Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Kingfishers 2019

Despite temperatures rising to +11C and a warm(ish) SW wind there was still no real start to migration today although the first flock of Pink-footed Geese were noted over Oslo.

Evidence of the struggles owls are having finding food continues to build with a Hawk Owl having been found in a residential area and a Tengmalm’s Owl flying into a school window this morning. I went looking for the Hawkie but judging by the closeness of the mobile phone picture that was taken of it I reckon it was on its last legs so may have passed on like so many other owls this winter. After this I did have some luck with a young White-tailed Eagle flying low over the car although I was unable to stop in time to get any photos. I then went to Sandvika to see if I could see the Kingfishers which are back for their 4th year which must be a Norwegian record for a species that is a very scarce and normally not even annual breeder in the country. I could hear them before I even got to the river and then was witness to some fascinating behaviour which unfortunately I did not get to record as well as I hoped. With all the noise I assumed that the birds were courting/mating and when I saw two birds chasing each other this seemed to be confirmed. However, I soon realised there were at least three birds– 2 males and a female and it was the 2 males who were chasing each other and calling. I do not know whether they were singing or whether it was a threat call but it differed from the normal call which the female could be heard making occasionally. Twice the males started fighting and tumbled to the ground. It was not clear whether the female was already paired with one of the males and the fighting was to try and evict an intruding male or whether the two males were still vying for the attentions of the female. The birds and especially the female often disappeared into the nest area (which is behind a tree trunk) and made lots of noise and I would love to know what was going on in there.

My video doesn’t really do justice to what I saw and as usual when trying to take both video and still photos I often failed to capture the really exciting sequences because I was changing cameras at the time…

male Kingfisher (isfugl) with a fish

I expected the fish to be presented to the female but he ended up eating it himself

this was the immediate aftermath of one of the fights between the two males but unfortunately I failed to capture both birds

but Jørgen Lønø got this great shot

one of the males (black bill)

one of the males behind the tree roots where the nest it

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