Friday, March 31, 2006

Skogsøy 31 March 2006

Chaffinch bokfink numbers are increasing daily....

Fresh northerly winds meant that it was sunny but cold at Skogsøy. A relatively quiet day, best birds were eight Little Auk alkekonge heading north - the most I've seen for ages in a winter that has been very poor for seeing this species. Other stuff included a single male Snow Bunting snøspurv and the first Skylark sanglerke at Skogsøy this year.

Now logged over 14300 birds since 15 March.....

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Øygarden 30 March 2006

A good days migration at Skogsøy with Common (Mew) Gull fiskemåke being the most numerous - over 3600 whilst I was there and still going strong (250-300 per hour) as I left....Good numbers of Black-headed Gull hettemåke heading north too, with 62 seen - a best ever for me.

White-tailed Eagle havørn over the house when returned home - obviously eyeing up the newly arrived flock of around 80 Greylags grågås on Husvatnet....

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Skogsøy 29 March 2006

Wet and grey again, but far from dead. Four new species for the spring migration count: a Glaucous Gull polarmåke, Eurasian Wigeon brunnakke, Mallard stokkand and Dunlin myrsnipe. The Glaucous Gull, a 3 cy bird, came past at around 10m distance - just as I'd poured a cup of tea, otherwise I may not have noticed it.....

Superb views of Peregrine vandrefalk and White-tailed Eagle havørn within metres of my lookout.

Obviously a lot going on with mass arrivals of passerines all over Øygarden - flocks all over the place but I didn't manage to get out and check.....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Skogsøy 28 March 2006

Common Eider ærfugl at Skogsøy

A better migration day today despite overcast weather and rain / drizzle for the second day in a row. New for the year were a few Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke. Other birds included two divers, one of which was probably the first White-billed Diver gulnebblom of the spring.
Other signs of migration were a few newly arrived Chaffinches bokfink on the rocks out at the lookout point.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Skogsøy 27 March 2006

Lookout post II

Wettest and queitest day this far. A flock of seven Northern Lapwing vipe were the first at Skogsøy this year. Small numbers of Eurasian Oystercatcher tjeld and Curlew storspove on the move.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Skogsøy 26 March 2006 - Winter again

Raven ravn in snow shower
Eurasian Shag toppskarv

Light snow and easterly winds removed any impression of spring entirely - and the lack of migration was probably a reflection of this. A Velvet Scoter sjøorre was the first since regular counts started 15 March. Otherwise just a Snow Bunting snøspurv, a Peregrine vandrefalk and 60 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt worth mentioning.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Skogsøy 25 March 2006 - Back to earth

Raven ravn
Dawn over the Kollsnes LNG plant

After yesterday's hectic day today came as a bit of a shock; despite almost identical weather there was a much lower level of activity today.

However, a Great Northern Diver islom on the sea, a couple of Snow Bunting snøspurv heading north, an adult White-tailed Eagle havørn right past the lookout and a few Woodcock rugde it wasn't such a bad day after all.

The best observation today wasn't birds at all but a family party of four Orcas - a male, two females and a calf. I had good views for around half an hour. At one point they panicked a Little Auk alkekonge which flew off as fast as it could.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Øygarden 24 March 2006

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt at Skogsøy today
Still well below freezing at night, but bright and sunny so no complaints there...
A fantastic days migration with more birds in the first half hour than all day yesterday - over 2700 altogether. Main species was Eurasian Oystercatcher tjeld; new species for the spring today was Common Shelduck gravand. Other highlights included a Great Northern Diver islom; for full details click here. Two Blackbird svartrost flew in off the sea and landed one on each side of me only a couple of metres away - obviously relieved to have made it...
I added some tips on keeping warm during winter seawatching here.
Peregrine, five Meadow Pipit heipiplerke, the Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt flock and two Eurasian Woodcock rugde (new arrivals?) in addition to the migration....
At Tjeldstø spring arrived with a bang today with over 40 Greylags grågås, an Eurasian Curlew storspove, several Northern Lapwing vipe, 50 Starling stær, an Eurasian Woodcock rugde and Woodpigeon ringdue all present.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Skogsøy 23 March 2006

Part of a flock of ca 40 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt

Yet more snow yesterday and during the night and a bitingly cold SE meant that it felt somewhat chilly again. Plenty of activity today - the first day with over 1000 birds logged. Best birds in a Skogsøy context were four Canada Geese kanadagås heading north - a new species for me there.

Best "real" birds were two Little Auks alkekonge - they've been unusually scarce this winter.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Øygarden 22 March 2006

White-tailed Eagle havørn
Didn't make it to Skogsøy today - my youngest was sick all night and then all day. There were light southerlies today - so there was a good chance the Oystercatcher migration was in full swing.

However, got out of the house for half an hour in the evening when I took the above picture. There is talk of a "wind farm" here in Øygarden. God forbid they start chopping up our eagles too - not to mention that even more land will be lost to industry. Kollnes is big enough as it is.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Skogsøy 21 March 2006. Smoke break birding.

I have written about the advantages of smoking and birding earlier - for example in California. There are however, certain disadvantages, especially whilst seawatching. Attention can be diverted whilst smokes and lighter are located and the lighter made to work in high winds. Today there was no smoking during the seawatch - this may have helped pick up the first of the two Great Northern Divers islom today. It passed during a lull in a snow storm - I have often either eaten or smoked during these squalls....

Otherwise the first Black-headed Gull hettemåke of the spring headed north today.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Skogsøy 20 March 2006

Snow squalls came in off the sea in near gale force north westerly winds today. Not very pleasant but thankfully the squalls were short lived. The strong winds meant that little other than Northern Gannets havsule were on the move. Both Peregrine vandrefalk and a juvenile White-tailed Eagle havørn present.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Skogsøy 19 March 2006

Day 5. The first day with any appreciable wind. New species for the spring seawatching were Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje and Atlantic Puffin lunde.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Øygarden 18 March 2006

A Great Northern Diver islom and a Red-throated Diver smålom were the best birds at Skogsøy today. Four Grey Heron gråhegre came in off the sea - obviously returning from their winter holiday in the U.K. Peregrine vandrefalk and White-tailed Eagle havørn still around

At Tjeldstø 12 Woodpigeon ringdue were the first of 2006.

Others (T. Hansen and O. Heggøy) were out and about in Øygarden today:
At Hellesøy three Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker headed north as did three Snow Bunting snøspurv. Another Great Northern Diver islom was on the sea there and the flock of around 80 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt was also reported again.

The Dipper fossekall, a good Øygarden bird, was seen again at Hjelme.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Skogsøy 17 March 2006

Long-tailed Duck, havelle, Skogsøy
At the lookout it is just me, the dog and the ravens...

Quiet day migration wise but two Snow Bunting snøspurv heading north were the first I've seen there this year. I watched the Peregrine vandrefalk heading out to sea, gaining height as it did so - I've seen this behaviour a number of times and am pretty sure that this bird hunts auks out to sea....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Breivik 16 March 2006 - Spring, but not as we know it

"Car Park" view 06:00

Whooper Swan sangsvane, Breivik
Lapwing vipe, Breivik
Fieldfare gråtrost, Breivik

A fairly uneventful day at Skogsøy produced the first migrating Common Gull fiskemåke and Meadow Pipit heipiplerke there this year. Peregrine vandrefalk seen briefly.

A quick look at Breivik is explained well enough in the pictures above.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Øygarden 15 March 2006

Lapwing vipe at Breivik

The big day finally arrived - the start of the seawatching season at Skogsøy. Fantastic weather, although bitterly cold around dawn - some spilt tea froze almost instantly....only 77 days left!

The count details are presented here.

At Skogsøy a Peregrine vandrefalk sat on its lookout almost as long as I did.....

A "drive by" at Breivik revealled some new arrivals feeding on the still fozen fields - 20 Fieldfare gråtrost, 10 Redwing rødvingtrost, 10 Starling stær and two Northern Lapwing vipe.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Øygarden 14 March 2006

Greylag grågås at Tjeldstø
Raven ravn at Tjeldstø

Still rather cold and frozen....

A quick look at the sea at Hjelme "West" gave good results, a Woodcock rugde seen on the way out. At the coast two White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Peregrine vandrefalk, a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker, around 55 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, nine Oystercatcher tjeld and most of the usual species.

At Tjeldstø a flock of nine Greylags grågås fed beside Husvatnet where there were also four Starling stær and a Lapwing vipe
Tomorrow the seawatching starts for real....

Monday, March 13, 2006

Solberg 13 March 2006

Red-breasted Merganser siland at Solberg

Strong winds meant that it felt very cold today.

At Solberg the seaduck had been forced in due to the rough weather further out. At least 30 Common Scoter svartand, 5 Velvet Scoter sjøorre, 50 Long-tailed Duck havelle and a couple of hundred Common Eider ærfugl were in the bay.

Other birds included a Rock Pipit skjærepipilerke and an Oystercatcher tjeld.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Skogsøy 10 March 2006

Whooper Swans sangsvane with Teal krikkand at Skogsøy
Winter Wren gjerdesmett on my lawn - another attempt today

A very pleasant evening stroll produced plenty of birds including the first Common Teal krikkand of the year together with 14 Whooper Swans sangsvane. A juvenile White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Peregrine vandrefalk, a flock of 60 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and a Eurasian Woodcock rugde were the other noteworthy species. The overwintering Rock Pipit skjærepipilerke also still present.

A single Common Guillemot lomvi on the sea was the first for a while - there seem to be very few auks around in general this winter.

No passage noted over the sea, but didn't really look.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Solberg 09 March 2006

Eurasian Oystercatcher tjeld
Winter Wren gjerdesmett, today's attempt

A trip down as the light was going was far from a waste of time but not exactly the best photographic conditions.

Best bird was an Eurasian Woodcock rugde, other stuff included a couple of Oystercatcher tjeld, five Velvet Scoter sjøorre and the usual 40+ Long-tailed Duck havelle, 15 Red-breasted Merganser siland etc.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Tjeldstø 08 March 2006

Winter Wren gjerdesmett on my lawn

The first returning Greylags grågås, a flock of five, turned up on the rapidly thawing Husvatnet today.

Barely out of the house today so little seen, just a Fieldfare gråtrost and a flock of 15 Common Scoter svartand on the sea.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tjeldstø 07 March 2006

Hooded Crow kråke
Redwing rødvingtrost

Still cold, sunny and very frozen. Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin and Woodcock rugde tracks abound - goodness only knows how they are surviving. One Woodcock rugde seen well by the roadside.

Best bird was a male Peregrine vandrefalk flying over the reserve, other birds included at least 20 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and four Common Starling stær.
A "drive by" at Herdlevær produced a couple of Redwing rødvingtrost and more signs of Woodcock rugde.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hjelme 06 March 2006 - Migrants Arrive

The first definite spring arrivals were noted today with a minimum of 22 Eurasian Oystercatcher tjeld present. More Oystercatcher tjeld were heard heading north over Tjeldstl around 22:00.

I managed to snap a few record shots of a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker on the sea - there may well have been more.

The best bird, in an Øygarden context was a Dipper fossekall flushed up from the shore - no doubt driven to the coast by the current cold weather.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Øygarden 05 March 2006

Even less time birding than usual. A two minute look at the sea at Hjelme produced a Red Necked Grebe gråstrupedykker (probably a different bird to the other day) and most of the usual including a couple of White-tailed Eagle havørn.

The only other bird of note was a lapwing vipe at Solberg.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Øygarden 04 March 2006

Female Red-breasted Merganser siland, Hjelme today

Calm and sunny again.

A quick trip down to Solberg produced around 25 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and five Velvet Scoter sjøorre as best birds. White-tailed Eagle havørn "everywhere" again today with at least six observed.

Noteable birds reported by others today were Red-throated Diver smålom at Alvheim and three Woodcock rugde at Herdlevær.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hjelme 02 March 2006

Woods at Hjelme

An hours stroll in the superb winter sunshine produced excellent results. A Woodcock rugde flushed in the woods was the first noteworthy bird followed by a flock of 90 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt (same flock as yesterday - just seen better).

Best birds were the spring's first Red-throated Diver smålom which came in from the south and landed on the sea and a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker that was starting to acquire a red neck. Other birds included a minimum of four White-tailed Eagle havørn and at least 160 Long-tailed Duck havelle.

On the way back a Goshawk hønsehauk in the woods was a bonus bird in addition to the usual Goldcrests fuglekonge, Crested Tits toppmeis etc.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Øygarden 01 March 2006

Eagles everywhere today with singles at Solberg and Svellingen and a number of birds flying around. Minimum of five birds invloved in the northern part of Øygarden alone...

A flock of at least 80 Purple Sandpipier fjæreplytt at Svellingen is the largest flock I have seen this winter - possibily indicating that birds are returning from their wintering grounds. A minimum of six Black Guillemot teist also at Svellingen.

Otherwise much the same as usual with at least 200 Long-tailed Duck havelle and a few each of Velvet sjøorre and Common Scoter svartand