Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Øygarden 31 Jan 2006

Solberg today
Tree Sparrow pilfink

House Sparrow gråspurv through window shot today - I really ought to wash them someday....

A very quick look at Solberg produced a Eurasian Curlew storpove, surprisingly a better bird than the juvenile White-tailed Eagle havørn that flew right over my head. Otherwise just the usual suspects: Black Guillemot teist, Velvet Scoter sjøorre and so on.

In the garden a massive eight House Sparrow gråspurv in addition to the much m0re numerous Tree Sparrows pilfink. The difficult redpoll remains....but with a 2 year old at home no time to study it....

An adult White-tailed Eagle havørn flew past the house following a fishing boat.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Rong 30 Jan 2006

View south at Rong, Øygarden

Adult White-tailed Eagle havørn

rossicus Bean Goose sædgås

Greylag grågås

Almost late taking one of my daughters to the dentist due to the presence of five Greylags grågås and two Bean Geese sædgås on the thawing ice on Husvatnet, Tjeldstø. One of the Bean geese still seems to be rossicus, but the other one shows features of fabalis (longer beak with more orange on it).

After the dentists we took a walk near Rong, where star birds were two Little Grebe dvergdykker which dived and vanished as soon as the camera came out. Other good winter birds here were two Oystercatcher tjeld (not annual during the winter months in Hordaland), an Eurasian Curlew storspove and a nice Peregrine Falcon vandrefalk.

The supporting cast included an adult White-tailed Eagle havørn, four Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, two Velvet Scoter sjøorre, over 40 Red-breasted Merganser siland and a flock of 37 Grey Heron gråhegre

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Tjeldstø 29 Jan 2006 - Another good day at home

Weather calm and mild - fantastic. Another good day birding despite family commitments. The Redpolls, one Meally gråsisik and one apparent Arctic polarsisik were still in the garden.

Two rossicus Bean Goose sædgås were a new species both for Tjeldstø and my house list. They were still together with the five Greylags grågås they were together with at Breivik a few days ago.

Other birds included at least twelve Fieldfare gråtrost, two Redwing rødvingtrost and ten Starling stær.

Meally Redpoll gråsisik

Probable Arctic Redpoll polarsisik

rossicus Bean Goose sædgås

Robin rødstrupe

Fieldfare gråtrost

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tjeldstø 28 Jan 2006

Tjeldstø, view from my garden

Small billed & pale Redpoll (compare to lowest Redpoll picture)

"White-rumped" Redpoll

Generally rather pale...

"Normal" Meally Redpoll gråsisik

Blue tit blåmeis

At home today, but nevertheless not entirely bird-free!

A large diver, probably a White-billed Diver gulnebblom headed south down the fjord. Other patch firsts for 2006 included a razorbill alke on the sea and a Puffin lunde heading down the fjord and at least two Redpoll in the garden - both of which I initially thought of as Meally Redpoll gråsisik but on further inspection one of them seemed pale, small-billed and had a white rump. Any comments more than welcome.

Otherwise a Eurasian Sparrowhawk spurvehauk, 15 Common Scoter svartand on the sea and most of the usual stuff.

All without leaving the house.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Øygarden 27 Jan 2006


Common Scoter svartand

Fantastic weather again. Rather little about but at Alvheim a flock of Common Scoter svartand were very nervous due to the presence of two juvenile White-tailed Eagle havørn. A Puffin lunde on the sea was the first of the year - they tend to be few and far between in winter. Otherwise just Long-tailed Duck havelle, Black Guillemot teist and the usual suspects.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Øygarden 26 Jan 2006

Solberg today

Long-tailed Duck havelle at Solberg
Lapwing vipe at Tjeldstø
Checked both Breivik and Tjeldstø for geese, but no sign of any today. However, three Lapwing vipe and a small flock of Fieldfare gråtrost and Starling stær were still present at Tjeldstø along wing 20 Common Scoter svartand on the sea.
Eagle Owl hubro seen well flying out at dusk at a regular site. However, no vocalisations today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tjeldstø 23 Jan 2006

Only managed the usual hour with the dog; I'd given up on the predicted weather improvement and gone out anyway. The Northern Goshawk hønsehauk was still around, looking somewhat bedraggled in a tree. Also an increase in the Whooper Swan sangsvane numbers to 12 (3 young).

Half way around the reserve the weather cleared and things got much better. Three Lapwing vipe flew up calling - very springlike. Next surprise and bird of the day was a Jack Snipe kvartbekkasin flushed in the usual way along with two Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin.

Passerines included 10+ Tree Sparrow pilfink, a Brambling bjørkefink , two Starling stær and at least 10 Redwing rødvingtrost.

As the light was going checked that the five albifrons Whitefronts tundragås were still present.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Øygarden 23 Jan 2006 - Wild Goose Chase

White-fronted Goose Tundragås

The title of this post should perhaps be called "the wind remained the same" the well known birding adaptation of Led Zep's classic. The southerly gale continues unabated, but the snow changed to rain. Without using underwater camera gear hopes of obtaining decent pictures dwindled rapidly - shooting at 400 ISO at 1/60 with water covered lenses in car being shaken by the wind didn't exactly make for optimal conditions .

The five Whitefronts tundragås were still at Tjeldstø, and in what passed for daylight were quickly identified as the "normal" albifrons (from NE Europe / Siberia). Main clue was the pink bills. Plenty of Redwing rødvingtrost and Fieldfare gråtrost in the fields - no doubt making the most of the thaw

Bean Goose sædgås

A quick check at Breivik confirmed that the two Bean Geese sædgås were still present with five Greylags grågås. Still look like rossicus on account of bill size and pattern. The birds also seem a little smaller and daintier than the accompanying Greylags.

Sick of driving around in the car and periodically washing my objective lenses in the deluge, I opted for a stroll at Solberg. The Eiders ærfugl and Long-tailed Duck havelle were close in - forced there by heavy seas. Best bird here was a female Goosander laksand, a species that is generally seen inland and is barely annual in Øygarden. A Woodcock rugde and a Common Gull fiskmåke were also present. Common gull are surpisingly few and far between during the winter in Øygarden - they are much more numerous in Bergen.

Yet another example of how the weather is never too bad to stay home.....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Øygarden 22 Jan 2006

Bean Goose (sædgås)

Strong southerlies and snow meant that conditions were far from optimal. The day turned out to be somewhat goose dominated, typically for the time of year this meant some "good" geese. At Breivik there were two Bean Geese (sædgås), seemingly of the sibirian race rossicus (short deep-based beak, small orange patch) together with fice Greylags (grågås). Not exactly the best of lighting for taking pictures.....

Greylag Goose (grågås)

Five White-fronted Geese (tundragås) were originally reported at Sture but were subsequently relocated at Tjeldstø.

Other birds included excellent views of a juv White-tailed Eagle (havørn) at Svellingen where a Woodcock (rugde) was also flushed. A Velvet Scoter (sjøorre) joined a flock of 18 Red-breasted Merganser (siland) here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tjeldstø 21 Jan 2006

Northern Goshawk / Hønsehauk
Best bird was once again the Northern Goshawk (hønsehauk). Other new birds for Tjeldstø this year included an unseasonal Lapwing (vipe) and 30 Common Scoter (svartand) on the sea. A Common Snipe (enkeltbekkasin), 30+ Starling (stær) and several Tree Sparrow (pilfink) also noted.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Tjeldstø 20 Jan 2006

With the light fading fast, a howling SSE gale and driving sleet, hopes weren't high of seeing anything worthwhile. However, an hours tramping through the sodden terrain paid of with nice views of a HUGE Northern Goshawk (hønsehauk) - could it be responsible for the death of the Whooper Swan currently lying half eaten in the marsh behind Husvatnet?

Other birds included a flock of over 30 Fieldfare (gråtrost), 12 Starling (stær), at least 6 Chaffinch (bokfink) and 5 Greylag Geese (grågås). The latter birds could be the remainder of the flock of seven birds, probably Icelandic visitors, that were present around Christmas.

Tjeldstø 19 Jan 2006

Very strong SE winds and snow on the ground. A huge contrast to Dampier and Karratha in NW Australia a couple of days ago....

Not much to see, just a flock of 30 Starling (stær), a few Whooper Swans and at least 600 Herring Gull (gråmåke) over the fox farm.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Tjeldstø 01 Jan 2006

Superb weather again, sunny with no wind and a few degrees below freezing.

Just a couple of hours in the field today but well worth it. At Tjeldstø new species for the bird race were:

Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker 1 (a long awaited new species for the locality)
Ruddy Turnstone steinvender 1
Little Auk alkekonge 4
Bohemian Waxwing sidensvans 10
Rock Pipit skjærepipilerke 2
Fieldfare gråtrost 1

Other birds inlcuded 35 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, a Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin, 2 White-tailed Eagle havørn and the usual 15+ Tree Sparrow pilfink in my garden.

Still struggling to get the Tree Sparrow shot I'm after, today's attempt is a small step in the right direction.....