Sunday, April 29, 2012

Skogsøy 29 April 2012 - Loonatics

Light northerly winds and very sunny.

With more or less ideal conditions on what is statistically the best weekend to bird Skogsøy there was a predictably large turnout of birders today - a massive seven in total.

 Obligatory White-billed Diver gulnebblom record shot

Part of a Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås flock

Almost seven hours of seawatching produced plenty of birds.

All heading north:
Red-throated Diver smålom 124
Great Northern Diver islom 2
White-billed Diver gulnebblom 15
Slavonian Grebe horndykker 2 VERY unusual spring sighting of migrating birds!
Barncale Goose hvitkinngås 61 (52+9)
Wigeon brunnakke 6
Teal krikkand 9
Tufted Duck toppand 9
Long-tailed Duck havelle 37
Common Scoter svartand 69 (+ 19 south)
Velvet Scoter sjøorre 33
Black Guillemot teist 1
Puffin lunde 17

All this plus "plenty" of auks, small numbers of Kittiwakes krykkje, Gannets havsule, etc etc.

Herdlevær 28 April 2012

Fresh northwesterly with showers.

Rather little about other than several Wheatear steinskvett and the usual suspects. A half hour seawatch without a scope produced 20 Red-throated Diver smålom and a single White-billed Diver gulnebblom in addition to small numbers of Common Scoter svartand, Kittiwake krykkje etc

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tjeldstø 27 April 2012 - Pintail

Overcast with fresh NE wind and showers.

 Heavily cropped documentation shot of the male Pintail stjertand

Pintail stjertand pair

Still struggling to get out at all but a quick dash around the reserve once again produced results, although there was clearly less going on than yesterday. Highlight today was a pair of Pintail stjertand - this species is not even seen annually in Øygarden. Today's record falls right in the peak period for this Pintail occurrences in Øygarden.

A flock of 20 Linnet tornirisk was probably an indication of new arrivals.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tjeldstø 26 April 2012 - Crane!

Calm and overcast with light rain.

 Record shots of Common Crane trane flying over

Undisputed highlight today was a Common Crane trane that flew over heading south west.

A couple of singing Willow Warbler løvsanger were the first of the year at Tjeldstø as was a Lapland Bunting lappspurv. A Common Sandpiper strandsnipe and two Swallow låvesvale were the first I've had in Øygarden this year but both had been reported earlier in the month.

The Ring Ousel ringtrost was present again - unusual for them to hang around like this in Øygarden.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hernar 25 April 2012 - more new migrants

Very calm and quiet both weather and birdwise. Light easterly winds with outbreaks of sun.

 Wheatear steinskvett

Willow Warbler løvsanger

The first lap of the island produced the first Willow warbler løvsanger and Blackcap munk of the year. Several singing Wheatear steinskvett but just one female.

Otherwise it was mostly the usual suspects including several Twite bergirisk.

Tjeldstø 24 April 2012 .- Ring Ousel!

 Ring Ousel ringtrost

Only time for a quick walk around the reserve but managed to pick up a new Tjeldstø species for me in the form of a Ring Ousel ringtrost.

Obviously plenty of stuff arrived since my last time out here with Chiff-chaff gransanger and a few Dunnock jernspurv singing as well as several Redshank rødstilk.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Tjeldstø 09 April 2012

Southerly winds and light rain

A Mealy Redpoll gråsisik which joined the finch flock in the garden was the first of the year (!).

Common Gull fiskemåke and Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke numbers increased to around 60 and five respectively. Otherwise the only migrants seen was a mixed thrush flock of around 50 Fieldfare gråtrost and Redwing rødvingetrost.

A Skylark sanglerke sang out in the reserve.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Skogsøy 07 April 2012 - Common Gull migration picks up the pace

Sunny with light northerly winds.

 Common Gull fiskemåke
 Cormorants storskarv
 Above and below Curlew storspove

Ideal migration conditions once again - which meant sub zero temperatures for the first couple of hours. It was rather tricky keeping track of everything today as birds were passing both high and low, over the sea and overland behind the lookout point.

As usual for early April it was Common Gull fiskemåke that dominated - approximately 2700 headed north (over 1600 of these in the first 1 1/2 hours). Other northbound migrants included 156 Cormorant storskarv, 30 Curlew storspove, several Black-headed Gull hettemåke and only 10 Red-throated Diver smålom.

Best of the stationary stuff was a Great Northern Diver islom on the sea.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Tjeldstø 06 April 2012 - Ringed Redpoll

Fresh northerly and sunny.

Not out at all. Came frustratingly close to reading off the ring number of one of three Lesser Redpoll brunsisik in the garden. It bore a Norwegian ring with 128H as the last digits.....

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Øygarden 05 April 2012 - more arrivals

Light southerlies, low cloud and rain

Barely out of the house so only new species today was Lesser Redpoll brunsisik in the garden and another Redpoll, presumably also Lesser flying over at Breivik.

An alba Wagtail linerle was heard several times at Breivik but I never got onto the bird.

Luckily a carload of birders from Bergen did a bit more looking than I did - reporting some auk and gull passage from Herdlevær and the first Redshank rødstilk beside Husvatnet, Tjeldstø.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Hernar 04 April 2012

Calm and sunny. Hard frost again in the night.

A Twite bergirisk - one of the Hernar specialities

Wonderful weather so ideal migration conditions which meant that a lot of stuff was moving north over the sea again. Typically for early April this mean Oystercatchers tjeld, Common Gull fiskemåke and Cormorants storskarv.

The island itself was very quiet indeed with little in the way of passerines present. Of saving grace were the first Twite bergirisk I have seen this year, a single Linnet tornirisk and a Skylark sanglerke. A few Meadow Pipits heipiplerke singing added to the feeling of spring.

Skogsøy 03 April 2012 - Morning after the day before

Light northerlies and sunny after a few days of unsuitable migration conditions.

 Cormorant storskarv
 Above and below: 3rd year Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke

 Above and below: A steady stream of Oystercatcher tjeld passed during the first few hours

Part of a flock of Shelduck gravand

A perfect migration day and the birds took advantage of it. Aiming to hit such days is not always easy but today was never going to go wrong. A very hard frost and temperatures below freezing for the first couple of hours meant I was glad I had plenty of warm clothes. In a little of five hours of seawatching I logged the following (among other things):

All heading north:
Common Gull fiskemåke 1200
Oystercatcher tjeld 900
Cormorant storskarv 285
Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke 1 (3 cy bird - pale eye)
Red-throated Diver smålom 21
Shelduck gravand 5

There was some auk passage today too, however, most passed at long range. Those identified included small numbers of Puffin lunde, Little Auk alkekonge, Razorbill alke, Guillemot lomvi and a single Black Guillemot teist.

All in all a much more typical early April seawatch than a couple of days ago!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Tjeldstø 02 April 2012

Fresh northerly, sunny in between snow showers.

Little change though Greylag grågås numbers now up to 70. Usual selection of Teal krikkand, Goldeneye kvinand etc on the lakes.

Only new bird in was a single Linnet tornirisk flying over. Now nine Tree Sparrow pilfink and over 20 Chaffinch bokfink among the birds at my feeder.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Skogsøy 01 April 2012 - April Fools seawatch

Strong northerly with light but persistent rain. Snow later.

A return to wintry conditions and winter birds to go with it! Not the most pleasant of seawatching conditions - but if you have to you have to....

 Gannet havsule
 omissus type Herring gull gråmåke with yellow legs

Typical flock of Kittiwakes krykkje - hard to pick out against the sea at times

An unusual and interesting three hour seawatch produced some remarkable sightings:
Kittiwake krykkje 244 north (VERY high total for recent years)
Little Auk alkekonge 106 north. Again an amazing number for the time of year. This species is not rare in April but numbers tend to be in single rather than triple figures!

Other than that just nine Red-throated Diver smålom, a flock of eight Curlew storspove and small numbers of Puffin lunde, Razorbill alke and Guillemot lomvi.

Virtually no migration whatsoever of the usual early spring species.

A set of yellow legs on a Herring Gull gråmåke meant that this needed to be checked further. "Just" an omissus type bird - no chance at all of turning it into anything more interesting....

Øygarden 31 March 2012

Northerly winds and mostly sunny

 Chaffinch bokfink singing in the garden
 Siskins grønnsisik are continuing to turn up in the garden and elsewhere

A quick trip to Solberg was enough to confirm a decent passage of migrants north - mostly Common Gulls fiskemåke, but also a Red-throated Diver smålom and a couple of Siskin grønnsisik among other things. A single Ringed Plover sandlo sat on the rocks here.

My best observation in an Øygarden context was a very vocal Nuthatch spettmeis at Sture.

The Gadwall snadderand pair remained at Alvheim and the first Wigeon brunnakke of the year was reported.