Sunday, June 24, 2018

Engerdal, Hedmark 11-16 June 2018

The current trend of not getting any birding time in continues.

During a trip to Engerdal I managed to get out for one quite productive day camping out in the wilds and had a couple of other very short trips out of the house - one of which resulted in a couple of new species for Engerdal kommune - Common Rosefinch rosenfink and Common Whitethroat tornsanger

I also managed to add Parrot Crossbill furukornebb to my Engerdal list - despite the majority of the crossbills seen being Common Crossbill grankorsnebb.

In other respects it was a typical June trip - with Broad-billed Sandpiper fjellmyrløper, Ruff brushane and the usual breeding waders seen. A couple of Short-eared Owls jordugle, Siberian Jays lavskrike and most of the usual species were also seen.

In the "lowlands" things seemed rather quieter than usual but higher up there was at least as much activity as there usually is.

Yellowhammer gulspurv

Thumebergii Yellow Wagtail gulerle

Roding Woodcock rugde

Wood Sandpipers grønnstilk - a very common breeding bird in the area

Siberian Jay lavskrike

Ruff brushane

Little Gull dvergmåke

Goldeneye kvinand with young

Common Rosefinch rosenfink - one of two birds singing at one site - though I only actually saw this one.

Common Crossbill grankorsnebb

Male Brambling bjørkefink

Up close and personal with Broad-billed Sandpiper fjellmyrløper - this image is only very lightly cropped

Displaying Broad-billed Sandpiper fjellmyrløper

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hernar 28 May 2018 - Orcas

Very calm, very hot and very sunny.

Took a few hours out in the morning and headed off on an all to seldom trip to Hernar.

We had only just got out in the fjord when we were surrounded by Orcas spekkhoggere. Several pods totalling at 30 fed actively, some at point blank range, others on the other side of the fjord. The sound of them surfacing and breathing was incredible.

Orcas in Hjeltefjord

On Hernar itself the best bird was a singing Corncrake åkerrikse - though most of the fields it usually favours had been cut so things don't look too bright. I spent most of the time trying to relocate what may well have been the Bee-eater bieter that has been seen on the island for much of May and did not bother following up on all the smaller passerines I saw. 

Male Twite bergirisk

Generally quite a bit about with Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper, Pied Flycatcher svarthvit fluesnapper, Merlin dvergfalk and a migrating Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove all being new for me in Øygarden this year.

Plenty of Twite bergirisk and all the usual Hernar suspects were also seen.

Arctic Terns rødnebbterne

Eider ærfugl

On the way home we checked out an island or two very quickly - one of them held at least 80 Arctic Tern rødnebbterne - some of which looked to be very settled in. Several all male flocks of Eiders ærfugl were loafing around so heres hoping the females are all sitting tightly on eggs.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Øygarden 02 May - 15 May - An enforced break

I have been asked if I have given up birding again. The answer is actually no, though I am still going to therapy and taking the pills. A change of job, a confirmation and a bunch of other stuff has resulted in the longest period of not going birding in my entire life.

White-tailed Eagle havørn going for Greylags grågås

Typically the first Greylag grågås chicks were out and about and became the attention of the local White-tailed Eagles havørn. The geese with no young fly around in mad panic whilst those with chicks sit tight and bravely (and most often successfully) defend their young.

Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås heading south past my house on 10 May

Common Tern makrellterne from the terrace on 10 May - first for Øygarden this year

Greylags grågås with young on the sea in

A female Marsh Harrier sivhauk was an addition to the house list on 08 May

I kept feeding the birds until 15 May. They went through 2.52kg of sunflower seeds a day. Mostly Greenfinch grønnfink, Siskin grønnsisik and Chaffinch bokfink but also Linnets tornirisk and even a couple of Tree Sparrows pilfink which are an unusual garden bird at my house

The garden tried its best to continue to provide interest with a singing Wryneck vendehals on 12 May
On 07 May I had the first Whinchat buskskvett for Øygarden this year - a cracking male at Kollsnes.

I also had my first of the usual migrants in this period including Sand Martin sandsvale, House Martin taksvale, Arctic Tern rødnebbterne and Sedge Warbler sivsanger.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Herdlevær 01 May 2018 - Taking it easy / Skogsøy blunder

Light SE winds and occasional very light rain.

I took things very easy today and checked a few places that I haven't paid much attention to of late. The thinking was that conditions were not perceived to be ideal for Skogsøy. In reality I wanted to stay in bed past 0500 today....

Female Ring Ousel ringtrost

Whimbrel småspove

A stroll around Herdlevær was generally fairly quiet although it did produce the only new species for the year of the day in the form of a female Ring Ousel ringtrost. I missed out on the first wave of these back in mid April so it was a relief to not have to wait for the autumn for another chance.

I stupidly spent my lunchbreak seawatching. An hour from Herdlevær showed that there was a decent passage despite the less than ideal seawatching conditions - over 40 Red-throated Diver smålom in an hour along with a smattering of other species including a Whimbrel småspove that dropped down and landed. Should have gone to Skogsøy after all.....

A few Twite bergirisk at various locations, Ringed Plover sandlo at their usual breeding site, a White-tailed Eagle havørn at a probable breeding site was doing its best to remain invisible, Some Black-headed Gulls hettemåke and Tufted Duck toppand at Tjeldstø where they were reported breeding some decades ago but I have yet to see concrete proof that they do. Most springs Black-headed Gulls turn up, start acting noisy and looking like they may breed but always do a disappearing act again.

Lesser Whitethroat møller heard singing from the garden.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Skogsøy 30 April 2018 - ....and somewhat predictably

Northerly winds and sunny.

It may come as something of a shock but today's trip out went to.....wait for it.....SKOGSØY.

The conditions looked good and it is peak season so it was yet another early start (but still a lot later than the boys from town).

The only new species for the year were a couple of Dunlin myrsnipe heading north together with some Oystercatcher tjeld. They were not yet in breeding plumage.

A total of 10 White-billed Diver gulnebblom passed - mostly at a very nice telescope range.

I managed quite a remarkable photograph today - almost totally lacking in any photographic qualities I managed to capture three species of diver in the same frame - Great Northern, Red-throated and White-billed. Mega.

Two Dunlin myrsnipe (top right)

Obligatory Gannet havsule spam

A 2cy Great Northern Diver islom (right) together with three Red-throated Diver smålom

A flock of summer plumaged Long-tailed Duck havelle

It was a good day for Red-breasted Merganser siland migration - at least by the standards of recent years

THIS IS THE PHOTO of the day (if clicked on). Three species of diver in one shot. From right to left:
White-billed Diver, Red-throated Diver, Great Northen Diver, and two more Red-throats.

Some random White-billed Diver gulnebblom shots.

It was the best day so far this year for a number of species including Red-breasted Merganser siland.

The totals for the six hours of seawatching were as follows:

Red throated Diver N 239
Great Northern Diver N (2cy)
White Billed Diver N 10
Northern Gannet N 27
Northern Gannet S 1
Great Cormorant N 37
Great Cormorant S 4
Eurasian Shag N 2
Eurasian Shag S 33
Grey Heron N 1
Wigeon N 3
Eider N 4
Eider S 1
Long tailed duck N 33
Long tailed duck S 3
Common Scoter N 31
Common Scoter S 9
Merganser N 32
Oystercatcher N 5
Common Gull N 99
Lesser black backed Gull N 1
Black-legged Kittiwake N 1
Common Guillemot N 13
Common Guillemot S 1
Razorbill N 4
Black Guillemot N 1
Black Guillemot S 1
Auk N 19
Auk S 9

The weather forecast tomorrow is such that Skogsøy may not be the best place to be, it is conceivable that I will cover places that have been neglected of my legs and get another hour or two of badly needed sleep...