Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tjeldstø 25 August 2015 - The one that got away?

Light easterly winds, overcast with occasional light drizzle.

Mixed flock of Ruff brushane and Golden Plover heilo

Merlin dvergfalk


Juvenile Whinchat buskskvett


Spent an hour in the reserve at Tjeldstø which proved frustratingly productive - a wader slightly bulkier than the Redshank rødstilk it accompanied and with a white "cigar" on its back flew over. The bird called a few times but I couldn't place the call. Proportion-wise it looked good for a Dowitcher but only a few sounds it made agree with anything I could find on xeno-canto.

Plodding onwards I picked up the usual selection of waders - including over 30 Golden Plover heilo, several Ruff brushane and a few Ringed Plover sandlo.

Other sightings of note were two Kestrel tårnfalk, a nice Merlin dvergfalk and a Whinchat buskskvett family.

Herdlevær 24 August 2015 - More waders

Light easterly winds, largely sunny

Yellow Wagtail gulerle

Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove

Curlew storspove

Knot polarsnipe

Knot polarsnipe

Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin


Typically for the time of year it was waders that provided most of the interest. At Herdlevær a few Knot polarsnipe were the first I've seen locally this year, other waders included Redshank rødstilk, Greenshank gluttsnipe, several Snipe enkeltbekkasin, some Curlews storspove, a Whimbrel småspove, a Ruff brushane, a Dunlin myrsnipe, a few Golden Plover heilo, a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove and a small flock of Ringed Plover sandlo.

Best of the rest here were a couple of Yellow Wagtails gulerle (also the first I've seen in Øygarden this year) and a migrating Kestrel tårnfalk.

At Kollsnes a nice roadside Goshawk hønsehauk gave good views before taking off and scaring up about a dozen Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a Green Sandpiper skogsnipe and a few Golden Plover heilo. Kestrel tårnfalk was also seen here.

At another site recently it seems probable that an Eagle Owl hubro has had a successful breeding season - a bird heard "singing" was probably becoming territorial again and driving its young out of the area.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Tjeldstø 09 August 2015 - What I call nice weather.

Southerly winds, overcast and mild.

Not what most people call good summer weather during an early stroll around Tjeldstø but ideal conditions for some grounded waders.

Greenshank gluttsnipe

Part of a Snipe enkeltbekkasin flock

Spotted Redshank sotsnipe

Wheatear steinskvett


Highlight was a Spotted Redshank sotsnipe - looked like an adult so not the same bird as yesterday. Also migrating Greenshanks gluttsnipe, a Redshank rødstilk sounding like it still has young in the area, a first summer Lapwing vipe, a Curlew storspove and a flock of around 20 Snipe enkeltbekkasin.


Saturday, August 08, 2015

Skogsøy 08 August 2015 - A typical early August seawatch

Nice conditions with more or less clear skies and a light NW breeze.

A couple of hours or so from 05:45 to 08:00 produced the usual early August suspects on the move - Oystercatcher tjeld, Common Gull fiskemåke and Great Skua storjo,

Part of a southbound Greylag grågås flock


Gannets havsule were passing close in today

Migrating Common Gulls fiskemåke

Oystercatchers tjeld

Typically for this time of year there were some flocks of moulting male Eiders ærfugl

Highlight was a nice adult Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove - the first of the year in Øygarden for me,

Totals were:
Gannet havsule, N33, S63 - very many of these were very close in
Cormorant storskarv S5
Shag toppskarv N7
Greylag grågås S28
Oystercatcher tjeld S219
Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove S1 adult
Common Scoter svartand 1

A Spotted Redshank sotsnipe was reported from Tjeldstø - quite possibly the same tringa wader I saw go down in the same place yesterday evening.


Thursday, August 06, 2015

Hernar 06 August 2015 - Black Redstart!

Winds once again more or less southerly, mostly sunny.



Above: first year Black Redstart svartrødstjert

Ruff brushane passing overhead


Spent the morning checking out Hernar. The highlight was a most unexpected find in the form of a Black Redstart svartrødstjert, Not only is this a strange time of year for this species but the bird appeared to be a youngster and thus may not have had time to travel very far.....

There have never been any records of Black Redstart  in Øygarden between mid May and the last part of October before:

Black Redstart occurrence in Øygarden


Not much in the way of other migrant passerines but there were a few flocks of Ruff brushane, several Redshank rødstilk, a steady passage of Common Gulls fiskemåke and some Greylags grågås on the move.

Good numbers of Twite bergirisk and most of the usual Hernar suspects.

Late in the evening I had a migrating Green Sandpiper skogsnipe over the house

Tjeldstø 05 August 2015 - Raptors

Southerly winds again but sunnier than yesterday.

Highlights during a late and lazy walk around the reserve were a hunting Peregrine vandrefalk, a young Cuckoo gjøk and a White-tailed Eagle havørn.

At Nautnes a Goshawk hønsehauk had a good go at one of this year's Common Gull fiskemåke young and Golden Plover heilo flew over on a couple of occasions.


Herdlevær 04 August 2015 - Some more waders and other autumn migratuion

Southerly winds and overcast.



Had several species of waders including a couple of Whimbrel småspove and a Golden Plover heilo as well as some small flocks of unidentified waders heading south over the sea.

Other migrants included a few Swift tårnseiler and at least one Great Skua storjo. A flock of around 20 Fieldfare gråtrost also looked like migrants.

Otherwise just a couple of adult White-tailed Eagles havørn and the usual suspects.

Back home at Nautnes a Greenshank gluttsnipe flew over.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Tjeldstø 03 August 2015 - Some waders

Light easterly winds and sunny.

Redshank rødstilk

Ruff brushane


Highlight were three Ruff brusfugl - the first of the autumn for me although seven were reported from the same locality earlier in the day. These birds were obviously migrants but at the same time Redshank rødstilk were still concerned about the well-being of their young.

A decent selection of waders were reported from the area today including Grey Plover tundralo


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Skogsøy 15 July 2015 - A whale of a time

Calm, with light NW winds.

A surprising number of Gannets havsule passed north today during a couple of hours early in the morning with around 80 passing.



Gannet havsule

Great Skua storjo

One of th s year's White Wagtail linerle


Otherwise the avian highlights were rather tame - just a Great Skua storjo and the first Black Guillemot teist for some time. A very unusual sighting was a Crested Tit toppmeis feeding on the rocks along the clifftop.

The first Whimbrel småspove of the autumn also headed south along with small numbers of Common Scoter svartand.

However, the best sighting was at least one whale heading north - almost definitely a Minke Whale.

A cursory check at Tjeldstø produced the long-staying Rook kornkråke.

I was not out in any meaningful way yesterday but managed to see an Eagle Owl hubro at one of the usual places.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Gullfjell and Herdla 12 July 2015 - Summer Guiding Bergen

Spent the day guiding and for once not in Øygarden but instead on a couple of my old stomping grounds nearer Bergen.

Good weather all day - sunny and warm on Gullfjell in the morning and light rain for Herdla in the afternoon.




Male Dotterel boltit on Gullfjell


Gullfjell produced the goods with the highlight being a nice male Dotterel boltit. In a Gullfjell context the best bird for me was a White-tailed Eagle havørn - the first I have seen there. Other stuff included two Rock Ptarmigan fjellrype, a couple of Ring Ousel ringtrost, good numbers of Golden Plover heilo and plenty of Wheatear steinskvett. Looks like the birds are having a good year on Gullfjell with plenty of newly fledged young about.



Herdla produced a selection of waders on autumn migration - including a cracking adult summer Curlew Sandpiper tundrasnipe - the first for the county this year.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Herdlevær 11 July 2015 - First "real" autumn waders

Light southerlies with drizzle most of the afternoon.

One of two Greenshank gluttsnipe present at Kollsnes this evening

Herdlevær produced nothing other than the usual suspects but a couple of Greenshank gluttsnipe at nearby Kollsnes were the first of the autumn. Elsewhere two Knot polarsnipe were reported.

Other sightings included a couple of Woodcock rugde at Skjold, a Ringed Plover sandlo still at Sture - indicating that the regular breeders are tolerating the disturbance in that area, a couple of House martin taksvale and  the male Wigeon brunnakke were still present at Tjeldstø.

Skigsøy 10 July 2015 - Wot no aftermath

Strong NW breeze

After yesterday's gale force winds I was hoping for some kind of return movement. However, this was not to be. Just small numbers of Gannets havsule, good numbers of Arctic Tern rødnebbterne, at least six Puffin lunde and a couple of Guillemots lomvi were among the birds that passed the lookout point.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Skogsøy 08 July 2015 - Summer storm

Wind increasing to gale force northerly during the day.



Some of the Gannets havsule today



It was late afternoon before I made it out to the lookout point. The wind was already too strong for most birds. In the course of 1.5 hours approximately 50 Gannets havsule headed south and much smaller numbers struggled north. Several Great Skua storjo also went south along with a small flock of Common Scoter svartand.

Only a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke and around 10 Arctic Terns rødnebbterne flew north.

A lone Guillemot lomvi fed close in.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Tjeldstø 06 July 2015

Light westerlies with light drizzle.

Nothing too much out of the ordinary. Highlights were two House Martin taksvale feeding over Husvatnet and a singing Skylark sanglerke out in the reserve.

Plenty of Snipe enkeltbekkasin today but just one Lapwing vipe.

Adult White-tailed Eagle havørn

A couple of adult White-tailed Eagles havørn were obviously still think Greylag for the dish of the day...

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Skogsøy 05 July 2015 - SUrprisingly productive seawatch

Calm and windless.

Given the time of year and the conditions expectations were not that high. One can always hope though and a couple of hours spent seawatching from just before 0600 provided a bit of everything with seabirds, autumn migration and a rarity or two.

Rook kornkråke


Highlight was a flock of four Sandwich Terns splitterne heading steadily north - although classed as a county rarity (approx 15 county records, the majority of which are from Øygarden) this species undoubtedly occurs quite regularly - it is more a question of coverage. A Rook kornkråke close to where we park was an unusual July record and is probably the same bird that has been hanging around in Øygarden since the spring.

Shelduck gravand

Autumn migration included 23 Shelduck gravand heading south - including a massive flock of 18.(which was my previous best count). This is the second highest count of this species in Øygarden (and quite possibly the county). Also small numbers of Oystercatcher tjeld on the move along with a single Curlew storspove.

Gannets havsule

Seabirds were the usual suspects for the time of year and included small numbers of Gannet havssule, a Black Guillemot teist, a single Great Skua storjo and several flocks of Common Scoter svartand.

One of several curious Crested Tits toppmeis seen in the woods



Thursday, July 02, 2015

Hernar 02 July 2015 - Almost back in business

Very hot and sunny, thankfully with a breeze from around 10:00.

After pathetically little opportunity to get out and about for what feels like months I finally managed my second visit to Hernar this year.

The local breeders were very busy indeed with Lesser Redpoll brunisik, Twite bergirisk, Linnet tornirisk, Wheatear steinskvett and Whitethroat tornsanger among the species with newly fledged young.

Highlights were a couple of Swift tårnseiler early on, two House Martins taksvale and a dark phase Arctic Skua tyvjo just as I left the island.

Arctic Skua tyvjo

House Martin taksvale

Lesser Redpoll brunsisik

Linnet tornirisk

Twite bergirisk

Recently fledged Wheatear steinskvett