Sunday, October 14, 2018

Øygarden 14 October 2018 - A day out at last!

Pretty much a full day in the field today. It would have been hard to pick a worse day for it with a southerly gale and rain for most of the day.

Despite the conditions it was magic to be out and about without having to watch the clock for once.

Dunlin myrsnipe struggling against gale force winds

First year Kittiwake krykkje.
Seems like I'm not the only one to be restricted to this species.....there are obviously some "Sabine's shadows" along the Norwegian coast

Willow Tit granmeis at Skogsøy, a relatively scarce bird in Øygarden

With the forecast telling me the winds would drop during the morning and there would be little or no rain I opted for Skogsøy. The forecast was wrong on both counts. The wind did not drop and after half an hour of seawatching the rain set in. Given the strength of the wind (I was nearly blown over a few times!) it is amazing that anything passed at all. A couple of first year Kittiwakes krykkje, a few Common Scoter svartand, a Razorbill alke and two Dunlin myrsnipe heading south were pretty much all I had to show for my efforts. A Red-throated Diver smålom fished very close in and a couple of Gannet havsule headed north. A Willow Tit granmeis was the only out of the ordinary passerine.

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke at Herdlevær
This species is all over the place at the moment - not just in its usual shoreline habitat

Song Thrush måltrost at Herdlevær
Plenty of this species on the move at the moment too

A drive-by at Herdlevær proved that things were on the move with flocks of the usual thrushes, Meadow Pipits heipiplerke, Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke, Bramblings bjørkefink and the usual.

Next up was Breivik where there were a few hundred thrushes, more Brambling bjørkefink, 40 Common Gulls fiskemåke feeding in the fields, a few Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a White-tailed Eagle havørn.

The best bird at Harkestad was a Goldfinch stillits, other stuff included yet more Brambling bjørkefink, 130 Redwing rødvingetrost, several Song Thrush måltrost, Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke etc

Tjeldstø produced more of the same but with a Hawfinch kjernebiter as the highlight, a White-tailed Eagle havørn, seven Teal krikkand and seven Tufted Duck toppand were among the other sightings.

I then tried for the Rose-coloured Starling rosenstær at Sæle but just as I got onto the Starling stær flock a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk buzzed them and they, along with a 100 or so Redwing rødvingetrost fled south. A Grey Wagtail vintererle provided superb views but was impossible to photograph as it kept being scared up by an endless stream of cars and people so I just gave up. Otherwise just a couple each of Chiff-chaff gransanger and Blackcap munk during what was a very brief check.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Northumberland 05-12 October 2018 - Still not birding....

The autumn half term was spent in the UK visiting family.

Although I didn't actually go birding as such coastal Northumberland is such that it is almost impossible not to see plenty of birds.  I only took my point and pray camera as I knew the chances of birding were slim at best.

From  over1000 Pinkfeet kortnebbgås flying over a beer garden in Bamburgh to Stonechats svartstrupe in the dunes at Druridge Bay there was something to see as long as we got outside.

One of several Med Gulls svartehavsmåke on the beach at Newbiggin

The "hide" at Church Point now has this  very fitting plaque.
I spent many happy hours seawatching in this cramped brick construction with Jimmy. I couldn't think of a better way to be remembered. 

A walk along the promenade at Newbiggin produced the inevitable Mediterranean Gulls svartehavsmåke. We paused for a couple of minutes at Church point - seeing plenty of auks, Gannets havsule, terns, Common Scoter svartand and Red-throated Diver smålom. Could easily have spent a few more minutes (or even hours) there....

Polish ringed Black-headed Gull hettemåke at Stag Rocks, Bamburgh

Stag Rocks at Bamburgh produced one of the most interesting sightings in the form of a colour ringed Black-headed Gull hettemåke all the way from Poland! I've submitted the sighting and will hopefully hear more about this bird soon. Waders here on this short stretch of shore were 45 Oystercatcher tjeld, 40 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, 25 Turnstone steinvender, a Dunlin myrsnipe, a Sanderling sandløper, a Curlew storspove and 6 Redshank rødstilk.

Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove at Monkshouse

A couple of the Black-tailed Godwits svarthaespove at Monkshouse

Three Spotted Reds sotsnipe at Monkshouse.

A 10 minute stop at Monkshouse Pool on our way home produced 10 Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove, three Spotted Redshank sotsnipe and plenty of the usual suspects.

Throughout the week flocks of Redwing rødvingetrost, Brambling bjørkefink and other migrants were seen flying in off the sea - brilliant to see what may well be Norwegian birds having made a successful crossing of the North Sea to their wintering grounds.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Herdlevær 03 October 2018 - Yellow-browed brunch

Northerly winds, mostly sunny with occasional short showers.

Cormorant storskarv - not a species I take a lot of pictures of but the water and colours prompted a few frames....

Yellow-browed warbler gulbrynsanger playing hide and seek. It won.

Had time for a  cup of coffee and a couple of sandwiches at Herdlevær. A very vocal Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger was the highight but although it came very close it typically did not exactly pose for the camera. Chiff-chaff gransanger and small numbers of the usual migrants knocking about.

Small numbers of Gannet havsule and Kittiwake krykkje passing over the sea.

Whinchat buskskvett at Breivik

At Breivik a few Skylark sanglerke and a Whinchat buskskvett were the only species of note.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Herdlevær 01 October 2018 - A bad day to go to work

Kicked off the day with a trip to Herdlevær on my way to work.

Migrating Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås

A seawatch produced a bunch of tantalising near misses such a flock of three probable Pom Skuas polarjo and a large diver, probably Great Northern islom. However, some stuff was actually identifiable including a flock of 15 Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås, Common Scoters svartand, a Fulmar havhest, a Guillemot lomvi and the usual Gannets havsule etc.

Plenty of passerines about on the way back to the car including my first Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger of the autumn, a Grey Wagtail vintererle,  a Whinchat buskskvett and some good flocks of the usual autumn thrushes.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Øygarden 22-23 September 2018 - A late update....

On 22 September there were strong winds from the west so I took a late trip to Skogsøy and seawatched for just over an hour. Nothing remarkable seen but 150 Gannets havsule heading north, a couple of Fulmar havhest, several Kittiwake krykkje, 5 Red-throated Diver smålom heading south and three Guillemots lomvi north were seen.

Inevitable Gannet havsule spam

Red-throated Diver smålom

A Peregrine vandrefalk hunted over the house on my return.

Common Sandpiper strandsnipe on the road near my house - a sure sign of the conditions - normally seen on the shore in front of the terrace.....

Oystercatcher tjeld at Hellesøy

Rosefinch rosenfink at Hjelme - patience pays off.

On 23 September I briefly visited a few sites in the north of Øygarden. At Sæle I picked up a Grey Wagtail vinterle, a Chiff-chaff gransanger and a few Blackcap munk among other things. At Hjelme I caught up with the long-staying Rosefinch rosenfink and had a variety of other species including Woodcock rugde and Blackcap munk.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Øygarden 19-20 September 2018 - The weather is here, wish I was out

Near gale force winds with only occasional short showers. In other words very nice weather to be out and about - but I have, as usual, been inside most of the time instead.

Common Scoter svartand

Juvenile Common Tern makrellterne

Dunlin myrsnipe

Migrating Oystercatcher tjeld

Ringed Plover sandlo

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

A quick coffee break at Herdlevær on 19th produced seven species of waders including Knot polarsnipe, a juvenile Common Tern makrellterne and enough action over the sea to make me want to stay a lot longer. Wheatears steinskvett and Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke were among the passerines seen.

A Kestrel tårnfalk put in an appearance over the house in the afternoon.

On 20th there was a steady passage of Gannets havsule seen from the terrace and a variety of waders were sheltering in the lee of the islands, including a Knot polarsnipe and a flock of Ringed Plover sandlo.

Great Skua storjo with Herring Gull gråmåke and Gannet havsule

Great Skua storjo chasing White-tailed Eagle havørn

Ten minutes at Tjeldstø in the evening provided a fantastic experience with first one, then three Great Skuas storjo beating up on the gulls and Gannets havsule feeding there and one of them even gave one of the two White-tailed Eagles havørn present there a pretty hard time. A bonus bird here was at least one dark phase Arctic Skua tyvjo. Fantastic!

This is only the second time I have seen Great Skua at Tjeldstø - the first time being 19.09.2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Nautnes 17-18 September - Home office birding

Windy and warm with some rain and some sunshine.

Being a birder it is not easy to be stuck inside working in mid September. Having missed most of the spring it feels like autumn is also speeding past with nothing like enough time in the field.

However, at least I get to work from home a fair bit - where I can actually get things done AND occasionally look out of my window.

Meadow Pipit heipiplerke photographed close to my mailbox

Robin rødstrupe - not a bird I bother taking photos of much

Pre-breakfast White-tailed Eagles havørn photographed from my terrace.

White-tailed Eagle havørn have been making the most of the wind to hang around outside the house with three present before breakfast on 17th.

Rather heavily cropped and distant shots of an adult Rose-coloured Starling rosenstær

White Wagtail linerle

On 18th I went outside onto my terrace after dinner to see an adult Rose-coloured Starling rosenstær feeding with a large flock of Starling stær. This is the second time I have seen this species from my house but is the first adult.