Friday, 14 February 2020

Breaking the Ice

On Wednesday a nice picture of a male King Eider reminded me that there are birds other than THE Trio. The King was seen by a couple of intrepid photographers out on a boat and is a returning bird that was first seen in the autumn of 2018 when it was a 2cy and is therefore a 4cy (3rd winter) now. Although it’s plumage is that of adult male the size of the bill is still a long way short of proper old birds such as this one.

Halvard H was keen to give himself a birthday present and took today off work and was keen to get out in his boat. I was lucky enough to join him but we only just got out as overnight temperatures of around -5C had combined with a windless night to leave a layer of ice over the fjord. It was really quite magic to be out there in such conditions. On our way out we were in ice free water as a big cruise boat had just gone through but half an hour layer it was all iced over again. The small boat coped admirably well as an ice breaker but I must admit to wondering exactly how we would survive if we had a Titanic moment. Needless to say we aw no other small boats out on the water..

We realised early on that the ice would probably put paid to our attempts to see the King and indeed the area where it was seen on Wednesday was iced over. We checked all other likely places where there was open water but found little with a few newly arrived Greylag Geese and Common Eider being the most noteworthy although we did see Twite, Rock Pipit and Purple Sandpipers that have been around all winter. Genrerally there have been extremely low numbers of seaduck in the Oslo Fjord this winter which is a worrying development.

the cruise boat made it a bit choppy but did clear the ice 
which otherwise was surprisingly thick given that it was no colder than -5C overnight

seal and the Huldra ferry coming into Nesodden

Purple Sandpiper (fjæreplytt)

7 birds together (another 2 were out of shot)

Rock Pipit (skjærpiplerke)

Twite (bergirisk)

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