BIRD GUIDING AROUND OSLO

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Colour ringed Bearded Tit


After the excitement of Jæren it was always going to be tough birding around Oslo again at this time of the year. A trip with Anders to Fornebu on Tuesday did give us two birds that I didn’t have at Jæren, namely Chiffchaff and Arctic Redpoll. We had two Chiffchaffs, and both sounded “normal” (i.e. not tristis) and the one we saw well had a normal green tinged plumage. The Arctic Redpoll was with 10 Common Redpolls and was one of those birds (probably a 1cy female) that one has to work with to be convinced that it is on the Arctic side of the plumage cline rather than being a pale Common Redpoll but the small bill was, for me, the clincher with this bird.

Today, I did have a good day though and by any standard. With no wind, sun, and temperatures that never rose above zero it was a good day to be out. Small pools and even the edges of Maridalsvannet were frozen. No Bearded Tits have turned up at Fornebu this year which is a real shame as they always brighten up an otherwise dull winter’s day birding. It isn’t every winter that they turn up at Fornebu but it has always been the most reliable place to find them in Akershus. Another site that has had records is Pollevanet which has a very large reedbed but is very close to a busy road making it difficult to work. The last records here were from winter 2006/7 but the site does not get too much coverage. A couple of records of Beardies in a small reedbed only 5km from Pollevannet in the first half of October had me expecting that they would also be found (relocate to) at Pollevannet. There have been no records but it doesn’t look like any one has looked either, so I decided to do something about that today. The traffic noise wasn’t too bad and with no wind I felt confident that if there were any there then I would hear them, and sure enough I did 😊 There were a minimum of 8 birds feeding low in the reeds but with a bit of encouragement I was able to see them better and best of all one the males bore a colour ring! We have had a bird with a normal metal ring at Fornebu before but despite quite good photos it was never possible to read the ring but earlier this autumn a ringer at the Great Big Dump (Øra in Østfold) which holds the only regular breeding colony of Beardies in Norway started ringing with colour rings.  I have aired my views on ringing enough times before so don’t need to get into the quagmire again but now, finally, someone was ringing and clearly wanted to get refinds (there are of course others who colour ring in Norway so please nobody get (too) offended). Ringing with a purpose!

The bird had a white ring with the code 44A is the first bird to be resighted of in total 78 that were colour ringed this autumn at Øra.

After this I drove some country lanes on Nesodden where I thought there might be an owl or two to find but failed here. I did end up though at a watch point where at a range of 2.7km (equates to 1.7km for viewing a medium sized tern…..) I could see the small island in the fjord where the Oslo King Eider has been hanging around for the last month or so. This was going to be pushing things a bit but with the lighting being very good and sea nearly flat it was actually possible to pick out the bird (although I certainly helped to know what to look for)! although I was not able to age it as a 2cy 😉 He was on his own and feeding close to the rocks. I suspect that he is now here for the winter as he has not chosen to leave with the Common Eiders (very few are left) and with luck will relocate to somewhere more viewable.

After this I found at least one Arctic Redpoll with a flock of 80 or so Common Redpolls although they were very difficult to view, and I suspect that there were more Arctic in there. I passed many potential Great Grey Shrikes during the day but had only one bird (and the only raptor or owl I had was a Sparrowhawk) so I suspect there are very few rodents around.

The lack of wind made Maridalsvannet easier to check out and a single Guillemot is still going strong but may well have to soon deal with ice if the cold weather continues as forecast.

male Bearded Tit (skjeggmeis) with ring 44A. One of 78 colour ringed birds from Øra this autumn. I am not able to make out anything on the metal ring which shows the real benefit of colour rings






five birds of the at least 8 I saw




it is carrying quite a bit of bling so isn't necessarily good for the bird
the inset shows a male King Eider (praktærfugl) honestly! It is facing to the right so we see its white breast, black body and white vental area. In the scope the grey head was also visible

The Arctic Redpoll from Fornebu. Not the palest of birds and the white rump does have streaking  but that is OK as long as other characters are good. We don't see the undertail coverts properly but there is no obvious streaking. The bill is small and pointed and it is large headed. The head is also very buffy and the ground colour on the mantle is pale and cold. Enough for me to call it an Arctic but I would prefer a nice male!
big white rump of today's Arctic Redpoll (polarsisik) 

"normal" Chiffchaff from Fornebu

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