Sunday, April 21, 2024

Skogsøy 21 April 2024 - Ace of Spades

 Light winds & sunny

I listen to P6 Rock on the radio whilst driving. The songs they played on the way way home were "Perfect Day" and Motorhead's "Ace of Spades". Both fitted well for the day's birding. The latter is a particular favourite of mine and fits seawatching at Skogsøy (or birding Øygarden for that matter) in a nutshell. Impossible to predict, take the good with the bad etc:)

The smell of suncream pervaded today's seawatch:)

Today's seawatch was just fine with almost 500 birds passing in just over 4 hours including a pale phase Arctic Skua tyvjo and two Black-throated Diver storlom heading north, a couple of Great Northern Diver islom on the sea and a decent selection of the usual suspects on the move.

Arctic Skua tyvjo heading north

A light passage of Common Gulls fiskemåke today

Not many Gannets havsule passing today but the few that did came in close

These two Great Northern Divers islom were among the first birds see today, they rested on the sea and drifted slowly south during the morning

Red-breasted Mergansers siland were heading north today

On the way home I picked up a (the?) Golden Eagle kongeørn again.

Back home and gardening again I had WT Eagle havørn, a flyover Skylark sanglerke and more.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Øygarden 13-19.04.2024 - Raptor lunch break

On Saturday 13 April I did a quick round at Herdlevær before heading home to change over to summer tyres and get the garden ready for the season.

Herdlevær was fairly quiet but migrants included a Brambling bjørkefink, a pair of Teal krikkand and a few White Wagtails linerle. Encouragingly both Curlew storspove and Snipe enkeltbekkasin were displaying.

Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke at Herdlevær

White Wagtail linerle at Herdlevær

On the way home two Goldfinch stillits at Kollsnes and a Chiff-chaff gransanger singing at Sture.

The next day I did a few hours at Skogsøy. It was a relatively quite day migration wise with few of the usual movers. Decent numbers of Shags toppskarv heading south (ca 300), a small movement of Kittiwakes krykkje, a Black Guillemot teist, a lone Great Northern Diver islom, small numbers of Red-throated Divers smålom, an unidentified pale phase skua heading north and a dark phase Arctic Skua tyvjo attacking Kittiwakes were seen.

I spent a lot of time looking at other stuff and therefore probably missed a bit of the passage. Two all dark corvids headed out to sea before turning and coming back. Distant views in the scope showed one of these to be a Rook kornkråke and the other may have been a Carrion Crow svartkråke although I could not be certain. Chiff-chaff gransanger and Wheatear steinskvett also now present here too:)

Female Stonechat svartstrupe

On the way home I picked up the now resident Stonechats svartstrupe. My first Lesser Redpoll brunsisik of the year at Tjeldstø and during the tyre change back home Twite bergirisk, a couple of Siskin grønnsisik and more flew over. In the evening another Guillemot lomvi turned up on the sea at Nautnes.

Guillemot lomvi at Nautnes

On Monday 15.04 a Goshawk hønsehauk flew over during a session with my chainsaw and a pair of Goldfinch stillits visited my garden again. The next day was spent entirely in front of the computer.

Goldfinch stillits have been regular in the garden recently - a species rapidly colonising Øygarden.

The weather on 17.04 was just lovely and I spent my lunch break at Tjeldstø. Initially I was happy just to be away from the computer and to see some Teal krikkand, watch a pair of Wheatear steinskvett and see my first Swallow låvesvale of the year. However, scanning with my scope picked up first one, then two Goshawk hønsehauk and a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk. These were quickly followed by an Osprey fiskeørn which I followed for some time before losing it. Frantically searching the skies to re-find it I picked up a Golden Eagle kongeørn drifting south - always a good bird out here at the coast. Finally and more mundanely the far commoner White-tailed Eagles havørn showed up. On my way home I heard the first Willow Warber løvsanger of the year:)

Curlew storspove at Dåvøy

Herom gråhegre at Dåvøy

Twite bergirisk at Tjeldstø

On Thursday 18.04 I took the morning off work and headed to Hernar for the second time this year. Although nothing remarkable was seen it was a very nice morning out with plenty of activity and over 40 species recorded. Small numbers of Twite bergisik and Linnet tornirisk had returned. Singles of Goldfinch stillits and Brambling bjørkefink, a couple of Siskin grønnsisik, a few Chiff-chaff gransanger, Skylark sanglerke and good numbers of Wheatear steinskvett.

I had three Otters in front of my house and a couple more whilst waiting for the boat to Hernar:)

Linnet tornirisk

Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

Raven ravn

Twite bergirisk - showing the importance of "weeds" early in the season

Otter too close to photograph:)

Typical eating of smaller prey

This made me regret not having my "real" camera with me. Could have been a pretty good image:)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Øygarden 09.04-12.04.2024 - Spring

Home but not out birding at all.

A trip to the shops to fill up my empty fridge after I returned on 09 April produced a Jackdaw kaie / Rook kornkråke combo at Dåvøy as the best sighting.

Jackdaw kaie

Rook kornkråke

White Wagtail linerle, Dunnock jernspurv and the usual White-tailed Eagles havørn were seen from the terrace.

On Wednesday 10.04 more White Wags linerle here and there and a Guillemot lomvi on the sea in front of my house were all that I managed.

Twenty minutes sitting in the sun at Hatten the following day was very nice with a pair of Siskin grønnsisik, several Brambling bjørefink, a couple of Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett and the usual suspects.

Brambling bjørkefink

Female Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett

Siskin grønnsisik

Mergansers siland on the sea in front of my house

On Friday I heard my first singing Chiff-chaff gransanger of the year from my terrace, Gannet havsule and a bridled Guillemot ringvi were also seen here.

Female Pied Wagtail svartryggerle

Gannet havsule from the terrace

Bridled Guillemot ringvi from the terrace

Redshank rødstilk at Husvatnet, Tjeldstø

Male Wheatear steinskvett at Breivik

Other stuff included the first Redshank rødstilk of the year at Husvatnet, a smart male Wheatear steinskvett at Breivik, a female Pied Wagtail svartryggerle at Tjeldstø and a (the?) Carrion Crow svartkråke at Oen.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Offshore 27.03 - 09.04.2024 - Five species in two weeks

 My first offshore trip of the year was a spectacular failure birdwise - probably because I almost didn't get outside. A measly five species in early April means this was quite possibly the worst ever offshore trip I've ever had.

The only identified passerine was a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke just outside the Norwegian 12 nautical mile limit although there was another bird onboard which was probably a Goldcrest fuglekonge.

The time was spent at Gullfaks and Oseberg where all I managed was small numbers of Fulmar havhest (seems to be becoming scarcer and scarcer), Gannets havsule, a Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke and a Great Black-backed Gull svartbak

Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

Fulmar havhest

Gannet havsule


Better luck next time I hope.