Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tjeldstø 31 March 2007

Crested Tit toppmeis

Goldcrest fuglekonge

Not really birding today - just a stroll in the woods. Just the usual species including plenty of Crested Tit toppmeis and Goldcrest fuglekonge - although the latter species kept well hidden in the trees

Friday, March 30, 2007

Skogsøy 30 March 2007

Northern Gannet havsule, Skogsøy
Male Pied Wagtail svartryggerle, Herdlevær

Great Black-backed Gull svartbak illustrating one of the principal laws of bird photography:

If its in focus then the wing tip will be clipped.

2 cy Iceland Gull grønlandsmåkeas it flew past my house this afternoon

Started the day at Skogsøy. Little in the way of migration although the first Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke of the year turned up and a Great Northern Diver islom flew north, as did four Red-throated Diver smålom.

Otherwise a couple of Peregrine vandrefalk and most of the usual suspects.

Back at the house the long staying Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke gave a brief photo opportunity.

Øygarden 29 March 2007

bernicla Brent Goose ringgås, Husvatnet (should have digiscoped this one....)
Greylag Goose grågås as it flew past the house

Cleaning up at "Hjelme Vest"

The cleanup crews working on clearing up the mess after the "Server" oil spill have finally made it to "Hjelme Vest" - over 2 1/2 months after the spill. Finally!

Loads of Hedge Accentor jernspurv singing here as well a Merlin dvergfalk, a Woodcock rugde and a small flock of Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt.
Back at Tjeldstø the bird of the day was a dark-bellied Brent Goose ringgås - a most unusual time of year for this species to turn up. This was a new species for the reserve (and for my house list). A male Wigeon brunnakke on Husvatnet was the first of the year at Tjeldstø. Bonus bird was the 2 cy Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke.
An evening trip out to a regular Eagle Owl hubro site produced the goods with a singing male, along with roding Woodcock rugde and Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tjeldstø 28 March 2007

Male Pied Wagtail svartryggerle
Two of the 150+ geese now in the reserve

The excellent weather continues unabated. Nothing terribly special today but now upwards of 150 Greylags grågås using the reserve, Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin now displaying, the first Hedge Accentor jernspurv of the year sang from my garden and a Skylark sanglerke gave a brief burst of song out in the reserve.
Other than that two alba wagtails, one of which was definitely a Pied Wagtail svartryggerle and at least four Teal krikkand.

A Woodcock rugde at Solberg was another observation worth mentioning.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Skogsøy 26 March 2007

Juvenile White-tailed Eagle (ringed) circling over my house this afternoon
Northbound Cormorant storskarv

Calm and sunny again - wonderful. However, a bit on the quiet side migration wise, with just a light passage of Oystercatcher tjeld, Cormorant storskarv and Greylag Geese grågås.

Highlights were a Peregrine vandrefalk, four Shelduck gravand, a lone Red-throated Diver smålom and a couple of Black-headed Gulls hettemåke.

The most remarkable observation was a flock of approximately 30 Raven ravn flying north over the lookout - the largest flock I've ever seen in Øygarden. Watched some gulls catching herring from a "holding pen" full of herring - despite masses of fish the gulls were surprisingly cautious.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tjeldstø 25 March 2007

Not birding today but spent the afternoon at home in the fantastic sunshine - a steady passage of Greylag Geese grågås heading north, largely high up and on the inland side of Øygarden. As a rough estimate a few hundred passed during the course of the day. Other than that four White-tailed Eagle havørn scaring the gulls, geese and corvids.

Best bird reported was a Stock Dove skogdue - a new species for Tjeldstø!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Øygarden 24 March 2007

Migrating Oystercatcher tjeld
Orcas spekkhoggere

Crested tit toppmeis - a Skogsøy resident

A few hours at Skogsøy proved to be quite productive with highlights being a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker heading south and a flock of seven Shelduck gravand heading north. Otherwise singles of Red-throated Diver smålom and Great Northern Divers islom on the move along with ca 950 Oystercatcher tjeld.

Stationary birds included a couple of Little Auk alkekonge, singing Redwing rødvingtrost and Song thrush måltrost, a flock of over 40 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and most of the usual.

A few Orcas spekkhoggere headed south - no doubt feeding on the herring which seem to be present in good numbers.

Elsewhere in Øygarden the best of the rest included Mistle Thrush duetrost reported from Tjeldstø and Breivik.

Tjeldstø Friday 23 March 2007

Not birding at all but a female Goshawk hønsehauk flew over the house in the evening and a male Teal krikkand joined the other duck on Husvatnet.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Øygarden 22 March 2007

Goldeneye kvinand

Rather quiet for the most part. Only birds of note were a few Velvet Scoter sjøorre together with a flock of over 20 Red-breasted Merganser siland.

The male Blackcap munk is still present at Tjeldstø - this is the first successful overwintering for this species that I have experienced.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wednesday 21 March - Spring!

Black Grouse orrfugl at Solberg

Glorious sunny weather and plenty of birds to be seen.

At Solberg best bird was a male Black Grouse orrfugl flying between some of the islands, a pair of Ringed Plover sandlo were the first of the year here and a flock of at least 25 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt foraged on the shore. Other migrants included Meadow Pipit heipiplerke and Skylark sanglerke overhead. Seabirds included sevetral flocks of Great Cormorant storskarv heading north along with a single Northern Gannet havsule. Oystercatchers tjeld now everywhere - obviously paired and holding territories.

Tjeldstø also produced some good stuff with the first Chiff-chaff gransanger of the year feeding in a field together with a Pied Wagtail svartryggerle. A Rook kornkråke was a surprise bird, and joined a flock of around 70 Hooded Crow kråke feeding out in the reserve - the long staying Carrion Crow svartkråke was also in this flock.

Over 20 Northern Lapwing vipe, singing Eurasian Curlews storspove, at least 20 Greylags grågås squabbling over territory and loads of Starling stær made it very springlike.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Tjeldstø 03 March 2007 - Ringing

Ringing in progress
Robin rødstrupe

Blackbird svarttrost

Chaffinch bokfink

Greenfinch grønnfink
Made attempts to catch the ringed Tree Sparrow pilfink in my garden today without success. However, a total of 34 birds were caught and ringed: 21 Greenfinch grønnfink, 5 Great Tit kjøttmeis, 4 Blackbird svarttrost, a Blue Tit blåmeis and a Robin rødstrupe.

Highlight was undoubtedly a party of four Goldfinch stillits which turned up as we set the nets up - the first of this relatively rare species this winter at Tjeldstø. A Black-headed Gull hettemåke was also a new arrival.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Skogsøy 02 March 2007 - White-billed Diver!

Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke, Herdlevær

Raven ravn, Herdlevær
Once again fantastic weather and brilliant birding. A couple of hours seawatching produced plenty of interest including the first White-billed Diver gulnebblom of the year - incredibly early if this was migration. Another large diver may also have been this species.

Other noteable species included the first two Shelduck gravand of the year, 22 Northern Gannet havsule, 9 Little Auk alkekonge, 18 Oystercatcher tjeld and a light passage of auks. A Woodcock rugde flushed on the way out was probably the same inividual seen on my previous visit.

At Herdlevær a Peregrine vandrefalk, a Kestrel tårnfalk and the 2cy Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke were the best observations. More pictures of the Iceland Gull can be found here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The cleanup after the "Server" is now moving further south
Newly arrived Starlings stær at Tjeldstø

An excellent day both bird and weatherwise. All thoughts of doing some housework disappeared when the first Skylark sanglerke of the year flew over the garden. From then on things just got better.
Bird of the day was a Mistle Thrush duetrost near Sæle (only spotted because I stopped to take a picture of the cleanup crew!). Øygarden in early spring is probably the best place to "get" this species in Hordaland. Cleanup operations continue to move southwards in Øygarden now that the priority area around Hellesøy has been completed.
"Hjelme Vest" also produced the goods with nine Northern Lapwing vipe heading south and a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker on the sea along with Black Guillemots teist and most of the usual. Long-tailed Duck havelle numbers well down with only around 40 present.
Back at Tjeldstø the highlight was a Carrion Crow svartkråke with a backup cast of several Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a Lapwing vipe, a few Oystercatcher tjeld, two Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, over 30 Starling stær and a small flock of Fieldfare gråtrost. A male Blackcap munk at a bird feeder may well be the same bird that was in my garden during January. For pictures of this bird see here.