Tuesday, 31 March 2015


A pair of Teal (krikkand) showed very well in Frognerparken last week resulting in many pictures. I've finally had a chance to go through them and these are the best.

Improved use of Photoshop Elements particularly Lighten Shadows (thanks to Ian Silvester) has greatly improved my pictures in my humble opinion :-)

Monday, 30 March 2015

Black-headed Gulls

 Some more pictures of the Black-headed Gulls (hettemåke) at Frognerparken last week.

here we can see that Brown-headed Gull would be a more suitable name

Two rose tinted birds:

Ringed birds (all got their rings in or close to Oslo):

J0N7 - spends the winters in Bergen and the summers in Oslo

J115 - only ever recorded in the Oslo area

J5Y3 - seen in Calais, France in July 2014

I also had two other ringed birds one of which J4UK was fittingly seen in Yorkshire in January of this year.

A visit the next day (27 March) resulted some more ringed birds:

A bird with only a metal ring but blue paint on its other leg was evidence that it had also at one time had a colour ring - would be interesting to know how the blue colour rubbed off and what happened to the colour ring,

Green J116 i.e the next in the sequence to the bird above and likewise has only ever been recorded from the Oslo area

J4CT was apparently ringed as an adult in Frognerparken in April 1997 making it at least 20 years old. Funnily though the next sighting of it wasn't until March 2012 again in Frognerpark so I wonder if the data entered for date of ringing is correct? This bird was seen in October 2012 and October 2013 in Holland 830 km away.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Snow Buntings

Every day is bring different weather at the moment. After yesterday’s blue skies we woke up to rain and sleet, low cloud and temperatures just over zero today. I headed down to Huk, Bygdøy just after sunrise (not that I could see the sun) hoping that there would be some signs of migration and grounded birds. Well that was most definitely not the case!
Heading over to Fornebu there was still a nice flock of seedeaters although a lot less than 2 days ago. Still 6 Snow Buntings (snøspurv) though and new for me were a few Linnets (tornirisk) amongst the Twite (bergirisk).

A quick stop at Smestaddammen, a small and very urban lake, showed that as usual at this time of the year it was full of birds with 9 Goosander and 3 Teal the best.
In Maridalen the sleet was turning to snow and the fields looked very dead. However there was a single Lapwing that clearly does not want to risk losing its territory and at Kirkeby a flock of 10 Snow Buntings. These showed a lot better than the ones at Fornebu although pictures are poor due to the appalling light early today. Snow Bunting seem to me to be becoming commoner or at least more obvious on spring migration around Oslo and whereas a few years ago I would not see any I now expect to find them at this time of year. They are still a great bird though everytime I see them.

Snow Buntings in Maridalen
the whole flock

this male was coming into breeding plumage


one of the Snow Buntings at Fornebu

my first Linnets of the year

one of the 6 Whooper Swans in Maridalen

Saturday, 28 March 2015


Saturday as usual was a day of incidental birding. After a trip to the library I persuaded Jr Jr to go for a walk through Frognerpark. On the way we walked past a large muddle of melt water where a group of Feral Pigeons were bathing in the sunshine and gave some good photo ops with the small lens I had in my back pack. Back home a Wood Pigeon (ringdue) posed well hence today being a pigeon day.

I did go out for some real birding though today after a Tundra Bean Goose (tundrasædgås) was reported on the same fields as the W-f Goose (tundragås) at Bygdøy. There was only one person reporting this species whereas everyone else was seeing just the W-f Goose and although I sensed a wild goose chase this was too important an Oslo species to ignore. When I got there there were others looking in vain for the Bean although the White-front was showing well. The fact it was a wild goose chase was confirmed in the evening when as if by magic the report of the tundrasæadgås metamorphosised into a tundragås. C'est la vie.

Feral pigeons

Wood Pigeon

a goose from the Tundra wondering what it should do with all this snow

Friday, 27 March 2015

Fornebu post snowfall

Yesterday's snow was still thick on the ground today despite temperatures being a few degrees on the plus side. I thought there would be a chance of some congregations of birds searching for food and headed for Fornebu. Every visit here is depressing in terms of the rapid building development that is taking place. It is a bit ironic that the new developments are being given bird names but it is doubtful that the new human residents will ever see the birds whose names adorn their apartments.
There is still plenty of birdlife here though especially in migration periods and the land awaiting development has lots of seed bearing plants. As soon as I got off the bus I could hear Twite (bergirisk) and soon found an active flock of around 80 birds. Amongst them were also many Skylark (sanglerke) with over 30 birds present. Best of all though were 14 Snow Buntings (snøspurv). Strangest siting was 2 Ringed Plovers (sandlot) which first flew over calling and then landed amongst the feeding passerines and stood on the snow. This is the area where they at least attempted to breed last year so this is likely to be a pair already back on territory. This area turned out to be the best bit of Fornebu and it was quite hard work trudging around in the heavy snow which resulted in my knee complaining loudly. A calling Water Rail (vannrikse) briefly glimpsed as it ran over frozen ditch was my first of the year.

I next headed for Bygdøy where I quickly refound the White-fronted Goose (tundrågås). The geese were digging through the snow to get to the grass and were feeding actively.

In Frognerparken birds were mostly the same as the previous couple of days. The Coots (sothøne) are a male and female and now look like a pair although two days ago seemed to be rivals. The male tried his luck although was rebuffed. The female sports a green colour ring and after studying my picture I found out she is called A028 and was ringed 2km away at Smestaddammen as an adult in July 2013. It looks like she bred at Hovindammen also in Oslo in 2014 and was spotted there on 18 March but has now chosen Frognerparken. If they breed here then this would be for the first time as far as I can make out. It is interesting to think of these Coots flying over Oslo and choosing new locations. I have never seen them flying around and I guess it happens only at night. Highlight though was a Moorhen (sivhøne) which was also a year tick and which seems to be establishing itself as a regular breeder here.

Collecting Jr Jr from school I heard geese and had a flock of 75 Pink-footed Geese (kortnebbgås) flying west as relatively low altitude. To the north were low clouds and rain so they had probably thought better of continuing their northerly migration and were looking for somewhere to go down.

Twite (bergirisk)


Snow Buntings (snøspurv)

a bit of squabbling

male Snow Bunting and 2 Twite

habitat shot
Skylark (sanglerke)


Ringed Plover, Twite and snow - an unexpected combination

the other Ringed Plover with a Snow Bunting sneaking into the pictures

The White-fronted Goose

The ringed Coot and my attempts to read off the ring


immature Cormorant - the angles of the gular patch and the placement of the bottom corner of the gular behind the eye show this to be of the continental sub species sinensis rather than the northern sub species carbo

Mallard (stokkand) on a branch