Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Swans and Rails

An overnight frost meant that small pools had a layer of ice at 0830 this morning and it also helped slow down the de-icing of the main lake which is still 99% frozen but the open areas are growing rapidly. I can remember large parts of the lake still being frozen on 1 May in previous years but suspect that this year will be a bit special.

Cold nights and little cloud are not conducive for many new grounded migrants and Maridalen and Fornebu had little new to offer today although a Lesser Whitethroat at Fornebu was a year tick and a singing Blackcap was the first I have heard. Highlight here was undoubtedly seeing a Water Rail “singing” in the freshly cleared reedbed. The intensity of its singing suggests it is unpaired so far.

In Maridalen I was witness to lots of interesting swan behaviour. First, I had a group of 4 young Whooper Swans and two adults on one open area of water. The youngsters were together but not with the adults. I thought that the birds might be the Maridalen breeding pair and some of last years young but when I saw one of the youngsters aggressively chasing the adults and the adults not fighting back I reappraised that view and assumed that the adults were a visiting pair although the youngsters may well be locally bred. A short time later at the other side of the lake I heard a lot of Whooper Swan noise and then saw a pair of Whooper Swan attacking the pair of Mute Swans that has been around for about a week. That a pair of Mute Swans has hung around so long in spring suggests that they are thinking of establishing themselves here (Mutes have not bred here before and the female in the pair at least is clearly a 3cy bird and a first-time breeder). The local breeding pair of Whoopers is clearly not happy to be sharing “their” area of open water and really went at the Mutes. One of the Mutes fled on a couple of occasions although returned to its mate that seemed to be receiving less abuse and even called a bit. Later in the day I saw no swans at all on the main lake although the breeding pair of Whoopers was back on their breeding pool.

I would normally be more than happy with a view and photo like this of a Water Rail (vannrikse) 
but actually got to see it "singing"

and a close up. Note the blown up throat and the powerful thighs

they are exterely thin birds made for running through reedbeds

and jumping

This video of the Water Rail was taken handholding the bazooka so there is a lot of shake.... :

a swan standoff in Mairdalen

one of the Mute Swans had just been chased off and whilst the whoopers celebrated he (?) flew back to his mate

joining the mate although I am unsure which is which
Mute Swan (knoppsvane)

Whooper Swan (sangsvane)

Whoopers in attack mode. Both they and the Mute Swans nearly flew into over head wires

one of the Mutes with a colour ring that I unfortunately cannot read

this Common Buzzard (musvåk) was displaying (and "mewing") in Maridalen

Teals (krikkand) in Maridalen 

Wheatear (Steinskvett) eating a spider

No comments:

Post a comment