Monday, May 10, 2021

Øygarden 09-10 May 2021 - Back to work

After some days of birding it was back to life again. At least I now have all my wood split and drying for the winter and at least some stuff planted in the garden. And got some work done.

Sunday 09 May was just a quick pre-breakfast visit to a few places. 

Tjeldstø was the same as the last few days with Golden Plover heilo present in addition to the usual waders. A flock of 73 were scared up from Breivik too - quite a large flock for these parts.

Golden Plover heilo at Breivik

More and more Greylag grågås have young each day now.
The first goslings were seen 01 May - so pretty much bang on time

A couple of pairs of Common Tern makrellterne were at Dåvøy and courtship was well underway with small fish being brought in as presents. Meanwhile at Solberg they had got past the courtship phase and were starting the breeding season with no time to spare:)

Common Tern makrellterne at Dåvøy

Solberg also showed that it would have been another good day of seawatching with Red-throated Divers smålom and Common Scoter svartand passing in good numbers.

Back home the gardening produced Twite bergirisk and Whimbrel småspove among other things.

Overcast and calm conditions on 10 May proved productive from the terrace with Cuckoo gjøk, House Martin taksvale and Reed Bunting sivspurv as local year ticks before I even left the house. Twite bergirisk, Wheatear steinskvett and more were also in the garden during the day. A pair of Teal krikkand and some migrating male Goldeneye kvinand landed on the sea in front of the house too.

Things went largely downhill from there although I did meet up with UN7 again - now with young. I saw this bird earlier in the spring only a couple of hundred metres away but has obviously been busy with things a little off the beaten track until today:)

Not sure what this Common Crossbill grankorsnebb was doing but it looked like it was feeding on sap together with its mate.

UN7 disappeared for a while but now out with young so we know why.
I don't normally get embroiled in FB debates but a recent heated discussion maintained that neck-ringed birds are outcasts and do not breed. This bird along with VJ3 and probably others prove otherwise - this bird has what it takes and the neck ring does not appear to be troublesome. Fantastic to see the same birds returning year on year - and doing well unlike so many other species.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Skogsøy 08 May 2021 - Another day, another seawatch

 Weather was everything. Calm and clear until a little after 0700 when we sat through a rain / hail / sleet shower that lasted over half an hour and had us evaluating moving to the "seawatching" hide. After that back to calm and sunny conditions.

Plenty of action today with pretty much uninterrupted passage.

The highlights today (aside from the expected White-billed Divers gulnebblom) were a decent passage of Whimbrel småspove, above average numbers of Velvet Scoter sjøorre and a good movement of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås - frustratingly we heard a number of flocks before we saw any of them and some flocks passed behind us so numbers were undoubtedly higher....

Part of one of the Barnacle hvitkinngås flocks that passed today

A single Curlew storspove joined a flock of Whimbrel småspove heading north

 Totals between 05:15 and 12:00 were:

Red throated Diver N 213

White Billed Diver N 12

Northern Gannet N 15

Great Cormorant N 5

Eurasian Shag N 17

Eurasian Shag S 35

Barnacle Goose N 1356

Tufted Duck N 5

Long tailed duck N 68

Common Scoter N 224

Common Scoter S 3

Velvet Scoter N 25

Merganser N 15

Oystercatcher N 59

Whimbrel N 62

Arctic Skua N 1

Common Gull N 47

Black-legged Kittiwake N 10

Razorbill N 4

Atlantic Puffin N 4

Auk N 17

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Skogsøy 07 May 2021 - Loonatic

Started off with calm and clear conditions, wind turned to the north around 0900 and increased.

A good seawatch but the variety seen last time was not reached. Basically mainly divers passing and just one Arctic Skua tyvjo,  although good numbers of Razorbill alke were of note.

Other birds included the usual White-tailed Eagles havørn, migrating Skylark sangelerke (once again rather late), Lapland Bunting lappspurv and both Golden Plover heilo and Ringed Plover sandlo were heard.

Although a shadow of its former self the Common Gull fiskemåke migration continues

As usual it was just non-breeding Cormorant storskarv passing

Small numbers of Oystercatcher tjeld still heading north

And what early May is all about  - White-billed Divers gulnebblom

About 6.5 hours of seawatching produced the following

Red throated Diver N 218

Red throated Diver S 1

White Billed Diver N 16

Northern Gannet N 13

Northern Gannet S 3

Great Cormorant N 16

Great Cormorant S 5

Eurasian Shag N 23

Eurasian Shag S 74

Tufted Duck N 2

Eider S 1

Long tailed duck N 8

Long tailed duck S 1

Common Scoter N 1

Common Scoter S 14

Merganser N 4

Merganser S 4

Oystercatcher N 16

Whimbrel N 10

Arctic Skua N 1

Common Gull N 86

Black-legged Kittiwake N 5

Common Guillemot N 6

Razorbill N 51

Atlantic Puffin N 2

Auk N 16

On the way home I found a new neck-ringed Greylag grågås at Kollsnes - UB9. This is the first sighting since it was ringed at a moulting site at Kårstø last June.

Friday, May 07, 2021

Øygarden 05-06 May 2021 - Ticking over

 A pre-breakfast drive-by at a few locations on 04 May produced a Greenshank gluttsnipe at Tjeldstø along with the usual wader species.

A flock of 15 Golden Plover heilo fed with Lapwing vipe at Breivik.

Part of the Golden Plover heilo flock with one of the Lapwing vipe

At Kollsnes I managed to read a colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke which was interesting. The bird was ringed as a chick on Fedje (just north of Øygarden) back in 2013 and since then the only sighting reported was from Portugal in 2018 before it showed up here:)

Reported sightings of J037H

Colour ringed LBBG sildemåke

Two Wryneck vendehals singing on the way home today.

Wryneck vendehals

From the terrace displaying Common Sandpipers strandsnipe, Otter and the usual.

In the afternoon I had to make a shop run and a very slight detour gave me my first local Hawfinch kjernebiter of the year.

On Thursday 06 May I spent the morning on Hernar. It was quite a productive morning despite many migrants still not showing. My first Ring Ousel ringtrost of the year turned up along with some other migrants including a couple of Goldfinch stillits, some Whimbrel småspove dropped in, a Skylark sanglerke flew over (late for this species to be migrating). Strangely I saw no Robins rødstrupe and no Wrens gjerdesmett....Around 45 species present meant that it must have been a reasonable day:)

Linnet tornirisk were the second commonest finch after Twite bergirisk on the island

Plenty of Wheatear steinskvett settling in

A male Ring Ousel ringtrost dropped in briefly

Whimbrel småspove taking a break to feed up for the next leg of its migration

I returned home to see the first Common Tern makrellterne of the year fly past the terrace:)

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Tjeldstø and Herdlevær 03-04 May - Back to reality

 Light winds, dry and sunny.

After the unprecedented social and birding activity over the weekend it was back to reality. Being early May all I wanted to do was hang out at Skogsøy but this was not possible.

However, some good birds to be seen. On 03 May breakfast at Tjeldstø produced a nice Tundra Beam Goose tundrasædgås. It has been a while since I saw this species in Øygarden and was not on the radar at all in early May - this species is normally a winter visitor here. It was seen alongside the long-staying Pinkfoot kortnebbgås which gave good comparison views albeit at long range.

I moved to my usual breakfast stop location and the goose came right past giving better photo opportunites.

Goldfinches stillits turned also up at Tjeldstø and a few migrating Golden Plover heilo joined the five of the usual breeding species of wader there.

Teal krikkand at Tjeldstø

Intial view of the Tundra Bean Goose tundrasædgås

It then joined the long-staying Pinkfoot kortnebbgås

And later on did a nice fly-by causing coffee and sandwiches to be thrown to one side....

Once home it was back to the computer but a few short random scans from the terrace gave a total of 950 Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås heading north and a couple of flocks of Red-throated Diver smålom totalling 17. It looked like it would have been another good day at Skogsøy....

On 04 May I took breakfast at Herdlevær before work. Here a half hour seawatch gave an adult White-billed Diver gulnebblom and 45 Red-throated Diver smålom. Another good Skogsøy day I will never have again....

One of a couple of White-tailed Eagles havørn at Herdlevær

House Sparrow gråspurv also at Herdlevær. Not exactly a species I take many photographs of despite their obvious charm.

Skylark sanglerke at Breivik

On the way home a Wryneck vendehals sang enthusiastically but I couldn't really stop to enjoy the experience very long. 

Monday, May 03, 2021

Herdlevær and Skogsøy 01-02 May 2021 - Social Birding

 Sunny with light winds.

On 01 May I took things very easy with a stroll at Herdlevær and a visit to Tjeldstø.

Herdlevær produced nothing remarkable, although a White-billed Diver gulnebblom passed during my usual coffee / sandwich break along with a selection of the usual suspects.

Another coffee stop, this time actually with another birder (!!) at Tjeldstø produced the first Sand Martin sandsvale of the year, the long-staying Pinkfoot kortnebbgås put in an appearance and there was generally a lot of action and song - a lot more Redshank rødstilk and Snipe enkeltbekkasin now back and getting down to business.

After this it was back home to work. A few random scans with the scope from my terrace showed that it was a good day for passage with 60 Red-throated Diver smålom, a Great Skua storjo and a couple of White-billed Diver gulnebblom seen during these all too short breaks.

On 02 May it was a different story despite my so-called smart phone switching itself off during the night and thereby switching off my alarm clock. A long and immensely fun day at Skogsøy - seawatching from 0545 to past 1500 with some very, very good company indeed. And no shortage of birds either - 26 White-billed Diver gulnebblom, an Arctic Skua tyvjo, a couple of Great Skua storjo, two Shoveler skjeand, a decent passage of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås, a few Bar-tailed Godwits lappspove, several Whimbrel småspove and lots of other passage meant there was never a dull moment.

Good numbers of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås headed north

Just one Great Northern Diver islom today

The only Guillemot lomvi we saw was on the sea rather than flying past

Still small numbers of Oystercatcher tjeld moving through

Part of one of the larger Red-throated Diver smålom flocks

Biggest flock of White-billed Diver gulnebblom today was three...

White-billed Diver gulnebblom

The totals today were as follows:

Red throated Diver N 420
Great Northern Diver N 1
White Billed Diver N 26
Northern Gannet N 62
Northern Gannet S 7
Great Cormorant N 2
Great Cormorant S 3
Eurasian Shag N 36
Eurasian Shag S 167
Barnacle Goose N 913
Northern Shoveler N 2
Tufted Duck N 4
Long tailed duck N 176
Long tailed duck S 2
Common Scoter N 155
Common Scoter S 42
Velvet Scoter N 5
Merganser N 21
Merganser S 5
Oystercatcher N 104
Golden Plover N 3
Bar tailed Godwit 3
Whimbrel N 6
Eurasian Curlew N 2
Arctic Skua N 1
Great Skua N 2
Black headed Gull N 3
Black headed Gull S 7
Common Gull N 111
Black-legged Kittiwake N 6
Black-legged Kittiwake S 1
Razorbill N 28
Atlantic Puffin N 12
Auk N 1

Three days in a row of birding WITH OTHER PEOPLE must be some kind of record for me:)

Friday, April 30, 2021

Hernar & Skogsøy 29-30 April 2021 - Suddenly Spring!

 Having been away for a couple of weeks I returned to find spring had really taken off.

On the evening of the 28th I had my first local Dunnock jernspurv at Tjeldstø as I did my shopping and a Swallow låvesvale flew over my house when I got home.

Before I left the house the following morning Chiff-chaff gransanger was singing nearby. 

The rest of the morning was spent on Hernar where many of the local breeders had returned including Swallow låvesvale, Wheatears steinskvett, Twite bergirisk, Linnet tornirisk, Chiff-chaff gransanger, Willow Warbler løvsanger and more.

Newly returned Swallows låvesvale

One of several Wheatear steinskvett on Hernar

A Golden Plover heilo, a few Redshank rødstilk and a couple more Swallow låvesvale were seen at Husvatnet later in the day.

Somewhat predictably I was up bright and early for some seawatching at Skogsøy on 30 April. Light SE winds meant that despite the date it was not a big day for divers with just seven White-billed Diver gulnebblom (all but one adults) and a low count of just 42 Red-throated Diver smålom, a Great Skua storjo was another new for the year and there was a steady passage of other species throughout the 5.5 hours or so I sat out there.

Most of the Cormorant storskarv passing now are non-breeders like this one

Gannet havsule

Red-throated Diver smålom

Shags toppskarv

My first White-billed Diver gulnebblom of the season (05:47)

White-billed Diver gulnebblom

A White-tailed Eagle havørn went a fair way out to sea low over the waves to attack a Gannet havsule sitting on the surface. The Gannet promptly threw up the last fish it had caught, the eagle picked it up and headed back into shore with the minimum of effort and drama.