Sunday, November 08, 2015

Hjelme Vest 08 November 2015 - The usual November suspects and another new for the year

Mild again but with a little more wind.

Barely time to get out at all today so a quick walk at Hjelme Vest after lunch was all that I managed. It proved reasonably productive given the short time spent there - highlight was a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker - amazingly this seems to be the first of the year in Øygarden - but the first half of November is a very good time to see this species here.

A couple of divers gave me more problems than they should have and although at least one of them was probably a White-billed Diver gulnebblom I just had to let it go.

Other stuff worth mentioning was a Merlin dvergfalk hunting Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt - of which there were around 50 present. The latter were the first of the autumn/winter for me. Several Velvet Scoter sjøorre, a few White-tailed Eagle havørn and most of the usual suspects.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Tjeldstø 07 November 2015

Yet another calm and pretty much sunny day.

Took things very easy with just a stroll around the reserve at Tjeldstø. Raptors were very much in evidence with three White-tailed Eagle havørn and at least three Sparrowhawk spurvehauk - quite possibly double that number.

Flocks of finches very obvious with Siskin grønnsisik, Redpoll gråsisik and Chaffinch bokfink dominating.

New stuff in was limited to a Teal krikkand with the Mallard stokkand on Husvatnet and a single Tufted Duck toppand on Rotevatnet. At least three Whoopers sangsvane still present.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Skogsøy 06 November 2015 - Short but worth it

Brisk SE winds, mild, overcast and with a few light showers.

Guillemot lomvi and Common Scoter svartand

Kittiwake krykkje

Red-throated Diver smålom

Velvet Scoter sjøorre

Spent a little over 1,5 hours seawatching. It was a fairly typical early November day with enough passing to keep things interesting. Highlight was a feeding White-billed Diver gulnebblom a fair distance offshore.

Passage included around 30 Red-throated Diver smålom, small numbers of Little Auk alkekonge and other auks including four Black Guillemot teist. Velvet Scoter sjøorre and a variety of other seaduck also on the move. Kittiwakes krykkje and various other gulls obviously on the move too,

A Sparrowhawk spurvehauk hunted a LONG way out to sea as did two Peregrines vandrefalk.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Øygarden 05 November 2015 - Home at last!

Calm and mild. Amazing weather! Spent all morning sorting stuff out so it was quite late in the day before I got out.

One of the sunflowers in my garden has finally flowered, all the herbs still going strong - you'd never think this is November!

Common Scoter svartand

Fieldfare gråtrost

Goldfinch stillits

Birdwise, however, it was typical early November - one of my favourite times of year. At Nautnes Waxwing sidensvans and Skylark sanglerke were among the species that flew over and there was a Common Scoter svartand on the sea in front of the house.

At Tjeldstø the best birds were a flock of eight Goldfinch stillits. The first Whoopers sangsvane of the autumn were also present with four adults feeding. No young birds though....

Yellowhammer gulspurv at Breivik, Guillemots lomvi seen at a couple of places, obvious movement of Kittiwakes krykkje and Gannets havsule over the sea,

All the usual thrushes on the move, Mealy Redpoll gråsisik, Crossbills grankorsnebb, Golden Plover heilo and plenty more besides

Late October - Early November Southern Norwegian Sector

Still not birding Øygarden - or anywhere else for that matter.

This male Eider ærfugl followed the vessel for a couple of days and looked like it wanted to climb onboard.

This lone Goldcrest fuglekonge called constantly and vainly for some others of its own species

Redwings rødvingetrost were seen or heard more or less daily

A grand total of about 20 minutes on deck in the space of two weeks produced quite a bit of movement at times. Best birds were Short-eared Owls jordugle seen on a few dates. Otherwise just the usual autumn migrants including four species of thrush and Little Auk alkekonge.

A couple of species I don't see much of around platforms also turned up - an Eider ærfugl and a Cormorant storskarv.

Porbeagle shark video grab

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yet more not Birding Øygarden - update on migration in the east of Norway

I spent 17-18 October up in Engerdal municipality in Hedmark in the east of Norway.

As usual there was not a lot of proper birding and as usual the huge potential of this area was obvious. The undoubted highlight were a number of Pine Grosbeaks konglebit. These birds were all seen and heard flying over but I suspect they were not really moving. I have not seen this species here before but am a little uncertain of their status.

Waxwing sidensvans

Rather more certain there were several flocks of Waxwing sidensvans and I definitely got the impression that these birds were heading west. As with the Pine Grosbeaks I saw them more or less everywhere I went.

Strangely all the rowan berries in the lowlands and valleys were gone so I initially presumed the thrushes had also moved on. This proved to be very, very wrong as there were flocks of up to several hundred Fieldfare gråtrost at a time gorging themselves on the vast quantities of berries on the slopes above the tree line. Some Waxwing sidensvans also took advantage of this bounty. No boubt these birds will not move on until these berries are covered by snow.

Mealy Redpolls gråsisik and Common Crossbills grankorsnebb were also very obvious pretty much everywhere.

Scaup bergand

Other birds included small numbers of Scaup bergand, the usual Goosander laksand and Whooper Swan sangsvane.



For more about birding in Engerdal, Hedmark see this page

Thursday, October 15, 2015

More not birding Øygarden - Long awaited updates to the website

As I am unable to get out and about in Øygarden at the moment I have been using the time to do some much need updates to my website which has fallen by the wayside during the last few years.

One of the pages I have added recently was a very good offshore trip in the southern part of the Norwegian sector during the spring of 2014. Plenty of migrant passerines and some seabirds. More details can be seen on this page.

Kestrel tårnfalk

Redshank rødstilk

Male Common Redstart rødstjert

Tree Pipit trepiplerke

I have also added a couple of whale pages - Pilot Whale gridhval and Minke Whale vågehval along with a load of other updates - more to come in the near future I hope!

A list of the latest updates can be seen here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

September 2015 - Not Birding Øygarden - Falsterbo!

In September I spent a few days in one of my all time favourite birding destinations - Falsterbo in southern Sweden. I don't know how many times I've been there but have visiting since the early 80's.

As usual it was fantastic - lots of migration and plenty about, at Nabben, Ljungen and elsewhere.
Decent numbers of raptors and the definite feeling that the Scandinavia was emptying over our heads with large numbers of Tree Pipits trepiplerke, Yellow Wagtails gulerle and various finches constantly passing overhead.

Highlights were a Pallid Harrier steppehauk and small numbers of Black Kite svartglente.

Here is a selection of images from this trip:

Migrating Brent Geese ringgås, Nabben

Pale Common Buzzard musvåk

Migrating Eiders ærfugl - one of the most numerous migrants at Falsterbo

Pale Honey Buzzard vespevåk

Kestrel tårnfalk with rodent

Birding Falsterbo

The lighthouse

View over the heath

The "new" path to Nabben, as seen from the lighthouse

Mixed flock of raptors - mostly Red Kite glente and Common Buzzard musvåk

Above two - Red Kites glente

Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk

Above two - thousands of Sparrowhawks spurvehauk passed during my stay

Migrating Stock Doves skogdue, Nabben

Typical dark juvenile Honey Buzzard vespevåk

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Hernar 05 October 2015 - A magic day's birding!

Sunny with light easterly and south-easterly winds.

One of the all-time best days out on Hernar ever!! A truly cracking day out with non-stop action from start to finish. No mega rarities but PLENTY of decent birds and a whole load of migration - and in fantastic weather to top it all!

Above: record shots of today's Pallid Harrier steppehauk

Highlights were a Pallid Harrier steppehauk (yet again!). This makes the third consecutive trip to Hernar with a harrier. It looks like this is a different bird to the one seen at Nautnes recently. We found it around 1500 and it promptly gained height and headed south - by 1510 it was already over Hellesøy.

Next best bird was a Red-throated Pipit lappiplerke migrating south. This bird came in low and very vocal.

Early morning Yellow-browed before the sun came up

More Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger

One of at least two Richard's Pipit tartarpiplerke seen today

The runners up were three Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger, two Richard's Pipits tartarpiplerke (one of which was actually on the ground for a change!).

Early morning Chiff-chaff gransanger

Newly washed Chiff-chaff gransanger

Part of a flock of 150 Cormorants storskarv migrating over the island today

Lots of Goldcrest fuglekonge about today

Most of the Goldfinch stillits flock present during the morning

One of two Ring Ousel ringtrost seen on Hernar today

There were loads of other migrants too including a Short-eared Owl jordugle, a flock of five Goldfinch stillits, two Ring Ousel ringtrost, loads of Chif-chaff gransanger, several Blackcap munk, a Snow Bunting snøspurv, a Lapland Bunting lappspurv, several Great Northern Diver islom and plenty more besides.

A flock of 15 Long-tailed Duck havelle were the first of the autumn, amazingly four Fulmar havhest headed south down Hjeltefjord - one of which was an intermediate phase bird. Amazingly this seems like the first record for the island!

Good numbers of Redwing rødvingetrost, loads of Brambling bjørkefink and most of the usual autumn suspects were also seen.