territory further north which is no long suitable due to too much snow.
Great Grey Shrike (varsler) in Maridalen - the first record for 3 months


the sharply pointed tail feathers that mean it is a 1st winter

it spent most of its time in the snow as usual

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