Thursday, 30 August 2018

Twitching by boat

If I was happy with yesterday’s birding then I am ecstatic about today’s even if there was an element of twitching in today’s outing. I was lucky enough to be invited out by Bent Hammel on his 15ft boat to search the inner Oslo Fjord for the goodies that Andreas Gullberg has found this week on his boat trips, although I would just like to say that Norway’s reigning national champion in birding should have done a better job at identifying the birds 😉

Bent picked me up from Fornebu at 9am and we headed first for Bygdøy. On the way there wasn’t too much to see although there were a surprising number of Common Terns still around with many young begging for food. At Bygdøy we were searching for the 2cy male King Eider that Andreas found on Tuesday and in our search we nearly ran aground a couple of times. We diverted to Galteskjær to look for the Shag Andreas found yesterday. We spent quite a bit of time photographing a small Cormorant before accepting that was what it was but hit gold with a juvenile Red-necked Grebe. This species is very scarce in these parts but this was a classic record and the bird was also in classic plumage. Three Dunlin here were also a good Oslo species. After many photos we headed back to Bygdøy and bingo Elvis was in the building! The King Eider was sitting preening on a rock and allowed very close approach. We realised how close we could get when a canoeist passed at just a couple of metres range without the bird reacting. This plumage is relatively little known (at least for most of us) and Andreas originally thought the bird to be a hybrid with Common Eider which I understood because the head and bill shape are definitely different to an adult male King Eider. However, this would appear to be how they look at this age. With luck it will hang around and acquire a more regal plumage.
With our boots and memory cards filled we headed further out and found the Shag on Søndre Skjælholm!! So complete success on the twitching front plus a very good find AND the day was just fantastic with calm seas, sun and temperatures nudging 20C. This is definitely how birding (and twitching) is supposed to be 😊

Taking photos today was a challenge. Despite the sea being very calm there was still enough movement that the superzoom was very difficult to use and the old 70-300mm lens was just too small at times. Even so I can’t really complain with the results.

Seflie with an Oslo tick

it has chosen to hang out in the most upmarket area possible

and doesn't mind close contact with the locals

2cy King Eider (praktærfugl)

it spent ages preening
here it has a removed feather in its bill

identifiable even with this view - a juvenile Red-necked Grebe (gråstrupedykker)

the juvenile Shag (toppskarv) didn't show as well though

its small size is apparant here

the view from Søndre Skjælholm islan

and a video that might make you seasick

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