Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Failed Oslo twitching

Monday saw me out at Årnestangen and Svellet. Årnestangen didn’t have too much to reward the long walk but at least 4 different Marsh Harriers kept up my hopes of finding a Pallid Harrier. The might Svellet though had a lot more to offer though with 3 Blackwit, 2 Barwit, Shoveler, Little Gull, Hobby and Turnstone – it’s just a shame distances are so long here.

Whilst I was there a message came in that a juv Med Gull had been foolish enough to allow itself to be blinged in Oslo. Maybe this was the same bird that had blown past me on 10 August? Later in the evening a grainy picture of a supposed Great White Egret was published from a lake in the forest just north of Maridalen was published and I hatched a plan for Tuesday.

I needed to go into town so planned on refinding the Med Gull, getting the chores out of the way and then going for the egret. Well, the fact that I was twitching meant of course that nothing went to plan. The gull didn't show and the egret turned out to be a leucistic Grey Heron although luckily this was discovered before I set off. A pukka GWE turned up at Årnestangen though....and I must have walked past a King Eider.....

My birding wasn't that bad though. I had two male Bluethroats on Bygdøy and got to see an interesting goose. This goose has been doing the rounds since the spring and has variously been recorded as a Cackling Goose and as Canada Goose of the race parvipes. It was only after it (and the Barnacles it has been associating with) turned up in Oslo though that its true identity has been discovered.

It is clearly a hybrid between some form of Canada Goose and Barnacle Goose and its tiny size points clearly to it being a Cackling Goose rather than Canada although it will still most likely a feral bird as the Barnacles are not from Svalbard but from the huge southern Scandinavian feral population and such hybrids are known in Northern Europe. 

The Black Redstarts showed well in their favoured area near the Akershus Festning castle and there were at least 3 birds: mum and dad and at least one youngster. Dad looks to be in quite nice plumage and may have moulted already whereas mum looked quite tatty.

the small size of the hybrid goose is very apparant here. It superficially looks to be a pure Cackling/Canada but the grey greater coverts with a black band at the end and pale tips are wrong and a clear sign of Barnacle Goose. In addition the breast is dark (although not black) further down than it is on Cackling /Canada

the white on the forehead is also a sign of Barnacle. The pale neck ring suits some forms of Cackling

1cy Black Redstart

here there are 2 birds. On the top is a 1cy bird and the lower bird is a tatty adult female

closer shot of the adult female. Her tatty plumage is as a result of active moult

the adult male

male Bluethroat

yet again I am unsure as to age. The colouring on the throat suggests and adult but the pale edges to the greater coverts visible here say 1cy?

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