Friday, July 03, 2020

Øygarden 28.06- 01.07 2020 - Waders

On Sunday 28.06 I did not get out at all but I heard the first Greenshank gluttsnipe of the autumn fly over the house in the evening. A Lapwing vipe with two young at Husvatnet was not unexpected but the chicks were very small and obviously a second or even third attempt to get some young off to a start - elsewhere in Øygarden I saw some of this year's Lapwing fully grown and flying.....

Lapwing vipe sheltering a young one in the rain

The shower stops but the young one is reminded of clear and present danger.....

...but runs off to do its own thing anyway

....and ran off in the direction of one (perhaps the only one) of its siblings


The following day the best bird was a Green Sandpiper skogsnipe - again an evening bird flying up from a pool to the north of my house and heading south. The rest of the day was spent getting my car serviced - so, this being Norway, I now need to get offshore ASAP to pay for it. Probably for the rest of my natural life,

On 30.06 a Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove fed in the fields at Breivik - but looked like a young bird rather than an early returning adult - where a flock of 16 Curlew storspove was also present. Seven Lapwing vipe including some young birds - quite possibly young raised in the immediate vicinity fed in newly sown grass. Herdlevær produced the usual including an immature White-tailed Eagle havørn, a small flock of Twite bergirisk and Merganser siland with young.

Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove with Oystercatcher tjeld at Breivik


On 01 July the winds were strong and from the north so I squeeezed in 1.5 hours of seawatching. This produced little in the way of numbers but four Puffin lunde, three Whimbrel småspove and a Red-throated Diver smålom were among the birds heading north and a flock of four Great Skua storjo headed south.

Gannet havsule with rope stuck around it's bill. This bird sat on the sea for an hour before it took to the wing....

Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

Whimbrel småspove

White-tailed Eagle havørn - a bird probably in it's third year

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hardangervidda 26-27 June 2020 - Stay in the hills

Essentially a camping trip with two of my daughters, but needless to say some birds were seen.

Somewhat cooler up on the vidda - fantastic! Temperatures were definitely shorts and T-shirt but at long last probably not over 20 degrees.

An afternoon stroll produced Temminck's stint temminkssnipe, Shorelark fjellerke, Ptarmigan fjellrype, Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk, Velvet Scoters sjoørre, Bluethroat blåstrupe, a selection of other wildfowl and small numbers of the usual waders.

Dunlin myrsnipe

Evening view from the tent...

How my daughters see me - here photographing Temminck's Stint

Ptarmigan fjellrype



Temminck's Stint temminkssnipe


This bird caught a couple of rather large grubs / larvae during the short period I  watched it.
No display flight or song.

I awoke bright and very early the next morning and pottered about whilst waiting for the girls to wake up. More Shorelark, a few Bluethroat, Willow Grouse lirype and most of the usual species for the area BUT NOT ONE SINGLE LAPLAND BUNTING. This is the same area that in some previous years they seemed to sing from every large rock.


Where there is food there is hope......and this bird just kept gathering up more and more after this photo was taken



Shorelark fjellerke

Willow Grouse lirype - very close to overlapping habitat with Ptarmigan here!

Bluethroat blåstrupe

Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk




Another short walk after breakfast produced a single Great Snipe dobbeltbekkasin and a Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk. Time was short so we had to head on out.

We'll be back!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Besseggen 17-19 June 2020 - Run to the hills

Desperately hot for someone not keen on the heat so the mountains seemed like a good idea - and athough Besseggen was not my idea it is THE hike to do here in Norway and with things set to open up it seemed like an opportunity to avoid the worst of the crowds.

There is good birding to be had in the area so with Iron Maiden playing I drove a long way in a vain attempt to cool down....

Hen Harrier myrhauk and Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk flying over the road along Valdresflye made me want to to stop and see what was out there. However, these stops did not produce that much and I saw no waders at all. Further down from the plateau itself a Short-eared Owl jordugle hunted within view of the road and a cracking male Red-backed Shrike tornskate gave a deja vu feeling - having seen a pair in more or less the same place during a guiding trip a couple of years ago.


Roadside Red-backed Shrike tornskate


thunbergi Yellow Wagtails såerle


Besseggen was just incredible scenery-wise, we chose to hike behind the crowd that left the boat in order to avoid the selfie stick brigade. It was also far too hot to be walking / climbing. Species seen on the hike included a Bluethroat blåstrupe, several Ring Ousel ringtrost and some Ptarmigan fjellrype.





A male Ptarmigan fjellrype put on a show, initially to allow his mate to scuttle off to safety and then to see off another male.

This is the actual "Besseggen" - the ridge walk.





....and some general stunning scenery.
No wonder it is so popular!










Sunday, June 28, 2020

Øygarden 14-16 June 2020 - Blyth's Reed Warbler ID blunder!

On 16 June a visit to Hernar proved quite embarassing well after the event as I fell into "expectation trap" - I had hoped for Icterine Warbler and a singing bird went down as exactly that. I saw an Icterine head shape and thought I saw the pale wing panels - this proved to be a trick of the light.

A combination of a comment on a video I uploaded and review of pictures long after the event shows a classic Blyth's Reed Warbler busksanger - the first I have heard singing, the first I have seen away from the autumn migration period and my first for Hernar.


Blyth's Reed Warbler busksanger
Here is where I thought I saw light wing panel....

I should have got the colour here - not yellowy! 
Trying to obtain pictures in the field v observing the bird.....


Singing Blyth's Reed

This recording was bombed by a Chiff-chaff gransanger early on


Chiff-chaff gransanger  - this bird seemed to have rather pale legs in the strong sunlight

View over some of the "fields" on Hernar

Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper with flies


The local Twite bergirisk gave great views as usual.
Many young ones present now:)

Young Wheatear steinskvett


On the way home it was nice to see Arctic Terns rødnebbterne flying around one of their breeding islands.


Arctic Terns rødnebbterne


....along with the usual Grey Seals havert, Shags toppskarv etc

Shags toppskarv, the young birds here were probably hatched locally....


Grey Seal havert


Starlings stær have started to flock and up to 100 were feeding in fields at Breivik, some even raided an ants nest and were "bathing" in it.

Starlings stær ant bathing

The Ravens ravn at Sture have at least two fledged young - wonder how many wader eggs / chicks they consumed this year.......


Two young Raven ravn



On 15 June my usual round at Herdlevær produced just the usual - an immature WT Eagle havørn, Wheatear steinskvett with young, Common Sandpipers strandsnipe etc.

Spotted Orchids are flowering all over the place now

Male Wheatear steinskvett