After yesterday’s fiasco I had to do penance to both the environment and my body and hope to regain some credit with the Bird Gods. As I had a lunchtime appointment in town with some nice cheese (courtesy of Egil Ween, one of Norway’s top birders, Værøy regular and importer of exclusive foods) it was a no brainer to do the Oslo waterfront by public transport and foot. Between 10-10:30 the bays by the Opera had only 190 Herring Gulls but when I returned at 12:40 the number of gulls had risen to nearly 500 and amongst them was a 1st winter Glaucous Gull.
This bird is presumably the same as the one I found on 31 Jan at the Alna tip (my pictures don’t allow me to be 100% sure but I can’t see any differences). However it does seem quite clearly to be one of the birds I saw at the dump at Askim on 18 Jan (scapulars, primary pattern, tertial pattern and lines on face) so very interesting that both the Iceland Gull and a Glauc have relocated from Askim to Oslo.
It was a pleasure to see it by the Opera rather than scavenging rubbish from a tip! Between 11-12:00 another observer had seen the 2nd winter Iceland Gull but not the Glaucous. He also had around 500 Herring Gulls so clearly gulls start arriving here after around 11am and there is turnover amongst the birds. The birds are mostly loafing, preening, bathing and drinking although there is some bread to be fought over in the area.
I believe though that most of the birds have been at the tip earlier in the day and then retire here once they have had their full of sh*t.There was incredibly little else to see with no seaducks although a flock of Long-tailed Tits feeding in ornamental trees in front of the City Hall was a huge surprise. All pictures today were with the superzoom.
It performed surprisingly well with the tits which were in sunlight and allowed a very low ISO but the Glaucous Gull was in the shade and the correspondingly higher ISO is noticeable in the picture quality.
I have taken on some feedback I received (takk Terje!) and will relegate the pictures of the boring gull to the end of the post and lead with the eye candy tits.
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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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