Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Wind chill

Today was only -9C but with a north easterly wind gusting at over 10m/s it felt a lit colder than yesterday. This weather is a real killer for birds with food hard to find and extra energy needed to keep warm. I toured Oslo’s hotspots today and found far fewer birds than I would have expected to see a couple of weeks ago. Some birds could of course have successfully moved away to warmer climes (wherever that might be at the moment) but the two young Moorhens that have been in Frognerparken were absent today and have I fear met their maker. It is interesting that if the winter had been mild and these birds had successfully over wintered then they would presumably do so again next year and their offspring the same thus evolving a mini population with a new migration strategy, but their demise just goes to show that moving south to warmer climes is, and has always been, the best strategy. The Teal population at Frognerparken was also diminished to three birds but I have also noticed in previous winters that the birds disappear when it is really cold and icy but soon return so they presumably have an alternative location somewhere nearby although I can’t think where that would be.

Despite the weather I saw Oslo’s first migrant Oystercatcher of the year. Two birds have wintered at Bygdøy (this is very unusual) but today there were three birds although none of them looked particularly happy. A Little Grebe was also here, and a light coloured young Peregrine flew through. The bird was ringed although my photos are too poor to make out even the colour of the ring.

At Østensjøvannet 350 or so Mallards are keeping a tiny area of water ice free and thankfully the City Council seem to have accepted their error in trying to outlaw feeding and have instead changed the signs to outlawing the dumping of food waste. When someone came with some bread the birds went pretty wild showing how necessary continued feeding is (once it has started). Amongst the Mallards the usual suspects of the adult female Pintail, a young male Wigeon and single Barnacle and Canada Goose were still present and accounted for although the Coot population has fallen by one bird to seven. Quite a few birds had clumps of ice on their beaks and feathers which didn’t look to healthy.

Maridalen appeared birdless and the wind was blowing the snow across the roads creating polar conditions.

This male Mallard (stokkand) had a serious amount of ice on its bill

as did the young male Wigeon (brunnakke)

the only open water at Østensjøvannt

the icy conditions at Huk, Bygdøy and the three Oystercatchers (tjeld)

Little Grebe (dvergdykker)

this Magpie in Maridalen had been sitting on top of one of the famous statues in Frognerparken and was being photographed by a tourist with her iphone but by the time I got my camera out it had dropped down and the moment has passed..

young Peregrine (vandrefalk)

the bird is ringed but none of my photos allow any detail to be seen

arctic conditions in Maridalen

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