Sunday, December 29, 2013

Nautnes 27 December 2013 - Geese

Considerably calmer today - with immediate results.

Nautnes produced almost all the interest today. New species for the house list were a flock of 67 Greylags grågås together with a lone Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås. Other sightings of note from the garden were Bullfinch dompap and Meally Redpoll gråsisik. A female Otter oter with two young also spent some time feeding in front of the terrace.

Curlew storpsove at Herdlevær

Greylag grågås flock with a single Barncale goose hvitkinngås (bottom bird)

A short walk at Herdlevær produced a Curlew storspove, a flock of 40 Starling stær and three Jackdaw kaie as well as Tree Sparrow pilfink and most of the usual suspects.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tjeldstø 24 December 2013 - Christmas

Southerly gale.

Highlights today were a Lapwing vipe and a flock of 12 Starling stær. Several Whoopers sangsvane about  - including a first year bird with an injured neck - possible collision with power lines?

A very small, round and white-headed Herring Gull gråmåke

Lapwing vipe

Starling stær

Adult Whoopers sangsvane

First year Whooper sangsvane with injured neck

A flock of 50-60 Long-tailed Duck havelle were present at Solberg.

At Dåvøy a small Herring Gull gråmåke with a very white and rounded head looked quite interesting...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Herdlevær 23 December 2013 - Shelter from the storm

Rather less windy today than of late - the sun even shone most of the time

Several Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt had moved into one of the sheltered bays at Herdlevær - typical behaviour given the current conditions.

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt

Wren gjerdesmett
Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin

A few Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin also present along with the usual White-tailed Eagles havørn etc.

Skogsøy 22 December 2013

Winds still strong and predominantly from the south

Skogsøy was predictably wet underfoot. Little passing over the sea during a brief period of seawatching, However, a minumum of five White-tailed Eagles havørn and Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt resting at the usual lookput post (first time I've seen them so high above sea level).

A first year White-tailed Eagle havørn - most were adults today

Part of a passing Eider ærfugl flock

Otherwise just the usual suspects including Kittiwake krykkje, Common Crossbills grankorsnebb etc.

A flock of about 20 Starling stær were at Oen

Other stuff seen recently have been more of the same with Razorbill alke, Kittiwake krykkje and Gannet havsule at Hjelme Vest yesterday.

Redwings rødvingetrost were feeding with the Blackbird svarttrost flock at Skjold a couple of days back and a Goldeneye kvinand was another new house tick the day before that.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hellesøy 18 December 2013

Another day of strong winds....

At Hellesøy there was little to be seen other than a couple of Starlings stær and two Mealy Redpoll gråsisik.

Starling stær

Cormorant storskarv

No white-winged gulls today....

Back home at Nautnes a Curlew storspove and the usual White-tailed Eagle havørn provided more interest

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Øygarden 17 December 2013 - Glaucous Gull

Strong south westerly winds, no rain.

A mad dash around a few localities produced generally rather little. Best bird was a Glaucous Gull polarmåke at Solberg which disappeared to the north after a squabble with a White-tailed Eagle havørn.

Virtually nothing on the sea at Alvheim - perhaps because there were at least four White-tailed Eagles havørn and a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk in the area.

Some changeout of the Whooper Swans sangsvane apparent today with an adult pair and a young one together on Rotevatnet, Tjeldstø.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tjeldstø 16 December 2013 - Drive-by

Fresh south westerly and cloudy.

Yet another day in the consumer society and no time to get out at all. A drive-by at Tjeldstø produced the male Wigeon brunnakke reported there a day or two ago and very unusually a female Long-tailed Duck havelle - first time I've seen this species on the fresh water at Husvatnet.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Nautnes 15 December 2013 - Oil spill?

SW winds, largely clear.

With Christmas upon us birding is yet again taking a back seat - and I didn't really get out today. An unfortunate way to get a new species for the new house list was this Guillemot lomvi which turned up on the sea in front of th terrace. It looked to be oiled and was frantically attempting to clean its plumage. It obviously caught the eye of an adult White-tailed Eagle havørn which made at least a couple of passes over it - and the bird was not seen subsequently....

Oiled Guillemot lomvi at Nautnes - an indication of a possible spill somewhere?

A short fishing / Christmas tree trip in the afternoon resulted in a first winter Glaucous Gull polarmåke at Tjeldstø. Being almost dark (15:45 or thereabouts) there was no other option than to turn the ISO value all the way up - results were easily good enough for documentation. I'll be trying that again sometime.....

Above and below:Glaucous Gull polarmåke 

Herring Gull gråmåke - ridiculous ISO settings gave decent results....


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Herdlevær 13 December 2013 - Autumn migration not over yet

Light north westerly winds with clear skies.

As soon as I went out of the front door it was apparent that there was stuff on the move. A few flocks of Redpolls gråsisik flew south along with small numbers of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb and Bullfinch dompap.

A walk at Herdlevær produced at least a couple of hundred more Redpoll gråsisik moving south along with more Common Crossbill grankorsnebb, Bullfinch dompap, Siskin grønnsisik and a flock of eight Brambling bjørkefink.

Good numbers of Robins rødstrupe, small flocks of Blackbirds svarttrost together with the occasional Fieldfare gråtrost indicated that it wasn't just finches that are still migrating.

Other stuff included a couple of Jackdaw kaie - one of them seemingly the same very white-collared bird seen back in November, a Peregrine vandrefalk, a Velvet Scoter sjøorre and a couple of Snipe enkeltbekkasin.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Nautnes 12 December 2013 - From the terrace

Gale force winds and rain.

Weather absolutely terrible for seeing stuff during the morning but cleared up nicely once I didn't have any time left.

Nothing out of the ordinary - just an adult White-tailed Eagle havørn from the terrace among all the other usual stuff.

Both Otter and Mink turned up right outside the sitting room window too...


Otter with fish


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Øygarden 19 November 2013 - winter arrives

Strong north westerly winds and heavy hail / snow at times.

The weather started off nice enough but as soon as I got out it deteriorated to awful. Consequently little to be seen.

Of minor interest a Velvet Scoter sjøorre from the kitchen window was another house tick.

At Herdlevær the best sighting was a Black-headed Gull hettemåke - so not the best of days.

A mixed flock of thrushes at Breivik held at least 45 Fieldfare gråtrost and there are still some decent flocks of Blackbirds svarttrost about.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hjelme Vest 18 November 2013 - A decent haul

Fresh southerly winds, showers later.

Conditions were far from ideal for picking things up on the sea but small numbers of most of the usual wintering species were seen including several Velvet Scoter sjøorre and a Black Guillemot teist.

Above and below: Black-throated Diver storlom

Just as I left a nice Black-throated Diver storlom flew south and I found three Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb in the woods. I won't swear to it but I may finally have cracked the difference in call for this species - something that I have always struggled with. With flocks of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb an almost constant sight I can't say there hasn't been enough to practise on of late....

Glaucous Gull polarmåke at Tjeldstø

A trip to the shops produced a nice first winter Glaucous Gull polarmåke - the first of the autumn.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Herdlevær and Tjeldstø 16 November 2013 - Late autumn pipit headache

Strong westerly winds and very dull

Much better conditions than yesterday but virtually dark......

At Herdlevær I stumbled over a pipit that gave me a definite "vibe". Based on general colouration and location my initial thought was a late Meadow Pipit but when I looked in the binoculars it was obviously not this. The lack of tail didn't help the aberrant jizz. But pale lores, very white outer tail feathers (such as they are), dark tertials and "clean" underparts all point to something rather interesting......

Pale lores here...
Cleaner, pale, non-smudgy undersides....


Some other sightings of interest at Herdlevær included a Woodcock rugde and a Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt.

Mistle Thrush duetrost at Tjeldstø
At Tjeldstø there was a nice selection of thrushes including yesterday's Mistle Thrush duetrost which showed pretty well. Took some record shots by using ISO 1250 and underexposing a couple of stops.
A couple of Sparrowhawks spurvehauk and a Greylag grågås also seen here.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Tjeldstø 15 November - Never give up

Gale force south westerly winds and torrential rain.

Foul weather and other commitments kept me in most of the day, but undeterred by the floods etc I ventured out for a quick look around at Tjeldstø where the first Mistle Thrush duetrost of the autumn showed briefly. Bad weather turns up good birds......

Late autumn is a good time to connect with this scarce but regular visitor but this is quite a late date - perhaps due to the relatively mild autumn thus far.

A few Snipe enkeltbekkasin and small numbers of the usual thrushes and Starlings stær were the only other migrants.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Herdlevær 13 November 2013 - Eastern Jackdaw?

Fairly strong NW winds, showers

Another half-hearted attempt to see if there was any movement over the sea. There wasn't - just small numbers of Gannets havsule, a Kittiwake krykkje and a single Red-throated Diver smålom. Just the usual White-tailed Eagle havørn, Curlew storspove etc.

Still good numbers of Blackbirds svarttrost coming through but nothing much in the way of other migrants.

A Jackdaw kaie was quite striking and showed some characteristics of the eastern form soemmerringii. Its a can of worms that is probably best left unopened....

Very pale head with whitish collar
Here together with a more normal looking Jackdaw kaie...

And with different lighting....

Elsewhere good numbers of Willow Tit granmeis around Nordlåvatnet - this species has become less obvious at the usual migration sites but is obviously still around in more typical habitat.

Whooper swan sangsvane at Kollsnes - probably same bird as at Tjeldstø yesterday


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Skogsøy 12 November 2013 - Still too much wind?

Strong (20 knot++) SW winds.

The seawatchers Pavlovian response to yesterday's storm was of course to see what was going on at Skogsøy.....and as usual the hoped for post storm movement of stuff didn't happen. However, with the wind still pretty strong this might have been expected. Small numbers of Gannet havsule and Common Scoter svartand were pretty much all that was to be seen.

Common Scoter svartand

Gannet havsule

More Common Scoter svartand

I gave up after less than an hour and on my way back to the car picked up a ringtail Hen Harrier myrhauk heading north along what I call the "raptor ridge". Only the second reported in the county this year and the seventh for Øygarden. Not quite what was expected today but that is birding in a nutshell.

Some obvious grounded passerines around - largely good numbers of Blackbirds svarttrost along with small numbers of other thrushes and finches.

Back home I spent a few minutes trying to get the new house list up to speed  - picking up Kittiwake krykkje and Curlew storspove as new and a flock of three Red-throated Diver smålom. In other words more going on over the sea than at Skogsøy. Wierd.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Øygarden 11 November 2013 - Storm

Strong southerly winds increasing to storm force and rain later.

Record shots of a couple of the Two-barred Crossbills båndkorsnebb

Not much time to be out and about today. Consequently little to be seen. At Tjeldstø a small flock of Two-barred Crossbills båndkorsnebb, a new Whooper sangsvane and a few flocks of Starling stær were the only things of any interest.