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…
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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