Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Skogsøy 17 May 2022 - Gratulerer med dagen

As is often the case I spent the first part of Norway's big day at Skogsøy 

With glorious sunshine and light SE winds the day was not set up to be among the best of them. Nothing very remarkable but an early flock of 11 pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgås heading north was a nice bonus. Just one adult White-billed Diver gulnebblom and a reasonable movement of the usual suspects.

Pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgås heading north

Yet another adult White-billed Diver gulnebblom

On the way out two singing Lesser Whitethroat møller and a flock of five Common Crossbill grankorsnebb were the best finds.

Red throated Diver smålom N 94, S 2

White Billed Diver gulnebblom N 1

Northern Gannet havsule N 21, S 4

Great Cormorant  storskarv N 1, S 1

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 15, S 35

Brent Goose ringgås N 11

Eider ærfugl S 3 (all males, most birds passing now are males)

Long tailed duck havelle N 1

Common Scoter svartand N 2, S 74 (as usual in the second half of May most Common Scoter are seen heading south - on their way down and into the Baltic?)

Merganser siland N 19, S 7

Oystercatcher tjeld N 68

Whimbrel småspove N 7, S 1

Black headed Gull hettemåke S 1

Common Gull fiskemåke N 93

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 1

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 1

Razorbill alke N 11

Atlantic Puffin lunde N 1

With calm winds and the sun high in the sky White-tailed Eagles havørn were pretty obvious at Tjeldstø and from my terrace at Nautnes. Also Sparrowhawks spurvehauk at both locations. At Nautnes some 14 House Martins taksvale heading north - the first I have seen this year.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Skogsøy 16 May 2022 - Black-throated Diver

Light N breeze and sunny.

After over a week of not actually going birding I was finally back in the field today. 

A singing Sedge Warbler sivsanger on the pre-dawn drive to Skogsøy was the first of the year for me.

Singing Lesser Whitethroat møller and Cuckoo gjøk were Skogsøy year-ticks on the way out and there was more to follow.

Not a spectacular seawatch but a fair bit of movement with the highlight an adult Black-throated Diver storlom. Just one White-billed Diver gulnebblom and just shy of 200 Red-throated Diver smålom. 

In 5.5 hours the following birds were noted:

Red throated Diver smålom N 194

Black throated Diver storlom N 1

White Billed Diver gulnebblom N 1

Northern Gannet havsule N 22, S 27

Great Cormorant storskarv N 10, S 1

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 16, S 73

Eider ærfugl N 3, S 9 (all but one male)

Long tailed duck havelle N 2

Common Scoter svartand N 11, S 39

Velvet Scoter sjøorre N 3

Merganser siland N 11, S 3

Oystercatcher tjeld N 157, S 5

Ringed Plover sandlo N 1

Whimbrel småspove N 3

Black headed Gull hettemåke S 2

Common Gull fiskemåke N 68

Lesser black backed Gull sildemåke N 2

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 9

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 11

Common Guillemot lomvi N 3, S 1

Razorbill alke N 8

Some 35 Common Scoter svartand fed in the area and a Black Guillemot teist turned up relatively close in on the sea too.

Mergansers siland heading north

Gannets havsule

Black Guillemot teist

Monday, May 09, 2022

Skogsøy 08 May 2022 - A very different seawatch

Another day predictably spent seawatching at Skogsøy, much lighter winds and altogether more pleasant to sit there.

Quite a bit passed further out and the make up of the species was rather different - more variety and rarely a dull moment - over 1220 birds were logged. A Manx Shearwater havlire was the best bird and the first for the county this year. The Whimbrel småspove passage was close to record breaking with 192 birds seen on the move.

The totals for an 8 hour seawatching marathon which flew by in great company were:

Red throated Diver smålom N 349

Great Northern Diver islom S 1 2cy

White Billed Diver gulnebblom N 7 (all adult as usual)

Manx Shearwater havlire N 1

Northern Gannet havsule N 75, S 12 (more today despite less wind!)

Great Cormorant storskarv N 20, S 5

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 23, S 70

Greylag Goose grågås N 1

Teal krikkand N 1

Tufted Duck toppand N 12

Eider ærfugl N 3, S 14

Long tailed duck havelle N 28

Common Scoter svartand N 99, S 21

Velvet Scoter sjøorre N 14

RB Merganser siland N 9, S 4

Oystercatcher tjeld N 128, S 6

Whimbrel småspove N 192 (just shy of the record 218!)

Turnstone steinvender N 1

Arctic Skua tyvjo N 1 pale phase

Black headed Gull hettemåke S 2

Common Gull fiskemåke N 78

Great black backed Gull svartbak N 6

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje S 9

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 3

Razorbill alke N 17

Atlantic Puffin lunde N

A few LBBG sildemåke feeding in the area

Oystercatcher tjeld catching the first rays of the morning sun

Oystercatcher tjeld

Red-throated Diver smålom passed in good numbers again, although further out on average today

The rare two-headed form of Tufted Duck toppand was also noted

Obviously intent on obtaining better views of some migrating Velvet Sctoer sjøorre

A mega day for Whimbrel småspove migration!

On the way home a surprise find was an Osprey fiskeørn heading north over Tjeldstø. Result!!

Osprey fiskørn heading north over Tjeldstø

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Skogsøy 07 May 2022 - More Poms!

Fresh northerly winds and feeling chilly with it.

Yet another cracking seawatch!

Highlight was almost without doubt four Pom Skuas polarjo heading north with a single followed by three shortly afterwards. Several Arctic Skua tyvjo also passed along with a few White-billed Diver gulnebblom and a good selection of duck and waders A decent number of Kittiwake krykkje passed including many/mostly 2cy birds. Almost strange that no-one claimed a Sab:)

There was a large group of people seawatching from Herdlevær and it was interesting to compare results. With so much going on I watched with binoculars for the most part (as usual). I missed a lot of stuff and I suspect this was due to not sitting glued to my scope and looking largely for birds that passed closer in (and they pass closer at Skogsøy).

Two presumed Orcas spekkhogger were a bonus sighting, assuming two females, long, backward curved fins and about the right size)

Arctic Skuas tyvjo - first of the year for me:)

2cy Black-headed Gull hettemåke

Common Scoter svartand

Gannet havsule

Kittiwakes krykkje

Long-tailed Ducks havelle

Poms polarjo

A couple of the White-billed Divers gulnebblom passed at nice photo range - not too cropped compared to the usual:)

Red-throated Diver smålom N 399 (ca 254 in the period where 267 were reported further north, not much missed for this species)

White-Billed Diver gulnebblom N 3 (all before 0700). So I missed all three reported further north

Northern Gannet havsule N 48, S 7

Great Cormorant storskarv N 1, S 4

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 5, S 71

Tufted Duck toppand N 2

Eider ærfugl N 1, S 7

Long tailed duck havelle N 115, S 2 (108 v 101 at Herdlevær in the same period)

Common Scoter svartand S 24 (11 v 51 at Herdlevær, large miss)

Merganser siland N     1

Oystercatcher tjeld N 5

Golden Plover heilo N 4

Red Knot polarsnipe N 10

Pomarine Skua polarjo N 4 (1 followed by three just before 1100)

Arctic Skua tyvjo N 7 (5 pale, 2 dark), S 1 (dark) so I had just three in the same period where 12 were seen at Herdlevær.

Black headed Gull hettemåke N 1 2y bird (none at Herdlevær)

Common Gull fiskemåke N 3

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 150 (only 71 v 87 in the same period further north. Many were rather distant, large proportion of 2cy birds)

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 2 (none at Herdlevær)

Common Guillemot lomvi N 6 (none identified specifically at Herdlevær)

Razorbill alke N 2

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Herdla 05 May 2022 - Off the reservation again

 Light southerly breeze, rain during the night clearing shortly after dawn.

Once again I went off the reservation and left Øygarden (twice in two months - starting to be a habit). A short guiding trip meant there was not really time to do anything else.

Herdla produced a few things of interest with the highlight being seven islandica Black-tailed Godwits svarthalespove. Another delightful sighting were two sets of Lapwing vipe chicks (2x3), great to see the work being done there paying off:)

A couple of hundred Golden Plover heilo, two Whimbrel småspove, five summer plumaged Dunlin myrsnipe and a selection of other waders were present, an adult White-tailed Eagle havørn did a fly-by and small numbers of Velvet Scoter sjøorre and Long-tailed Duck havelle were still on the sea there.

Getting on for 40 species noted, but there was not the time to cover even the usual route.

Although my camera largely stays in my rucksack when guiding I just had to take a few pics....

islandica Black-tailed Godwits svarthalespove coming in to land

Cracking summer plumaged Golden Plover heilo

Mum says "stop moving and hide, there are strange and potentially dangerous creatures nearby"

....and then keeps an eye on the kids and the danger

these three were sat under Dad but scattered when he stood up to feed

Unlike human offspring Lapwing chicks do what they are told by their parents immediately. When Mum says "sit still and hide" they do exactly that. Straight away:)

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Tjeldstø and Dåvøy 04 May 2022 - Another "day off"

 Short drive-bys and breakfast at Tjeldstø were the birding activities today.

Tjeldstø was where I spent the most time (not saying much!) and thus produced the best birds. A Ring Ousel ringtrost fed out in the reserve with other thrushes. Lesser Whitethroat møller and Goldfinch stillits were among the other things seen here. It is really looking like Goldinch stillits are becoming a regular thing in the breeding season:) Another Goldfinch stillits at Nautnes too.

One of a few Redshank rødstilk at Dåvøy - I had actually gone there to check out a colour ringed Curlew storspove that was seen there. No sign of it unfortunately

Ring Ousel ringtrost with Fieldfare gråtrost at Tjeldstø

Golden Plover heilo here and there, some newly arrived Wheatear steinskvett and most of the usual species seen here and there.

A female Stonechat svartstrupe was seen briefly close to a suspected breeding locality:)

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Skogsøy 03 May 2022 - Cheeky pre work seawatch pays off

 Another day of sun and light northerly breeze.

I rushed out to Skogsøy for a cheeky pre work seawatch and as such didn't stay anywhere near as long as I would have liked.

But it was yet again worth the effort with good numbers of both White-billed and Red-throated Divers. The most unusual sighting was a Pale-bellied Brent Goose (hrota) ringgås that headed south and was seen at the southern end of Øygarden some 45 minutes later. A very early record for this speces that usually passes at the end of May / early June. Several Arctic Tern rødnebbterne passed as did a couple of 2cy Great Northern Diver islom along with a selection of the usual suspects.

Most of the Eiders ærfugl on the move today were males. So maybe the few females are non-breeders?

Still small flocks of Oystercatcher tjeld heading north - WAY past peak time for these birds

Red-throated Divers smålom

A couple of White-billed Diver gulnebblom catch the dawn sun:)

All the White-billed Diver gulnebblom the last few days have been adults....

Between 05:45 and 10:00 I had the following:

Red throated Diver smålom N 802

Great Northern Diver islom N 2

White Billed Diver gulnebblom N 23

Northern Gannet havsule N 24, S 16

Great Cormorant storskarv N 2, S 3

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 8,S 21

Brent Goose ringgås S 1 (hrota)

Eider ærfugl N 10,S 9

Long tailed duck havelle N 4

Common Scoter svartand N 53,S 6

Merganser siland N 2

Oystercatcher tjeld N 22

Bar tailed Godwit lappspove N 1

Whimbrel småspove N 5

Common Gull fiskemåke N 9

Great black backed Gull svartbak S 4

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 55

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 4

Common Guillemot lomvi N 2

Razorbill alke N 10

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Tjeldstø 02 May 2022- Taking the day off / VJ is back

 Wind more from the west in the morning with some much needed drizzle/rain showers.

Took the day off and got some work out of the way:)

Despite that I still clocked up a couple of new species for the year - a singing Lesser Whitethroat møller close to the shop at Tjeldstø and several Arctic Terns rødnebbterne heading north past the terrace.

Other sightings included the usual breeding waders, White-tailed Eagle havørn, a resting Golden Plover heilo at Tjeldstø and a Black-headed Gull hettemåke at Breivik.

However, the best sighting today was something of a relief - VJ3 is back! I had heard rumours he may be still going strong and although I haven't actively been looking I have kept my eyes open. I first saw him in April 2018 and he has returned and raised (or at least hatched) young that year and ever since. He was accompanied by a mate and behaved very protectively. He was not reported last winter from anywhere but in previous years he has been sighted in Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands.

My old friend VJ3:)

None of the other neck ringed birds have been reported in Øygarden this year, but at least one was in Denmark in March:)

Monday, May 02, 2022

Skogsøy 01 May 2022 - Never Leave!

Light Northerly winds and sunny.

Another day, another cracking seawatch - along with a lesson we never learn: Never Leave.

1st May is traditionally a date where birders other than myself make the trek out to Skogsøy. A relatively poor turnout of just six birders sat and enjoyed a very decent passage of divers. We talked about the dangers of leaving but left anyway. One turned back and had an extra 21 WBD in just one hour!! This took the day total to 45 - so over 90 in JUST TWO DAYS!!!

I started seawatching at 0530, others joined shortly after 0600 and still others after that. Turning up early bags the variety as many species slow right down not long after dawn. Not the divers though, these normally reach a peak late morning / early afternoon. The hourly stats showed things definitely slowing down so we chose to leave. How wrong we were!

The totals for 0530-1300

Red throated Diver smålom N 1234

Great Northern Diver islom N 2 2K. +One adult feeding

White Billed Diver gulnebblom N 23 (+21 14:30-15:30!!) And an adult on the sea earlier on

Northern Gannet havsule N 47, S 2

Great Cormorant storskarv N 10, S 2

Eurasian Shag N 13, S 74

Shelduck gravand N 4

Mallard stokkand N 3

Eider ærfugl N 2

Common Scoter svartand N 63

Merganser siland N 48, S 2

Oystercatcher tjeld N 78

Dunlin myrsnipe N 1

Bar tailed Godwit lappspove N 1

Whimbrel småspove N 2

Eurasian Curlew storspove N 3

Black headed Gull hettemåke N 1

Common Gull fiskemåke N 175

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 15

Common Guillemot lomvi N 1

Razorbill alke N 3

Black Guillemot teist N 2

Other species included 4 Teal krikkand resting on the sea and a hunting Merlin dvergfalk.

Before I left the house I heard the first Common Sandpiper strandsnipe of the year from my terrace.

A Bar-tailed Godwit lapppove joined a flock of Oystercatcher tjeld heading north - not a common bird during the spring migration

Common Gulls fiskemåke continue to pass in much smaller numbers with rather more non adult birds among them

A few Curlew storspove headed north - well past the peak now

A Dunlin mysnipe tagged along wth some much larger Oystercatcher tjeld

As usual Gannets havsule gave some good photo opportunities

Adult Great Northern Diver islom on the sea

...and the same bird with sunlight flashing off it's bill. Could easily be confused with another species based on a one off photo!

A good day for Mergansers siland - just under 50 passed

Some of the Red-throated Diver smålom came by at close range

...others didn't but made up for it by forming large flocks:)

Some obligatory heavily cropped WBD shots

Later in the afternoon some came a lot closer

A couple of Whimbrel småspove