Friday, August 04, 2017

Norwegian Sector 06-j7 July 2017 - Offshore Opportunties

For the last few weeks it has been extremely difficult to find time to do much in the way of birding. One of the reasons is an offshore trip that offered even less time on deck than usual. A trip that covered a large portion of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea provided a total of about one hour out on deck looking for birds and as is often the case I ended up wondering what could have been seen.

Arctic Skuas tyvjo at Heidrun 09-10 July. Above picture is of a second year bird.

Cormorant storskarv - a species that may be eyeing up Heidrun as a potential breeding site

Great Black-backed Gulls svartbak

The Heidrun platform, July 2017

Kittiwakes krykkje were breeding on every available ledge. The platform sounded like the Farne Islands where I grew up.

The first few days were spent near the Heidrun platform in the northern part of the Norwegian sector. In recent years Kittiwakes krykkje have bred on this platform and this was obviously the case this year too. There were hundreds of Kittiwakes krykkje present with nests on virtually all of the potential places. These in turn attracted Arctic Skua tyvjo which preyed on them. Other species may have an eye on the Heidrun platform as a potential breeding place as there were a number of adult Great Black-backed Gulls svartbak present and even a Cormorant storskarv. During the summer months it is largely younger gulls that are present but here there were also a number of adults.

After Heidrun and Åsgard we went to Veslefrikk where a passing trawler attracted a couple of hundred Fulmar havhest along with Great Black-backed Gulls svartbak and Gannets havsule. Most of the gulls seen here were non breeders.

Fulmars feeding on discarded Ling neear Veslefrikk

Fulmars havhest behind fishing vessel

Fulmar havhest feeding on Ling lange discarded by fishing vessel


At Veslefrikk a passing trawler provided most of the action with hudreds of Fulmar along with smaller numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls svartbak anda few Gannets havsule.

Grane platform


Valemon with West Elara in attendance

The next stops were Kvitebjørn, Valemon and Grane. Just small numbers of the usual suspects were seen at these locations.

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