Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nautnes 29 April 2015 - Another new for the house list

Sunny with light winds

No chance to get out at all but despite this the day turned out not too badly.

The highlight was that all-too-boring of  "rarities" - a Carrion Crow svartkråke species #103 for the house.

Of more interest were the first Common Sandpipers strandsnipe of the year in Øygarden. I'm pretty sure I heard one a few days ago but today I had a pair displaying,

A trip to work meant I had to drive past Tjeldstø where I had a Peregrine vandrefalk soaring over the reserve - the first for some time.

Herdlevær 28 April 2015 - More seawatch sampling

Light SW winds, sunny

Still not making it out in a meaningful way so it was another late and short seawatch from Herdlevær today.In one hour I had 74 Red-throated Diver smålom and one White-billed Diver gulnebblom heading north. Common Gulls fiskemåke are still migrating and some 47 Common Scoter svartand also passed.

Other migrants in the area  included a Brambling bjørkefink and a flock of 12 Teal krikkand on the shore.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Skogsøy 26 April 2015 - More White-bills and some guiding

Fresh south westerly winds and sunny

Gannet havsule

Part of a Red-throated Diver smålom flock

Massively cropped record shot of one of the White-billed Divers gulnebblom

Almost obligatory White-tailed Eagle havørn picture

Not exactly the best conditions for spring seawatching but I spent a few hours out there anyway - and was not disappointed. Highlights were the first Arctic Skua tyvjo of the year and a fly-over Lapland Bunting lappspurv.

Red-throated Diver smålom: 54N
White-billed Diver gulnebblom: 2N
Gannet havsule: 19N
Cormorant storskarv: 7N, 1S
Shag toppskarv: 2N
Long-tailed Duck havelle: 37N
Common Scoter svartand: 21N
Velvet Scoter sjøorre: 2N
Oystercatcher tjeld: 3N
Arctic Skua tyvjo: 1N (pale phase)
Common Gull fiskemåke: 10N
Kittiwake krykkje: 2N

Golden Eagle kongeørn

One of many Ring Ousel ringtrost seen today

The afternoon was spent guiding near Bergen. Highlights were a big arrival of Ring Ousel ringtrost in Gullfjell and a couple of fly over Golden Eagles kongeørn over Unneland.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Herdlevær 24 April 2015 - Skogsøy f***-up!

Light winds, light cloud cover.

Obviously misjudged the day completely. It did not look like a typical good day for Skogsøy - but it was a BIG mistake to not do Skogsøy today.

As I often try to do whenever I can't make it to Skogsøy I did a "sample" seawatch from Herdlevær after completing various domestic chores.

Between 1300 and 1400 I had a massive 314 Red-throated Diver smålom! This means that had the day been spent at Skogsøy a new county record would probably have been set! I had more in an hour today that in five hours a few days ago. However, the highlight was the first two White-billed Diver gulnebblom of the year.

Common Scoter svartand passage picked up a bit but there was little else to report. At this time of year the early hours tend to produce the action and variety and as the morning wears on it goes over to divers, divers, divers.

Gullfjell 23 April 2015 - Out of Øygarden

I don't often post on anything outside Øygarden but today errands took me into town and I took the opportunity to visit my old stomping grounds in Gullfjell - partly as recon for some upcoming guiding tours and partly because it has been far too long since I was there. It was a fantastic morning out - but lots of snow at low altitude.

Ptarmigan fjellrype

The large amount of snow still on the lower slopes may be the explanation for seeing Ptarmigan fjellrype so low down. It is not often in my hundreds of walks here that I have seen this species below Redningshytten.



The newly heightened dam

It was a relief to see that work on raising the dam is complete - looks like they have done a good job there.

Dipper fossekall

Goosander laksand

White Wagtail linerle

I picked up all the expected species including Ptarmigan fjellrype, lekking Black Grouse orrfugl, Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk and Ring Ousel ringtrost. Dipper fossekall were very obvious and many of the migrants had returned.

Best birds in a Gullfjell context were a Goodander laksand on Osavatnet and a Teal krikkand on Kurlatjern.

Tjeldstø 21 April 2015 - Slav grebe and best yet of hybrid gull

Largely sunny.

Hybrid Glaucous gull polarmåke

Really struggling to get out and about. However, a partial change of winter tyres at Tjeldstø gave me the best photo opportunities thus far with the long-staying hybrid Glaucous Gull polarmåke. Flyover Twite bergirisk also meant that changing the tyres on the car was not too bad....

The quickest of walks into the reserve produced a summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe horndykker on the sea - always a nice find.

Singing Chiff-chaff gransanger, a flock of five Swallow låvesvale and some Wheatears steinskvett were all signs of spring. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Skogsøy 19 April 2015 - More seawatching

Very light northerly winds at first, dropping off to nothing. Warm and sunny.

Another decent seawatch! Sat for just over five hours - and had company from 0700 until 0900 when yesterday's Crane's trane were refound at Tjeldstø, It would take more than that to get me to leave a good days migration so I sat it out.

 Oystercatcher tjeld numbers are dropping now

Part of a Red-throated Diver smålom flock

Some of the almost 1400 Common Gulls fiskemåke that headed north today

Migrating Shelduck gravand

Good numbers and a decent variety of stuff, nothing terribly special but a great morning all the same - almost 2000 birds on the move today!:

Red-throated Diver smålom: 249N
Gannet havsule: 5N, 1S
Cormorant storskarv: 125N, 5S
Shag toppskarv; 21N, 41S
Heron gråhegre: 1N
Shelduck gravand: 4N
Common Scoter svartand: 30N still alarmingly low numbers
Goldeneye kvinand: 3N, 1S
Merganser siland: 10N
Oystercatcher tjeld: 63N
Ringed Plover sandlo: 2N
Curlew storspove: 2N
Black-headed Gull hettemåke: 5N
Common Gull fiskemåke: 1375N
Razorbill alke: 4N

A couple of Rooks kornkråke flew over the "car park" on the way home.

Flocks of White-tailed Eagle havørn everywhere today.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Herdlevær 18 April 2015 - A good diver day

Strong northerly wind and sunny.

A very late and lazy check at Herdlevær gave more than 35 Red-throated Diver smålom in less than an hour. More passing Nautnes in the evening - looks like it was a good day for diver migration.

The first Willow Warbler løvsanger of the spring sang whilst feeding - bang on time for the first of the year.

In the afternoon I heard about Cranes trane on the move and may well have seen one of the three reported flying over Tjeldstø. However, it was a view from behind of a bird losing height over the reserve and I cannot be 100% sure. Win some  lose some its all the same to me as Lenny from Motorhead would say....

Friday, April 17, 2015

Skogsøy 17 April 2015 - Diver migration picking up

Freash northerly wind again - but sitting sheltered from the wind in glorious sunshine it didn't feel cold

The first serious seawatch of the spring. Sat for getting on for five hours from 06:45 - and judging by the way the Common Gull fiskemåke passage I got there too late. I had more in the first 15 minutes than in the next hour - typical for this species.

Cormorant storskarv passage is reaching its peak

Above two: Common Gulls fiskemåke
Massively cropped record shot of three Shelduck gravand

Highlight was the first Black-throated Diver storlom of the year. A flock of Shelduck gravand were the first I've had in Øygarden this although they have been reported from both Skogsøy and Herdlevær earlier.

The only rarity was a Carrion Crow svartkråke seen flying out to sea.

Although still relatively early in the season there was a bit more variety today.

Some of the numbers:

Red-throated Diver smålom: 53N
Black-throated Diver storlom: 1N
Cormorant storskarv: 107N, 4S
Shag toppskarv: 6N, 77S
Shelduck gravand: 3N
Tufted Duck toppand: 2N first migrating birds of the year
Common Scoter svartand: 3N (normally into three figures at this time of year!)
Goldeneye kvinand: 8N
Merganser siland: 8N
Oystercatcher tjeld: 15N
Curlew storspove: 3N
Common Gull fiskemåke: 402N
Kittiwake krykkje: 1N
Guillemot lomvi: 1N
Razorbill alke: 1N
Puffin lomvi: 4N

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hernar 16 April 2015 - Macho posturing

Fresh northerly breeze and relatively overcast

Not the best of conditions to go looking for migrant passerines - but it really was a lovely day out of the wind whenever the sun got out.

Black Grouse orrfugl displaying from a rooftop - together with a Hooded Crow kråke

....and on a telegraph wire

We picked up at least two, quite possibly three, male Black Grouse orrfugl - they were displaying on anything and everything from rooftops to telegraph poles and wires. Hopefully there is a female about somewhere so that all the macho posturing can pay off.....there was some possible evidence with some feathers found that may have been lost by a female whilst enjoying the attentions of one of the boys we saw today.

Migrants were fairly thin on the ground but a small flock of Twite bergirisk, some Linnet tornirisk, a few Wheatear steinskvett, a couple of Chiff-chaffs gransanger, a male Merlin dvergfalk and several each of Redwing rødvingetrost and Goldcrest fuglekonge meant that all was not lost.

Other stuff included at least six White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Black Guillemot teist and a flock of nine Red-throated Diver smålom heading north.

Pipefish havnål

Also of interest was a Pipefish havnål which was still alive. This virtually inedible fish must have been dropped by a gull flying over. It has been quite a while since the last massive influx died off - might this be the sign of a new surge in numbers? For more details about these strange fish see this link.

Øygarden 14 April 2015 - Quiet

Onshore winds and sunny with occasional short showers.

Did Hjelme Vest after the morning school run. Nothing of note here although a small flock of Long-tailed Duck havelle were the first I've seen since I returned home.

Things went more or less downhill from there but more migrants have obviously arrived with Song Thrush måltrost and White Wagtails linerle more numerous and Wheatear steinskvett also seen at new localities.

A couple of Sparrowhawk spurvehauk headed over the house in the late afternoon.

Male Teal krikkand at Tjeldstø

Better luck tomorrow - anyone with a basic knowledge of Øygarden knows where I will be on a spring Thursday morning...,.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Herdlevær and Tjeldstø 14 April 2015 - Merlins / Getting everything wrong

Started with southerly winds and rain but the sun got out later.

Merlin dvergfalk at Tjeldstø

A couple of hours out and about today proved relatively productive. Normally Merlins dvergfalk are not everyday fare in Øygarden but today I had one at Breivik, another at Tjeldstø and yet another at back home at Nautnes. The one at Tjeldstø I originally mistook for a Kestrel - thankfully I photographed this one - albeit at long range.

Male Goshawk hønsehauk at Tjeldstø

Another (probable) mistake was what I thought to be a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk - having seen one fly over and stoop on some passerines only 10 minutes earlier. I took a few photographs of what I thought was the same bird - but looking at the shape of the wing and general proportions I think this must actually be a male Goshawk hønsehauk.

These images of a female White Wagtail linerle are not cropped!

Yet another mistake was what I assumed to be a female Pied Wagtail svartryggerle at Sture but was in fact a White Wagtail linerle. The seemingly dark and blotchy upperparts had me fooled but the rump was not black so this will have to go down as gave superb photo opportunities which I also managed to mess up - overexposing such that the white on the face loses all definition. Partly incompetence and partly because the camera was set to overexpose in flight on raptors from below.

Male White Wagtail linerle at Herdlevær - this was involved in a dispute with a male Pied Wagtail svartyggerle which was nothing like as obliging....

Herdlevær produced a Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a couple of Jackdaw kaie, a male Pied Wagtail svartryggerle, a few White wags linerle and not a lot else.

Two more male Pied wags svartryggerle at Breivik where I also heard Dunnock jernspurv singing for the first time this year.

An all dark corvid at Skogsøy got away due to traffic.

Hopefully I'll get things right tomorrow.....

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tjeldstø 13 April 2015 - First Swallow

Sunny but a brisk northerly kept things feeling chilly in exposed areas.

Swallow låvesvale

Most of today's birding was at Tjeldstø which proved quite productive. Best bird was my first Swallow låvesvale of the year. A flock of four Linnet tornirisk were also new for the year but have been seen in Øygarden for the last few days.

The Pinkfoot kortnebbgås remained in the area and a second year Whooper sangsvane on Rotevatnet was relatively late - quite possibly this is the same bird that has spent much of the winter here.

A quick look at Solberg produced little but confirmed at least that I wasn't missing out on much in the way of movement over the sea.

Other birds picked up today included an Eagle Owl hubro and a Woodcock rugde.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Herdlevær 12 April 2015 - Loads more migrants

South westerly winds and sunny

A walk at Herdlevær produced plenty of new migrants including the first Wheatear steinskvett of the year and a Chiff-chaff gransanger (the first arrived yesterday). A flock of around 25 Golden Plover heilo were also present here. A few alba wagtails linerle were heard calling but I didn't really see them well enough.

Carrion Crow svartkråke

Rook kornkråke

The area around the car park at Skogsøy produced a Carrion Crow svartkråke ,a male Pied Wagtail svartryggerle and four Jackdaw kaie on the way to Herdlevær and a Rook kornkråke on the way home again. The Carrion Crow has been around for some time but the Rook looked like it may have been a different bird than the one I saw there last time.

One of two Redshank rødstilk present at Tjeldstø

Elsewhere in Øygarden an early Swallow låvesvale was seen and a couple of Hawfinch kjernebiter were at a bird feeder at Skjold.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Nautnes 11 April 2015 - Brambling

Good conditions early on but getting wetter and windier later on.

By the time all my driving and household errands were done the rain had set in. Best birds today were a pair of Brambling bjørkefink in the garden along with the usual selection of birds at the feeder.

Other stuff included a White/Pied Wagtail linerle and the first Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke I've seen from the house this year.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tjeldstø 10 April 2015 - Almost back in business

Southerly and overcast most of the day.

Pinkfoot kortnebbgås

Above and below: Yellowhammer gulspurv

Suffering from a suspected concussion I took things very easy indeed with the shortest of walks at Tjeldstø. This paid off quite nicely with the first Pinkfoot kortnebbgås for the year in Øygarden. A couple of Yellowhammer gulspurv, a scarce migrant in Øygarden, proved quite photogenic along with Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke and my first White Wagtail linerle of the year.

Hybrid Glaoucous x Herring Gull

Also present was the apparently long-staying hybrid Glaucous x Herring gull - giving me the best photo opportunities I have had with this bird.

Lots of stuff now back with Curlews storspove displaying at Tjeldstø and Nautnes, Meadow Pipits heipiplerke now widespread and most of the usual suspects.

The first lambs are out and about at Tjeldstø