Wednesday, 14 February 2018


Today was a good day to visit the Botanical Garden in Oslo. My reasoning (which differs to that of the majority of people) being that it was cloudy and sleeting and there would therefore be nobody else there and I could enjoy the birds on my own…

There was a nice flock of Redpolls at one of the feeders and amongst them was a nice 1st winter / 2cy male of the northern clinal form, aka Arctic Redpoll. This bird stood out as a much colder, whiter bird and the large white rump and undertail coverts confirm the ID but in my pictures it looks a lot greyer although I put this down to the light and the poor quality of the photos. As usual there was a wide variety of plumages and sizes amongst the redpolls and there was at least one other bird that was probably of the arctic type but I only ever saw this bird above me in a tree and never noticed it on the ground so it might well be that it gave a different and less convincing impression when seen on the ground (all the birds were frequently coming down to feed on sunflower seeds). None of the birds conformed to the southern clinal form aka Lesser Redpoll.

There was the usual variety of other finches (9 species in total) but a single Blackbird was the only thrush I saw suggesting that all berries have now been eaten

On the Plaza hotel there are now two Peregrines: an adult and a 1st winter/2cy. It is normally only an adult that winters in town with young birds migrating south to Europe and I think it is unusual for two birds to hang out together unless they are a pair. I would imagine therefore that these birds are a parent and young and for some reason the parent still has a bond to its offspring.

here the bird on the left is the same one in the other pictures. The bird on the right also looks to have a very large unmarked white rump but I never noticed this individual on the ground and believe that the rump has been make to look much larger and whiter due to the feathers being fluffed up. But it could well also be an arctic

the Arctic from different angles and looking decidedly different in each one
here the pointed outer tail feathers show it to be a 1st winter / 2cy bird

A redpoll that is difficult to place and may well be an arctic - note the small bill, fairly large white rump but the streaking on the undertail coverts may be too much and the ground colour on the back may not be light enough

despite a lot of white on the rump this is a Common Redpoll - large bill and streaking on the rump and too dark on the back

this bird was very striking. The bill was small and it was generally grey rather than brown but was very straked on the rump and flanks and undertail coverts. A Common Redpoll but from where?

a well marked male Common Redpoll

Despite the white rump this must be a Common Redpoll due to it being a male (red on breast) and a male arctic would have less flank streaking and greyer back

This bird was in the garden a couple of days ago on its own. Agian it has a small bill and a white rump (athough only a narrow area unstreaked). It could well be an arctic (and the first garden record) but not for sure

a small 2cy male Sparrowhawk was unpopular

Four species of finch (Chaffinch, Brambling, Greenfinch and Redpoll) are in this picture plus a possible arctic Redpoll. I also had Hawfinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch and Siskin so quite a good finch day

Collared Dove

the two Peregrines on the top of the Plaza Hotel plus the reflection of one of the birds which has fooled more than one birder into thinking there were even more birds. The closer bird is a 2cy and and the further bird an adult. The noticeably larger size of the youngster suggests it is a female and the adult a male (daughter and father?)

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