Monday, October 31, 2016

Nautnes 31 October 2016 - Birding from the terrace. Again.

Light SE, dull and wet.

Should really have been out and about a bit more today. Most stuff seen from the terrace today - hardly surprising as I was not really out other than a drive-by past a few places on the way to and from the shops.

This picture was taken with one hand whilst on the phone to work.....

A Little Auk alkekonge on the sea in front of the house was the first of the autumn for me. Other stuff from the garden included a couple of Blackcap munk and a Goldfinch stillits. The Tree Sparrow pilfink is still hanging around

An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke was at Husvatnet, Tjeldstø. Quite a late record. I am pretty certain I also heard a tristis Chiff-chaff gransanger here but never saw the bird itself.

Female Blackcap munk at Alvheim
One could argue that man-made environments reduce the quality of the natural state of things. But with most of the "natural" berries now cleaned out it is the introduced species that are providing food for migrants.....

Goldfinch stillits at Alvheim

Velvet Scoter sjøorre at Heggøy

A few Velvet Scoter sjøorre were on the sea at Heggøy and more Goldfinch stillits and Blackcap munk were present at Alvheim.

Thrush numbers seem to be dropping slightly but still plenty of Redwing rødvingetrost and Blackbird svarttrost feeding in the fields.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Øygarden 30 October 2016 - Waxwings

SE, overcast with occasional light drizzle.

Herring Gull gråmåke at Hellesøy. A rather dark headed bird that really caught the eye....

I spent WAY too much time looking at an unusual Herring Gull gråmåke at Hellesøy. The dark head and neck were eye-catching but there was more to it than that. It behaved rather differently too and the other gulls also reacted to it - constantly chasing it off whenever it came it to try and catch some fish. Common Scoter svartand, Long-tailed Duck havelle, Red-throated Diver smålom and Snipe enkeltbekkasin were also seen here,

At Tjeldstø there were at least a dozen Snipe enkeltbekkasin, several Meadow Pipit heipiplerke, a Shoveler skjeand, a Teal krikkand and a Skylark sanglerke among the birds seen.

Waxwings sidensvans feeding on a variety of berries at Solsvik
These birds were photographed just south of Øygarden during a trip to the airport.

Waxwings sidensvans were seen at among other places Nautnes. Also at Nautnes were Blackcap munk, a flock of 18 aythya duck which were probably Tufted Duck toppand, White-tailed Eagles havørn, Brambling bjørkefink and most of the usual suspects.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Nautnes 29 October 2016 - An idiotic new for the house list

North west wind, mostly clear,

I started the day off with a new species for Nautnes - a Water Rail vannrikse. This is nothing like as surprising as it might sound - it is a long-awaited species as there is eminently suitable habitat for this species. It is new in as I specifically looked for this species a few times a week or so ago, Water Rails typically appear after periods with strong SW winds and rain - so this one ticks all the boxes.

The Water Rail was less than 100m from the house but I didn't get it on the house list. A Tree Sparrow pilfink turned up in the garden and THIS was a new species - #126. Hard to believe as this is a relatively common species in Øygarden.

Blackcap munk in the garden

Common Scoter svartand taken from the terrace

Raven ravn

Robin rødstrupe

Other stuff in / from the garden included a Dipper fossekall, a Peregrine vandrefalk, Blackcap munk, Brambling bjørkefink, Common Scoter svartand and White-tailed Eagle havørn.

A quick check at a couple of other places produced Common Crossbills grankorsnebb and Waxwing sidensvans at Solberg and Guillemot lomvi and White-tailed Eagles havørn at Tjeldstø.

Strong winds made for some interesting shots.....

Redwings rødvingetrost are very obvious at the moment

LOADS of Blackbirds svarttrost and Redwing rødvingetrost about with many flocks feeding in fields all over the place.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Herdlevær 27 October 2016 - Finally some normal autumn weather

Very strong SW winds, but mild and almost no rain.

Finally some normal autumn weather - the protracted period of sunny weather with SE winds has come to an end. It was good while it lasted but now we are back to normal....

Bean Goose sædgås and Pinkfoot kortnebbgås at Breivik

A fabalis Bean Goose sædgås, a Pinkfoot kortnebbgås and two albifrons Whitefronts tundragås were still in the fields at Breivik - also present yesterday afternoon when I drove by.

Purpke Sandpipers fjæreplytt

This bird caught several of these things whilst I watched

An obliging Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

At Herdlevær things were relatively quiet with the best birds being two late Sanderling sandløper which were sheltering out of the wind with a few Purple Sands fjæreplytt but flew off before I could bring my camera up. A few White-tailed Eagles havørn and most of the usual suspects were also present.

Not much in the way of migrants but Blackbird svarttrost obviously on the move with a few flocks of over 20 feeding in various places.

Back in the garden at Nautnes a male Blackcap munk and a Brambling bjørkefink joined the usual selection of stuff.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Breivik 20 October 2016 - Geese

Another calm and sunny day.

Bean Goose sædgås with Pinkfoot kortnebbgås - no doubt the same birds as a few days ago

Whitefronts tundragås

Managed a massive 45 minutes out of the house and sped round Breivik where there was a small  but interesting goose flock - a Bean Goose sægås, a Pinkfoot kortnebbgås and three Whitefronts tundragås (2 adult and a young one).

Glossy Ibis bronseibis

The Glossy Ibis bronseibis was still present and feeding constantly. Unfortunately still very much in the shade when I stopped by.

The only other bird of note was a roadside Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett that I didn't have time to stop for.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hernar 19 October 2016 - The Ace of Spades!

Light SE, some clouds at first, hot and sunny later.

WHAT A DAY!!!!!!!

As usual when I do a full day on Hernar at this time of year knowing that ringing is going on a few km away I had Motorhead's classic "Ace of Spades" in my head - especially the line about "gamblings for losers". Even the text message I sent Nigel as I boarded the boat at Hellesøy - "who has the joker this time?" fitted well with this.

Too dark to bird on arrival....

The point of no return, All bets are off from here on in......

It turns out that Nigel had the joker, he didn't even need to say what he had caught when he called: "I've got it" were his first words. "It" was of course SIBERIAN ACCENTOR sibiirjernspurv. Being on Hernar there was no chance I was going to make this. An hour or two later, having "only" found an Arctic Redpoll polarsisik I got another call - this time about a GLOSSY IBIS bronseibis at Skjold. How could have I got things so wrong?!! 

Glossy Ibis bronseibis obviously finding enough food on a pool that , with the exception of the occasional Green Sandpiper, is largely ignored by birds.

Last time I did this it was me who had the best hand but today I started regretting being stuck on the island....However, it was a magic day with loads of photo opportunities and some decent birds. And I managed to connect with the ibis once back on the mainland - albeit in fading light.

The best bird(s) on Hernar was at least one exilipes Arctic Redpoll polarsisik. There could well have been more of them in a Redpoll gråsisik flock feeding on the island but I could only claim one for sure. At least four, probably five Water Rail vannrikse, a couple of Peregrine vandrefalk, a Waxwing sidensvans and a selection of the usual later autumn migrants made this a good day out.

Arctic Redpoll polarsisik

Arctic above, common below. Just to put any over exposure ideas to bed.....

On the deck this  bird shone

The bird on the right is the one I'm claiming - the unstreaked flanks and blindingly white rump being the main features. The bird on the left has a very white and unstreaked rumpt too but seemed to be in a different class to the one on the right. 

Small bill, loose looking plumage and unstreaked undertail coverts here


Flowering ivy and the hordes of insects it attracted proved the best spot to see most of the day's Blackcaps munk

Chiff-chaff gransanger. A "normal" one given the call.

Two juvenile Peregrines vandrefalk came over together as I headed for the boat home...

There was a life and death Raven ravn fight today. This fight club was eagerly cheered on by at least 15 Hooded Crow kråke

Early morning toad. It was still too dark to bird at this point....

One of the days several Water Rail vannriske running around in the open. And not in a swamp. Only on Hernar.....

A decent variety of interesting geese were also reported from Øygarden during the course of the day - hardly surprising given the number of birders heading out to see the all the goodies on show......