Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tjeldstø 30 December 2008

Goldfinch stillits

A short stroll at Tjeldstø today produced a number of species that would be "useful" on the forthcoming New Year's bird race. These included about 15 Goldfinch stillits, a couple of Redwing rødvingetrost, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a hunting Peregrine vandrefalk.

There was also a flock of nine Fieldfare gråtrost, plenty of fresh signs of geese (just the geese themselves were missing...), at least one White-tailed Eagle havørn and most of the usual stuff.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tjeldstø 29 December

A few minutes out with the dog as the light went produced a couple of Goldfinch stillits, a female Teal krikkand and some very fresh signs of geese.

Hjelme Vest 28 December 2008

Common Crossbills grankorsnebb

Highlights were a Great Northern Diver islom on the sea and a flock of at least 37 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt. A Woodcock rugde flushed in the woods was the first for some time.

Plenty of other stuff about too including at least four White-tailed Eagle havørn, 90+ Long-tailed Duck havelle, a Velvet Scoter sjøorre, a Black Guillemot teist and a Razorbill alke. An Otter oter fished close to shore.

Still a fair number of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb about - including one that must be the largest billed Common Crossbill I have ever seen!

Common Crossbill grankorsnebb with enormous bill

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Heggøy / Solberg 27 December 2008

Male Scaup bergand with Goldeneye kvinand

Just a quick dash out in the afternoon produced the long-staying male Scaup bergand still on the sea at Heggøy along with the usual selection of Red-breasted Mergansers siland and Goldeneye kvinand.

At Solberg things were fairly quiet with a flock of at least 40 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt as the highlight. A small flock of 15 Long-tailed Duck havelle also on the sea here.

Solberg 25 December 2008

Red-throated Diver smålom
White-tailed Eagle havørn

Best bird was an unseasonal Red-throated Diver smålom on the sea but generally quiet with few birds about although a Razorbill alke also fed in the bay and a White-tailed Eagle havørn gave good views.
At Alvheim it was even queiter with the only bird of note being a Peregrine vandrefalk preening itself on one of the offshore islands.

Øygarden 24 December 2008

Fieldfare gråstrost
Coal Tit svartmeis

Thrushes were around in good numbers today with 35 Fieldfare gråtrost and three Redwing rødvingetrost at Breivik where there were also at least 15 Starling stær.

At Tjeldstø several more Fieldfare gråstrost and a few more Redwing rødvingetrost were present. A Coal tit svartemis at the feeders obviously had something wrong with one of it's eyes.

Tjeldstø 23 December 2008

The only bird of note during a ten minute walk was a Goshawk hønsehauk over the nature reserve.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Øygarden 05 December 2008

Male and female Scaup bergand
Female Scaup bergand

Greylags grågås

Went to Heggøy look for the male Scaup bergand that has been reported recently - and found a pair feeding in a sheltered bay.

After that things went downhill fast. At Hjelme West there were four White-tailed Eagles havørn, a Little Auk alkekonge, a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and a flock of 60 Long-tailed Duck havelle - the biggest flock I've seen thus far this winter.

At Tjeldstø a Snipe enkeltbekkasin flew over the garden and a flock of 11 Greylags grågås fed in one of the fields.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tjeldstø 03 December 2008 - Two-barred Crossbill

Barely out of the house, but as always something to be seen. A flock of 10 Two-barred Crossbill båndkornebb being the highlight. A couple of Goldfinch stillits came in at second place.

Otherwise the female Teal krikkand remains and a small flock of Fieldfare gråtrost present.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tjeldstø 02 December

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

Fantastic weather again, typically busy with other stuff so yet again it was a short trip out. The most unusual sighting was a female Common Scoter svartand on Rotevatnet - the first time I have seen this otherwise numerous species on freshwater in Øygarden.
Finally managed some half decent views (and consequently pictures...) of at least one of the Rock Pipits skjærpiperke in the area.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tjeldstø 01 December

Barely out but during various errands had a Waxwing sidensvans fly over and a couple each of Fieldfare gråtrost and Brambling bjørkefink in the garden alongside the usual flock around 15 Chaffinch bokfink, eight Tree Sparrow pilfink and 20+ Greenfinch grønnfink.

A quick look at Solberg produced little other than a flock of 20 Long-tailed Duck havelle on the sea, a huge Goshawk hønsehauk and an Otter oter.

Tjeldstø 29 November - Geese

Juvenile Greenland Whitefront tundragås

Rather pale and lightly marked Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke (with a yellow bill)

Female Teal krikkand

A juvenile Greenland Whitefront tundragås with small flock of Greylags grågås feeding in one of the fields and a larger flock of 34 Greylags grågås out in the reserve were today's highlight.

The female Teal krikkand still present on Husvatnet

Robin rødstrupe

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tjeldstø 28 November 2008 - Hail

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

Mallards stokkand in hailstorm

Eventually the hail eased off.....

For various reasons I couldn't go far today and was out briefly a couple of times. By and large quite pleasant weather but with some major hailstorms - well illustrated in the Mallard stokkand pictures above.

Only saw one of the Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke well today and the flock of six Goldfinch stillits were still around. Whilst waiting for the pipit to show I was surrounded by a flock of Goldcrests fuglekonge - some of which fed and preened within 20cm of me! No use having a telephoto lens under such circumstances.
Other sightings of note included a Goshawk hønsehauk and late Teal krikkand and Snipe enkeltbekkasin. A Brambling bjørkefink joined the usual crowd at the bird feeder.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tjeldstø 27 November 2008

Rock pipit skjærpiplerke#1. Lacking olive green tones, paler cream underparts with little (and not very smudged) streaking
Rock pipit skjærpiplerke#2. Almost solid colouration on the breast but clean off white bely and undersides (shown better in other pictures)

Rock pipit skjærpiplerke#3. Check out the underpaert colouration and the very gret lesser coverts....

The one that got away (from me) - a Peregrine vandrefalk that took a crow in the reserve

....and the one that didn't get away....head of a crow kråke neatly cut off the body which lay nearby. Killed by the falcon pictured above.

Mild, wet, windy and dull weather wise. A short look at Tjeldstø once again proved quite productive with a flock of six Goldfinch stillits as technically the best birds. However, they were quite flighty in the windy conditions.

Missed the photographic chance of a lifetime when I stumbled over a Peregrine vandrefalk eating a freshly killed Hooded Crow kråke at VERY close range. Frustrating.

The wintering Rock Pipits skjæårpiplerke are back, these seem to differ from the more typical olive-grey ones normally seen along the shorelines of Øygarden. Extremely hard to get close to and difficult to view or photograph in dull conditions. Just wish I knew where they went when it is sunny....

Other birds included a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke and the first thrushes for a few days in the form of three Redwing rødvingetrost and a Fieldfare gråtrost.

A couple of Woodcock rugde were flushed at Hjelme.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tjeldstø 26 November 2008

Godfinches stillits

Little Auk alkekonge

Just out for the briefest of strolls and considering the short time out and about it was not too bad. Best birds were a couple of Goldfinch stillits. Typically I managed to mess up the photos, settings changed while the camera was inside my jacket and an empty battery just as the birds really started posing nicely (and close!). Needless to say by the time I had changed the battery they had moved on. Typical.
Nice views of a Little Auk alkeonge on the sea and a Woodcock rugde flushed near the shore were other birds of interest.

Skogsøy 25 November

Large billed Common Crossbill grankorsnebb

Uncharacteristically quiet. Just a few Kittiwakes krykkje passing and a couple of Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt of near interest. One each of Razorbill alke, Guillemot lomvi and Little Auk alkekonge.

A pair of Eiders ærfugl mating on the sea was somewhat unseasonal!

Shag toppskarvKittiwake krykkje

On the way back I found myself close to some feeding Common Crossbills grankorsnebb which included the very large billed bird in the above pictures. Not very straightforward if you ask me....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dåvøy 24 November 2008

Female Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb
Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb

White-tailed Eagle havørn

An almost good photo of a Common Gull fiskemåke conforming to the unwritten law of "if its in focus then a wing tip will be missing"

Black-headed Gull hettemåke - uncommon winter bird in Øygarden

Seemed like a quiet day at the time but looking back on it there were some decent observations highlight being at least one Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb - they are still hanging about in the crossbill flocks.

Great views of a White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Goshawk hønsehauk, several Velvet Scoter sjøorre and most of the usual fare.

Back home at Tjeldstø a late Teal krikkand joined the Mallards stokkand feeding on the shore (all freshwater still frozen).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hjelme Vest 23 November 2008

Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker
Raven ravn

Common Scoter svartand

Black-headed Gull hettemåke

Nice views of a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker was the best observation today but also Great Northern Diver islom, 20+ Purple Sandpipier fjæreplytt, a Black Guillemot teist and a late Meadow Pipit heipiplerke.
Otherwise just the usual Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke, White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Kittiwake krykkje, a Little Auk alkekonge and small numbers of Long-tailed Duck havelle.
Back home a Black-headed Gull hettemåke and a Common Scoter svartand seen from the garden.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Skogsøy 22 November 2008

White-tailed Eagle havørn with prey
Poor record shot of a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker

An hour or so seawatching were well spent. As soon as I arrived two 2cy Glaucous Gulls polarmåke flew past, other stuff included a couple of Great Northern Divers islom heading north, two Gannets havsule, a Red-throated Diver smålom, two Black Guillemots teist and a Peregrine vandrefalk. A late flock of 19 Greylags grågås was also worth a mention
The walk out and in produced a White-tailed Eagle havørn with "something", fresh Woodcock rugde tracks in the snow and a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker on the sea.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hellesøy 21 November 2008

Otter oter
Mergansers siland

Herring Gull gråmåke

Strangely "hooded" Common Gull fiskemåke

If anything conditions were even worse today, gale force winds and heavy hail showers making things rather difficult.

Typically under such conditions an Otter oter was the most interesting thing, although a "hooded" Common Gull fiskemåke got the pulse going briefly. A Snipe enkeltbekkasin was the only bird of near-interest here.Add Image
A White-tailed Eagle havørn flew low over the garden as I went out to get the post - without my camera...