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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Herdlevær 16 June 2015 - Missing out

Light NW, largely sunny.

Nice conditions but not much to report other than the usual suspects. Many / most species now have fledged young with some large flocks of Starling stær and lots of various thrush youngsters out and about. A couple of singing Lesser Whitethroat møller were the only things of even remote interest,

A couple of Red-throated Diver smålom and a small flock of Common Scoter svartand headed north whilst I ate breakfast but other than that it was pretty dead.

My morning coffee at Nautnes was quite entertaining as an Otter pulled a lumpsucker (rongkjeks) ashore and started to eat it. A Great Black-backed gull svartbak and a Hooded Crow kråke immediately joined in. The crow harried the otter constantly, pulling at its tail and dancing around it all the time. This obviously irritated the otter who moved a short distance - losing a few morsels of fish as it did so. This process was repeated until the otter got tired of the whole affair and swam off leaving the fish on the rocks - at which point the gull, who had done nothing other than patiently wait grabbed the whole thing leaving the hard-working crow with nothing. The crow was obviously a lot more scared of the gull than it was the otter....

The Hooded Crow kråke kept the Otter moving....

It came in close and even pulled the Otter's tail

But when the otter had had enough it was the Great Black-backed Gull svartbak that won the prize

One of many Wheatear steinskvett seen today

Whilst I was away I missed out on some pretty good stuff - a flock of Bee eaters bieter, an Osprey fiskeørn, the first Icterine Warbler gulsanger of the year and just last night a Nightjar nattravn - first for Øygarden!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Skogsøy 31 May 2015 - Skogsøy still going strong

North westerly breeze with a hint of showers early on.

Despite being generally quiet Skogsøy, as usual, produced some good birds. I sat for three hours from 0600 and had, among other things, the following:

Red-throated Diver smålom: 5N
Great Northern Diver islom: 1S (adult)
Gannet havsule: 174N, 2S
Shag toppskarv, 17N, 10S
Heron gråhegre: 1N (obviously migrating)
Brent Goose ringgås: 5N (first for Hordaland this year -. though one was seen inland later in the day)
Common Scoter svartand: 3N, 45S
Merganser siland: 5S
Pomarine Skua polarjo: 3N breaking the 8 O' clock rule!:)
Arctic Skua tyvjo: 2N
Guillemot lomvi: 4N
Razorbill alke: 2N

Gannets havsule were the most numerous species today

Pale phase Arctic Skua tyvjo on the right, Pom Skua polarjo on the left

Pom polarjo

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

The very first pale-bellied Brent ringgås of the year

And a small flock of the same later on

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Herdlevær 30 May 2015 - Dead Fulmar

Light WNW wind, sunny.

A walk at Herdlevær didn't produce that much but proved to be great fun as my youngest and I honed our climbing skills up and down the cliffs. A dead bird was located floating offshore but obviously coming closer - we attempted to predict where it would come ashore but the vagaries of wind, current and the cliffs made things a bit tricky. In the end we managed to bag this dead Fulmar havhest after a goose-chase along the entire west coast of the island.

At Tjeldstø the only birds of note were a couple of Black-headed Gulls hettemåke and a female Teal krikkand with three very young chicks - first of the year.

Back at Nautnes I stood on my terrace for a few minutes with a can of beer and photographed this Common Tern makrellterne fishing. I have to say I have an amazing house,,,,,

Common Tern makrellterne fishing at Nautnes

This image illustrates one of the golden rules of bird photography very well:
If the images is crystal sharp  and otherwise well exposed then there will be a wing-tip missing!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tjeldstø 27-29 May 2015 - Too busy to bird / autumn?

Largely decent weather bit with occasional showers.

A drive-by on 27 May produced a Collared Dove tykerdue.

A short stroll through the north end of the reserve on 28 May was a little more productive with around 20 Golden Plover heilo and at least one Whimbrel småspove present.

Most of the Oystercatcher tjeld flock - late migrants or early failed breeders on their way south?

Rook kornkråke

On 29 May a small flock of six Oystercatcher tjeld were obviously non-breeders. Late migrants or early return migrants? A Rook kornkråke may be the same bird that has been seen on and off in the area for the last couple of months.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Engerdal 22-26 May 2015 - Not birding Øygarden - but no regrets!

I recently spent a few days in Engerdal in Hedmark county and would liked to have spent more time there. This area is much larger than Øygarden and with a lot fewer people living there. It is a municipality with a massive potential and in many ways an inland version of Øyarden - wild and untamed and even more under-watched.

Great Snipe dobbeltbekkasin

Migrating Red-necked Phalarope svømmesnipe

Highlights this time around were a resting Great Snipe dobbeltbekkasin, Red-necked Phalarope svømmesnipe, Little Gulls dvergmåke, Capercaille storfugl, Cranes trane and Waxwings sidensvans. All this in addition to the usual selection of waders and wildfowl as well as some personal Engerdal "firsts" such as Buzzard musvåk. All almost without trying.

I had similar problems that Rixy experienced recently with closed roads and a lot of snow - should have been there in a couple of weeks time.....

Here are few images from my latest visit to my second favourite municipality in Norway:

Common Sandpiper strandsnipe

Common Scoter svartand with Velvet Scoter sjøorre in the background

Crane trane

Above and below: Little Gull dvergmåke

Semi-tame Reindeer

Roe Deer

Above and below: Waxwings sidensvans getting settled in

Male Whinchat buskskvett

Whooper Swans sangsvane

Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk back on an almost ice free breeding ground

Above and below: More Wood Sands grønnstilk at lower altitude...

Dunlin myrsnipe feeding along the icy edge of an still frozen pool - note the snow / ice in the lower image

Nuthatch spettmeis