Friday, May 29, 2015

Tjeldstø 27-29 May 2015 - Too busy to bird / autumn?

Largely decent weather bit with occasional showers.

A drive-by on 27 May produced a Collared Dove tykerdue.

A short stroll through the north end of the reserve on 28 May was a little more productive with around 20 Golden Plover heilo and at least one Whimbrel småspove present.

Most of the Oystercatcher tjeld flock - late migrants or early failed breeders on their way south?

Rook kornkråke

On 29 May a small flock of six Oystercatcher tjeld were obviously non-breeders. Late migrants or early return migrants? A Rook kornkråke may be the same bird that has been seen on and off in the area for the last couple of months.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Engerdal 22-26 May 2015 - Not birding Øygarden - but no regrets!

I recently spent a few days in Engerdal in Hedmark county and would liked to have spent more time there. This area is much larger than Øygarden and with a lot fewer people living there. It is a municipality with a massive potential and in many ways an inland version of Øyarden - wild and untamed and even more under-watched.

Great Snipe dobbeltbekkasin

Migrating Red-necked Phalarope svømmesnipe

Highlights this time around were a resting Great Snipe dobbeltbekkasin, Red-necked Phalarope svømmesnipe, Little Gulls dvergmåke, Capercaille storfugl, Cranes trane and Waxwings sidensvans. All this in addition to the usual selection of waders and wildfowl as well as some personal Engerdal "firsts" such as Buzzard musvåk. All almost without trying.

I had similar problems that Rixy experienced recently with closed roads and a lot of snow - should have been there in a couple of weeks time.....

Here are few images from my latest visit to my second favourite municipality in Norway:

Common Sandpiper strandsnipe

Common Scoter svartand with Velvet Scoter sjøorre in the background

Crane trane

Above and below: Little Gull dvergmåke

Semi-tame Reindeer

Roe Deer

Above and below: Waxwings sidensvans getting settled in

Male Whinchat buskskvett

Whooper Swans sangsvane

Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk back on an almost ice free breeding ground

Above and below: More Wood Sands grønnstilk at lower altitude...

Dunlin myrsnipe feeding along the icy edge of an still frozen pool - note the snow / ice in the lower image

Nuthatch spettmeis

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Øygarden 19 May 2015 - More new in

South easterly wind, mostly overcast with periods of both sun and rain.

Tree Pipit trepiplerke

Started the day off with a pre-school ringing trip. This resulted in the first Tree Pipit trepiplerke I've seen in Øygarden this year- but the species has both been seen and trapped in the last few days. The other birds caught included Meadow Pipits heipiplerke, Lesser Redpoll brunsisik and Willow Warber løvsanger.

A short walk at Sæle was pretty quiet but a Blackcap munk sang there, a House Martin taksvale put in an appearance and a Merlin dvergfalk flew over.

Pinkfeet kortnebbgås at Skjold

Three Pinkfeet kortnebbgås fed in fields at Skjold. This felt like a late date for migrant Pinkfeet but the database says this is not really the case at all. Note that this is the number of observations, not the number of birds:

The large pink beak with a black tip is "obvious" here

The bird seems larger than the two adult Common Gulls which are closer

A couple of flight shots

At Tjeldstø a Sand Martin sandsvale had joined the Swallows låvesvale feeding over the lake. An  unusual looking gull caught my attention  initially as it was walking around a lot in the rough ground beside Husvatnet. It was obviously larger than the Common Gulls fiskemåke and had a larger pink bill with a clear-cut black tip. Unfortunately it flew off before I could investigate further.

Spent most of the day working but picked up two Ruff brushane flying over the house during a phone call.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Øygarden 18 May 2015 - Whimrels

South easterly winds and sunny until around 1500

I took things easy today and just popped in at a couple of places whilst out doing errands.

My first Lesser Whitethroat møller in Øygarden this year sang from my garden as I left for the morning school run.

Above two: One of the Whimbrels småspove at Tjeldstø

Another Whimbrel småspove at Herdlevær

White Wagtail linerle - another result of eating breaksfast at Tjeldstø

A breakfast stop at Tjeldstø produced two nice Whimbrel småspove feeding in the area. They did a nice fly-by allowing me to drop my sandwich and take a couple of snaps of one of them. Although this is in the middle of the peak migration time for this species they don't land all that often - and then generally keep to the west side of Øygarden.

Also in the same area was a flock of 13 Golden Plover heilo along with the five other breeding wader species.

At Breivik the only bird of interest was a singing Skylark sanglerke - one of the few places they attempt to breed at in Øygarden.

A very short stroll at Herdlevær produced another Whimrel småspove feeding in rough grass.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Skogsøy 17 May 2015 - Ja vi elsker....Skogsøy!

Light SW with occasional squalls early on. Calm and sunny after around 0800.

I celebrated Norway's national day in my own special way. I started with a one man, one dog parade (without flags and, sadly, without the brass band) shortly after 0500. I arrived at the lookout and settled down to watch a procession, not of schoolchildren, scouts, various sports clubs etc etc, but of Skuas, Divers, seaduck and other seabirds.

So, in my own special way, not unlike the average Norwegian at all!

On the way to Skogsøy I stopped briefly at Breivik and had a singing Reed Bunting sivspurv and at least two Sedge Warblers sivsanger.

Although it was fairly quiet to start with it was far from disappointing. Highlights were a total of 13 Pomarine Skuas polarjo, six Arctic Skua tyvjo, a Great Skua storjo (amazingly my first of the year), three White-billed Diver gulnebblom and a decent passage of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås.

This all looks very nice at a distance but was somewhat less comfortable when it got up close and personal....

A seawatcher's view.....

I have no idea where this surf came from - the calm winds could in no way have caused this.

Some Barnacle flocks passed in front of me.....

...others tried to sneak past behind me (looks like they are flying in the wrong direction!)

....others came directly overhead

..whilst this thing set the pulse racing briefly . just a partial albino and NOT the Snow Goose I thought it might have been for a second or two!

Common Scoter svartand

Gannets havsule

Some Gannets havsule came VERY close

Twite bergirisk

In the end I sat from 0545 to 1230 and had the following (not an exhaustive list):

Red-throated Diver smålom: 40N
White-billed Diver gulnebblom: 3N
Gannet havsule: 72N, 13S
Shag toppskarv: 2N,13S
Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås: 429N (+another 305 on the way back to the car!)
Common Scoter svartand: 34N, 5S
Long-tailed Duck havelle: 7N (ALARMINGLY LOW yet again - it should be peak passage for this species now and there are VERY few passing)
Oystercatcher tjeld: 32N
Whimbrel småspove: 2N
Turnstone steinvender: 3N
Pomarine Skua polarjo: 13N
Arctic Skua tyvjo: 6N
Great Skua storjo: 1N
Kittiwake krykkje; 4N, 6S
Arctic Tern rødnebbterne: 10N
Guillemot lomvi: 1N
Razorbill alke: 6N
Puffin lunde: 2N

The Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove was still present at Tjeldstø

What better place to celebrate Norway's national day than watching the best that south-west Norway has to offer?

Gratulerer med dagen folkens!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tjeldstø 16 May 2015 - Easy does it / Tragedy

Light southerly winds and sunny

After a long lie-in I took things easy and didn't get out until nearer midday - often a recipe for not much in the way of birds. I've not managed to find the time to check Tjeldstø very much of late and the main priority was to see if the Black-tailed Godwits svarthalespove reported from there yesterday were still around. Thankfully at least one of them was still present - but flew around a fair bit and was rather vocal.

Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove

The stroll around the reserve also produced a singing Lesser-spotted Woodpecker dvergspett, a hunting Merlin dvergfalk and plenty more besides.

A Collared Dove tykerdue seen from the kitchen window was the first this year at Nautnes and coupled with yesterday's sighting at Breivik may indicate something of an influx of this species.

However, it was not all good news:

Dead Eagle Owl hubro lying under the power lines that killed it

I found this dead Eagle Owl hubro which was apparently killed by flying into overhead power lines - unfortunately not the first I've found killed in this way. Unfortunately planners don't seem to pay any attention to this kind of thing and tragically this will just keep happening over and over again.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Skogsøy 15 May 2015 - The morning after

Calm and sunny, warm after 0800.

It had to be done - would there be an aftermath after yesterday's skua bonanza or would things grind to a halt in the light winds? Both really - no skuas but a lot more divers.

2cy Black-throated Diver storlom .- this was the mistake of the day - it went into the notebook as GN Diver but the lack of collar indicates otherwise......

A flock of nine Whimbrel småspove

Always a nice start to the day - a 3cy White-tailed Eagle havørn at shortly before 06:00 this morning

Still small flocks of Oystercatcher tjeld heading north

I was at Skogsøy bright and early but there were no skuas at all. A MUCH better passage of Red-throated Diver smålom, at least one Black-throated Diver storlom, some Whimbrel småspove and a light passage of both Arctic Terns rødnebbterne and Common Gulls fiskmåke.

In 4 1/4 hours I had:

Red-throated Diver smålom: 143N
Black-throated Diver storlom: 1 2cy N and probably another
Gannet havsule:16N
Cormorant storskarv: 57N, 1S
Shag toppskarv: 17N, 26S
Barnacle Goose hvittkinngås: 2N
Common Scoter svartand: 8N, 9S
Long-tailed Duck havelle: just 2N (should be nearing peak passage for this species!)
Velvet Scoter sjøorre: 1N
Merganser siland: 18N
Oystercatcher tjeld:13N
Whimrel småspove: 12N
Black-headed Gull hettemåke: 4N
Common Gull fiskemåke: 105N
Kittiwake krykkje: 3N
ArcticTern rødnebbterne: 15nN
Black Guillemot teist: 1N (first I've seen for a while)

One of the better sightings in an Øygarden context was a Collared Dove tyrkerdue at Breivik.

Alse very obvious were Cuckoos gjøk - at Nautnes, Tjeldstø and Breiivk.