Friday, December 23, 2016

Tjeldstsø 21 December 2016 - Much better than expected

The weather forecast predicted a storm but I got lucky with the timing of today's trip out - the wind dropped and the sun came out for the duration of my walk with the dog. I took things easy and just did a short walk through the reserve.

First year male Scaup bergand

Two of the Whoopers sangsvane present on Rotevatnet

Obligatory White-tailed Eagle havørn shot before it got too close to fit in the frame

Highlight was a first year male Scaup bergand. Singles of Redwing rødvingetrost and Fieldfare gråtrost were present and I saw the first flock of Chaffinches bokfink I've seen for a while. Other stuff included 11 adult Whoopers sangsvane, a few White-tailed Eagle havørn and the usual Crested Tits toppmeis.

Three more White-tailed Eagle havørn patrolled in front of the house at Nautnes.

Øygarden 12.12 - 20.12 - Hanging in there

Short hours of daylight, several days at the office and Christmas getting in the way of any meaningful birding.

Tufted Duck toppand pair at Blomvatnet, 20.12

Velvet Scoter sjøorre at Heggøy, 20.12

However, some species still hanging in there for an attempt at overwintering. These included a Woodpigeon ringdue and a Woodcock rugde at Nautnes, at least one flock of Greylags grågås seen at various locations, a couple of Snipe enkeltbekkasin at Herdlevær, singles of Redwing rødvingetrost, Curlew storspove etc.

Other than this fairly quiet with only small numbers of Long-tailed Duck havelle, up to three White-tailed Eagles havørn at various sites, Whoopers sangsvane, Velvet Scoters sjøorre and a flock of 42 Herons gråhegre at the Dåvøy roost.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Herdlevær 11 December 2016 - These are better days

A fantastic day weatherwise - no wind at all, mostly sunny and mild.

Little Grebe
Massively cropped record shot of the Little Grebe dvergdykker

Not too bad for birds either - highlight was my first local Little Grebe dvergdykker for the year. A Slavonian Grebe horndykker also put in an appearance.

Raven ravn

White-tailed Eagle
Adult White-tailed Eagle havørn overhead

Small numbers of the usual suspects also showed including a couple of adult White-tailed Eagle havørn, two Velvet Scoter sjøorre, several Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and a few Starling stær.

Common Crossbill

Common Crossbill

Common Crossbill

Common Crossbill
Random Common Crossbill grankorsnebb shots from the car park

A flock of Common Crossbills grankorsnebb with larger than normal bills foraged in trees beside the car park. Nice.

Earlier in the day a very vocal Water Rail vannrikse made itself very noticeable from my garden at Nautnes.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hjelme Vest 10 December 2016 - Where have all the birds gone?

Calm. mild and almost sunny.

It was relatively late before we got out for a walk. The sea was very quiet with just a few each of Common Scoter svartand and Long-tailed Duck havelle. Best bird was a Curlew storspove feeding on one of the islands.

This reduction in the number of birds, especially seaduck, reinforces the impression I have had in the few days since my return.

White-tailed Eagle

Only one White-tailed Eagle havørn put in an appearance.

Still flocks of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb pretty much everywhere.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Skogsøy 09 December 2016 - Not seawatching

Calm, mild and not raining!

Five of the Whoopers sangsvane present today

An unexpected sighting were six adult Whoopers sangsvane feeding in the lagoons - this is a regular wintering area for them but normally is only used when freshwater is frozen.

Great Northern DIver
Great Northern Diver islom

I did no real seawatching, just looked out over the sea whilst I ate my sandwiches and had a cup of coffee. Virtually the only bird that passed was a single Great Northern Diver islom heading south. It was quite close in though.


Sparrowhawk spurvehauk

Otherwise it was just the usual White-tailed Eagles havørn and a few Crested Tit toppmeis. A Sparrowhawk spurvehauk posed nicely beside the parking area as I left.

A few random shots from yesterday:

Male Merganser siland with a problematic fish....

Whoopers sangsvane at Kollsnes.

It seems Whoopers sangsvane with young are nearly always forced off onto the less optimal areas with adult only groups being dominant,

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Nautnes 07 December 2016 -. Welcome home

A dull and wet day.

Spent most of the day catching up on stuff that has built up whilst I have been away and didn't really get out.

First bird I saw from my terrace this morning was a White-tailed Eagle havørn keeping a very close eye on a hunting Otter - in fact I suspect the eagle had already stolen the otter's catch by the time I got onto it. This was closely followed by a Little Auk alkekonge feeding in front of the house.

The Grey Heron gråhegre roost at Dåvøy has now increased to at least 38 birds - showing that Øygarden is a popular wintering location for this species.

Velvet Scoter sjøorre at Heggøy

Other birds seen today included a few Velvet Scoter sjøorre at Heggøy and three adult Whoopers sangsvane at Tjeldstø.

Hopefully there will be more time to get out and about tomorrow......

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Nautnes 12 November 2016 - Wet and wild

Very strong southerly winds with rain all day. Not that it made much difference, too busy to get out today.

Grey Heron gråhegre

Long-tailed Duck havelle - to be honest I actually left the house to take this pictures

A Long-tailed Duck havelle from the terrace provided the best photographic opportunities today despite the dull and wet conditions.

Initial view of a very dark duck with the Mallards stokkand on Husvatnet

White tail sides coming into view.....

...,.and the excitement fades

A normal coloured female Mallard stokkand for comparison.....

A driive-by at Tjeldstø on the way to the shopping centre at Sartot (!! - at least my youngest was happy) got the pulse racing for a little while - a very dark looking Mallard stokkand just had to be checked out closely - we don't see much of those daft ones with domestic duck influences like they do in the parks in town. The very dark plumage and yellowish green colour on the bill looked promising but in the end the pale tail sides showed and the pulse returned to normal. Maybe it was just a bit melanistic, maybe be had some genes from the other side of the Atlantic.....

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hjelme Vest 11 November - Another day in paradise

Strong southerly winds and not feeling as mild as it was!

I took a late and lazy stroll at Hjelme Vest, a locality best suited to calm conditions.

One of the best birds was a Peregrine vandrefalk that came past at close range but I was so caught up in the bird that I failed to reach for my camera. Nice, Other stuff included a flock of 20 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt and small numbers of the usual seaduck.

Migrating Whooper Swan sangsvane

White-tailed Eagle havørn

A Whooper sangsvane headed south and a couple of obviously well fed White-tailed Eagles havørn put on a show (this was in addition to at least three more more distant birds).

Common Scoter svartand are quite easy to photograph at the moment

The afternoon trip to the shops showed that yesterday's Scaups bergand were still present at both Alvheim and Tjeldstø. And still quite a lot of Common Scoter svartand close inshore.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Herdlevær 10 November 2016 - Dead interesting

Although only a degree or two up from the last few days it felt a lot warmer.

Dead deer hjort - obviously someone has had a successful hunting season....

Remains of Snipe enkeltbekkasin

...and Woodcock rugde

The cold weather has obviously made some things easier for predators to catch, there was quite a bit of dead stuff about today including a Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a Woodcock rugde. These, along with other recently killed birds makes it looks like there is a raptor living the dream at Herdlevær....

Still quite a few Common Gull fiskemåke present - won't be long before these disappear and the species becomes hard to find in Øygarden. Crazy as large numbers overwinter in Bergen.

Small numbers of Common Scoter svartand around but no real movement

Linnet tornirisk

Redwing rødvingetrost

Shag toppskarv - so common it tends to get a bit neglected from the photo side of things

One of a couple of Snipe enkeltbekkasin that were still alive

What would have been a nice shot of Wren gjerdesmett had it not been for the fence

However, there were quite a few birds still very much alive. The most unusual sighting was the first November record of Linnet tornirisk for Øygarden. Otherwise is was very much the usual November fare with Red-throated Diver smålom, Long-tailed Duck havelle, a couple of Snipe enkeltbekkasin and so on.

Two male Scaup bergand

Scaup bergand (front right), Tufted Duck toppand (front left) and Wigeon brunnakke (back)

Two Scaup bergand and two Tufted Duck toppand

Two Tufted Duck toppand in the middle with Scaup bergand on either side

Drive-bys at Tjeldstø and Alvheim produced a few Scaup bergand and five other species of duck.

Early morning Razorbill alke at Nautnes

A Razorbill alke swam past the terrace early in the morning.