Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Solberg 30 April 2013 - Poms

Strong northerly winds, mostly sunny but some wintery showers.

Not much time spent out and about but a trip to Solberg paid off today with the first two Pomarine Skuas polarjo of the year heading north. This is the earliest sighting ever in Øygarden (or Hordaland for that matter)

Other sightings here inlcuded several Red-throated Diver smålom, a Great Skua storjo and a steady stream of Gannets havsule and Kittiwake krykkje.

It would have been a good today to be at Skogsøy.....

Some other good news was that Ringed Plovers sandlo have returned to their most regular breeding site in Øygarden.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Herdlvevær 29 April 2013

Very strong southerly winds, heavy wintery showers and occasional glimpses of sunshine.

The head shape and bill size of this gull caught my attention

A closer view.....

Sitting out a hail shower.

A gull caught my attention as we both sat out a particularly heavy shower. Looked big beaked, chunky-headed and "interesting". It turned out to be just a second summer Common Gull fiskemåke....

Red-breasted Merganser siland

Tufted Duck toppand pair

Female Wheatear steinskvett

A pair of Tufted Duck toppand were an unusual sighting at Herdlevær. Some migrants present with singing Chiff-chaff gransanger and Willow Warbler løvsanger present along with several territorial Wheatear steinskvett.

Small numbers of Meadow Pipit heipiplerke, White Wagtails linerle and Fieldfare gråtrost feeding in the fields.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Skogsøy 27 April 2012 - First White-billed of the year

Northerly wind and sunny.

A decent enough seawatch - sat from 05:35 to 12:15. Highlights were the first two migrating White-billed Diver gulnebblom of the year in Øygarden. Other sightings of note inlcuded a couple of Arctic Skua tyvjo (one dark phase and one light), and 107 Red-throated Diver smålom.

This auk looked quite interesting - a possible Brunniche's polarlomvi candidate?
Possibly too much in the way of markings on the underarm and the dark cap does not extend far enough down?

Jizz and bill shape / markings meant this bird got some extra attention
Hunchback / rugby ball look, unmarked flanks, the collar and apparent white stripe along the bill all support Brunniche's Guillemot polarlomvi.

However, many Guillemots lomvi can look like they have a white line along the bill....

Above and below Cormorants storskarv

Long-tailed Ducks havelle

Still small numbers of Oystercatcher tjeld heading north

A flock of Red-throated Diver smålom head north - finally into three figures today

Obligatory White-billed Diver gulnebblom record shot

Passage was relatively quiet with only small numbers of duck, auks and waders heading north.

Numbers included:
Puffin lunde N 11
Razorbill alke N 7
Guillemot lomvi N 1+
Oystercatcher tjeld N 38
Turnsotone steinvender N 3
Cormorant storskarv N 28
Wigeon brunnakke N 2
Common Scoter svartand N 14

New Øygarden birds for me this year were a singing Willow Warbler løvsanger and some flyover Linnets tornirisk.

A Wryneck vendehals was photographed at Herdlevær.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tjeldstø 21 April 2013 - No change

Southerly gale and overcast.

Took things easy with just a walk around the reserve - very much the same as of late. A couple of singing Dunnock jernspurv and increased numbers of Meadow Pipit heipiplerke covered the migrants.

Part of a flock of around 100 Common Gull fiskemåke on Husvatnet

Greylag grågås

Jackdaws kaie

A flock of 11 Jackdaw kaie was a big flock for Øygarden - may be the same birds that were seen at Skogsøy yesterday.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Skogsøy 20 April 2013 - Half-decent seawatch

Southerly winds increasing in strength during the few hours spent seawatching.

A steady stream of stuff heading north today, not a huge amount but enough to keep interest up in the chilly conditions. Best of the bunch today were the year's first Arctic Skua tyvjo and Great Skua storjo - both heading north. These two were also new for Hordaland this year. A small flock of Tufted Duck toppand were new for the year in Øygarden.

Cormorants storskarv

Curlews storspove

Other stuff passing included:
Red-throated Diver smålom: 4N
Common Scoter svartand: 127N
Common Gull fiskemåke: 135N
Curlew storspove: 9N
Cormorant storskarv: 54N
Puffin lunde: 3N
Wigeon brunnakke: 12N
Goldeneye kvinand: 5N

Goldfinch stillits back in the garden again today

Back at Tjeldstø a Dunnock jernspurv sang beside Husvatnet and in the evening a Sand Martin sandsvale turned up with a couple of Swallows låvesvale - possibly the same birds seen here earlier in the week.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Herdlevær 19 April 2013 - New stuff just keeps coming...

Brisk northerly winds and clearish skies

Male Pied Flycatcher svarthvitfluesnapper

Today's conditions are not normally considered good for migrant passerines so Herdlevær was pleasantly productive. The highlight was a dapper male Pied flycatcher svarthvitfluesnapper feeding on the shore. This is  not a particularly easy bird to get in Øygarden, especially in the spring. It was also the first in Hordaland this year.

Female Blackcap munk

This Mink narrowly escaped with it's life - only escaping the dog by diving into the sea

Other new birds in were a couple of male Wheatear steinskvett and a pair of Blackcap munk. Among other migrants a couple of Skylark sanglerke, several Teal krikkand, White wagtails linerle and the usual assortment of thrushes.

A Mistle Thrush duetrost at Breivik was relegated to an "also ran".

Siskin grønnsisik

The garden was still full of stuff and included yet another new migrant - a Chiff-chaff gransanger.

All in all not a bad result at all.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tjeldstø 18 April 2013 - Yet more new arrivals

Strong southerly winds and rain.

Started the day with a walk at Breivik. Some grounded migrants and new arrivals here including a few White Wagtail linerle, a small flock of Skylark sanglerke and at least six Snipe enkeltbekkasin.

Redwing rødvingetrost at Harkestad

At Harkestad one field was full of migrants including a flock of 40 Chaffinch bokfink, several Brambling bjørkefink, a Pied Wagtail svartryggerle, a White Wagtail linerle, Meadow Pipit heipiplerke and a mix of thrushes.

Goldfinch stillits on the feeder

Siskin grønnsisik

Once again though it was the garden that provided the bulk of the interest. Finch numbers exploded with around 20 Chaffinch bokfink, 30 Brambling bjørkefink, a couple of Common Redpoll gråsisik and 30 Siskin grønnsisik along with the usual Greenfinches grønnfink and Tree Sparrows pilfink. Highlight here was a Goldfinch stillits - first in Øygarden this year.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tjeldstø 17 April 2013 - More arrivals

Southerly winds and overcast.

A stroll around the reserve produced a Carrion Crow svartkråke - quite possibly the same bird seen at Skogsøy a couple of days back. Good numbers of Fieldfare gråtrost were seen with at least 200 in the area.

 Above and below: Common Redpoll gråsisik

Four species of finch in this picture

Brambling bjørkefink with Siskins grønnsisik

Above and below: Male Siskin grønnsisik

Female Siskin grønnsisik

The garden was the best place though with the first Common Redpoll gråsisik of the year, about 20 Siskin grønnsisik, a Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett and a couple of Brambling bjørkefink on top of the usual garden visitors

Monday, April 15, 2013

Herdlevær 15 April 2013 - Corvid bonanza

Strong southerlies, overcast but largely dry.

Carrion Crow svartkråke - sure to get the twitchers out to Øygarden....

Rook kornkråke - first for Øygarden this year (and another species most of the twitchers don't yet have this year)

Jackdaws kaie

Yesterday's weather obviously produced some results. Highlights were all corvids around the parking area at Skogsøy. First and best was a Carrion Crow svartkråke. Whilst taking some record shots of this bird a Rook kornkråke and nine Jackdaw kaie turned up.

Black-headed Gull hettemåke

Common Gull fiskemåke

Gannet havsule

Teal krikkand

Herdlevær itself didn't produce much of interest but some grounded migrants were seen - a couple of Song Thrush måltrost, several Redwing rødvingetrost and a number of Blackbird svarttrost.

Tjeldstø 14 April 2013 - Storm

Gale force southerly winds and rain.

Difficult conditions. After making sure the trampoline didn't fly off in the wind a walk around the reserve with the dog showed quite a difference from a week ago. Redshank rødstilk now arrived (about a week ago), over 100 Common Gulls fiskemåke, several Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke, Meadow Pipits heipiplerke.

Eight adult Whoopers sangsvane seen yesterday had moved on.Labels

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Øygarden 02 April 2013 - More movement

Cloudless and sunny again but with a fresh north-easterly wind making it feel pretty cold.

A quick look at Solberg showed that it was a good day to be sat at Skogsøy - stuff was pouring past but most birds were too far off to identify. In the fifteen minutes or so I sat there the highlights were a Shelduck gravand, a couple of Red-throated divers smålom and a Puffin lunde.

Good numbers of Common Gull fiskemåke and Oystercatcher tjeld headed north.

A walk around Herdlevær later on produced relatively little on the ground but more of the same over the sea.  The only new bird today was a single Meadow Pipit heipiplerke although a Snipe enkeltbakkasin was also probably a new arrival and a Curlew storspove had taken up territory.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Skogsøy and Sture 01 April 2013 - New species for Øygarden!

Calm and sunny with a northerly breeze picking up later. Very heavy frost overnight.

Kicked the day off with a few hours seawatching at Skogsøy. Plenty of migration today with getting on for 1000 Oystercatcher tjeld as the mainstay of the passage. Other stuff included the first Wigeon brunnakke of the year, a fly over Snow Bunting snøspurv (my first of the year), a Dunlin myrsnipe,  four Red-throated Diver smålom, a Little Auk alkekonge, a Puffin lunde, a Velvet Scoter sjøorre, a few Black-headed Gulls hettemåke and a light but steady movement of Curlew storspove and Common Gulls fiskemåke.

A Great Northern Diver islom headed south and a Peregrine vandrefalk caught a passerine nearby.

Nutcracker nøttekråke - first new species for Øygarden this year.

A tip off about a local mega resulted in decent views of the first Nutcracker nøttekråke for Øygarden - a long-awaited first. The bird was seen between Skjold and Sture.

Another tip-off saw me standing on my terrace for an hour or so - without any luck this time - but picked up several White-tailed Eagles havørn, a Jackdaw kaie, a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk, my first Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke of the year and a further movement of Common Gulls fiskemåke.