Friday, June 30, 2017

Bleikenøvlingen, Høgskjæret etc 30 June 2017 - Some good news and some bad

Took a boat trip around the islands in the north west of Øygarden in the cracking summer weather today. Very calm and very hot.

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne diving for fish

....catches fish that was either caught in, or hiding under jellyfish

....and flies off with the prize

A couple of second year birds with all black bills made me look twice......a pitfall for the unwary.

The good news that there is at least one decent Arctic Tern rødnebbterne colony on the go with possibly 50 pairs seeming to be on eggs. There also appeared to be a few smaller colonies. Lets hope they don't just get going and then give up as they so often do.

Gull numbers seemed down, though quite a few have downy young. Great Black-backed Gulls svartbak, Herring Gulls gråmåke and Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke all breeding and a number of Common Gulls fiskemåke feeding on the island but not sure if they were breeding there.

A pair of Common Tern makrellterne at Nautnes

A few moulting male Eiders ærfugl were hanging out on the islands

This female was the only one seen with a chick. 

Several Grey Seals havert were relaxing in the sun and were typcially very curious

Four Whimbrel småspove - autumn migration has started.

Very few Eiders ærfugl with JUST ONE chick seen. And no Black Guillemots teist today. Several pairs of Shags toppskarv were on their nesting ledges, plenty of Oystercatcher tjeld and a few pairs of Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke were also seen. One or two pairs of Common Tern makrellterne were near Nautnes - no doubt the same birds that have been fishing in front of my house of late.

Other birds included a few Common Scoter svartand and a party of four Whimbrel småspove - probably returning birds that have either finished or given up on their breeding attempts.

Earlier in the day I had a quick look for the Trumpeter Finch trompetfink without success - the fields close to where it has been hanging out are in the process of being cut so it may have moved to a new food source along with the finches it has been associating with.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beivik & Tjeldstø 25 June 2017 - Trumpeter Finch remains and a BIG miss....

It has, as usual, been difficult to get out and about and to find the time to update here.

Trumpeter Finch trompetfink

A short trip to Breivik gave the best views yet of the Trumpeter Finch trompetfink. Other species here included Skylark sanglerke and Twite bergirisk.

Tjeldstø produced the first Whinchat buskskvett I have seen locally this year - a nice male that gave brief views.

A BLACK:BROWED ALBATROSS svartbrynalbatross was reported from Herdlevær along with several Manx Shearwater havlire. Possibly the same bird I saw heading north past Skogsøy a few weeks ago.....

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Herdlevær & Hatten 24 June 2017 - Some locally uncommon breeders - and another giving it a good try

An afternoon stroll at Herdlevær produced mostly the usual suspects - many species with newly fledged young including Wheatear steinskvett and Meadow Pipit heipiplerke. Worryingly three female Eider ærfugl had no young in tow. Mink are a big problem at Herdlevær and now I am without my dog I will have to find other ways of getting rid of these...

Ringed Plover sandlo pair

The Ringed Plover sandlo pair were still present and obviously guarding either young or eggs,

The Corncrake åkerrikse first heard a couple of days ago gave a brief burst of song as I walked past. Wonder if it has been displaced from somewhere else where the grass has been cut...

At Tjeldstø a male Tufted Duck toppand was an unseasonal observation. House Martin taksvale, Black-headed Gulls hettemåke and at least four Arctic Terns rødnebbterne were also present here.

Siskin grønnsisik

Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper nest

Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper

I popped in at Hatten on the way home and amazingly managed a year tick in the form of Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper - with a nest full of well grown young. Daft that it has taken so long to see this species but great to see this species breeding in Øygarden. It is probably a lot commoner than it seems to be - the places this species breeds don't receive much coverage.

Øygarden & Gullfjell 21-22 June 2017 - Eurasian Birder

I spent a couple of very pleasant days guiding an American couple around Øygarden and up on Gullfjell.

This was great fun with a lot of puerile humour - a pair of Great Tits kjøttmeis could set off the kind of sniggering that is possible with a 10 year old. There was also the constant translation of British bird names to the US version - and with so many of the over 70 species seen having a name beginning with Eurasion (Eurasion Curlew storspove, Eurasian Golden Plover heilo etc etc) it was suggested that I change my name from Natural Born Birder to Eurasion Birder.

Øygarden produced some decent birds with Corncrake åkerriskse the next best thing after the Trumpeter Finch trompetfink. Great Skua storjo chasing Gannets havsule, most of the local breeding waders, Eagle Owl hubro and plenty more. White-tailed Eagle havørn were unusually something of a struggle but we finally found three of these magestic birds at Hellesøy. Crested Tit toppmeis were a popular find invoking a new round of innuendo laden jokes. We also saw a few Otter here and there.

Gullfjell was a bit hard going above Redningshytten as the visibility closed in and it started to rain. Before this, however, we managed a Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk, a pair of Ring Ousel ringtrost, Dipper fossekall and most of the usual suspects.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Breivik 19-20 June 2017 - 2nd Trumpeter Finch for Norway

On 19th June I was at Gatwick airport on my way home when I received a phone call and some exciting text messages from Eirik Adolfsen about a Trumpeter Finch trompetfink at Breivik.  I had to get back to Norway, pop into the office for a couple of hours, spend a couple more tense hours on the bus back to Nautnes, pick up my car and head out to try for it.

Dressed in the same clothes and shoes I travelled in I turned up and thanks to FF found the bird after only a short search. It was rather mobile but gave good enough views.

Early the next morning I obtained more prolonged view but had to leave again after only a short time. Later in the afternoon I returned, this time guiding, and saw the bird better after spending a bit of time looking for it.

This is the second record for Norway and remarkably for someone who does no twitching I have now seen both of them.

Trumpeter Finch trompetfink

Flashback to 28.08.2013 at Øra....the only previous record of this species in Norway

Monday, June 05, 2017

Øygarden 02-03 June 2017 - Not giving up yet

Still proving difficult to get out and about.

A quick look at Herdlevær in rather dull conditions on 02 June produced little of interest other than a pair of Ringed Plover sandlo looking and sounding like they are breeding in the area - very encouraging as some other wader species like Redshank rødstilk and Lapwing vipe seem to have given up / been driven away with mink the likely suspect for their demise here.
Also rather encouragingly there were Skylarks sanglerke singing from more localities than normal so perhaps there is more hope for this species.

Back home a male Arctic Tern rødnebbterne was very entertaining as he tried to impress his mate with fish after fish. Doesn't seem to be lack of food that makes these birds give up their breeding attempts. Here's hoping they go for it this year.

On 03 June I did a quick seawatch at Skogsøy. Very much a typical early June affair with a single 2cy Great Northern Diver islom, singles of Great Skua storjo, Arctic Skua tyvjo, Fulmar havhest along with small numbers of the usual suspects including a Black Guillemot teist. Unusually two Tufted Duck toppand put in an appearance heading south.

Best bird was a cracking Peregrine vandrefalk - looked like a 2cy female. A Lesser Whitethroat møller also gave good views here.

Back at their usual spot the Ringed Plover sandlo pair I have been watching now have three young running about. Nice!

I spent too much time on this bird which I am pretty sure is just a Herring Gull gråmåke with yellow legs - a so-called omissus

Red-throated Divers smålom heading north

Wheatear steinskvett

I wasted some early morning Skogsøy time looking at a Herring Gull gråmåke with yellow legs. It is compulsory to check these things out and I was more optimistic than normal as I do not tend to see such birds in June - they are normally an early spring thing here in Øygarden. As usual all hopes of an altogether more interesting gull were dashed.