Thursday, 4 January 2018

Slogging it for an Arctic roly polly

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Drøbak area and notched up a couple of Great Grey Shrikes, Little Grebe and Rock Pipit for my troubles. Today I did my traditional Oslo New Year birding by public transport and foot outing. I visited the Botanical Gardens, the harbour seafront, Bygdøy and Frognerpark and walked 14km so have hopefully burnt off a few of those extra xmas calories.
The Botanical Gardens were good for finches with 3 species/forms of Redpoll with a white male Arctic the highlight, plus Hawfinch, Crossbill, Brambling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. A young male Goshawk also showed well, and I could make out a Peregrine sitting distantly on the top of Oslo’s tallest building.
The harbour was very quiet with hardly any gulls and Bygdøy and Frognerpark offered up the expected species but nothing too exciting.

Redpolls are as is well known a complete mess and the latest taxonomical status is that they should all be lumped together which suites me just fine. This year is a good redpoll year in Norway and a bird trapped recently in Denmark with a Chinese ring gives an indication that some of these birds have travelled great distances. We could realistically have birds from Greenland/Iceland, Southern and Northern Scandinavia and from the whole of Siberia all mingling at the moment. Certainly today there was a good variety in the Botanical Gardens and that was only in a flock of about 15 birds. The Arctic Redpoll was a fairly simple bird but there was also another bird that could have been an Arctic of the less obvious variety. There was a small warm coloured bird that fitted the bill for a Lesser(southern) and then amongst the rest there were small birds, large birds, cold grey birds and warmer browner birds. Treating them as a single clinal species does seem the most pragmatic thing to do!

one of those snowbal birds - an Arctic Redpoll 
look at the contrast! The bird on the right is probably a Lesser

the single black feather on the undertail coverts is rather obvious but OK
this bird never showed any better than this but was possibly also an Arctic

a Lesser Redpoll (brunsisik)

three Mealy/Common Redpolls

a few other birds in the Botanical Gardens

a 2cy male Goshawk (hønsehauk)

same bird in flight looking like a thrush

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