Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Øygarden 21 January 2009

Glaucous gull polarmåke
Some common birds were also seen today including 20 Herons gråhegre at Dåvøy

Greenland Whitefront tundragås (left hand bird)

Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke

Glaucous gull polarmåke and Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke

Glaucous gull polarmåke

A couple of hours out and about proved very productive despite strong winds and frequent showers.
Started off at Solberg where there was little on the sea other than a Great Northern Diver islom. The usual stuff including a White-tailed Eagle havørn and a Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke were also present.

Following a tip off the next stop was Dåvøy where a Glaucous Gull polarmåke and an Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke both showed well.
At Tjeldstø the Greenland Whitefront tundragås fed alongside three Greylags grågås.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tjeldstø 13 January 2009

2cy Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke
Gull flock at Husvatnet. Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke in the centre

Yet again no time out and about. However, as is often the case, managed to pick up a few good birds from the house. A 2K Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke was the highlight, views were distant at first but a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk scare made it fly a little closer....

The female Teal krikkand was still on Husvatnet and a flock of over 20 Fieldfare gråtrost contained several Redwing rødvingetrost and a few Starling stær.

Solberg 12 January 2009

Confined to the house again but managed to get out for half an hour in rapidly fading light.

Best bird was a roadside Peregrine vandrefalk which flew up with the bloody remains of something in its talons.

A Gannet havsule flew over - no doubt forced inshore by the ongoing strong onshore winds.

Out on the sea the Eiders ærfugl had been forced into the bay and a small flock of Long-tailed Duck havelle were present as usual. At least two White-tailed Eagle havørn and a few Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt were all I managed to see before the light went.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tjeldstø 11 January 2009

Foul weather should really have dictated a trip to Skogsøy but time did not allow for this today.

At Tjeldstø an amazing sight was what must have been a White-backed Woodpecker hvitryggspett flying over the road beside Husvatnet - a species I have not seen in Øygarden before. Although conditions were far from perfect this bird, obviously a woodpecker, showed no white wing patches and a large white rump - recalling a huge Bullfinch or a small Jay as it flew away from me.

The ongoing SW gales did not seem to have brought anything new in - although this may have been responsible for a flock of 22 Fieldfare gråtrost and four Starling stær which fed beside Husvatnet. Otherwise several Redwing rødvingetrost still about along with a Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin and the female Teal krikkand.

With Rotevatnet now thawed it was no surprise that the Whoopers sangsvane had moved back here.

The Greenland Whitefront tundragås was reported again from Breivik along with the Greylags grågås it has been hanging out with.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Skogsøy 07 January 2009

Whooper swans sangsvane feeding in the sea at Skogsøy

A more typical day than the previous visit but still very little movement over the sea - just a Gannet havsule, a couple of Razorbill alke and a Little Auk alkekonge passing.

On the sea were most of the usual suspects including a Great Northern Diver islom and a Back Guillemot teist.

On the sheltered waters behind Skogsøy 15 Whooper Swans sangsvane fed - forced here as all the freshwater is now frozen. A male Scaup bergand in the same area may well be the same bird previously seen at Heggøy.

Didn't do Herdlevær but a female Goshawk hønsehauk buzzed the crows there.

The Greenland Whitefront tundragås was still with four Greylags grågås at Breivik on the way home.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Øygarden 06 January 2009

Greenland Whitefront tundragås with Greylags grågås
First winter Greenland Whitefront tundragås

First winter Greenland Whitefront tundragås

It's days like this that make me wonder how much stuff we miss. Barely 15 minutes of birding time in total - a drive-by at Breivik produced a Greenland Whitefront tundragås (flavirostris), four Greylags grågås and a few Fieldfare gråtrost.
Back home I actually went outside and immediately saw a 2cy Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke - no doubt a product of the recent northerly winds....

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ormhilleren 03 January 2009

The idea today was to take a break from the all day birding regime of the last few days. However, some household errands meant a trip to Ormhilleren was in order. It was almost birdless here - apart from at least one Kestrel tårnfalk and a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk.

As is often the case the dog cornered a Mink under a rock.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Øygarden 02 January 2009 - Bird Race Day 3

Curlew storspove

The last day of the bird race saw us out in a boat exploring the northern edges of Øygarden. New species were thin on the round but it was nevertheless a fantastic day out. The only new species today were a lone Little Auk alkekonge, a Black Grouse orrfugl on Hernar and best of all 13 Snow Bunting snøspurv on Nordøya.

A flock of four Curlew storspove, at leat 45 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, a Peregrine vandrefalk, four Starling stær on Hernar and most of the usual species were also seen.

Plenty of others were out and about in Øygarden and reported a whole host of new species including Stonechat svartstrupe, Red-throated Diver smålom, Blackcap munk and Greylag grågås. This meant at total of 62 species for the bird race - despite some glaring omissions - few auks and several other species which would be considered normal for the time of year.

Øygarden 01 January 2009 - New Year's Bird Race day 2

I started the day at Solberg where the first bird of 2009 was a Woodcock rugde. A few White-tailed Eagles havørn, several Fieldfare gråtrost and most of the usual suspects also seen. A bonus sighting was an Otter oter. However, new species for the bird race were thin on the ground with just a Mallard stokkand (something of an achievment to not see this species yesterday!) and a Redpoll (presumeably mealy) gråsisik added to the list.

Meeting up with more of "Team Øygarden" at Tjeldstø things picked up considerably with Teal krikkand, Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin, two Tufted Duck toppand and a Goldfinch stillits added to the tally.

A quick check at Alvheim was crushingly disappointing - although three Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt at close range meant it wasn't a total waste of time. At least four White-tailed Eagle havørn present here.

With further reinforcements swelling our numbers to three we heded on to Hjelme Vest where yet more species were bagged - Great Northern Diver islom, Black Guillemot teist and Common Gull fiskemåke all added. At one point there were 8 White-tailed Eagle havørn visible simultaneously and other sightings of note were a flock of at least 40 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt nd two Curlew storspove. Worryingly the lack of auks continued....

A quick check at Hjelme produced only another Woodcock rugde.

A bonus bird in the form of a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker dvergspett was reported in from Skjold. More predictably Little Grebe dvergdykker was seen at Rong taking the total number of species seen in Øygarden to at least 52.

Øygarden 31 December 2008 - New Years Bird race day 1

The day started very slowly indeed at Skogsøy, a Woodcock rugde on the way out, a lone Kittiwake krykkje heading north and a Curlew storspove were the only birds of note before we gave up and headed back to try elsewhere - things picked up well with hunting Peregrine vandrefalk on the way back to Herdlevær.

At Herdlevær we had a Lapwing vipe, a Goshawk hønsehauk, several Starling stær and a Black-headed Gull hettemåke.

Breivik held about 40 Fieldfare gråtrost, a few Redwing, rødvingetrost and several more Starling stær.

The success continued at Heggøy where the male Scaup bergand showed well and three Velvet Scoter sjøorre were added to the days list.

Back home in the garden the Tree Sparrow pilfink and Chaffinch bokfink flocks were the last new species of the day - making 42 in all.