During the last four winters a male Northern Pintail Anas acuta has wintered in Bergen, western Norway. This is a rare species during winter in the county, with only a handful records during the last 20 years. I have seen the bird every winter, and yesterday I was able to do a proper photo of the bird. Proper in the sense of no disturbing Mallards in the frame, and no half eaten breadcrumbs lying around.
About 22:30 last night I uploaded a shot of the bird to my photostream at Flickr. I woke up this morning to an inbox at Flickr, filled with favorites and comments on the picture. At first I suspected this was an act of a web robot of some kind, but the commentators congratulated me with "explore". The epic hit rate was in fact due to Flickr that had chosen the picture among 500 other pictures, to be presented in their daily updated "Explore" section. A nice gesture, and you are free to do it again Flickr.
By 15:00 today the picture has been visited by more than 3000 persons, and has climbed to be the third most seen picture on my Flickr photostream. I have no idea how many visits such extra visibility will bring, but I suspect the rate well diminish during the afternoon. Could the Pintail actually challenge the unattainable Ground Tits? Below you can see the visitor stats collected 23. January 2015 at 15:00, showing the most visited pictures at my Flickr photostream. By clicking the picture above, you'll see current hits.
Yesterday I had a brief visit at Salhus outside Bergen to see a second winter male King Eider that was found a week ago. The bird was first seen in Litlebergen in Meland municipality, but moved to Bergen municipality two days ago. This bird is the first to be seen in Hordaland county for six years. The last was the long-staying male that wintered (near Herdla) for 21 years. For Bergen this was the first since a first-winter male in December 1990. The 23rd county record.
After locating the raft of Eiders (600+ birds), it did not take too long to find the King. The flock moved back and forth between a small harbour and the fjord outside. At the harbour they were feeding on blue mussels growing on lines holding plastic floats.
The first King Eider Somateria spectabilis in Bergen for 25 years. Photographed at Salhus 9 January 2015. Part of the Eider raft inside the harbour to the right.
Two males in the flock showed obvious sails on the back. They were too far away to study bill color in the field (with binoculars), but they were photographed well. Below you can see the most outstanding of the two, with erect sails and a yellower bill than most. The bill was richer and more evenly colored than other Eiders, and most saturated towards the eyes. The pictures are heavily cropped and light enhanced.
Possible Northern Eider Somateria mollissima borealis male in Bergen, western Norway
9 January 2015.
Nothern Eiders has never been reported before in Hordaland county. These pictures might not be enough to claim a pure Northern Eider Somateria mollissima borealis, but the birds gave a nice rush in a birders frozen winter veins :-) Any comments on the subspecific ID are appreciated.
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