Monday, December 31, 2007

Tjeldstø 31 December - day 3

Barely out of the house so only added a few more species. A Brambling bjørkefink in the garden, a Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin in the fields and bird of the day - the Black Redstart svartrødstjert still present at Sture (thanks MF!).

In all I managed 53 species in Øygarden during the last few days - and didn't see a number of the regular species. Realistically 5-10 more species should have been possible.

The local newspaper finally published something about the effects of the Statfjord oil spillage - see here

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Øygarden 30 December 2007 - Day 2

Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb
Some of the approximately 10 White-tailed Eagles havørn seen today

Day two of the "big list" and another difficult day, strong winds, this time from the north, hampered progress most of the time. Plenty of highlights today - best bird for me was a Water Rail vannrikse seen scampering away through the undergrowth at Hjelme. This competed with a 2cy Iceland Gull grønnlandsmåke at Alvheim for best bird of the day.

Another potentially hard to get species was a Ruddy Turnstone steinvender at Tjeldstø. The other new species were more predictable - Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt flocks were seen at Solberg (20) and Tjeldstø (10+). Now on 50 species......without a number of glaring omissions. Sparrowhawk spurvhauk seen at both Tjeldstø and Solberg, several Little Auk alkekonge at "Hjelme Vest" and most of the usual suspects.

Two more species that got away included a "guillebill" alke/lomvi over Hjeltefjord and a probable Merlin dvergfalk at Solberg.

White-tailed Eagles havørn EVERYWHERE today, with at least 10 birds seen.

Red-necked Grebe Gråstrupedykker
Water Rail Vannrikse
Purple Sandpiper Fjæreplytt
Ruddy Turnstone Steinvender
Iceland Gull Grønlandsmåke
Black Guillemot Teist
Rock Pipit Skjærpiplerke
Fieldfare Gråtrost
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Pilfink
Common Crossbill Grankorsnebb

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Skogsøy 29 December 2007

First day in the annual "New Years Listing" competition. Near gale force winds and lashing rain meant there were predictably few species to be seen. As usual, however, Skogsøy did not disappoint with a number of "good" species. Highlights were at least one, probably two Peregrines vandrefalk, a few Little Auk alkekonge, two Puffins lunde , two Kittiwake krykkje and an adult Gannet havsule.

Other sightings worth mentioning were a Curlew storspove and a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk at Herdleavær, 35 Greylags grågås at Breivik, White-tailed Eagle havørn and superb views of an Otter oter eating a small fish.

In addition to the species I saw a Little Grebe dvergdykker was reported from Rong

Full species list (40 in total) below, there are a number of obvious gaps which will hopefully be filled tomorrow....

Northern Gannet Havsule
Great Cormorant Storskarv
European Shag Toppskarv
Grey Heron Gråhegre
Whooper Swan Sangsvane
Greylag Goose Grågas
Mallard Stokkand
Common Eider Ærfugl
Long-tailed Duck Havelle
Common Scoter Svartand
Velvet Scoter Sjøorre
Common Goldeneye Kvinand
Red-breasted Merganser Siland
White-tailed Eagle Havørn
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Spurvehauk
Peregrine Vandrefalk
Eurasian Woodcock Rugde
Eurasian Curlew Storspove
Common Gull Fiskemåke
Herring Gull Gråmake
Great Black-backed Gull Svartbak
Black-legged Kittiwake Krykkje
Little Auk Alkekonge
Atlantic Puffin Lunde
Winter Wren Gjerdesmett
European Robin Rødstrupe
Blackbird Svartrost
Redwing Rødvingetrost
Goldcrest Fuglekonge
Willow Tit Granmeis
Crested Tit Toppmeis
Coal Tit Svartmeis
Blue Tit Blåmeis
Great Tit Kjøttmeis
Black-billed Magpie Skjære
Hooded crow Kråke
Common Raven Ravn
House Sparrow Gråspurv
Chaffinch Bokfink
European Greenfinch Grønnfink

Friday, December 28, 2007

Late December 2007....

Female Goldeneye kvinand, Solberg
Record shot of a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker at Solberg

Little or no time out and about of late but Woodcock rugde seen at Hjelme, a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker in front of my house on 27th and another one at Solberg on 28th. Sparrowhawks spurvhauk seen at Tjeldstø and Herdlevær and White-tailed Eagle havørn everywhere at the moment....

Still new victims from the Statfjord oil spill turning up with yet another oiled Herring Gull gråmåke at Solberg today, 28 December.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tjeldstø 25 December 2007

Oiled Herring Gull gråmåke on Husvatnet, Tjeldstø

More oiled gulls still turning up, trying to wash themselves in fresh water.
Otherwise a few Little Auk alkekonge, White-tailed Eagle havørn and most of the usual suspects.

In the evening an Eagle Owl hubro sang briefly at a known locality....

A fantastic Great Northern Diver islom on the sea at Solberg yesterday

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Skjold 23 December 2007

Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis

Willow Tit granmeis

All pictures shot at ISO 800.
Just running last minute Christmas errands. However, couldn't help stopping to photograph a flock of Long-tailed Tits stjertmeis - not exactly an everyday sight in Øygarden. Other stuff seen nearby included several Willow Tit granmeis, Goldcrests fuglekonge and most of the usual woodland stuff.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tjeldstø 21 December 2007

Blackbird svarttrost
Brambling bjørkefink

Not out and about today. A couple of oiled gulls, no doubt from the Statjord spill flew past the house.

Took a couple of photos in my garden at 800 ISO and slow shutter speeds on the shortest, and quite possibly the dullest day of 2007. At least the days are getting longer from here on!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Øygarden 20 December 2007

Red-throated Diver smålom

Gave looking for oiled birds a break today - with good results.
At Solberg best bird was an adult Peregrine vandrefalk - I was beginning to think there were none in Øygarden this winter. Other birds included a very unseasonal Lapwing vipe, a Curlew storspove, 20 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and three Velvet Sctoer sjøorre.
Near Nautnes a Red-throated Diver smålom fished in one of the shadiest places in Øygarden on an otherwise sunny day; this is quite an unusual find during the winter months. Whilst taking pictures of this bird both Redwing rødvingtrost and Great spotted Woodpecker flaggspett were seen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Skogsøy 19 December 2007

Eider ærfugl panic - click for larger image
Cormorant storskarv
Eiders ærfugl in flight - ladies first!

Once again out looking for oiled seabirds and once again around 5% of passing gulls were oiled. Generally very quiet indeed, probably due to the light winds. Birds worthy of mention included a Red-throated Diver smålom and five Little Auks alkekonge heading south. One clean adult Gannet havsule flew north. It may be worth a note that ALL the oiled birds seen recently have been heading south.

Other than that I experimented with taking photographs on what must be about the dullest day of the year - barely any light at all so I was quite pleased with today's results.

Tjeldstø 18 December 2007

Whooper Swans sangsvane on Rotevatnet, Tjeldstø
Greylags grågås at Breivik
Female Scaup bergand, Rotevatnet

Only out for the briefest of strolls - and turned up the first Scaup bergand for Tjeldstø so far this year! Otherwise Willow Tit granmeis remain in the area after the autumn invasion and there are plenty of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb flocks about.
The Whooper Swans sangsvane now number eight - the highest thus far this winter.
Other stuff worth a mention is a report of a Water Rail vannriske from 11 December near Toftøy and the Greylag grågås flock remians at Breivik.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Skogsøy 17 December 2007

Oiled Herring Gull gråmåke
Eiders Ærfugl
Shag toppskarv

Once again oiled seabirds obvious - 5% of passing gulls were oiled.
Luckily it seems that the seaduck and other inshore species may be spared this time around. No oiled Eiders ærfugl, Shag toppskarv or other species hid hard by the Server have been seen with oil on them yet.

Only a few Little Auk alkekonge today and very little else passing.

Best bird today were a Lapwing vipe at Herdlevær and, in an Øygarden context, a big flock (40-60) of Siskin grønnsisik. Another unusual species for Skogsøy was a Bullfinch dompap.

The big flock of Greylags grågås was still feeding at Breivik.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Skogsøy 16 December - oiled again!

Oiled Great Black-backed Gull svartbak
Oiled Herring Gull gråmåke
Heavily oiled Gannet havsule
Spent an hour seawatching at Skogsøy and, as anticipated, the first victims from the recent oil spill at Statfjord were in evidence. A Great Black-backed Gull svartbak, a Herring Gull gråmåke and a heavily oiled Northern Gannet havsule were all seen.
Tragic to have the same region hit by oil twice within the same year - no time for the memories of the Server disaster to fade.

Other than the somewhat predictable oiled birds there were a few birds of interest about including a Red-throated Diver smålom south (late), 17 Little Auk alkekonge also heading south, a Curlew storspove, a Woodcock rugde and the usual selection of seaduck - repeatedly flushed by at least one colour-ringed White-tailed Eagle havørn.

Common Scoter svartand (click on lower picture for larger image)

Colour ringed White-tailed Eagle havørn - causing panic amoung the ducks

Long-tailed Ducks havelle - click for larger image

On the way home a flock of 34 Greylags grågås at Breivik were a surprise find - a very large flock for December.

Part of a flock of Greylags grågås at Breivik, click for larger image

Friday, December 14, 2007

Øygarden 14 December 2007 - Black Redstart

Black Redstart svartrødstjert at Sture

Temperatures above freezing, little wind and very little light. Star bird was a Black Redstart svartrødstjert at Sture. This is stretching the definition of late autumn migrant a bit far. Also at Sture at least one Goldfinch stillits.

At "Hjelme Vest" the usual winter fare included a Great Northern Diver islom on the sea, a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker, a Curlew storspove, a Black Guillemot teist and a flock of 25 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Øygarden 13 December 2007

Red-breasted Merganser siland with snake pipefish havnål

Great to be back in "costa del Øygarden". Spent a couple of hours checking out a few places. At Solberg the best bird was a Great Northern Diver islom - and for the first time I watched this species struggling to swallow pipefish havnål. Other stuff here included a couple of immature White-tailed Eagle havørn and a small flock of Long-tailed Duck havelle. A male Red-breasted Merganser siland swallowed a pipefish, coughed it up again and swallowed it for a second time.

At Alvheim a Sparrowhawk spurvhauk, a Velvet Scotet sjøorre and a couple of Purple Sandpiper fjærelplytt were seen along with the usual suspects.

Tjeldstø 13 November 2007

Clear and cold today. Not bad at all for mid-November with a number of latish migrants seen including four Skylark sanglerke, a Song Thrush måltrost, a Blackcap munk and 30 Starling stær. Several Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin out in the reserve , a Little Auk alkekonge and a Great sptted Woodpecker flagspett were other birds of note.