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.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Øygarden 10 November 2013 - Just Two-barred Crossbills today.....

Sunny with northerly winds.

Given the weather conditions it was no surprise that the twitchers making the trip out dipped on the thrush today. The area in which the bird had spent yesterday had pretty much emptied.

Song Thrush måltrost - something horribly wrong with its bill - quite possibly the explanation as to why this bird has not yet migrated.

Redwing rødvingetrost - numbers much reduced today

A few Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb over the garden and more over Tjeldstø (whilst changing over to winter tyres) were perhaps the best birds of the day. Strange when that actually comes as a disappointment....

Greylags grågås

A few Pinkfeet kortnebbgås with Greylags grågås

Elsewhere a flock og around 45 Greylags grågås and five Pinkfeet kortnebbgås at Breivik / Kollsnes were new in and a decent sighting.

Solberg was virtually dead - just the usual White-tailed Eagle havørn etc.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Tjeldstø 09 November 2013 - ØYGARDEN RULES!!

Light SE, largely clear skies.


 The first Black-throated Thrush svartstrupetrost for Hordaland

After quickly checking a couple of localities I had to run an errand at Ådnevika near Tjeldstø. This turned out very well indeed - as it was here I found the county's first documented Black-throated Thrush svartstrupetrost - a nice male to boot! Just goes to show that in Øygarden one can never go anywhere without binoculars and camera.....

The twitchers from Bergen responded immediately. One fine day they might actually find something themselves but I have to admit I've all but given up any hope...

Everything else seen today paled into insignificance. However, the area around Harkestad proved quite productive with a couple of Chiff-chaff gransanger, two Blackcap munk, at least nine Goldfinch stillits, Willow Tit granmeis, approximately 90 Starling stær, a late Song Thrush måltrost and an assortment of the usual autumn stuff.

Jackdaw kaie at Sæle - normally this would probably have been the day's best sighting
Sparrowhawks spurvehauk seen "everywhere" today

Other interesting birds in an Øygarden context were Bullfinches dompap at Hjelmo and Sæle, Willow Tits granmeis and a Jackdaw kaie. At least four Blackcap munk also at Sæle - typically feeding on the remaining elderberries. Most of these all important tree have either been removed or severely cut back this year leaving only a few good ones behind. Same story everywhere....

Two-barred Crossbills båndkorsnebb are barely worth a mention these days as they remain so numerous but there were a few at Harkestad and a flock of seven at Sæle.

A Red-throated Diver smålom flew south past the house (another new for the garden list....)


Friday, November 08, 2013

Herdlevær 08 November 2013 - Late migrants

Strong SW winds, heavy showers at times.

A Yellowhammer gulspurv was a new species for the rapidly growing house list as I left for a quick walk at Herdlevær.

A lone Little Auk alkekonge flew past whilst I ate breakfast

Still some migrating Common Gulls fiskemåke to be seen

Hooded Crow kråke

Greylags grågås

Herdlevær was relatively quiet with three Jackdaw kaie as best birds. Otherwise just a Little Auk alkekonge, some Snipe enkeltbekkasin and most of the usual suspects including at least three White-tailed Eagle havørn. Over 30 Common Scoter svartand on the sea was the only other sighting of note.

A trip to the shops produced three Greylags grågås near Blomvåg. At this time of year any geese are interesting.....