Monday, December 31, 2007

Tjeldstø 31 December - day 3

Barely out of the house so only added a few more species. A Brambling bjørkefink in the garden, a Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin in the fields and bird of the day - the Black Redstart svartrødstjert still present at Sture (thanks MF!).

In all I managed 53 species in Øygarden during the last few days - and didn't see a number of the regular species. Realistically 5-10 more species should have been possible.

The local newspaper finally published something about the effects of the Statfjord oil spillage - see here

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Øygarden 30 December 2007 - Day 2

Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb
Some of the approximately 10 White-tailed Eagles havørn seen today

Day two of the "big list" and another difficult day, strong winds, this time from the north, hampered progress most of the time. Plenty of highlights today - best bird for me was a Water Rail vannrikse seen scampering away through the undergrowth at Hjelme. This competed with a 2cy Iceland Gull grønnlandsmåke at Alvheim for best bird of the day.

Another potentially hard to get species was a Ruddy Turnstone steinvender at Tjeldstø. The other new species were more predictable - Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt flocks were seen at Solberg (20) and Tjeldstø (10+). Now on 50 species......without a number of glaring omissions. Sparrowhawk spurvhauk seen at both Tjeldstø and Solberg, several Little Auk alkekonge at "Hjelme Vest" and most of the usual suspects.

Two more species that got away included a "guillebill" alke/lomvi over Hjeltefjord and a probable Merlin dvergfalk at Solberg.

White-tailed Eagles havørn EVERYWHERE today, with at least 10 birds seen.

Red-necked Grebe Gråstrupedykker
Water Rail Vannrikse
Purple Sandpiper Fjæreplytt
Ruddy Turnstone Steinvender
Iceland Gull Grønlandsmåke
Black Guillemot Teist
Rock Pipit Skjærpiplerke
Fieldfare Gråtrost
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Pilfink
Common Crossbill Grankorsnebb

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Skogsøy 29 December 2007

First day in the annual "New Years Listing" competition. Near gale force winds and lashing rain meant there were predictably few species to be seen. As usual, however, Skogsøy did not disappoint with a number of "good" species. Highlights were at least one, probably two Peregrines vandrefalk, a few Little Auk alkekonge, two Puffins lunde , two Kittiwake krykkje and an adult Gannet havsule.

Other sightings worth mentioning were a Curlew storspove and a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk at Herdleavær, 35 Greylags grågås at Breivik, White-tailed Eagle havørn and superb views of an Otter oter eating a small fish.

In addition to the species I saw a Little Grebe dvergdykker was reported from Rong

Full species list (40 in total) below, there are a number of obvious gaps which will hopefully be filled tomorrow....

Northern Gannet Havsule
Great Cormorant Storskarv
European Shag Toppskarv
Grey Heron Gråhegre
Whooper Swan Sangsvane
Greylag Goose Grågas
Mallard Stokkand
Common Eider Ærfugl
Long-tailed Duck Havelle
Common Scoter Svartand
Velvet Scoter Sjøorre
Common Goldeneye Kvinand
Red-breasted Merganser Siland
White-tailed Eagle Havørn
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Spurvehauk
Peregrine Vandrefalk
Eurasian Woodcock Rugde
Eurasian Curlew Storspove
Common Gull Fiskemåke
Herring Gull Gråmake
Great Black-backed Gull Svartbak
Black-legged Kittiwake Krykkje
Little Auk Alkekonge
Atlantic Puffin Lunde
Winter Wren Gjerdesmett
European Robin Rødstrupe
Blackbird Svartrost
Redwing Rødvingetrost
Goldcrest Fuglekonge
Willow Tit Granmeis
Crested Tit Toppmeis
Coal Tit Svartmeis
Blue Tit Blåmeis
Great Tit Kjøttmeis
Black-billed Magpie Skjære
Hooded crow Kråke
Common Raven Ravn
House Sparrow Gråspurv
Chaffinch Bokfink
European Greenfinch Grønnfink

Friday, December 28, 2007

Late December 2007....

Female Goldeneye kvinand, Solberg
Record shot of a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker at Solberg

Little or no time out and about of late but Woodcock rugde seen at Hjelme, a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker in front of my house on 27th and another one at Solberg on 28th. Sparrowhawks spurvhauk seen at Tjeldstø and Herdlevær and White-tailed Eagle havørn everywhere at the moment....

Still new victims from the Statfjord oil spill turning up with yet another oiled Herring Gull gråmåke at Solberg today, 28 December.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tjeldstø 25 December 2007

Oiled Herring Gull gråmåke on Husvatnet, Tjeldstø

More oiled gulls still turning up, trying to wash themselves in fresh water.
Otherwise a few Little Auk alkekonge, White-tailed Eagle havørn and most of the usual suspects.

In the evening an Eagle Owl hubro sang briefly at a known locality....

A fantastic Great Northern Diver islom on the sea at Solberg yesterday

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Skjold 23 December 2007

Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis

Willow Tit granmeis

All pictures shot at ISO 800.
Just running last minute Christmas errands. However, couldn't help stopping to photograph a flock of Long-tailed Tits stjertmeis - not exactly an everyday sight in Øygarden. Other stuff seen nearby included several Willow Tit granmeis, Goldcrests fuglekonge and most of the usual woodland stuff.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tjeldstø 21 December 2007

Blackbird svarttrost
Brambling bjørkefink

Not out and about today. A couple of oiled gulls, no doubt from the Statjord spill flew past the house.

Took a couple of photos in my garden at 800 ISO and slow shutter speeds on the shortest, and quite possibly the dullest day of 2007. At least the days are getting longer from here on!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Øygarden 20 December 2007

Red-throated Diver smålom

Gave looking for oiled birds a break today - with good results.
At Solberg best bird was an adult Peregrine vandrefalk - I was beginning to think there were none in Øygarden this winter. Other birds included a very unseasonal Lapwing vipe, a Curlew storspove, 20 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and three Velvet Sctoer sjøorre.
Near Nautnes a Red-throated Diver smålom fished in one of the shadiest places in Øygarden on an otherwise sunny day; this is quite an unusual find during the winter months. Whilst taking pictures of this bird both Redwing rødvingtrost and Great spotted Woodpecker flaggspett were seen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Skogsøy 19 December 2007

Eider ærfugl panic - click for larger image
Cormorant storskarv
Eiders ærfugl in flight - ladies first!

Once again out looking for oiled seabirds and once again around 5% of passing gulls were oiled. Generally very quiet indeed, probably due to the light winds. Birds worthy of mention included a Red-throated Diver smålom and five Little Auks alkekonge heading south. One clean adult Gannet havsule flew north. It may be worth a note that ALL the oiled birds seen recently have been heading south.

Other than that I experimented with taking photographs on what must be about the dullest day of the year - barely any light at all so I was quite pleased with today's results.

Tjeldstø 18 December 2007

Whooper Swans sangsvane on Rotevatnet, Tjeldstø
Greylags grågås at Breivik
Female Scaup bergand, Rotevatnet

Only out for the briefest of strolls - and turned up the first Scaup bergand for Tjeldstø so far this year! Otherwise Willow Tit granmeis remain in the area after the autumn invasion and there are plenty of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb flocks about.
The Whooper Swans sangsvane now number eight - the highest thus far this winter.
Other stuff worth a mention is a report of a Water Rail vannriske from 11 December near Toftøy and the Greylag grågås flock remians at Breivik.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Skogsøy 17 December 2007

Oiled Herring Gull gråmåke
Eiders Ærfugl
Shag toppskarv

Once again oiled seabirds obvious - 5% of passing gulls were oiled.
Luckily it seems that the seaduck and other inshore species may be spared this time around. No oiled Eiders ærfugl, Shag toppskarv or other species hid hard by the Server have been seen with oil on them yet.

Only a few Little Auk alkekonge today and very little else passing.

Best bird today were a Lapwing vipe at Herdlevær and, in an Øygarden context, a big flock (40-60) of Siskin grønnsisik. Another unusual species for Skogsøy was a Bullfinch dompap.

The big flock of Greylags grågås was still feeding at Breivik.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Skogsøy 16 December - oiled again!

Oiled Great Black-backed Gull svartbak
Oiled Herring Gull gråmåke
Heavily oiled Gannet havsule
Spent an hour seawatching at Skogsøy and, as anticipated, the first victims from the recent oil spill at Statfjord were in evidence. A Great Black-backed Gull svartbak, a Herring Gull gråmåke and a heavily oiled Northern Gannet havsule were all seen.
Tragic to have the same region hit by oil twice within the same year - no time for the memories of the Server disaster to fade.

Other than the somewhat predictable oiled birds there were a few birds of interest about including a Red-throated Diver smålom south (late), 17 Little Auk alkekonge also heading south, a Curlew storspove, a Woodcock rugde and the usual selection of seaduck - repeatedly flushed by at least one colour-ringed White-tailed Eagle havørn.

Common Scoter svartand (click on lower picture for larger image)

Colour ringed White-tailed Eagle havørn - causing panic amoung the ducks

Long-tailed Ducks havelle - click for larger image

On the way home a flock of 34 Greylags grågås at Breivik were a surprise find - a very large flock for December.

Part of a flock of Greylags grågås at Breivik, click for larger image

Friday, December 14, 2007

Øygarden 14 December 2007 - Black Redstart

Black Redstart svartrødstjert at Sture

Temperatures above freezing, little wind and very little light. Star bird was a Black Redstart svartrødstjert at Sture. This is stretching the definition of late autumn migrant a bit far. Also at Sture at least one Goldfinch stillits.

At "Hjelme Vest" the usual winter fare included a Great Northern Diver islom on the sea, a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker, a Curlew storspove, a Black Guillemot teist and a flock of 25 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Øygarden 13 December 2007

Red-breasted Merganser siland with snake pipefish havnål

Great to be back in "costa del Øygarden". Spent a couple of hours checking out a few places. At Solberg the best bird was a Great Northern Diver islom - and for the first time I watched this species struggling to swallow pipefish havnål. Other stuff here included a couple of immature White-tailed Eagle havørn and a small flock of Long-tailed Duck havelle. A male Red-breasted Merganser siland swallowed a pipefish, coughed it up again and swallowed it for a second time.

At Alvheim a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk, a Velvet Scotet sjøorre and a couple of Purple Sandpiper fjærelplytt were seen along with the usual suspects.

Tjeldstø 13 November 2007

Clear and cold today. Not bad at all for mid-November with a number of latish migrants seen including four Skylark sanglerke, a Song Thrush måltrost, a Blackcap munk and 30 Starling stær. Several Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin out in the reserve , a Little Auk alkekonge and a Great sptted Woodpecker flagspett were other birds of note.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hellesøy 25 October 2007 - Grey-headed Woodpecker

Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett investigating boat shed, Hellesøy
Entanglement in fishing gear claims more victims than oil spills......
A stroll around Hellesøy was quite productive - the highlights were again were a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett and a flock of 17 Waxwings sidensvans. This is the peak season for both of these species. For more details see this page. The only other species of interest here other than the continued passage of Fieldfare gråtrost and Redwing rødvingtrost was a flock of 10 Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis.
At Sæle another flock of Waxwing sidensvans was seen along with two Blackcap munk.
The first Woodcock rugde of the autumn flew over my house at dawn....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tjeldstø 24 October - a good day

One of the many Starling stær at Tjeldstø today
Goldcrest fuglekonge
Plenty about today with highlights being a Lapland Bunting lappspurv, a flock of 12 Waxwing sidensvans and a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett. The supporting cast included two Goldfinch stillits, 10 Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flaggspett and several Skylark sanglerke.
Good numbers of Fieldfare gråtrost both in the fields and on direct migration along with smaller numbers of Redwing rødvingtrost, Blackbird svarttrost, Starling stær and a couple of late(ish) Song Thrush måltrost. Small flocks of Crossbill korsnebb still very obvious, several Twite bergirisk and a few Brambling bjørkefink were also noted.
Throw in a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk and a White-tailed Eagle havørn and it was all in all not too bad....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Øygarden 20 October 2007

Chiff-chaff gransanger at Tjeldstø
Probable Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, Sæle
Common Redpoll gråsisik, Hjelme
White-tailed Eagle havørn, Hjelme
Checked out a few localities starting at Herdlevær where large numbers of Blue Tit blåmeis and several Willow Tit granmeis were still present. The best birds here were the firtst Long-tailed Duck havelle of the autumn - a flock of around 30 sat on the sea.
Flocks of crossbills were seen everywhere - largely Common Crossbill grankorsnebb but a flock at Sæle looked very much like Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb. At Sæle there were at least three Blackcap munk feeding on elderberries. One Nuthatch spettmeis also present.
At Hjelme a large flock (at least 150) of Common Redpoll gråsisik fed in the pines - one of several flocks seen today. Also at Hjeme a White-tailed Eagle havørn and a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk were two of three raptor species seen during the day - a Goshawk hønsehauk at Tjeldstø being the third. A Chiff-chaff gransanger fed in a garden at Tjeldstø.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Øygarden 09 October 2007

Very pale Lesser Whitethroat møller - possibly of the eastern (Asian) form minula

Jay nøtteskrike at Hjelme - only lone individuals now being seen

The first Little Grebe dvergdykker of the autumn at Sæle today

The Blue Tit blåmeis invasion continues....

Part of a flock of 60+ Fieldfare gråtrost on their way south

Yet another wonderful day in glorious weather. The number of migrants around continues to drop - migrating is no problem with clear skies and light winds!
Started the day at Herdlevær where the Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger remains. Today, however, this may not have been the best bird - a Lesser Whitethroat møller which seemed to me to be of the eastern form minula was present in juniper scrub to the north of "village". Other birds of note included a Jack Snipe kvartbekkasin and a late Willow Warbler løvsanger.
Migrants included some largish flocks of Fieldfare gråtrost heading south and Common Crossbills grankorsnebb heading north.

Sæle was much quieter with the best bird here being an early Little Grebe dvergdykker. A female Blackcap munk feeding on elderberries and a small flock of Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis were also present.
At Hjelme a Jay nøtteskrike and a Nuthatch spettmeis were possibly the last of the recent irruption - lingering on in one of the few suitable habitats for these species in Øygarden. However, there are still huge flocks of Blue Tit blåmeis on the move - the largest flock today contained at least 50 birds!