Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Nautnes and Blomvatnet 05 December 2017 - Calm after the storm pays off.

Strong onshore winds and rain for most of the daylight hours today.


Moorehen sivhøne


Above and below: Female Scaup bergand (right hand bird) together with four Tufted Duck toppand and a Goldeneye kvinand


Four Tufted Duck toppand

Still too much to do to be out and about but whilst running errands I popped in at Blomvatnet - this proved quite successful with the first Moorehen sivhøne of the winter (and the year for that matter) - quite possibly a returning bird from the east of the country. A female Scaup bergand was another good find here. Otherwise it was just four Tufted Duck toppand along the usual Goldeneyes kvinand, Mallard stokkand etc.

Very often I am almost surprised how many birds there are about as soon as the weather calms down - today was yet another example of this.

Around 1430 I noticed the wind had dropped and it had stopped raining and whilst waiting for several pages of work documents to go through my scanner I looked out of the window to see what I have looked for many times before - a Hawk Owl haukugle sitting in trees a fair distance off. I managed to confirm the observation in the scope but it flew before a camera could be brought to bear....Species 131 from the house:) Also in the area a couple of Willow Tit granmeis and a small flock of Parrot Crossbill grankorsnebb.

Not bad going to get two new for the year in Øygarden on a bad weather day in early December!


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Dåvøy 04 December 2017 - Most of the winter suspects in one go

Calm and mild if a little on the dull side.

A quick trip to Dåvøy produced many of the usual winter suspects with a Slavonian Grebe horndykker on the sea together with a Great Northern Diver islom. Other stuff here included Black Guillemot teist, seven Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a flock of 25 Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb and several Common Scoter svartand.

The Heron gråhegre here roost has increased to over 40 birds.....

Monday, December 04, 2017

Øygarden 28 November - 03 December - Back but not really in business

I was welcomed home by news of the Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv and some fantastic weather. However, being preoccupied with other things I did not really make the most of a period of settled and sunny conditions although White-tailed Eagles havørn, Otters and other things did their best to distract me.

Highlights 28 - 29 November were a Bullfinch dompap flying over the house (my first in Øygarden this year), Dipper fossekall near Alvheim, a Water Rail vannrikse at Hatten. Common Crossbill grankorsnebb, Common Redpoll gråsisik, Whooper Swans sangasvane and a flock of 12 Greylags grågås were among the birds seen.

Great Northern Diver islom

Two of the three GNDs present

Red-throated Diver smålom

One of four White-tailed Eagles havørn seen - here with Lyngøy in the background


Its that time of year again. Gratuitous White-tailed Eagle havørn spam


A trip out to Hjelme Vest on 01 December as the light was going produced some good sightings - including three Great Northern Divers islom and a Red-throated Diver smålom on the sea along with 25 Long-tailed Duck havelle, a Little Auk alkekonge and a couple of Black Guillemot teist. A Goshawk hønsehauk put in an appearance earlier in the day near Alvheim.

A couple of days of wilder weather made it easier to get on with things and not think about birding too much although I had Snipe enkeltbekkasin at Nautnes among other things.

Hatten 14 November 2017 - Black-headed Bunting

Whilst I was away a Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv was seen and well photographed at Hatten on 14th November.

This is only the second record for Øygarden - but perhaps not unexpected as there have been good numbers in Norway this autumn.

Pity it didn't hang around until I returned - I have missed both occurrences here:(

Photos by Roald Hatten.




Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Øygarden 04 November 2017 - Drive-bys

Brisk South-westerly winds, rain much of the day.

No time for anything other than a few brief drive-bys today - just as well as it would have been hard going at times today.

White-tailed Eagle havørn from the terrace (and elsewhere) and a Brambling bjørkefink in the garden.

At Blomvatnet just a couple of Wigeon brunnakke and four Goldeneye kvinand  - the latter species is still arriving with not many about yet.

At Harkestad a flock of Long-tailed Tits stjertmeis put in a welcome appearance - otherwise just small numbers of the usual thrushes and Starling stær along with a presumed Meadow Pipit heipiplerke - frustratingly many of the pipits about at the moment are not calling at all.....

Tjeldstø produced more Redwing rødvingetrost, Brambling bjørkefink, Blackcap munk and the usual suspects.

Herdlevær 03 November 2017 - The weather is here, wish you were lovely

Very strong south westerly winds with some showers.






1cy Northern Goshawk hønsehauk. I like to think of these pictures as atmospheric rather than just underexposed....

Not the best of conditions again but quite a productive day despite this. Highlights were a Glaucous Gull polarmåke, a movement of Little Auks alkekonge, a Goshawk hønsehauk and a Woodcock rugde. The supporting cast included a Curlew storspove, a Peregrine vandrefalk, a few White-tailed Eagle havørn and some duck on the move.

A very small part of the Fieldfare gråtrost flock

Some of the Common Scoter svartand seen today

A Cormorant storskarv with that Ibiza party feeling

A rather hooded Herring Gull gråmåke. Not the most extreme version I have seen but it made us look twice....

Redwing rødvingetrost

Birders in action at Herdlevær today. Photo: Roald Hatten

A large flock of Fieldfare gråtrost was pretty spectacular, smaller numbers of Redwing rødvingetrost, a late Meadow Pipit heipiplerke, a Willow Tit granmeis, a small flock of Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, a couple of late Greylags grågås, two Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a pair of Wigeon brunnakke were also seen here.

A quick look at Breivik was pretty much more of the same but more Redwing rødvingetrost and small flocks of Chaffinch bokfink and Brambling bjørkefink seen here along with a couple more Meadow Pipit heipiplerke.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Skogsøy 02 November 2017 - Little Auks but only just

Gale force northerly winds but sunny.




Cormorant storskarv struggling north into the wind

Gannet havsule

Long-tailed Ducks havelle

One of a number of Razorbill alke seen heading north


View to the south today - worth the walk in itself......

As usual couple of hours spent seawatching produced some decent birds. Technically I suppose three adult Great Northern Diver islom beat four Little Auks alkekonge but the former have been a lot more obvious of late than the latter - the first of the autumn for me.

Other than that it was the usual suspects with good numbers of Gannet havsule, some Common Scoter svartand heading south and small numbers of Kittiwake krykkje, Razorbill alke and Long-tailed Duck havelle also seen.

Perhaps the most interesting sighting given the weather conditions were some flocks of passerines coming in off the sea - most unusual with the wind in the north. The only flock positively identified were Redpoll gråsisik but the other flocks were also very likely this species. Perhaps arriving from Iceland....

The walk there and back produced the usual suspects - White-tailed Eagle havørn, Raven ravn, Crested Tit toppmeis etc along with a single male Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke, three Willow Tit granmeis and a flock of around 40 Common Redpoll gråsisik.




Up close and personal with an Otter at Tjeldstø - I've managed to not take pictures on a number of occasions the last few days but it would have been downright rude not to have taken advantage of today's opportunity....

At Tjeldstø one or two Little Auk alkekonge put in an appearance alongside White-tailed Eagle havørn and an Otter oter - seen daily of late including on the shore in front of my house.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Øygarden 01 November 2017 - Clearout?

Strong SW winds and rain much of the day.

Significantly fewer birds about today - the flocks of thrushes in the fields and crossbills overhead were pretty much absent today.


Nuthatch spettmeis at Sæle

It was not completely birdless though with Blackcaps munk at Tjeldstø and Sæle, Snipe enkeltbekkasin here and there, White-tailed Eagles havørn, flocks of Starling stær more or less everywhere and still some woodland species about that are normally uncommon such as Willow Tits granmeis and Nuthatch spettmeis.

Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke were seen here and there but only one Meadow Pipit heipiplerke.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Skogsøy 30 October 2017 - Aftermath

Relatively calm, some showers.


First year Glaucous Gull polarmåke


I took a late and lazy hour and a half at Skogsøy to see what would happen now that the wind has dropped. I was not disappointed, although nothing really special passed. Highlight here was a first year Glaucous Gull polarmåke - a typical late autumn sighting at Skogsøy. Other stuff included a couple of Great Northern Divers islom heading north close in. Pretty much everything else went south with Gannets havsule, Kittiwakes krykkje and Common Scoter svartand as the most numerous. Also a few Red-throated Diver smålom, Razorbill alke and a few other bits and bobs.

Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb were again very obvious with around 20 feeding in the woods and another flying over during the seawatch.


Jackdaw kaie watching us leave the car park at Skogsøy

A Jackdaw kaie close to the car park was remarkably the first in Øygarden this year and thus arguably a better bird than the Glaucous Gull....

Siberian Chiff-chaff tristis gransanger

Male Blackcap munk

In the afternoon I snatched 30 minutes at Sæle as the light went. Here the highlight was a Siberian Chiff-chaff - giving good views and the typical chicken call but not much in the way of photo opportunities. A Blackcap munk fed on elderberries here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Herdlevær 29 October 2017 - A blustery day

Howling northerly gale but mostly sunny. A rather blustery day.

Today's outing was to Herdlevær with my youngest in tow. At times it was hard for me to remain on my feet, never mind her and in two places I had to hang on tight to her so she wouldn't fall over a precipice or be blown into the sea. This brought some Winnie the Pooh memories back....



A bit on the blustery side today....

This sums the conditions up nicely


Things weren't quite as bad as in the above picture, but not far off. A first year Peregrine vandrefalk was the best sighting and it showed up whilst we were at the windiest place in the whole world. It was so bad that even when I knelt down I still got buffeted so much that it was difficult to not fall over never mind follow a fast moving bird with a telephoto lens.

I got lucky and managed a few shots of an obviously very well fed bird with a bulging crop.




A well fed 1cy Peregrine vandrefalk. Obviously managing to find prey despite (or possibly because of) the strong winds.

Other than that a few Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke, a couple of White-tailed Eagles havørn and a few Gannets havsule were among the few birds that hadn't blown away.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Øygarden 28 October 2017 - The X factor

Strong northerly winds with occasional short showers.


Male Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb showing wingbar






Female Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb

Male Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb


It is not often I see all three crossbill species in one day but Øygarden is heaving with crossbills at the moment. Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb were the dominant species today with a number of flocks seen - at least two of them numbering 20. Some mixed flocks too - the first flock I got onto today was seven Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb with one Two-barred Crossbill bånkorsnebb - a cracking male. It did not give the typical trumpet call of the species but when the flock flew it went in the opposite direction and right over where I was standing - the flight call was typical of the species and obviously different from the other crossblls heard today. Other flocks contained a mixed bag of Common Crossibll grankorsnebb and Parrots.




Yellow-legged Gull gubeinmåke at Tjeldstø

The Yellow-legged Gull gulbeinmåke, which some have doubted the ID of,  turned up at Tjeldstø again. I only managed a few distant shots but it is obvious that P9 and P10 have almost grown back in again. A very easy bird to pick out from the crowd for a number of reasons.

Lots of Redwings rødvingetrost feeding in the fields now

The only other migrants were Redwings rødvingetrost with flocks feeding on the ground at a few places - most berries have already been cleaned out. A flock of eight Meadow Pipits heipiperke at Breivik proved that there is still some migration going on.

Other stuff included a several White-tailed Eagles havørn, all juveniles, Willow Tits granmeis and many of the usual suspects.