Monday, March 31, 2008

Tjeldstø 31 March 2008

Immature Whooper Swan sangsvane - the last remaining bird at Tjeldstø
Greylags grågås

Obligatory underexposed White-tailed Eagle havørn shot

Record shot of a male Pied Wagtail svartryggerle

An obvious arrival of Fieldfare gråtrost and Redwing rødvingtrost today at Tjeldstø with around 40 and 20 present respectively. Otherwise three alba wagtails comprised a male and a female Pied Wagtail svartryggerle and the first White Wagtail linerle of the year.

A flock of 35 Woodpigeon ringdue, several Meadow Pipits heipiplerke and a pair of Teal krikkand were also probably newly arriving birds. Two Brambling bjørkefink joined the growing flock of Chaffinches bokfink and a couple of Yellowhammer gulspurv in the garden - 2kg of sunflower seeds are being consumed daily now.....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tjeldstø 29 March 2008 - thaw

Greylags grågås
Lapwing vipe

Southerly winds and rain during the night melted most of the snow and brought in a load of new arrivals. The fields were full of newly arrived Blackbirds svarttrost and small flocks of Redwing rødvingtrost and Fieldfare gråtrost. A large increase in the number of Lapwing vipe was also noted with at least 35 present.
Two or three Yellowhammer gulspurv around (first seen yesterday afternoon) - this species is just about annual during the spring migration at Tjeldstø.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Øygarden 27 March 2008 - Guiding

Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett
Red-necked Grebes gråstrupedykker

Spent the day guiding and even though it snowed for much of the afternoon we still managed some good observations. Highlights were a couple of Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker at Herdlevær together with Velvet Scoter sjøorre, Common Scoter svartand and all the usual species.

Other sightings included an Otter oter, several White-tailed Eagle havørn, Black Guillemot teist and Gannets havsule.

The best sighting from my point of view was a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett which appeared from nowhere out of the snow.

The day was rounded off with two Eagle Owls hubro seen and heard.

Øygarden 26 March 2008

Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke, Tjeldstø
The first small tortoiseshell of the year.

Eagle Owl hubro - next time I'll use a tripod!

Spent the day out of Øygarden but the 2K Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke flew over N. Straumsundet bridge on my way home.

Eagle Owls hubro active again in the calm and clear weather.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Skogsøy 25 March 2008

Coal Tit svartmeis - a common species in the woods at Skogsøy
Typical view of Wren gjerdesmett

Raven ravn - busy nest building today

The day started with snow falling and poor visibility but cleared up nicely after 08:00. This low cloud had obviously prevented migration up the coast - as soon as it cleared stuff started moving.

By far the best bird was the first White-billed Diver gulnebblom of the spring. Two Red-throated Diver smålom, Puffins lunde, and a light nothbound passage of Gannets havsule and Kittiwake krykkje were also noted.

At least six White-tailed Eagle havørn circled the area.

Elswhere in Øygarden a long suspected site gave one of the best Eagle Owl hubro experiences I've ever had with a bird singing in full view in the telescope for almost 20 minutes! Woodcock rugde roding in the same area.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tjeldstø 24 March 2008 - Garden birds

Adult White-tailed Eagle havørn

Female Blackbird svarttrost
Woodpigeon ringdue

Making the most of the fantastic weather with the family. However, this is not quite the same as not birding - an adult White-tailed Eagle havørn put in an appearance over the house as did a nice female Goshawk hønsehauk being chased by a horde of Hooded Crow kråke.

Other birds included a small flock of Snow Bunting snøspurv which went down near the house, a few Skylark sanglerke flying over, Meadow Pipit heipiplerke and several Redpoll - probably Lesser Redpoll brunsisik.
An Eagle Owl hubro sang for several minutes at one of the regular sites in the evening. A Woodcock rugde was also seen in the same area.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Øygarden 22 March 2008

Northern Gannet havsule at close range
Migrating Oystercatchers tjeld
Shelduck gravand
White-tailed Eagle havørn
A superb days birding in fantastic weather.
Kicked the day off at Skogsøy just before 06:00 with an Eagle Owl hubro.
A couple of hours seawatching was very productive with over 200 Atlantic Puffin lunde moving north - a huge total for recent years. Other stuff on the move included just under 400 Oystercatcher tjeld, a couple of Red-throated Diver smålom, a Shelduck gravand, two little auk alkekonge and small numbers of migrating Common Gulls fiskemåke.
A 2cy Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke and a 2cy Glaucous Gull polarmåke were also seen here.
A flock of 11 Snow Bunting snøspurv, a Pied Wagtail svartryggerle, the first Lesser Redpoll brunsisik of the year and a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke were the highlights at Tjeldstø.
At Svellingen the best birds were a Peregrine vandrefalk and a Great Northern Diver islom. A flock of 20 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt were also seen here.
A minimum of 11 White-tailed Eagle havørn were seen during the day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Øygarden 21 March 2008

Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker
Part of a flock of about 100 nNewly arrived Starlings stær
Lapwings vipe

Clearer weather today but a house full of visitors meant I didn't do that much. At Tjeldstø the first Ringed Plover sandlo and Meadow Pipits heipiplerke of the year flew over and at least one Pied Wagtail svartryggerle still around.

Obviously some movement going on at Herdlevær too with eight Lapwing vipe, a few Chaffinch bokfink, a pair of Teal krikkand and a Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin. Other birds of interest included at least three Velvet Scoter sjøorre, a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk and a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker.

Tjeldstø 20 March 2008

Female Red-breasted Merganser siland - looking either punk or "goth" sporting a spiky hair-do and heavy eyeshadow.
A pair of Great Black-backed Gulls svartbak - note the "his 'n' hers bills - male on the left.

Just a quick trip out in raging southerly gale and heavy snowfall. Predictably little to be seen - just the usual suspects. However, obtained nice views of an Otter oter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tjeldstø 19 March 2008

Snow Buntings snøspurv in snow shower

Record shot of Pied Wagtail svartryggerle
Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

Cold northerly winds and hail / snow showers put an effective stop on migration today but there were still a few birds about including a flock of five Snow Buntings snøspurv, a Pied Wagtail svartryggerle and at least four Rock pipits skjærpiplerke which showed an enormous amount of plumage variation.

Rock pipit skjærpiplerke in hail shower

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Alvheim 17 March 2008

Immature White-tailed Eagle havørn
Female Goldeneye kvinand

Nothing much out of the ordinary although six immature White-tailed Eagles havørn, at least four of which were immatures were worth a mention. Otherwise just a couple of Black Grouse orrfugl in the woods.
Best observation today was a family of Orcas spekkhoggere feeding in Hjeltefjord - seen from my living room. The second half of March is the best time to see these wonderful creatures as they follow the herring shoals.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tjeldstø 16 March 2008

Eagle food has arrived.....

Barely out of the house today but a brief look produced the first two Pied Wagtails svartryggerle of the year - chasing a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flaggspett was also worth mentioning.

Plenty of Oystercatcher tjeld, Lapwing vipe and ever increasing numbers of Greylags grågås - repeatedly put to flight by unseen raptor(s).....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tjeldstø 15 March 2008

The first Teal krikkand for the year turned up on Husvatnet and a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk were the only birds of note. Greylag grågås numbers rapidly increasing with around 50 now present.

Øygarden 14 March 2008

At Solberg a few Skylark sanglerke headed north and 6 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt fed on the shore.

Hjelme Vest was a little better with a Great Northern Diver islom on the sea and over 35 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt seen. Long-tailed Duck havelle numbers up slightly but still nowhere near the pre-Server oil spill levels. Eiders ærfugl topped three figures for the first time this winter - the species has been virtually absent until now.

A 2cy Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke flew past the house and the first roding Woodcock rugde of the year was also seen. Four White-tailed Eagle havørn over Husvatnet meant the geese were somehwat nervous.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Øygarden 13 March 2008

Mouse skull from owl pelletOwl pellet - probably from Long-eared Owl hornugle
Woodpecker hole
Went to check out an interesting area which was surpisingly birdless - it was all about tracks and signs today. However, a White-tailed Eagle havørn nest, some very interesting owl pellets - probably Long-eared Owl hornugle or possbily Tengmalm's Owl perleugle. Any owl other than Eagle Owl is a rarity in Øygarden so this is quite an interesting find.
Also plenty of Woopecker spett holes - some obviously old and others seemingly much fresher.

Otherwise just a Woodcock rugde and a small flock of unidentifed Crossbill korsnebb.
Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin heard singing for the first time this year at Tjeldstø.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Skogsøy 12 March 2008

Male Long-tailed Duck havelle
Female Long-tailed Duck havelle
Raven ravn
Eider Ærfugl
Shelduck gravand
Surprisingly little migration given the good conditions. However, spring very much in the air with Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke now in full song, a Lapwing vipe rested on the rocks and the first Snow Bunting snøspurv at Skogsøy this year flew over. On my way back to the car a Shelduck gravand flew over - another new species for Skogsøy this year.
A Peregrine vandrefalk was finally at its "usual" place and made a hunting foray at least a couple of kilometres out to sea where it dived at "something". A Great Northern Diver islom headed south.
A couple of Woodpigeon ringdue at Herdlevær were the first there this year and a White-tailed Eagle havørn beat up on the gulls.
As darkness fell yet another Eagle Owl hubro site was confirmed.....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Øygarden 10 March 2008

Long-tailed Duck havelle really living up to its name...

Grey Heron gråhegre at Tjeldstø

Red-breasted Merganser siland at Tjeldstø

Strong winds, heavy showers and a late start meant there wasn't much in the way of passage - the only birds of note were a diver lom heading south and the first Black-headed Gull hettemåke for Skogsøy this year.

Around lunchtime it cleared up nicely but it was a case of too little too late. Back home at Tjeldstø an Oystercatcher tjeld was back on its territory, Lapwing vipe around and numbers of Greylags grågås and Starling stær still increasing daily.

The wind dropped in the evening so it was off out again to get nice views of an Eagle Owl hubro in the telescope. Also worth noting was a Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin seemingly migrating.