Friday, April 29, 2016

Skogsøy 29 April 2016 - LOONatic Asylum

With weather far from what is traditionally considered good diver conditions - very light south easterlies I was not that optimistic for today. But it is the end of April and had the chance to go - and what a day it was!! Together with a couple of Skogsøy regulars (the few who can still be bothered to walk out there!) and a couple of Polish birders we experienced some of the very best diver migration I have seen.

Part of a Red-throated Diver smålom flock

Record shot of two Shoveler skjeand together with Red-throated Divers

One White-billed Diver gulnebblom

Three White-billed Diver gulnebblom

Common Scoter svartand flock

A total of 1242 Red-throated Diver smålom is the most I have ever seen in a day at Skogsøy with the best hour logged 499 birds - huge swarms of of divers poured north between 09:00 and 12:00. This may well be a day record for the county. Although not record breaking a massive 31 White-billed Divers / Yellow-billed loons was very impressive - 30 of these went through between 08:50 and 11:00 - in flocks of up to three at a time.

Local rarities were a nice Gadwall snadderand and a pair of Shoveler skjeand and Whimrel småspove were the first of the year for me. Good numbers of Common Scoter svartand and a steady trickle of other species meant that things were pretty hectic at times.

Red throated Diver smålom 1242 N
Great Northern Diver N islom 1 N
White Billed Diver Gulnebblom 31 N
Northern Gannet  havsule 17 N
Eurasian Shag toppskarv 40 N, 27 S
Grey Heron Gråhegre 1 S
Gadwall Snadderand 1 N
Teal Krikkand 6 N
Northern Shoveler Skjeand 2 N
Tufted Duck Toppand 2 N
Long tailed duck Havelle 5 N
Common Scoter Svartand 492 N
Velvet Scoter Sjøorre 3 N
Merganser Siland 15 N
Oystercatcher Tjeld  20 N
Whimbrel Småspove 9 N
Eurasian Curlew Storspove 2 N
Black headed Gull Hettemåke 3 N
Common Gull Fiskemåke 143 N
Razorbill Alke  3 N
Atlantic Puffin Lunde 1 N (several other auks were probably this species)


Unfortunately this incredible experience was dampened by the news of a helicopter going down near Turøy - we could see the smoke and rescue efforts from Skogsøy.

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