Monday, February 23, 2015

Øygarden 23 February 2015 - More new in

Southerly winds, largely sunny after 10:00.

Two male Tufted Duck toppand

A errand to the southern end of Øygarden resulted in two male Tufted Duck toppand on Nordlavatnet - this locality is probably the best place to catch up with this species during the winter months in Øygarden.

Also stopped at Blomvatnet where a Moorehen sivhøne was seen yesterday but there was no sign of it.

Elswhere a lone Greylag grågås at Blomvåg and a pair beside Husvatnet, Tjeldstø were obviously new arrivals.

At another locality a number of White-tailed Eagle havørn pellets showed them to be eating large gulls - several pellets were found which all largely consisted of gull feathers. Perhaps they are collected gulls caught in netting around one of the local fish farms?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Skogsøy 22 February 2015 - First Puffin of the year

Bright and sunny with light onshore winds.

The local Ravens ravn are getting territorial

Spent an hour seawatching with the highlight being the first Puffin lunde of the year heading north. A single Little Auk alkekonge flew south and a few more unidentified auks passed in the distance. Migration was limited to several flocks of southbound Shags toppskarv. At least 20 Gannet havsule fed offshore.

Best bird was at least one, probably two Little Grebes dvergdykker on the lagoons to the south.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ono 21 February 2015 - Another new in + Northern Lights

Southerly with wintery showers, but largely bright and more or less sunny.

The Northern Lights put on quite a show again last night - I'm going to have to get a landscape lens as well as make some changes to my technique...

Started off the day quite nicely with a Great Northern Diver islom flying past the house whilst making breakfast. Species #35 from the garden so far this year....

Today's walk was a Ono where the highlights were two Meadow Pipits heipiplerke - probably overwintering birds rather than migrants although it is far from each winter I see them here. A decent roost of 30+ Herons gråhegre and at least four White-tailed Eagles havørn also here.

Nine Lapwing vipe at Tjeldstø may have been the same flock seen a couple of days back.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Herdlevær 20 February 2015 - Patch ticks

Largely reasonable weather but strong southerlies and heavy showers at times.

No new Øygarden species for the year today but plenty of "patch ticks" here and there along with some decent sightings.

Above: perfect spot for a lunch break if it hadn't been for the rain.

A couple of the Whoopers sangsvane present at Herdlevær today

Above: Further signs of spring - crocuses are now in flower and the snowdrops have been out for about a month now.

Managed a couple of hours at Herdlevær where the weather dealt me a bad card just at what I had hoped would be the most interesting bit. However, a female Velvet Scoter sjøorre, a few Whooper Swans sangsvane, an Oystercatcher tjeld which behaved as if it was new in and an increase in the numbers of Starling stær were of interest. A Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt fed well "inland" - in habitat more suited to plovers - it takes a lot to rock these hardy waders

A flock of Lapwing vipe and more Starling stær were seen near the parking area for Skogsøy.

Back home at Nautnes I had four new for the year's house list  all during enforced breaks during some software updates - it helps to look out of the window or take a coffee outside once in a while. Highlight of the day was a Merlin dvergfalk that had a go at some Greenfinch grønnfink in the garden. Other patch (read "house") year ticks included as couple of migrating Oystercatcher tjeld and a few Gannet havsule.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tjeldstø 19 February 2015 - It's spring!

Southerly winds, overcast and mild.

The first Lapwings vipe of the year

Not out in any meaningful way at all but a trip to the shops produced a few bits and bobs including one of the first official signs of sping - a flock of 10 Lapwing vipe.

There were other indications of spring movement with small flocks of Starling stær at Tjeldstø, Harkestad and Nautnes. At the latter location an Oystercatcher tjeld may also have been a new arrival - the timing is spot on for the first migrants but it could conceivably have been an overwintering bird.

Another sign of spring was that the crocuses in my garden have started to flower.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Øygarden 04 February 2015 - Freezing conditions = Water Rail

Very calm and sunny.

The cold weather continues with temperatures dropping below freezing at night. Although it was wonderful to be out and about in the fantastic weather there was nothing out of the ordinary at Herdlevær today - just the usual selection of duck on the sea and a single Black Guillemot teist.

Bird of the day was a roadside Water Rail vannrikse at Alvheim during an evening trip to the shops. The bird was very vocal which made it easy to locate.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Hjelme Vest 02 February 2015 - Finally something on the sea!

Calm and sunny!

There was much more on the sea today than on my previous visit with the highlight being a Red-throated Diver smålom, there was also a Great Northern Diver islom, several Black Guillemot teist and approximately 80 Long-tailed Duck havelle. Small numbers of Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt but no other waders present today.

In the woods a Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett, a few Crested Tit toppmeis and a difficult crossbill which I put down as a large-billed Common Crossbill grankorsnebb.

A drive-by at Dåvøy 42 Heron gråhegre at the regular roost.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Ono, Rong 01 February 2015 - Snow Bunting and Northern Lights

Clear and sunny with a northerly breeze

Ono was generally fairly quiet with just the small numbers of the usual species of duck and a few White-tailed Eagles havørn. However, a nice male Snow Bunting snøspurv was a nice surprise and gave cracking views.

Above and below - male Snow Bunting snøspurv

I'd left my proper camera in the car (!) and only had my latest "point and pray" to hand - the results were surprisingly good....

Northern Lights nordlyset as seen from my living room last night

Last night the same camera was used to take a few pictures from my terrace at Nautnes - with the slowest possible shutter speed I could manage (8"). I've yet to find out about all the functions - better luck next time perhaps?