Saturday, January 13, 2018

Herdlevær & Nautnes 13 January 2018 - Migration

Cold and sunny with light southerly winds

Today was a day of mass migration - enough for a decent autumn day in fact. Flocks of Fieldfare gråtrost headed south pretty much all day with approximately 1000 birds flying over during the couple of hours I spent at Herdlevær. This was no doubt a cold weather movement now that the record numbers that have been overwintering further north are no doubt running out of berries.....

Part of a southbound Fieldfare gråtrost flock

One of a few Rock Pipits skjærepiplerke seen at Herdlevær

Other highlights at Herdlevær were a Peregrine vandrefalk, the first Woodcock rugde of the year, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a Razorbill alke. A few Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke, a White-tailed Eagle havørn and many of the usual suspects were also present here.

Male Teal krikkand on the sea in front of my house with a couple of Mallard stokkand

Back home at Nautnes was almost as good with best bird being a male Teal krikkand on the sea in front of the house, the first Bullfinches dompap I have seen locally this year and a flock of seven Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt seen from the terrace. More thrushes, a couple more White-tailed Eagle havørn and a couple of flocks of Redpoll gråsisik were among the other species seen from the terrace.

Other new birds in Øygarden for me this year were a Common Gull fiskemåke and a couple of Jays nøtteskrike.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Hjelme Vest 09 January 2018 - FIrst White-billed of the year

Clear, cold and sunny with a fresh SE breeze.

A quick scan of the sea at Hjelme Vest really did the place justice today with the highlight being a White-billed Diver gulnebblom feeding just with photo range. First of the year in Hordaland.


White-billed Diver gulnebblom

At least two Great Northern Divers islom, a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker, several Black Guillemot teist, around 35 Long-tailed Duck havelle, a nice flock of Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt, a Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke and a few Crested Tits toppmeis were among the other new birds for me this year here. A couple of Snipe enkeltbekkasin

Small flocks of Fieldfare gråtrost and Redwing rødvingetrost more or less everywhere and at Tjeldstø one of these flocks was joined by the first Starling stær of the year. I also added Chaffinch bokfink and House Sparrow gråspurv to my Øygarden year list here among other things.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Øygarden 08 January 2018 - Self-cropping Eagles

I didn't get home until after 1400 so there was very little left in the way of light.

Slavonian Grebe horndykker - massively cropped by myself

White-tailed Eagle havørn cropped by itself.

White-tailed Eagle havørn far enough away to fit in the frame

I popped in at Dåvøy where the White-tailed Eagles havørn autocropped their own images by coming too close to fit in the frame. However, I only took a few seconds out to photograph them as some kind of Pavlovian response. I was a lot more interested in the sea where the regular overwintering Slavonian Grebe horndykker was together with a few Red-breasted Mergansers. At least four Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin were also present here.

Other than the grebe the best birds were a Water Rail vannrikse (Tjeldstø) and a large Peregrine vandrefalk (Solberg) which has something of a Gyr-vibe and may be the same bird I saw a few times late last year.

Elsewhere a couple of small flocks of Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, a few Willow Tit granmeis and lots of both Redwing rødvingetrost and Fieldfare gråtrost about.

Hedmark / Oslo 01-07 January 2018 - Eastern kick-start

I spent the first week of January in the east of Norway. Birding came well down the list as there has been a lot of other stuff going on.

Best bird on the first day of the year was an inland Common Scoter svartand along with a number of more expected species.

Arctic Redpoll polarsisik in the Botanical Gardens, Oslo

On 3rd January a short stroll in the Botanical Gardens in Oslo produced at least two Arctic Redpoll polarsisik along with the usual Hawfinch kjernebiter and a variety of other finches.

Firecrest rødtoppfuglekonge at Fornebu

A walk at Fornebu with Rixy on 5th saw us refinding the Firecrest rødtoppfuglekonge that has settled in for the winter there. Fingers crossed it will survive....

Downtown Dipper fossekall, Oslo

Other than that some pleasant strolls in and around the city gave the usual selection of stuff including auks, a Dipper fossekall in the city centre and some cracking views of Goshawk hønsehauk chasing gulls and pigeons.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Øygarden 15-19 December 2017 -

Barely out of the house for the time being. Life is really getting in the way of birding, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

I've largely been limited to drive-bys in conjunction with errands, though I did get out for a little under two hours on Saturday 16th and again on 17th.

One of a number of Great Northern Diver islom seen recently - it seems like this is a good winter for them

Landscape photography with a telephoto lens - from Herdlevær

There are plenty of Snipe enkeltbekkasin about - they were forced into unfrozen areas a few days ago but have spread out again now....

White-tailed Eagles havørn are as obvious as ever....

Parrot Crossbill furuskorsnebb seem to be the dominant crossbill species at the moment with flocks of up to 20 all over the place. Snipe enkeltbekkasin have been showing well at a number of localities and a Dipper fossekall or two seem to have settled in for the winter. Great Northern Diver islom is another species that is showing well with individuals seen at several places over the last few days.

Seaduck on the other hand are virtually non-existent.

Waders other than Snipe enkeltbekkasin also seem thin on the ground, though I have seen the occasional Curlew storspove and some Woodcock rugde tracks in the snow that has melted during the last couple of days.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Nautnes and Blomvatnet 05 December 2017 - Calm after the storm pays off.

Strong onshore winds and rain for most of the daylight hours today.

Moorehen sivhøne

Above and below: Female Scaup bergand (right hand bird) together with four Tufted Duck toppand and a Goldeneye kvinand

Four Tufted Duck toppand

Still too much to do to be out and about but whilst running errands I popped in at Blomvatnet - this proved quite successful with the first Moorehen sivhøne of the winter (and the year for that matter) - quite possibly a returning bird from the east of the country. A female Scaup bergand was another good find here. Otherwise it was just four Tufted Duck toppand along the usual Goldeneyes kvinand, Mallard stokkand etc.

Very often I am almost surprised how many birds there are about as soon as the weather calms down - today was yet another example of this.

Around 1430 I noticed the wind had dropped and it had stopped raining and whilst waiting for several pages of work documents to go through my scanner I looked out of the window to see what I have looked for many times before - a Hawk Owl haukugle sitting in trees a fair distance off. I managed to confirm the observation in the scope but it flew before a camera could be brought to bear....Species 131 from the house:) Also in the area a couple of Willow Tit granmeis and a small flock of Parrot Crossbill grankorsnebb.

Not bad going to get two new for the year in Øygarden on a bad weather day in early December!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Dåvøy 04 December 2017 - Most of the winter suspects in one go

Calm and mild if a little on the dull side.

A quick trip to Dåvøy produced many of the usual winter suspects with a Slavonian Grebe horndykker on the sea together with a Great Northern Diver islom. Other stuff here included Black Guillemot teist, seven Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a flock of 25 Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb and several Common Scoter svartand.

The Heron gråhegre here roost has increased to over 40 birds.....

Monday, December 04, 2017

Øygarden 28 November - 03 December - Back but not really in business

I was welcomed home by news of the Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv and some fantastic weather. However, being preoccupied with other things I did not really make the most of a period of settled and sunny conditions although White-tailed Eagles havørn, Otters and other things did their best to distract me.

Highlights 28 - 29 November were a Bullfinch dompap flying over the house (my first in Øygarden this year), Dipper fossekall near Alvheim, a Water Rail vannrikse at Hatten. Common Crossbill grankorsnebb, Common Redpoll gråsisik, Whooper Swans sangasvane and a flock of 12 Greylags grågås were among the birds seen.

Great Northern Diver islom

Two of the three GNDs present

Red-throated Diver smålom

One of four White-tailed Eagles havørn seen - here with Lyngøy in the background

Its that time of year again. Gratuitous White-tailed Eagle havørn spam

A trip out to Hjelme Vest on 01 December as the light was going produced some good sightings - including three Great Northern Divers islom and a Red-throated Diver smålom on the sea along with 25 Long-tailed Duck havelle, a Little Auk alkekonge and a couple of Black Guillemot teist. A Goshawk hønsehauk put in an appearance earlier in the day near Alvheim.

A couple of days of wilder weather made it easier to get on with things and not think about birding too much although I had Snipe enkeltbekkasin at Nautnes among other things.

Hatten 14 November 2017 - Black-headed Bunting

Whilst I was away a Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv was seen and well photographed at Hatten on 14th November.

This is only the second record for Øygarden - but perhaps not unexpected as there have been good numbers in Norway this autumn.

Pity it didn't hang around until I returned - I have missed both occurrences here:(

Photos by Roald Hatten.

Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Øygarden 04 November 2017 - Drive-bys

Brisk South-westerly winds, rain much of the day.

No time for anything other than a few brief drive-bys today - just as well as it would have been hard going at times today.

White-tailed Eagle havørn from the terrace (and elsewhere) and a Brambling bjørkefink in the garden.

At Blomvatnet just a couple of Wigeon brunnakke and four Goldeneye kvinand  - the latter species is still arriving with not many about yet.

At Harkestad a flock of Long-tailed Tits stjertmeis put in a welcome appearance - otherwise just small numbers of the usual thrushes and Starling stær along with a presumed Meadow Pipit heipiplerke - frustratingly many of the pipits about at the moment are not calling at all.....

Tjeldstø produced more Redwing rødvingetrost, Brambling bjørkefink, Blackcap munk and the usual suspects.

Herdlevær 03 November 2017 - The weather is here, wish you were lovely

Very strong south westerly winds with some showers.

1cy Northern Goshawk hønsehauk. I like to think of these pictures as atmospheric rather than just underexposed....

Not the best of conditions again but quite a productive day despite this. Highlights were a Glaucous Gull polarmåke, a movement of Little Auks alkekonge, a Goshawk hønsehauk and a Woodcock rugde. The supporting cast included a Curlew storspove, a Peregrine vandrefalk, a few White-tailed Eagle havørn and some duck on the move.

A very small part of the Fieldfare gråtrost flock

Some of the Common Scoter svartand seen today

A Cormorant storskarv with that Ibiza party feeling

A rather hooded Herring Gull gråmåke. Not the most extreme version I have seen but it made us look twice....

Redwing rødvingetrost

Birders in action at Herdlevær today. Photo: Roald Hatten

A large flock of Fieldfare gråtrost was pretty spectacular, smaller numbers of Redwing rødvingetrost, a late Meadow Pipit heipiplerke, a Willow Tit granmeis, a small flock of Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, a couple of late Greylags grågås, two Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a pair of Wigeon brunnakke were also seen here.

A quick look at Breivik was pretty much more of the same but more Redwing rødvingetrost and small flocks of Chaffinch bokfink and Brambling bjørkefink seen here along with a couple more Meadow Pipit heipiplerke.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Skogsøy 02 November 2017 - Little Auks but only just

Gale force northerly winds but sunny.

Cormorant storskarv struggling north into the wind

Gannet havsule

Long-tailed Ducks havelle

One of a number of Razorbill alke seen heading north

View to the south today - worth the walk in itself......

As usual couple of hours spent seawatching produced some decent birds. Technically I suppose three adult Great Northern Diver islom beat four Little Auks alkekonge but the former have been a lot more obvious of late than the latter - the first of the autumn for me.

Other than that it was the usual suspects with good numbers of Gannet havsule, some Common Scoter svartand heading south and small numbers of Kittiwake krykkje, Razorbill alke and Long-tailed Duck havelle also seen.

Perhaps the most interesting sighting given the weather conditions were some flocks of passerines coming in off the sea - most unusual with the wind in the north. The only flock positively identified were Redpoll gråsisik but the other flocks were also very likely this species. Perhaps arriving from Iceland....

The walk there and back produced the usual suspects - White-tailed Eagle havørn, Raven ravn, Crested Tit toppmeis etc along with a single male Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke, three Willow Tit granmeis and a flock of around 40 Common Redpoll gråsisik.

Up close and personal with an Otter at Tjeldstø - I've managed to not take pictures on a number of occasions the last few days but it would have been downright rude not to have taken advantage of today's opportunity....

At Tjeldstø one or two Little Auk alkekonge put in an appearance alongside White-tailed Eagle havørn and an Otter oter - seen daily of late including on the shore in front of my house.