Thursday, December 31, 2009

Øygarden 31 December 2009

New Years Bird Race Day 1

Spent most of the day out and about checking various localities. Fantastic weather yet again - although snow and ice cover must be making life difficult for many species.

Started off at Herdlevær where the best bird was a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker. The only Velvet Scoter sjøorre of the day was also seen here.

Next stop was Herdlevær where highlights were a couple of Goldfinch stillits and a Merlin dvergfalk. A flock of 17 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt and at least five White-tailed Eagles havørn were also present.

Alvheim produed a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and cracking views of a Great Northern Diver islom.

Finally we made it up to Hjelme West where new species were limited to Rock pipit skjærpiplerke and Black Guillemot teist. However, at least one more Great Northern Diver islom and more than 60 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt were also seen here.

At Tjeldstø a brief look around (mostly in my garden) gave 10 Tree Sparrow pilfink, a Brambling bjørkefink, 15 Chaffinch bokfink, at least one Woodcock rugde and four Redwing rødvingetrost.

Last new bird of the day was a Goshawk hønsehauk near Rong.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin are finding it hard with so much sbnow and ice...
Snow Buntings snøspurv living up to their name

White-tailed Eagle havørn

Very little time out and about. Generally the usual winter fare with three Snow Bunting snøspurv at Tjeldstø 24 December, Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin pretty much daily, occasional Woodcock rugde, Redwing rødvingetrost and a Brambling bjørkefink at the feeder together with (among other things) 14 Chaffinch bokfink and 12 Tree Sparrow pilfink.

A Great Northern Diver islom was on the sea at Solberg on 26 December, a flock of 35 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt at Hjelme West the next day and of course plenty of White-tailed Eagle havørn about.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tjeldstø 16 November 2009 - More crossbills

Goshawk hønsehauk
Probable Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb

Male Common Crossbill grankorsnebb

Female Common Crossbill grankorsnebb

Highlight today was a Goshawk hønsehauk which ambushed me whilst I was trying to photograph some Common Crossbills grankorsnebb.

A couple of Little Auk alkekonge, Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke and three Whooper Swans sangsvane were among the other sightings.

¨Tjeldstø 14 November 2009 - Parrot Crossbills

Above and below Male Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb

Female Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb

Teal krikkand with two Mallard stokkand

A very dull day indeed. Took a walk around the reserve and picked up a new for the year - a flock of seven Parrot Crossbills furukorsnebb. There is no doubt I miss more than I see of this species - one has to be very careful as there are often heavy billed Common Crossbills grankorsnebb about in Øygarden.
A few Teal krikkand and a Wigeon brunnakke remain with the Mallards stokkand.
Other than that just a few White-tailed Eagles havørn squabbling over something or other out in the reserve.

Øygarden 13 November 2009

Redwing rødvingetrost at Alvheim
Mergansers siland at Heggøy. Even for non-birders the female is easy to spot...

Cod torsk foraging in the shallows at Dåvøy

Not out at all today but took some pictures from the car as I ran some errands.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tjeldstø 12 November 2009 - Grey Wagtail

Record shots of Grey Wagtail vintererle

Redwings rødvingetrost

White-tailed Eagle havørn being mobbed by Hooded Crow kråke

A search for yesterday's finch flock proved fruitless. However, a Grey Wagtail vinterle was a surprise find.
Otherwise very much the same as usual apart from a late Meadow Pipit heipiplerke.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Øygarden 11 November 2009

Snow Bunting snøspurv flying over Hernar
Part of a mixed flock of Goldfinch stillits and Common (Mealy) Redpoll gråsisik

View from Hernar taken whilst waiting for it to get light enough to bird...

Spent the morning on Hernar. Rather quiet for the most part but nice views of a Water Rail vannrikse, a Snow Bunting snøspurv or two, a Woodcock rugde and most of the usual species were seen.

At least three Blackcap munk feeding on elderberries at Sæle, although I did not spend much time looking.
Back home at Tjeldstø there was plenty of interest but unfortunately no time to investigate further. A flock of at least 80 Common Redpoll gråsisik fed in some conifers. A few of these looked very pale indeed with white rumps. Too far away to tell for sure though...
With them at least nine Goldfinch stillits and other stuff flying over included a Snow Bunting snøspurv and the first Bullfinch dompap of the year in Øygarden.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Øygarden 10 November 2009

Above and below Little Grebe dvergdykker near Skogsøy

Magpie skjære

Carrion Crow svartkråke

Yet another day of fantastic weather.
Highlights included two Little Grebes dvergdykker near Skogsøy and a Carrion Crow svartkråke at Harkestad, Tjeldstø. Goldfinches stillits were heard flying over at Breivik.
Otherwise much the same as of late with small flocks of thrushes and Common Crossbills grankorsnebb "everywhere".

Monday, November 09, 2009

Øygarden 09 November 2009

Dipper fossekall at Hjelme Vest
Scaup bergand at Tjeldstø

Spent most of the day working but managed to see a few bits and bobs during the course of the day. The female Scaup bergand was still on Husvatnet (school drop off drive-by) and a very late White Wagtail linerle landed on the neighbours roof (picking up post).
A quick trip to Hjelme Vest produced a Dipper fossekall feeding in rock pools, a Great Northern Diver islom that flew in and landed on the sea, a Little Auk alkekonge and 35 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt.

Øygarden 08 November 2009

Sand extraction in progress - thankfully this activity is only permitted in a few small areas in Øygarden
Fieldfare gråtrost

A morning trip to Solberg produced a Curlew storspove, a Woodcock rugde and a White-tailed Eagle havørn. A vessel was busy extracting sand - one of the few small areas where this extraction is permitted in Øygarden is just off Solberg. So that particular area won't be much use for seaduck this winter....

In the afternoon a trip to Hjelme Vest was rather more productive with a flock of 75 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and a Turnstone steinvender being the best sightings. Also Black Guillemot teist, a couple of White-tailed Eagles havørn and the usual suspects.

In the garden a Yellowhammer gulspurv and a Siskin grønnsisik joined the ever-growing flock of birds at the feeder. The female Scaup bergand remains on Husvatnet.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Skogsøy 07 November 2009 - Gyrfalcon again

Super-cropped Gyrfalcon jaktfalk sitting on top of prey.
The dot on top of the island in the middle of this picture is the Gyrfalcon jaktfalk....

The only northbound Little Auk alkekonge today.

It seems like an eternity since I last did some seawatching at Skogsøy and a couple of hours spent at the lookput point paid off big time. Early November is often a productive time for seawatching and today was no exception - albeit quality rather than quantity.

A Gyrfalcon jaktfalk, possibly the same bird seen in late October, came in off the sea with prey it could barely carry. Utterly exhausted it spent 15 minutes or so recovering before starting to eat.

An adult White-billed Diver gulnebblom beginning to moult into winter plumage was the next best sighting - in contrast to the spring this species is quite scarce in autumn. Other good stuff included a Black-throated Diver storlom, a Great Northern Diver islom and several Red-throated Diver smålom. Seeing all four diver species in the space of a couple of hours is most unusual in the autumn.

Small numbers of Little Auk alkekonge on the move, several Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, a Curlew storspove and a late Meadow Pipit heipiplerke were among the other sightings.

Long-tailed Duck havelle numbers building up now with over 30 present.
Other stuff included a small pod of whales and a couple of porpoises.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Øygarden 06 November 2009 - Winter arrives

Little Auk alkekonge

Snow Bunting snøspurv at Heggøy

Song Thrush måltrost
Ice on much of the freshwater and an altogether more wintery feel today.

Spent most of the day at home so most stuff seen from the house today. However, managed a quick trip out as the light was going in the afternoon.

A female Blackcap munk, 12 Tree Sparrow pilfink, two Sparrowhawks spurvehauk, a White-tailed Eagle havørn, the female Scaup bergand from yesterday and three female Teal krikkand were some of the species seen from the sitting room.

At Heggøy a roadside Snow Bunting snøspurv was the best bird. The Breivik Greylag goose grågås flock has now increased to 11 birds - worth keeping an eye on this flock as it may well attract more intersting stuff.

At Herdlevær a Little Auk alkekonge on the sea was the best sighting.

Late Song Thrushes måltrost seen at a few locations.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tjeldstø 05 November 2009

Female Scaup bergand on Husvatnet
Tree Sparrow pilfink

White-tailed Eagle havørn

Best bird was a female Scaup bergand on Husvatnet. Little else of interest other than at least five Skylark sanglerke feeding in one of the fields.

Otherwise it was business as usual with White-tailed Eagle havørn, Tree Sparrows pilfink and most of the usual species.

Thrush numbers greatly reduced compared to last week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Øygarden 27 October 2009 - Siberian Chiff-chaff

Plenty to eat in the garden today for this tristis-type Chiff-chaff
Note the clean underparts with no yellow tones and the faint wing-bar.

Here showing yellow "armpits" - the only place a tristis is meant to show any yellow.

Siberian (tristis) Chiff-chaff gransanger

This picture almost made us late for school...

Early morning record shot with ridiculous ISO settings...

Not a common bird at this time of year - Common Redshank rødstilk at Sæle

The afternoon was so warm that this Red Admiral butterfly put on a show

The first noise I heard outside this morning as I ventured out with my morning coffee had me dashing back inside for camera and binoculars immediately. Thinking that there was some eastern form Bullfinch dompap in the garden the coffee was soon cold. However, the bird was in fact what seemed to be a tristis (Siberian) Chiff-chaff gransanger. No yellow tones on the underparts, a wing bar and a piping call note nothing like normal Chiff-chaff at all all pointed in the right direction.
Normally I wouldn't have claimed such a bird based on the plumage alone but the piping call was really something else. Record shots were taken before doing the usual dropping off at school etc but the bird had vanished on my return.
Other passing the garden during the photo shoot included a Hedge Accentor jernspurv, a Yellowhammer gulspurv and a Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett.

Having completed a round of work etc I checked Sæle where there was another "piping" Chiff-chaff gransanger that I didn't see well, a few Blackcaps munk and most of the usual suspects. Best bird here was a rather unseasonal Redshank rødstilk - possibly an Icelandic bird?

Back home in the garden the Chiff-chaff put on another performance, this time enabling pictures of somewhat better quality to be taken.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blomvåg 26 October 2009 - Dusky Warbler

Dusky Warbler brunsanger at Blomvåg

Being only around the fifth county record and the second for Øygarden yesterday's Dusky Warbler brunsanger predicatably caused quite a twitch by local standards - several birders making a trip out around dawn. Equally predictably I was back again in order to try and take some better pictures.

Although the light was somewhat better the bird remained incredibly active and for the most part giving just fleeting glimpses. After a couple of hours trying I gave up and had to make do with a few record shots. Just like yesterday the bird was very vocal at times - enabling observers to relocate it as it moved from tree to tree.