Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Skogsøy 30 October 2017 - Aftermath

Relatively calm, some showers.

First year Glaucous Gull polarmåke

I took a late and lazy hour and a half at Skogsøy to see what would happen now that the wind has dropped. I was not disappointed, although nothing really special passed. Highlight here was a first year Glaucous Gull polarmåke - a typical late autumn sighting at Skogsøy. Other stuff included a couple of Great Northern Divers islom heading north close in. Pretty much everything else went south with Gannets havsule, Kittiwakes krykkje and Common Scoter svartand as the most numerous. Also a few Red-throated Diver smålom, Razorbill alke and a few other bits and bobs.

Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb were again very obvious with around 20 feeding in the woods and another flying over during the seawatch.

Jackdaw kaie watching us leave the car park at Skogsøy

A Jackdaw kaie close to the car park was remarkably the first in Øygarden this year and thus arguably a better bird than the Glaucous Gull....

Siberian Chiff-chaff tristis gransanger

Male Blackcap munk

In the afternoon I snatched 30 minutes at Sæle as the light went. Here the highlight was a Siberian Chiff-chaff - giving good views and the typical chicken call but not much in the way of photo opportunities. A Blackcap munk fed on elderberries here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Herdlevær 29 October 2017 - A blustery day

Howling northerly gale but mostly sunny. A rather blustery day.

Today's outing was to Herdlevær with my youngest in tow. At times it was hard for me to remain on my feet, never mind her and in two places I had to hang on tight to her so she wouldn't fall over a precipice or be blown into the sea. This brought some Winnie the Pooh memories back....

A bit on the blustery side today....

This sums the conditions up nicely

Things weren't quite as bad as in the above picture, but not far off. A first year Peregrine vandrefalk was the best sighting and it showed up whilst we were at the windiest place in the whole world. It was so bad that even when I knelt down I still got buffeted so much that it was difficult to not fall over never mind follow a fast moving bird with a telephoto lens.

I got lucky and managed a few shots of an obviously very well fed bird with a bulging crop.

A well fed 1cy Peregrine vandrefalk. Obviously managing to find prey despite (or possibly because of) the strong winds.

Other than that a few Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke, a couple of White-tailed Eagles havørn and a few Gannets havsule were among the few birds that hadn't blown away.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Øygarden 28 October 2017 - The X factor

Strong northerly winds with occasional short showers.

Male Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb showing wingbar

Female Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb

Male Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb

It is not often I see all three crossbill species in one day but Øygarden is heaving with crossbills at the moment. Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb were the dominant species today with a number of flocks seen - at least two of them numbering 20. Some mixed flocks too - the first flock I got onto today was seven Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb with one Two-barred Crossbill bånkorsnebb - a cracking male. It did not give the typical trumpet call of the species but when the flock flew it went in the opposite direction and right over where I was standing - the flight call was typical of the species and obviously different from the other crossblls heard today. Other flocks contained a mixed bag of Common Crossibll grankorsnebb and Parrots.

Yellow-legged Gull gubeinmåke at Tjeldstø

The Yellow-legged Gull gulbeinmåke, which some have doubted the ID of,  turned up at Tjeldstø again. I only managed a few distant shots but it is obvious that P9 and P10 have almost grown back in again. A very easy bird to pick out from the crowd for a number of reasons.

Lots of Redwings rødvingetrost feeding in the fields now

The only other migrants were Redwings rødvingetrost with flocks feeding on the ground at a few places - most berries have already been cleaned out. A flock of eight Meadow Pipits heipiperke at Breivik proved that there is still some migration going on.

Other stuff included a several White-tailed Eagles havørn, all juveniles, Willow Tits granmeis and many of the usual suspects.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gressholmen 18 October 2017 - An unfair comparison?

Today's trip went to Gressholmen, Oslo.

A couple of views from Aker Brygge before the boat left....

Arriving at Gressholmen

This is one of my favourite places to go birding in the capital. I think of it as the nearest I can get to Hernar whilst I'm in the big city. There are many similarities - the boat trip takes the same amount of time, leaves the quayside within 5 minutes of the Hellesøy - Hernar boat, Gressholmen is of a similar size to Hernar and also has a number of other islands nearby. Habitat wise they have some similar areas but Gressholm has a nice muddy lagoon and rather more woodland. If  Gressholm could have been moved to the west coast it would be a truly mind blowing locality....

I spent almost 2.5 hours there this morning and notched up 34 species (37 all in including stuff seen on the way there and back). Best birds were a Snow Bunting snøspurv and a couple of Hawfinch kjernebiter. The last visit to Hernar produced in excess of 50 which included many of the same species.

A Goshawk hønsehauk on Hovedøya was a bonus bird and there were several auks on the fjord - with a scope they would have been straightforward enough but had to go down as Guillebills alke/lomvi today. Two species that these islands have in common on my latest visits is a movement of Blue Tits blåmeis and Mealy Redpolls gråsisik.

Gressholm has been watched with a varying degree of intensity since at least the early 80s and has a quite impressive species tally of 192, with 88 so far this year before I put in today's results. Hernar has only 179 thus far but got off to a late start having only been regularly watched since 2008 and has 96 species thus far this year.

However, although Gressholm has many good species in a local context (or that would be considered very good on Hernar) it has little in the way of rarities.

Hopefully this link will work and shows the difference between these two islands.

Nautnes 16 October 2017 - Garden birds

Calmer than of late and sunny. But no time to bird.

A couple of the 30 or so Brambling bjørkefink currently in the garden. Filmed with a point and pray during a coffee break on the terrace.

A Willow Tit granmeis in the garden joined the usual stuff i.e. Brambling bjørkefink, Greenfinch grønnfink etc etc the only birds of note were a couple of Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb at Alvheim.

However, other people were out and about reporting among other things the Yellow-legged Gull gulbeinmåke, Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger and Red-backed Shrike tornskate

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Herdlevær 15 October 2017 - Almost not twitching

Strong southerly winds, rain at first going over to occasional showers. Very dull.

Red-backed Shrike tornskate

Willow Tit granmeis at Tjeldstø - a small influx is going on at the moment. Not normally an easy species to see in Øygarden

I had planned on going somewhere other than Herdlevær but by the time it was time to go I had a text message about a Red backed Shrike tornskate that I felt should not be ignored given the time of year.

So I headed out with Mum to try and find the thing. This was easier said than done but eventually I found it and put to rest any fears/hopes that it might have been something more interesting. Far from the best photos I have taken of this species this year but a good bird locally. Other birders who didn't connect as quickly hung around a bit longer and found a Black Redstart svartrødstjert at the same place.

A number of birders made the trip out to see the Yellow-legged Gull gulbeinmåke and some of them were successful.

Still at least 30 Brambling bjørkefink in the garden.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Skogsøy 14 October 2017 - Seaduck moving

Very strong SW wind but clear and sunny.

Six Common Scoter svartand and a Long-tailed Duck havelle

Seven Long-tailed Duck havelle and three Common Scoter svartand

Too windy to seawatch really but I gave it an hour. Well over 70 Gannet havsule heading south along with several small flocks of Long-tailed Ducks havelle and Common Scoter svartand. Several each of Guillemot lomvi and Razorbill alke and more unidentified auks that were one or both of these species. Small numbers of Kittiwake krykkje and several Red-throated Diver smålom also passed.

A couple of flocks of tits both Blue Tits blåmeis and Great Tits kjøttmeis were blown in off the sea - obviously not able to make any progress against the gales.

A small flock of Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb also put in an appearance.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hernar 12 October 2017 - More woodland stuff on the move

Mostly light westerly winds, but briefly rather strong. Largely dry but some showers.

Five keen birders trawled the island for migrants on the almost routine autumn Thursday visit. There were loads of birds about and plenty of activity - over 1000 birds of well over 50 species were noted. Nothing very rare in a conventional context but some decent Hernar sightings.

A probable Richards's pipit tartarpiplerke would have been the best bird if confirmed. THe best of the conventional migrants were a Wryneck vendehals and a Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger that eventually gave good views to most of us.

15 Blue tit blåmeis feeding in the scrub

Goldcrest fuglekonge

Long-tailed Tits stjertmeis

The main activity came in the form of a big movement of Blue Tits blåmeis with at least 700 heading west - probably a conservative estimate of the total passing. Smaller numbers of Great Tit kjøttmeis and Coal Tit svartmeis also moved through. At least one flock of Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis spent some time on the island too. In a Hernar context a couple of migrating Jays nøtteskrike may have been the best sighting of the day - seemingly a new species for the island.

A couple of WaterRail vannriskse, two Reed Bunting sivspurv, several Goldfinch stillits, around 60 Twite bergirisk, a Ring Ousel ringtrost, a Dunlin myrsnipe, a few Blackcap munk, at least one Chiff-chaff gransanger, over 100 Common Redpoll gråsisik and plenty of Brambling bjørkefink were also present.

Other sightings of interest included the first Long-tailed Ducks havelle of the autumn and a Peregrine vandrefalk that snatched a passing Snipe enkeltbekkasin out of the air with apparent ease.

Above two pictures from yesterday

The Yellow-legged Gull gulbeinmåke gained more cred today....

The Yellow-legged Gull gulbeinmåke put in an appearance at Harkestad later in the day.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Nautnes 09 October 2017 - More woodland migrants

Light southerly winds and sunny.

Didn't really do much today but the terrace was quite productive in the morning with best bird a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett in the garden.

Lots of Crossbill - largely Common grankorsnebb, loads of Brambling bjørkefink and a variety of other finches also flying over. A party of six Goldfinch stillits also dropped into the garden for a short while.

Sørgardsvatnet 08 October 2017 - Vis mig

Calm and sunny.

I spent a couple of hours watching the ringing at Sørgardsvatnet. LOTS of birds on the move with at least 4000 Fieldfare gråtrost flying over - all heading north as did hundreds of Redwing rødvingetrost and a few hundred Brambling bjørkedfink.

Best bird in an Øygarden context were a couple of Willow Tit granmeis - the first of the year for me out here.
A Jay nøtteskrike, a few Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, some flocks of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb. Lots of Redpoll (both Lesser and Common), a Chiff-chaff gransanger, two Goldfinch stillits and a couple of Water Rail vannrikse were among the other sightings here.

A Woodcock rugde flew over my house in the morning - first of the autumn for me.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Øygarden 07 October 2017 - Shoveler

Much less wind than the last few days, warm and sunny for most of the day.

Kicked off the day with an exciting phylloscopus heard repeatedly from the terrace during my morning coffee. I dashed out to try and locate it but to no avail. Sounded like proregulus.....

Herdlevær was much quieter than expected given the cracking weather - I had expected some visible migration given that conditions had improved considerably. Barely the usual suspects but a cracking couple of hours to be out and about.

Female Shoveler skjeand

Whinchat buskskvett

Husvatnet was rather better with a nice Whinchat buskskvett giving me the run around for a while before it finally posed nicely. The female Shoveler skjeand was still present too.

A walk at Sæle in the afternoon was again very pleasant without anything very special - a flock of five very vocal White-tailed Eagles havørn, a Nuthatch spettmeis and a couple of Blackcaps munk eating snowberries were the best of the sightings.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Skogsøy 06 October 2017 - Gannets uncropped.

Another day of strong winds and showers. Today the wind was in the north and I thought Skogsøy might be worth a shot.

Something not quite right with this view....

...much more like it,

The odd one out - heading south (and not adult)

Some of the Great Northern Divers islom seen today

Once again the mainstay of the passage were Gannets havsule with the vast majority heading north at close range. Bird of the day was an adult Glaucous Gull polarmåke heading south. Virtually the only other species on the move (and able to cope with the winds) was Great Northern Diver islom with eight heading north. Most, if not all, of these were adults; another one headed south but this was a second year bird. Although eight Great Northerns is a decent enough count it is by no means a record for Skogsøy.

Other stuff included Peregrine vandrefalk, White-tailed Eage havørn and several distant auks. The only auk identified was a single Guillemot lomvi.

A trip to the shop gave me the opportunity to catch up with the Shoveler skjeand that has been seen on Blomvatnet the past few days.

Starlings stær feasting on slugs

Another interesting sight near the shops was a flock of Starlings stær making short work of slugs - showing their worth as pest eradicators. They frantically wiped the slugs on the road in an effort to get rid of the slime but still ended up with a rather rabid look - appearing to almost foam at the mouth as they scoffed the slugs down. I wish they'd come to my garden and do the same.....