Saturday, September 06, 2014

Øygarden 05 September 2014 - More stuff on the move

Light southerly winds and sunny

Not out in any meaningful way but obviously a fair bit on the move with Garden Warbler hagesanger, Blackcap munk and a variety of other migrants seen at Tjeldstø,

Housework back home produced at least one Tree pipit trepiplerke and another new species for the house list - Jay nøtteskrike.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Herdlevær 04 September 2014 - mini fall

Southerly winds with showers.

A good day out with enough going on to keep interest up. First migrant was an obliging Tree Pipit trepiplerke. This was closely followed by Pied Flycatcher svarthvit fluesnapper and a Yellow Wagtail gulerle.

Tree pipit trepiplerke - this shot shows all the key ID features - short hind claw, finer flank streaks and the bulker bill. This bird also called several times.

Tree pipit trepiplerke in a tree.

Good numbers of pipits in the area, several Wheatear steinskvett, Whinchat buskskvett, a Garden Warbler hagesanger and a selection of the usual waders were also seen.

A Swift tårnseiler fed over Husvatnet on the way home - beginning to be late for this species.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Herdelvær 03 September 2014 - Not birding again

Southerly winds, more or less overcast but warm.

Obviously stuff on the move. A non-birding stroll at Herdlevær showed that there was obviously stuff on the move with Whinchat buskskvett present along with a number of other species.

Later in the evening routine family stuff produced a number of Twite bergirisk among the usual run of the mill stuff.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tjeldstø 02 September 2014 - Just about out

Calm, warm and overcast

Spent half an hour in the area I found yesterday's shrike. There was never much optimism as a number of birders spent a fair bit of time combing the area yesterday afternoon.

All I had was a Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk,a flock of 14 Twite bergirisk and small numbers of the usual Ruff brushane and Golden Plover heilo.

Back at Nautnes a Greenshank gluttsnipe fed in front of the house as has been the case for the last few days.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Tjeldstø 01 September 2014 - First mega of the autumn.

Overcast with southerly winds

Guiding at Tjeldstø proved to be the best choice today. A walk through the reserve produced a singing Wryneck vendehals as the best bird and a selection of the usual autumn migrants including Ruff brushane, Golden Plover heilo, a Ringed Plover sandlo and Teal krikkand.

Note the powerful bill and extensive black on the forehead 

Long primary projection. Peachy front varied with lighting

Approaching the last of the pools at the north end of the reserve a bird suddenly turned up on an overhead wire. It was obviously a shrike - and any shrike is a good find in Øygarden so I was immediately keen to nail the ID. The time of year was off for the more usual Great-grey and closer inspection in the scope showed that it was in fact a male Lesser Grey Shrike rosenvarsler - the first for Øygarden and only the third for the county of Hordaland.

Not sure if the hint mottling on the forehead helps indicate the age

Relatively small white wing patches

The bird was quite flighty (and/or active) and did not allow a close approach so I had to settle for some long range shots and left the bird feeding on large insects - it was seen to catch at least one big beetle.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nautnes 31 August 2014 - Day of the Wrynecks

Light southerly winds, warm and sunny.

I had pretty much written the day off after some late night work stuff. However, a walk at Tjeldstø produced a surprise Wryneck vendehals (despite having thought of exactly where I had today's bird whilst watching the bird at Herdlevær yesterday).

Back home a couple of hours on the terrace proved well worth it. First off another Wryneck vendehals sang close by - yet another new species for the house. After hearing about yesterday's raptor bonanza at Tjeldstø it was no surprise to see at least six Kestrel tårnfalk and five Sparrowhawk spurvehauk heading south. Several Swifts tårnseiler, a Sand Martin sandsvale, Greenshank gluttsnipe and a decent mix of other species meant that being stuck at home wasn't so bad after all......

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Herdlevær 30 August 2014 - Just what the doctor ordered.

Light easterlies after rain in the night couldn't really go wrong....

Quite a productive couple of hours early on at Herdlevær today. Finally got out and about and there was plenty of interest. Stuff obviously on the move with things passing overhead in addition to resting birds.

Little Stint dvergsnipe

Highlight was a cracking Little Stint dvergsnipe which gave the best views I've had of this species in Øygarden - they are often just fly-bys or seen on offshore islands. Today's bird feed on the shore and was also very vocal.

Dunnock jernspurv

Golden Plover heilo

Above and below first year Ringed Plover sandlo

Adult Ringed Plover sandlo

Plenty of other waders including a Knot polarsnipe, several flocks of Golden Plover heilo, Ringed Plovers sandlo, Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a Greenshank gluttsnipe.

A Peregrine vandrefalk put in an appearance a few times as did a Kestrel tårnfalk.

Plenty of passerines too with the best being a Wryneck vendehals.

Back at Nautnes another Kestrel tårnfalk and more waders flying over.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hellesøy 29 August 2014 - Otter and Ice Cream

Light easterly breeze, warm and sunny

A stroll at Sæle revealed that there is stuff on the move. No real opportunity to check the place thoroughly but I did get a glimpse of a Garden Warbler hagesanger.

Adult Common Tern makrellterne

Otter with catch at Hellesøy

At Hellesøy the main goal was an ice cream but whilst eating this an Otter surfaced with a fish - always nice to see. Another encouraging sight was a flock of seven Common Tern makrellterne of which at most three were adults - so at least some pairs have fledged young. A couple of Twite bergirisk, the usual White-tailed Eagles havørn and most of the usual suspects also seen here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Herdlevær 28 August 2014 - Woodland irruption?

Calm and mostly sunny.

A stroll at Herdlevær quickly produced some rarities in the form of at least two Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb. At least as interesting were a couple of Nuthatches spettmeis- obviously migrants at this locality.

Migrant Nuthatch spettmeis

Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb. Wrong camera settings - but wing-bars still obvious

Heavily censored picture of the same bird. Wing bars conveniently hidden by foliage....

The appearance of these woodland species, coupled with the apparent migration attempt of some Willow Tits granmeis a couple of days ago could be an indication that there will be an irruption of woodland species again this autumn.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Oslo 20 August 2014 - Twitching?

Most people who know me know I don't twitch. Ever.

So is this twitching or not?:
Whilst sitting at Bergen airport waiting for a plane to Oslo I heard about the first Pallas's Gull steppemåke for Norway turning up only a few hundred metres from where I was headed. There was never any real dilemma - I'm not daft enough to walk right past such a bird just to prove a point.

First year Pallas's Gull steppemåke, Oslo opera house

And as rarities in the east of Norway, especially slap bang in the middle of Oslo are not exactly thick on the ground I had no choice but to take a fifteen minute diversion to see this cracking bird - the first I've seen since I was off Israel a few years back.....

Accidentally picked up Caspian Gull kaspimåke at the same time. Makes leaving Øygarden a little easier.

Not twitching - honest!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Solberg 19 August - Golf anyone?

Strong northerly winds all day.

Curlew storspove at Solberg.

Not out in any sense of the word. A Greenshank gluttsnipe from the house and bog-all at Solberg.

Some random moments with the scope from the kitchen window showed there were lots of Gannets havsule passing.

I'll be taking up golf and / or ending it all in the immediate future,


Monday, August 18, 2014

At home 18 August 2014 - Lucky house

Northerly winds, heavy showers during the morning.

Still no prospect of ever getting out, thankfully I live where I do and not getting out doesn't necessarily mean no birds - just not knowing what has been missed.

Hanging out the washing after the worst of the morning's rain produced a nice Merlin dvergfalk chasing Redpolls brunsisik over the garden,

Later a trip to the shops meant that I caught up with a nice mixed flock of Ruff brushane and Snipe enkeltbekkasin at Tjeldstø. If I had got as far as actually getting out of the car who knows what might have turned up....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Øygarden 17 August 2014 - If not in this life then the next

Southerly winds with rain at times.

At Nautnes a flock of three Green Sandpiper grønnstilk and a flock of nine Ruff brushane were both new for the house list. A flock of Greylags grågås heading south, a White-tailed Eagle havørn and most of the usual suspects were also seen from the trrace.

Ruff brushane at Tjeldstø

Tjeldstø produced another Green Sandpiper grønnstilk a small flock of Ruff brushane, five Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a couple of Common Sandpiper strandsnipe, a few Grennshank gluttsnipe and generally a lot of stuff on the ground in the flooded fields.

One of three flocks of Greylag grågås seen migrating today

A late walk at Herdlevær produced more of the same including a couple more flocks of Greylag grågås on the move, a few Golden Plovers heilo, Ringed Plovers sandlo, a Peregrine vandrefalk and a few Redshank rødstilk.

All in all obviously plenty on the move and somewhat frustrating to get out birding- One day soon I'll actually get out and about.....honest!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tjeldstø 14 August 2014 - Waders on the move

Calm and sunny

A couple of Ruff brushane at Tjeldstø

Back in Øygarden at last but with no prospect of getting out and about in the immediate future. A five minute pause at Husvatnet on the way to the shops produced at least nine Ruff brushane, two Bar-headed Geese stripegås, five Teal krikkand and a Sand Martin sandsvale of note.

Back home at Nautnes the best birds were a Tree pipit trepiplerke flying over (a predictable new for the house), a Greenshank gluttsnipe and a Green Sandpiper skogsnipe along with a variety of other waders.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Skogsøy 18 July 2014

Calm and sunny.

A short seawatch 06:30 - 08:30 was fairly quiet. Probably the best bird was a single Great Skua storjo - incredibly the first I've seen this year in Øygarden. Something rather wrong there somehow. Otherwise just small numbers of Gannets havsule, a Guillemot lomvi and the usual suspects. Some light southward passage of Oystercatcher tjeld and Common Gull fiskemåke.

Gannet havsule

Oystercatcher tjeld

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

Shag toppskarv

In a Skogsøy context a Swift tårnseiler was an unusual sighting. Plenty of Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke and a small flock of Twite bergirisk.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tjeldstø 17 July 2014 - Welcome home!

Calm and sunny.

Bar-headed Goose stripegås

A very short stroll in the reserve produced very little but the traditional stop beside Husvatnet produced the Bar-headed Goose stripegås found a week or two ago. This is the second time this species has turned up in Øygarden - the previous occasion were a couple reported from Hernar a few summers ago.

Arriving home yesterday evening I hadn't got the key in the front door before I heard a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett. Not the worst welcome home....


Friday, June 27, 2014

Hernar 26 June 2014 - Summer

Calm and sunny.

In between migration seasons there was not much chance of anything special today but a rare chance to make it out to Hernar had to be taken. The highlight were a couple of flocks of Swifts tårnseiler.

Otherwise plenty of the usual Hernar stuff about with Sedge Warblers sivsanger, loads of Twite bergirisk, and Wheatear steinskvett.

Back home at Nautnes a Collared Dove tykerdue was the first I've seen in Øygarden this year and another new for the house list.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Skogsøy 24-25 June 2014 - Camping pays off....

Calm with light southerly winds.

Spent the night out at Skogsøy with the girls and no scope. The last bit was proved to not be a very sensible idea....

Not really birding on 24th but had a flock of four Whimbrel småspove heading north.

On the morning of 25th I woke early and spent a couple of hours seawatching between 0500-0700 with just binoculars. The results were well worth it - highlight was a Long-tailed Skua fjelljo drifting north just before 0600. This was followed by a couple of Arctic Skuas tyvjo which also passed within decent binocular range.

Other stuff included 14 Red-throated Diver smålom heading north, singles of Fulmar havhest and Kittiwake krykkje, a flock of six Guillemot lomvi and some movement of moulting Eiders ærfugl. Further evidence that autumn is upon us was a flock of eight Curlew storspove heading south.

Note to self: ALWAYS check ALL pictures have uploaded from camera to PC before deleting.

Skogsøy 23 June 2014 - Autumn!

Northerly breeze and sunny again.

A short and relatively late seawatch produced little movement but showed that autumn migration is underway with a flock of Oystercatcher tjeld and a lone Lapwing vipe heading south.

Peregrine vandrefalk

A Peregrine vandrefalk put in a brief appearance and there were small numbers of most of the usual suspects passing including a few Red-throated Diver smålom and a couple of flocks of Common Scoter svartand.

Frustratingly two small waders headed north just out of range - definitely felt like they could be phalaropes..... 

Tjeldstø 22 June - The Young Ones

Sunny with fresh northerly winds the last few days.

Work and family commitments have prevented any meaningful birding and certainly give a certain affinity to the many busy parent birds at the moment. Most species now have young to feed - families of Wheatear steinskvett are "everywhere" - very pleasing result this year.

Recently fledged Wheatear steinskvett

Herring gull gråmåke

A late afternoon walk at Tjeldstø produced a Golden Plover heilo as the only migrant - though it did do a display flight as well. Plenty of young Greylags grågås and Herring Gulls gråmåke and a single brood of Mallard stokkand seen.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Herdlevær 03 June 2014 - Yellow wag

Hot and sunny.

Still a struggle to get out and about in any meaningful way so hopes were not high for a quick midday walk at Herdlevær. Only bird of note was a Yellow Wagtail gulerle - I could have had good views and pinned a name on it but messed it up. I heard Yellow wag call but all I could see was a White Wagtail linerle. Thinking I'd made a mistake on the call I carried on walking and flushed the bird which was behind the rock the commoner wagtail was sitting on. Got to trust those instincts more....

Woodcock rugde still roding in the evenings over the house at Nautnes.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Solberg / Tjeldstø 02 June 2014 - the biggest Norwegian Garden list?

Not really out but a singing Sedge Warbler sivsanger and a Whimbrel småspove at Solberg were almost worth a mention.

At Tjeldstø I found two Eider ærfugl nests and several gull nests - including a Herring gull gråmåke nest where the eggs were hatching.

An almost forgotten web page on my website - the house list ranking page -  produced a very interesting result - the highest garden list in Norway that I have now heard of is 182 - Geir Mobakken on Utsira (where else?!!). I thought my old list at Tjeldstø which ended up on 167 was quite respectable but Geir's is quite possibly unbeatable in Norway......

I took a quick update on my current house list. Exactly 100 behind Mr Mobakken's.......but give it 14 years and I'll be a LOT closer!

Øygarden 01 June 2014 - Breeding Grey-headed Woodpeckers?

Sunny with light northerly winds.

Hjelme West produced little of interest - just a few Red-throated Diver smålom passing and a flock of at least 60 terns (probably Arctic Tern rødnebbterne) on one of the islands.

Elsewhere Cuckoos gjøk still being heard "everywhere" and a female Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett at a locality where a male was heard singing recently gave hope that this species is breeding in Øygarden again this year.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Skogsøy 31 May 2014 - Both geese!

Sunny with strong northerly winds.

Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås overhead

Part of the Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås flock

Pale-bellied Brents ringgås

A 40 minute seawatch at Skogsøy in the early afternoon gave some interesting results: first a flock of 60 pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgås headed north. This was only to be expected given both the date and the weather conditions.

Whilst hoping for more of the same a second flock of geese came over - this time Barnacles hvitkinngås.

Seeing both these species migrating on the same day is quite unusual - but perhaps becoming more and more likely as in recent years there has been a trend of a second later wave of Barnacles hvitkinngås.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Herdlevær 30 May 2014 - Northerly winds but no joy

Wind changed to the north but a couple of hours at Herdlevær produced little of interest, Small numbers of the usual suspects including several Red-throated Diver smålom but nothing out of the ordinary. Some Great Black-backed gulls svartbak plucked mackerel from sea with apparent ease - even leavng them on the shore whilst they went back for more,

Elsewhere a White-tailed Eagle havørn nest held one young.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Skogsøy 29 May 2014 - Sea-fog

Calm and sunny but after only an hour sea fog rolled in and reduced visibility. The same fog thwarted attempts to bird alternative localities.

A couple of small pale phase skuas were the best birds - initially resting on the sea they took off and disappeared into the fog.

Common Tern makrellterne at Nautnes

Some Oystercatchers tjeld still heading north

Red-throated Diver smålom - note last bird in non-breeding plumage

Several Guillemots lomvi, a few Black Guillemot teist and a flock of Red-throated Diver smålom were the best of the seabirds. Other migrants included Ringed Plover sandlo and House Martin taksvale.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Herdlevær 28 May 2014 - Sylvias

Calm and sunny.

Out rather later than I should have been and took a short stroll around Herdlevær. Best birds were a couple of Garden Warblers hagesanger - at least one of which was singing. A Lesser Whitethroat møller put in an appearance and both Blackcap munk and Common Whitethroat tornsanger were singing.

A quick look at the sea showed that Red-throated Divers smålom are still passing with 10 or so seen in about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Øygarden 21 May 2014 - Tedious rarity and scarce spring migrant

Light SE winds with some thundery showers.

Started the day at Herdelvær. Little happening here but a Sand Martin sandsvale or two , another Meadow pipit heipiplerke nest and a Whimbrel småspove were seen here.

A drive-by+ at Tjeldstø produced the first Ruff brushane for the this year with two females present. Four Tufted Duck toppand was an increase on yesterday. A Carrion Crow svartkråke out in the reserve was technically the best bird of the day but what a tedious rarity! Two House Martin taksvale feeding over Husvatnet were of more interest.

Adult White-tailed Eagle havørn attacking Greylags grågås - parents keep young between them for protection

The young Greylags grågås dive, parents prepare to defend

With the young still submerged both parents leap out of the water to drive off the eagle

At Nautnes a Greenshank gluttsnipe scared up by a White-tailed Eagle havørn trying to take Greylag grågås chicks was a new species for the house....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sture 20 May 2014 - just 15 minutes out

A very short stroll at Sture in the late evening produced the first Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper of the year in Øygarden. Otherwise just the usual Cuckoo gjøk etc.

At Tjeldstø the pair of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås were still present - I'm beginning to suspect that these birds are actually from one of the "feral" populations further south/ east in the country...A male Tufted Duck toppand was the first I've seen there for a while.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Skogsøy 14 May 2014 - Almost disappointing

Strong NNW winds and sunny.

Spent several hours seawatching under what should have been ideal conditions for skuas and divers. There were precious few of either - just four Arctic Skua tyvjo, singles of White-billed Diver gulnebblom and Great Northern Diver islom and only 7 Red-throated Diver smålom.

Two Arctic Skua tyvjo heading north

One of many small flocks of Long-tailed Duck havelle

Just about record shot of the only White-billed Diver gulnebblom seen today

However, all was not lost as there was some reaosnable passage of other species including the first Dunlin myrsnipe and Knot polarsnipe of the year. Around 140 Long-tailed Duck havelle, decent numbers of terns and, in the context of recent times also a decent passage of auks - including a late Little Auk alkekonge.

A second year Great Northern Diver islom was seen heading north. Initially identified (with little hesitation) in the field as a Black.throated diver storlom this bird looks like an obvious Great Northern from photos. It seemed small, with rapid wingbeats in the scope but the wedge on the neck, the size of the bill and then evenly wide neck all point towards Great Northern.

Above: second year Great Northern Diver islom