Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Øygarden 30 November 2011 - Great Northern Diver

Gale force winds yet again but only a few showers.

Started the day in the north of Øygarden but had very little of interest there. No noticable movements over the sea or the fjord. A small flock of Redwings rødvingetrost at Hellesøy were the only thing almost worth mentioning.

A few late Woodpigeon ringdue and a Rock pipit skjærpiplerke were the best of what little there was at Sæle.

Jackdaw kaie - a late autumn migrant

A Jackdaw kaie at Skjold after I'd given up and was on my way home was the bird of the day in an Øygarden context and proof that new stuff must still be coming in....First of the autumn for me.

 First year Great Northern Diver islom

The daily chores proved altogether more productive with nice views of a first year Great Northern Diver islom at Heggøy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Skogsøy 28 November - Morning after the night before...

Brisk onshore winds but considerably calmer than yesterday!!

 At least things looked good today....

Great Northern Diver islom

 Long-tailed Ducks havelle
Cormorant storskarv over rough seas

Hoping for some morning after effects at Skogsøy after yesterday's storm I slogged out knee deep in the mush that is now the path only to confirm that there was in fact little in the way of passage. A Great Northern Diver islom was the best bird, otherwise just small numbers of Kittiwake krykkje, Little Auk alkekonge and Common Scoter svartand.

A couple of Woodcock rugde in the woods along with Sparrowhawk spurvehauk, White-tailed Eagle havørn and the usual suspects meant there was stuff to see despite the lack of storm driven birds.

A dead Heron gråhegre illustrated very well why cables should go in the ground in bird rich areas like Øygarden. It is unbeleivable that the power people have suggested power lines next to / through the reserve at Tjeldstø. Don't get me started on that one....

 Grey Heron gråhegre killed by overhead cables

Next stop was Kollsnes Næringspark - had to check the fjord in case everything was coming down the inside today. No birds passing and, perhaps more interestingly - no windmill. The owner, Sway, was unaware of this development at the time the picture below was taken....

Sometimes it what you don't this case a windmill would normally have shown up here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Øygarden 27 November 2011

Strong SW and rain during the morning, NW storm for a period in the afternoon.

Herdlevær produced a late Golden Plover heilo as a surprise bird. Other stuff here included a flock of at least 12 Pinkfeet kortnebbgås flying over, 15 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt sheltering from the weather and a minimum of six Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke.

 Common Crossbills grankorsnebb at Herdlevær

Breivik held a decent selection of geese again - with four Bean Geese sædgås, seven Whitefronts tundragås, several Pinkfeet kortnebbgås and at least 20 Greylags grågås.

fabalis Bean Geese sædgås at Breivik

Looking out over Hjeltefjorden from my sitting room window during the afternoon produced at least a couple of Fulmar havhest, a late Curlew storspove (first for ages), Little Auks alkekonge and more.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Herdlevær 26 November 2011

Strong SW winds, showers. Dull.

Just a quick stroll which produced barely even the usual suspects - just White-tailed Eagles havørn, a Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a small flock of Common Crossbills grankorsnebb.

A roadside Goshawk hønsehauk feeding on a freshly killed goose gave superb roadside views. Don't get to see them like this every day!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Øygarden 25 November 2011

South westerly gale, heavy seas

White-tailed Eagle havørn at Solberg

Little at Solberg other than the usual White-tailed Eagles havørn and a flock of 15 or so Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt - forced onto one of the nearest islands by high water levels and very heavy seas.

Tjeldstø was slightly better with the Pochard taffeland pair still present on Rotevatnet. A Wigeon brunnakke, a couple of Razorbill alke and two Velvet Scoter sjøorre were other species seen here.

A drive-by at Breivik produced 26 Greylags grågås and eight White-fronts tundragås.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Øygarden 24 November 2011 - the one that got away

Calm and mild.

Started the day at Svellingen where there was very little movement. A Little Auk alkekonge, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin and at least two White-tailed Eagle havørn were among the few birds seen.

Then a report of an unidenfied pale raptor further south meant we sped off in an attempt to head the bird off somewhere. Unfortunately we failed but picked up a few compensatory birds along the way...

At Kollnes næringspark a very unseasonal Great Skua storjo headed north up Hjeltefjord and a White-billed Diver gulnebblom flew south. Little Auk alkekonge, Kittiwake krykkje and at least three White-tailed Eagle havørn were the pick of the bunch.

Record shot of two Pochard taffeland on Rotevatnet, Tjeldstø. Bird on the left is a Goldeneye kvinand.

Tjeldstø was far from dead with two Pochard taffeland and a Scaup bergand on Rotevatnet together with a Whooper sangsvane. A Teal krikkand was with the Mallard stokkand on Husvatnet.

Otherwise Sparrowhawks spurvehauk and Common Crossbills grankorsnebb "everywhere", a couple of Fieldfare gråtrost flocks.

All in all not a bad morning out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Herdlevær 23 November 2011

Southerly gale and very dull. Rain from around 10:30 onwards.

 Wish I could say this arty speed effect was deliberate - three Little Auks alkekonge passing.

 More conventional image of Little Auks alkekonge

 Herring Gull gråmåke
 Cormorant storskarv
Three Bean Geese sædgås

Very much the usual suspects - the strong winds slowed down any passage considerably. About 20 Little Auk alkekonge heading south, several Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke and five late Lapwings vipe were the pick of the sightings.

The goose flock was still present at Breivik - today there were still eight Whitefronts tundragås, three Bean Geese sædgås and 26 Greylags grågås. At least four Woodpigeon ringdue fed in the fields with the geese.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Skogsøy 22 November 2011

Strong SSW and overcast.

A good morning out. A short seawatch produced plenty of birds heading south - in 1.5 hours the following passed (all south):

Little Auk alkekonge 84
Common Scoter svartand 98
Velvet Scoter sjøorre 2
Red-throated Diver smålom 7
Goldeneye kvinand 2
Kittiwake krykkje 13
Common Gull fiskemåke 30
Herring Gull gråmåke 100
Razorbill alke 2

Common Scoter svartand
Little Auk alkekonge

Velvet Scoter sjøorre

On the way home the roadside fields held what may be the most interesting flocks of geese ever seen in Øygarden:
Albifrons White-fronts tundragås 8 (2 ad, 6 first years)
Fabalis (TAIGA) Bean Goose sædgås 4
Pinkfoot kortnebbgås 13+
Greylag grågås 23

 Bean Goose sædgås in the foreground together with Pinkfeet kortnebbgås, two more behind. 
 Four fabalis Bean Geese sædgås in the above picture, two Pinkfeet kortnebbgås (left hand birds), a 1K Whitefront tundragås bottom right and a Greylag grågås in the background.

 Fabalis Bean Goose sædgås
Albifrons Whitefronts tundragås with a Taiga Bean Goose sædgås in the background

Monday, November 21, 2011

Breivik 21 November 2011

Rather better conditions today but still very overcast.

Greylags grågås

A short stroll at Breivik showed that the Bean Goose sædgås was still present with 13 Pinkfeet kortnebbgås whilst the Greylag grågås flock grazed at Kollsnes. No sign of the White-fronts tundragås today.

Barely even the usual stuff seen elsewhere - Solberg very quiet and not much at Tjeldstø either other than a few White-tailed Eagles havørn.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hjelme Vest 20 November 2011

Southerly and overcast.

A quick look at the sea produced nothing unexpected - a nice Great Northern Diver islom, flocks of Common Scoter svartand, Long-tailed Duck havelle, a few Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and a flock of eight Red-throated Diver smålom heading south. Small numbers of Kittiwake krykkje, a Otter and a couple of Porpoises also seen.

A Woodcock rugde was the only bird of note in the woods.

 Common Crossbill grankorsnebb
Female Blackcap munk at Sæle

An even briefer stop at Sæle on the way home produced a couple of Blackcap munk and two Woodpigeon ringdue. Sadly a large number of the elderberry trees which are so attractive to migrants have been cut down.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breivik 19 November 2011 - Wild Goose Chase 2

Slightly less wind with very little rain but foggy. WAY better conditions than yesterday.

Altogether more successful today. A fabalis (Taiga) Bean Goose sædgås together with 13 Pinkfeet kortnebbgås were virtually the first birds of the day. At least 25 Greylags grågås joined them and in the next field seven albifrons White-fronts tundragås were a welcome bonus. Seems like my suspicions from yesterday were correct on both counts.

 First view of Taiga Bean Goose sædgås with Pinkfeet kortnebbgås in the fog
Above and below Bean Goose sædgås with Pinkfeet kortnebbgås

A late Woodpigeon ringdue shared the same fields along with Starling stær, Snipe enkeltbekkasin and Fieldfares gråtrost.

Other stuff included a Goshawk hønsehauk at Herdlevær and a Pochard taffeland and a late Meadow Pipit heipiplerke at Tjeldstø.

Small numbers of Whooper Swans sangsvane seen at both Kollsnes and Tjeldstø.

Breivik 18 November 2011 - Wild Goose Chase

Very strong southerly winds and constant driving rain. Truly foul conditions.

Plenty of gesse but playing hard to get in the, to put it mildly, difficult conditions. At least 30 Greylags grågås was a respectable flock for the time of year. A single Bean Goose sædgås thankfully called as it passed quite close overhead, Pinkfeet kortnebbgås also heard and a flock of 10-15 birds were probably this species. A flock of seven smaller geese could well have been White-fronts tundragås.

Tried following the elusive gesse from field to field but only really managed to pin down the Greylags grågås. In the end I admitted degeat and went home....

Other stuff included an unseasonal flock of 11 Lapwing vipe and a flock of Starling stær.

Whilst I was away....

Just my luck for the weather to change the moment I left Øygarden.....

Good birds came thick and fast with Gadwall snadderand, Bean Goose sædgås, Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk (surprisngly rare out at the coast!), Shorelark fjelllerke (ditto that for RLB) as the best of the bunch.

Other stuff included Pochard taffeland, White-fronts tundragås and more.

Interestingly I had both Bean Goose and White-front on the same day - whilst well offshore in the German Sector. Plenty more good stuff onboard inlcuding Bittern rørdrum, Water Rail vannrikse and an assortment of owls.....more on this at  a later date.