Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Too cold now

Another day of very cold temperatures (-14C at breakfast) and with a biting wind making it feel even colder. The cold got the better of me a couple of times and I had to retreat to the car to warm up. I started the day hoping to see the White-backed Woodpecker again but despite some good old hard work I failed to see it although a Great Spotted Woodpecker first picked up tapping away got me going briefly.

I took the rather scary Oslo Fjord Tunnel (although a major road it is frequently closed due to accidents and a favourite type is the brakes of HGVs over heating due to the 3km long, steep ascent and catching fire….) and then checked out the Drøbak area. A Little Grebe showed really well and caught and devoured a fish that I would imagine would count as breakfast, lunch and dinner. A small flock of Velvet Scoters fed unusually close to shore (usually this species is always a long way out) and had clearly found some sea urchins or crabs as they kept diving in unison over the same spot. I grilled them but had to accept that all of them were “just”. 11 were adult males (or at least 3cy+) and 3 were in female like plumage. Closer inspection showed that at least one of these was a young (2cy) male and the other 2 may also have been. I have noticed many times before how winter flocks of Velvet Scoter contain a real overweight of adult males which contrasts with the smaller numbers of overwintering Common Scoters which seem to always be young birds (sex undetermined). A group of around 50 Common Eiders were cooing away in the sunshine but also failed to reveal any rarer cousins in their midst.

I had a drive by Great Grey Shrike on the way home and a drive through Maridalen did not reveal a single bird (or at least that I can remember) …

Little Grebe (dvergdykker) - the sunshine now makes photography easier

although it was in the shade when it took the (relatively) large fish

clockwise from top left in the act of positioning and then swallowing the fish

can't ever remember seeing the foot of a Little Grebe before

always nice with a Waxwing (sidensvans)

I only had a Great Spotted Woodpecker (today) and with Sunday's White-backed for comparison

14 Velvet Scoters (sjøorre) and 4 Eiders (ærfugl)

The Velvets. Note there are 11 adult (or 3cy+) males and 3 in female/immature plumage (one with head down)

here the bill colouration of the immatuure/female bird shows its to be a 2cy male


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