Monday, 23 December 2019

White-billed Diver

Normally at this time of the year I am writing my end of year summary but there has just been too much happening for that to happen yet.

Pine Grosbeaks, Great Grey Owls and December guiding have kept me too busy to reminisce but today it looked like things were calming down and xmas cheer was going to take over.

Mrs OB, The Beast and I had been for a morning walk in Maridalen where we saw many people looking for the GGO. My phone died (are you paying attention Santa?) and didn’t come back to life until we were in the car and heading home. It pinged with a message from Halvard H who was out on his boat (he and his boat are hardy soals) and there was a rather mouth-watering picture of a White-billed Diver which is a species I have not seen in Oslo or Akershus. Halvard offered to pick me up from Bygdøy and half an hour later I boarded the boat full of expectations. The fjord was dead flat, and we made good time to where the bird had been, but was now not be, seen... We cruised around and thankfully it didn’t take too long to find it behind a small island. And did it show well - hell yeh! The bird was not a 1st winter but was probably in its 2nd winter rather than being an adult. It looked healthy and dived long and far but it did keep closing its right eye whilst keeping its left eye open which made me wonder whether it was ill in some way.

I put out a message that the bird was present and got a reply from Andreas G that he was on the island of Nakholmen and he wondered whether the bird would be visible to him. It apparantly was but as an unidentifiable dot (which I imagine it would unfortunately have been the case for anyone trying to see it from land although if one could get to the southern tip of Malmøya then that would offer reasonable views) and he jumped at the chance of a closer look when Halvard offered to pick him up aswell.

Halvard was a real star today and this was a well-deserved reward for him. Andreas used to have a monoply of finding good birds from his boat but Halvard is challenging him now. Last Sunday Halvard raced from the fjord to Maridalen for the GGO and today it was my turn to do the opposite for a WBD 😊

White-billed Diver (gulnebblom) 

notice how the right eye was often closed
pictures taken right after each other with right eye closed and left eye open. Bird may be ill or injured
here with Oslo city centre in the background including the Radisson Plaza hotel which also featured as the backdrop for one of my Piney photos. We saw the bird in both Oslo and Akershus counties although it only just crossed the county line into Oslo

and here Holmenkollen in the background

the sea really was calm
the way it holds its head and bill pointing up is very distinctive

not quite a selfie but here I am with the bird

and Captain Hauer at your service!

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