Dec 272016
 

Yesterday I found myself trailing behind Jr and Jr Jr whilst they hunted Pokémons in Frognerparken. This suited Sr just fine as the small lakes here can house a few birds in the winter months. Yesterday there were no less than five species of duck with 100+ Mallard being accompanied by a young male Wigeon, 4 female Tufted Ducks, 3 male Goldeneyes and a staggering 13 Teal! This would appear to be a record count for the site and consisted of 11 females and two males.

Both males were already acting as though they were paired off and whilst one male was a fine adult the other was a bird of the year and in not quite so pristine plumage. The lakes are also regularly used by gulls coming in for a bathe plus a few lingering birds looking for bread thrown to the ducks. Previously the lake has held Med Gull, Iceland Gull and Ring-billed Gull although in recent winters its mostly Herring Gulls one finds here.

The overwintering populations of the two small gulls (Black-headed and Common) has declined dramatically in the last 5-10 years in Oslo and the 5 adult Black-headed Gulls that I had bathing on the lake may represent the entire winter population in Oslo. 4 Common Gulls are also a high proportion of that species population. Quite why these species have declined is hard to say and although both are also suffering declining breeding populations I think there must be something specific about the winter conditions that it affecting the wintering populations.

I only had the superzoom with me and in low light overcastmid winter conditions the resulting pictures suffer a lot but I will force them upon you anyway…

fine adult male Goldeneye (kvinand) in Frognerparken

absolutely pants picture but on the left are 5 adult Black-headed Gulls (hettemåke) which might be the entire Oslo wintering popualation

Jr and Jr Jr daring to feed a Mallard. It is safe to say that an interest in birds is not genetic

One of four female Tufteds (toppand). Interesting that the three Goldeneye were all males and the Tufteds all females

A 1st winter male Wigeon with an unreadable metal ring

all 13 of the parks Teal (krikkand)

The 1st winter male

here with his mate – note how he has developed the white horizontal bar on the right side of his body but not yet on the left

a line of juvenile feathers waiting to fall off. Not entirely sure which feather tract they are (lower scapulars?)

the adult male with his mate

the two males hanging out together

this messed up Mallard (look at that bill) has presumably some genes from some sort of farmyard duck due to the small head shape. Additionally it would appear to be an “intersex” bird with the dark bill and lots of brown on the face suggesting a female but the plumage otherwise being male. This bird kept to its own and I have noted before that similar looking birds get a hard time from their kin

 

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Simon Rix

Simon Rix

Simon Rix is an English Birder who has lived in Oslo, Norway since 2001. Birding has been his passion since primary school and after an education as an economist and career within oil and gas and then drinks industry he turned his attention full time to birds as middle age approached. He is particularly interested in patch birding and migration and is an active guide, blogger and photographer. He is a member of the Norwegian Rarities Committee (NSKF).

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