Thursday, 30 November 2017

Little Grebes

I was looking back at sightings in November from previous years and have confirmed my impression that November 2017 is a particularly poor month. There are very low numbers of all species and no special species have arrived. All this is contributing to a mild case of birders depression for yours truly.

Yesterday I had a nice little episode with Bearded Tits at Fornebu whereby I could hear them giving their very quiet contact call and realised they must only be metres away from me in the reeds but it took me ages to see them low down and behaving more like mice than birds.

Today I decided to head out of Oslo and check out the Drøbak area. This normally quick journey now takes twice as long due to work on tunnels (Norway the masters of tunnel construction have been informed by the EU (of whom they are not a member) that their tunnels do not meet safety requirements which has caused a huge program of upgrading n tunnels across the land). Along the way I stopped to look for Kingfishers at their frequently used wintering locality in Bunnefjorden but didn’t find any.

At the marina at Husvik three Little Grebes showed incredibly well as they dived for food close offshore. They caught a number of small fish whilst I watched and this area has overwintering birds annually. It is a bit of a mystery as to where they come from as there are incredibly few breeding records of this species in Norway let alone the Oslo area but it might well be that the species is overlooked in the breeding season rather than them being long distance migrants.

A young Common Seal was hauled out on a pontoon and a flock of 100 Common Eiders were feeding on mussels in the marina but otherwise there was little to see here. A bit further south a flock of 54 Velvet Scoter was a good local count and I had a hope of finding something rarer amongst them but will have to keep hoping.

A stop at Østensjøvannet on the way home revealed a young male Wigeon that was very keen to eat bread. This bird is ringed and apparently got the bling here a few days ago but for some reason this has not been reported. The local council has hung up signs telling people not to feed the birds here. This is a reaction to some people dumping enormous amounts of mouldy bread and pizza bases. This behaviour clearly needed to be addressed but the signs and unfortunate statements from the misguided leader of the local bird club (basically saying that by giving ducks bread that you are harming them) has left people feeling like criminals for feeding the ducks which has resulted in fewer people coming with food. Luckily though there are enough sensible people that ignore the signs and the wildfowl that choose to winter here are getting food. Judging by their eagerness today though they are only just getting enough and a group of 20 Feral Pigeons were also getting in on the action. They were clever enough to realise they had no chance against the ducks once the food was on the ground so were landing on people to take the food out of the hand. I decided to get in on the action and manged some selfies with the pigeons. Not quite the same as a selfie with a Hawkie but fun none the less.

selfie with two feral pigeons

and in true Attenborough style here is the secret behind the making of the selfie (photo Håvard Klemsdal)

Little Grebes (dvergdykker)

Roe Deer

young Common/Harbour Seal (steinkobbe)

1st winter male Wigeon (brunnakke)

female Bearded Tit from yesterday

and male

1 comment:

  1. You can buy duck and goose food which is far better than bread but it might be a tad expensive in 🇳🇴. Large amounts of bread tends to attract rats as well so it's a matter of balance.