Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yet more not Birding Øygarden - update on migration in the east of Norway

I spent 17-18 October up in Engerdal municipality in Hedmark in the east of Norway.

As usual there was not a lot of proper birding and as usual the huge potential of this area was obvious. The undoubted highlight were a number of Pine Grosbeaks konglebit. These birds were all seen and heard flying over but I suspect they were not really moving. I have not seen this species here before but am a little uncertain of their status.

Waxwing sidensvans

Rather more certain there were several flocks of Waxwing sidensvans and I definitely got the impression that these birds were heading west. As with the Pine Grosbeaks I saw them more or less everywhere I went.

Strangely all the rowan berries in the lowlands and valleys were gone so I initially presumed the thrushes had also moved on. This proved to be very, very wrong as there were flocks of up to several hundred Fieldfare gråtrost at a time gorging themselves on the vast quantities of berries on the slopes above the tree line. Some Waxwing sidensvans also took advantage of this bounty. No boubt these birds will not move on until these berries are covered by snow.

Mealy Redpolls gråsisik and Common Crossbills grankorsnebb were also very obvious pretty much everywhere.

Scaup bergand

Other birds included small numbers of Scaup bergand, the usual Goosander laksand and Whooper Swan sangsvane.



For more about birding in Engerdal, Hedmark see this page

Thursday, October 15, 2015

More not birding Øygarden - Long awaited updates to the website

As I am unable to get out and about in Øygarden at the moment I have been using the time to do some much need updates to my website which has fallen by the wayside during the last few years.

One of the pages I have added recently was a very good offshore trip in the southern part of the Norwegian sector during the spring of 2014. Plenty of migrant passerines and some seabirds. More details can be seen on this page.

Kestrel tårnfalk

Redshank rødstilk

Male Common Redstart rødstjert

Tree Pipit trepiplerke

I have also added a couple of whale pages - Pilot Whale gridhval and Minke Whale vågehval along with a load of other updates - more to come in the near future I hope!

A list of the latest updates can be seen here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

September 2015 - Not Birding Øygarden - Falsterbo!

In September I spent a few days in one of my all time favourite birding destinations - Falsterbo in southern Sweden. I don't know how many times I've been there but have visiting since the early 80's.

As usual it was fantastic - lots of migration and plenty about, at Nabben, Ljungen and elsewhere.
Decent numbers of raptors and the definite feeling that the Scandinavia was emptying over our heads with large numbers of Tree Pipits trepiplerke, Yellow Wagtails gulerle and various finches constantly passing overhead.

Highlights were a Pallid Harrier steppehauk and small numbers of Black Kite svartglente.

Here is a selection of images from this trip:

Migrating Brent Geese ringgås, Nabben

Pale Common Buzzard musvåk

Migrating Eiders ærfugl - one of the most numerous migrants at Falsterbo

Pale Honey Buzzard vespevåk

Kestrel tårnfalk with rodent

Birding Falsterbo

The lighthouse

View over the heath

The "new" path to Nabben, as seen from the lighthouse

Mixed flock of raptors - mostly Red Kite glente and Common Buzzard musvåk

Above two - Red Kites glente

Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk

Above two - thousands of Sparrowhawks spurvehauk passed during my stay

Migrating Stock Doves skogdue, Nabben

Typical dark juvenile Honey Buzzard vespevåk

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Hernar 05 October 2015 - A magic day's birding!

Sunny with light easterly and south-easterly winds.

One of the all-time best days out on Hernar ever!! A truly cracking day out with non-stop action from start to finish. No mega rarities but PLENTY of decent birds and a whole load of migration - and in fantastic weather to top it all!

Above: record shots of today's Pallid Harrier steppehauk

Highlights were a Pallid Harrier steppehauk (yet again!). This makes the third consecutive trip to Hernar with a harrier. It looks like this is a different bird to the one seen at Nautnes recently. We found it around 1500 and it promptly gained height and headed south - by 1510 it was already over Hellesøy.

Next best bird was a Red-throated Pipit lappiplerke migrating south. This bird came in low and very vocal.

Early morning Yellow-browed before the sun came up

More Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger

One of at least two Richard's Pipit tartarpiplerke seen today

The runners up were three Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger, two Richard's Pipits tartarpiplerke (one of which was actually on the ground for a change!).

Early morning Chiff-chaff gransanger

Newly washed Chiff-chaff gransanger

Part of a flock of 150 Cormorants storskarv migrating over the island today

Lots of Goldcrest fuglekonge about today

Most of the Goldfinch stillits flock present during the morning

One of two Ring Ousel ringtrost seen on Hernar today

There were loads of other migrants too including a Short-eared Owl jordugle, a flock of five Goldfinch stillits, two Ring Ousel ringtrost, loads of Chif-chaff gransanger, several Blackcap munk, a Snow Bunting snøspurv, a Lapland Bunting lappspurv, several Great Northern Diver islom and plenty more besides.

A flock of 15 Long-tailed Duck havelle were the first of the autumn, amazingly four Fulmar havhest headed south down Hjeltefjord - one of which was an intermediate phase bird. Amazingly this seems like the first record for the island!

Good numbers of Redwing rødvingetrost, loads of Brambling bjørkefink and most of the usual autumn suspects were also seen.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Skogsøy 04 October 2015 - Quiet but a new patch tick

Southerly winds and partly cloudy.

Second cy White-tailed Eagle havørn flying overhead

I spent just over two hours seawatching - hoping for some decent migration after some recent poorer conditions. It felt generally rather quiet but 115 Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås and another 100 geese that were in all probability also this species headed south - unfortunately at quite long range.

The only other notable sighting were four Great Northern Divers islom heading south.

Very few duck today - barely more than just a couple of Wigeon brunnakke and other birds on the move were limited to Red-throated Divers smålom, a variety of gulls - including Common gull fiskemåke and several very dark Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke.

Bird of the day was at least one Common Redstart rødstjert feeding not far from the lookout - a new Skogsøy species for me and (embarrassingly!) the first I've seen in Øygarden this year.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Herdlevær 03 October 2015 - Late and Lazy

Gloriously sunny until early afternoon.

Spent late morning at Herdlevær but, as usual, didn't cover the gardens much.

Above and below: very dark looking Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke - looking good for fuscus?

Juvenile Peregrine vandrefalk

Starling stær

Highlight was a Peregrine vandrefalk that came past a couple of times. Other migrants inlcuded Kestrel tårnfalk, a Skylark sanglerke, a flock of around 50 Brambling bjørkefink, the usual pipits and thrushes and most of the usual suspects.

Once again the Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke that passed looked extremely black with no contrast between the primaries and the rest of the wing. I can't believe that these are fuscus but don't really see what else they could be....

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Nautnes 01 October 2015 - Pallid again - but only just

Largely cloudy with south westerly winds.

Some more twitchers from the big vcity had a go for the Pallid Harrier steppehauk without success today. However, as the light was going just before 1900 I had a brief view of a harrier from the living room window - I can only presume that this was the same bird.

I spent even less time outside than yesterday and other than the harrier the only really noteworthy bird was a Grey Wagtail vintererle that flew over.

A Goshawk hønsehauk put in an appearance during the morning school run but other than that it was just the run of the mill stuff like White-tailed Eagle havørn and some thrush movement.

Nautnes 30 September 2015 - Pallid again!

Southerly winds, overcast early on but clearing later.

Work prevented any time in the field but as this is Øygarden my "office" window produced the goods again.Amazingly yesterday's Pallid Harrier steppehauk put on a show today too - seemingly settling into some kind of routine whereby it hunted in front of the house and then behind it followed by a period of absence before returning to do the same thing again.

A few twitchers from town gave it a go, some, but not all, connected with this cracking bird. Today's picture showed something rather odd with the tail - it seemed both longer and more worn than expected.

Above two - to put it mildly the tail on this thing looks odd!

We have now passed the standard of record shot and are verging on something worthwhile for anything other than ID purposes


Some view from the office....

Other stuff was obviously on the move, a Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger came dangerously close to the house (<50m also="" at="" color="#00ffff" font="" lots="" of="" one="" point="" starling="">stær
and plenty of various thrushes. A Common Sandpiper strandsnipe was relatively late and theWhite-tailed Eagles havørn were ever present.