Saturday, February 27, 2010

Skogsøy 27 February 2010

Somewhat extreme conditions today. Slogged through knee deep snow (deeper in drifts) in a northerly gale to see if there was anything going on. Sure enough, the first movement of any note this year was ongoing - over 200 Gannets havsule heading north in an hours and a half.

Pitifully little else, just a few Kittiwake krykkje and a light passage of large gulls also heading north.

Out of the wind in the woods it felt a lot more spring-like with Coal tit svartmeis and Crested Tits toppmeis singing.

A Carrion Crow svartkråke fed among the sheep just over the road from the parking area.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tjeldstø 26 February 2010

Not really out and about today other than a quick trip down to Solberg where it was pretty much situation as usual - a flock of 40 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and four White-tailed Eagles havørn.

At Tjeldstø the first Greylag grågås of the year flew over the garden; with everything buried under so much snow it will struggle to find much to eat.

I heard back some scant details regarding the colour-ringed Purple Sandpiper that we sighted on 18 Febrary - it was ringed on the west coast of Sweden is all I have heard thus far. Still waiting for more details....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Herdlevær 25 February 2010 - Grebes Galore!

Quite a decent couple of hours at Herdlevær with the highlight being at least three Red-necked Grebes gråstrupedykker, a Slavonian Grebe horndykker and another grebe I was not quite sure about but looked rather like Great Crested Grebe toppdykker. An attempt to get closer to these rather distant birds at Dåvøy was only partially successful - cracking views of two of the Red-necked Grebes here. Not often we experience so many grebes in one place.

Other stuff included two Goshawks hønsehauk, a Mealy Redpoll gråsisik, four Starling stær and five Velvet Scoter sjøorre.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hjelme Vest 19 February

There IS a Dipper fossekall in this picture - honest!

Fantastic but cold weather continues unabated.
A trip to Hjelme Vest produced a long awaited Dipper fossekall on the way out. On the islands there were a couple of Oystercatcher tjeld - probably the overwintering birds, a Turnstone steinvender and a Curlew storspove.
A Velvet Scoter sjøorre was among the usual seaduck present. Only one Black guillemot teist and no divers....
As usual an otter turned up - seeing them daily pretty much wherever I go at the moment.

Øygarden 18 February 2010 - Seabird Monitoring

The only Little Auk alkekonge of the day
Great Black-backed Gull svartbak sees off White-tailed Eagle havørn

Colour ringed Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt

The boat we were on all day....

Heron gråhegre

Cormorant storskarv stretching its wings

As part of SEAPOP, a monitoring program for seabirds, we were out in a boat counting seabirds all day - just like we did last year.

Technically the best bird was the first Lapwing vipe of the year but the real highlight were some wonderful views of a large flock of around 190 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt - one of which was colour ringed.

Otherwise it was business as usual with good numbers of White-tailed Eagle havørn, a couple of Curlew storspove etc. Still very few auks about - and just one Little Auk alkekonge.

There were some big gull flocks, no doubt brought in by the herring - so hopes are rising for a rarer one among them in the near future....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ormhilleren 14 Febraury 2010

A brief trip out before family commitments took over produced a couple of year firsts for Øygarden. A tip-off about a flock of 16 probable Turnstone steinvender turned out to be be 100% correct - a huge number for the time of year in these parts.

Whilst scanning around a distant Kestrel tårnfalk also turned up.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Øygarden 13 February 2010

A Fieldfare gråtrost in the garden was an unusual sight - normally they stay well away from the feeders. A Sparrowhawk spurvehauk also paid a visit.

At Herdlevær at least one Little Grebe dvergdykker, a male Wigeon brunnakke (probably the one from Dåvøy), a Fieldfare gråtrost, a Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett and a flock of six Starling stær were the only sightings of any interest. The latter may well have been newly arrived migrants.

Øygarden 12 February 2010

Øygarden enthusiast Jon Djupvik gets that "White-billed diver stare"

Sunset, sunset....birds too far off to take pictures of

Badly lit record shot of three Little Grebe dvergdykker at Herdlevær

Three Little Grebe dvergdykker still present at Herdlevær - just a drive-by to check on the grebes so there was nothing else to report.

A late afternoon trip to Hjelme Vest produced singles of White-billed Diver gulnebblom and Great Northern Diver islom along with most of the usual suspects including several Black Guillemot teist and around 50 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt.

No Eagle Owls hubro singing tonight.....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hernar 10 February 2010

Waiting for dawn...eating breakfast and taking pictures of the moon.
Woodcock rugde remains - all overwintering Woodcock have either perished or moved on

Intriguing feather at a raptor kill....

Very frozen and predictably rather quiet with only a little over 20 species to be seen.

Best birds were a Great Northern Diver islom flying over, a flock of 10 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt (amazingly a new species for this grossly underwatched locality) and a Curlew storspove.

At least six White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and the usual selection of seaduck present.

Remains of Woodcock rugde and what was probably once a Fieldfare gråtrost show how tough this winter is continuing to be.

The only drama today was that the boat broke down and was unable to make the 1200 departure - luckily one of the residents was heading back to the mainland and very kindly gave me a lift....otherwise I might still have been on the island.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Øygarden 09 February 2010 - Eagle Owls

Waiting for the main event....

Stuck inside for most of the day. A large flock of gulls feeding on what was probably herring out over the fjord was the only thing other than the usual Tree Sparrows pilfink etc in the garden.

A drive by at Herdlevær produced two of the Little Grebes dvergdykker that are overwintering there.

In the evening I checked out a second Eagle Owl hubro locality where at least one bird "sang" strongly for several minutes - a fantastic experience. This is the second of two of the regular territories confirmed as active thus far this season......

Monday, February 08, 2010

Skogsøy 08 Febraury 2010

Record shots of the Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker at Skogsøy

A Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker was pretty much the first bird seen - and the best.

No sign of the Smew lappfiskand today and only a few Whoopers sangsvane remain.

Very little movement over the sea, just several Gannet havsule, a couple of Little Auk alkekonge, a Guillemot lomvi and a light passage of large gulls heading north. Highlight here was a Peregrine vandrefalk which typically headed a long way out to sea at great height - presumably to hunt auks.

A Rock pipit skjærpiplerke was the first I've had at Skogsøy this year.

Hjelme Vest 07 February

Starling stær at Tjeldstø
Magpie skjære

House Sparrow gråspurv

Absolutely brilliant weather, sun shining, no wind and temperatures above freezing.

At least one, probably two White-billed Diver gulnebblom on the sea. A single Puffin lunde and a lone Guilemot lomvi on the sea. Waders consisted of an Oystercatcher tjeld, a Curlew storspove and 20 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt.

Long-tailed Duck havelle numbers increased to 165. Other duck included six Common Scoter svartand and two Velvet Scoter sjøorre.

A Sparrowhawk spurvehauk hunted through the woods.

A Grey Seal (not a common sighting) and two Otters were also present.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Øygarden 06 February

Check out the bulging crop on this White-tailed Eagle havørn - the reason why is given below. Ravens ravn were also seen collecting wool from the same corpse.

A rather sad picture - Norway's last weathership, the Polarfront, is now retired and currently moored at Blomvåg.

With temperatures just above freezing it was incredibly hard going underfoot today. The dog became at least double his normal weight with the amount of snow stuck in his fur.

This prevented the planned walk but nevertheless we connected with a few Black Grouse orrfugl and a Goshawk hønsehauk in addition to a few White-tailed Eagles havørn, Crested tits toppmeis and Common Crossbills grankorsnebb.

A Starling stær in the garden and a Common Scoter svartand on the sea in front of the house were both new species for Tjeldstø this year.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Øygarden 04 February 2010

Slavonian (horned) Grebe horndykker at Dåvøy
Wigeon brunnakke at Dåvøy

Female Siskin grønnsisik

Female Chaffinch bokfink

Solberg was quieter than usual with only a couple of Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt of note.

At Dåvøy the Slavonian Grebe horndykker and the male Wigeon brunnakke were both still present. At least one Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke also in the area. This species is untypically very hard to find this year no doubt due to the cold and this bird is the first one I've seen in Øygarden this year.

A Siskin grønnsisik joined the ever growing flock of birds in my garden.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Skogsøy 03 February 2010 - Merlin

Calm and sunny but even more snow on the ground than last time.

The female Smew lappfiskand remains with the Goldeneye kvinand on the "lagoons" which again were more frozen than last time. Only a couple of Whoopers sangsvane today.

Pretty quiet over the sea with just a few each of Guillemot lomvi and Razorbill alke. A single Kittiwake krykkje and a light passage of large gulls (mostly distant) were the only other things on the move.

A couple of Black guillemot teist and the usual Long-tailed Ducks havelle etc all feeding in the area.

Highlight was a male Merlin dvergfalk which flew in and sat on the rocks - possibly eying up a distant flock of approximately 100 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt. This may be the same bird seen during the New Year's bird race still hanging on in there.

Common Crossbills grankorsnebb. Greenfinch grønnfink and Coal tit svartmeis all singing today - quite a springlike feel despite all the snow. The only other sighting of interest was a flock of 12 Siskin grønnsisik feeding with crossbills.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hjelme Vest 02 February 2010

Crested tit toppmeis
Otter chomping on a fish

Still relatively few birds on the sea but when one of them is a White-billed Diver gulnebblom one can't complain. Looked more like an adult and different from the previous bird at this site.

Also at least 80 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and a couple of Curlew storspove.

At least three Otters oter fed close in and gave excellent views in the scope

Monday, February 01, 2010

Alvheim 02 February 2010 Parrot Crossbills

Male Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb
Crested Tit toppmeis

Winter strengthening its grip even further with heavy snowfall for much of the day.
Took a walk in the woods at Alvheim where there was not much to be seen - just the usual Crested Tits toppmeis, Goldcrests fuglekonge, Coal Tits svartmeis and a few flocks of Crossbills korsnebb. One of these flocks was mostly Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb.
A flyby Tufted Duck toppand was the first I've seen in Øygarden this year and as usual a few White-tailed Eagle havørn knocking about.