Monday, May 25, 2009

Øygarden 25 May 2009 - Black-tailed Godwits

Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove

Otter chasing Teal krikkand (click picture for larger image)

At Kollnes there were now four Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove (three reported there the last couple of days). Perhaps the Tjeldstø bird has joined them.
No sign of the egret at Tjeldstø but entertainment was provided by an Otter hunting a Teal krikkand which seemed to be performing some kind of distraction display, forever leading the Otter on before flying off again. At least seven Sand Martin sandsvale and several House Martin taksvale feeding with Swallows låvesvale over Husvatnet.
The Carrion Crow svartkråke remains at Herdlevær.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tjeldstø 24 May 2009

Not birding today but still managed to see the Great Egret egretthegre from my sitting room - species #156....

Øygarden 23 May 2009

Puffin lunde

Grey Seal havert

Great Egret egretthegre

Great Black-backed Gull svartbak

Great Black-backed Gull svartbak

Gannet havsule

Common Scoter svartand

Spent the morning out in the "migration lane" but there wasn't much in the way of passage. A couple of Arctic Skua tyvjo and close views of a variety of seabirds including Puffins lunde, Fulmars havhest and Razorbills alke.

A couple of large Barnacle geese hvitkinngås flocks heading north over land were not identifiable from the boat but were seen closer by various observers along the coast of Øygarden

Best birds were probably a small flock of Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt resting on one of the islands - quite a late observation.

Back ashore I finally connected with the extremely shy Great Egret egretthegre at Tjeldstø as well as a Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove beside Husvatnet.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Øygarden 20 May 2009 - Lazy day

Had a lazy day and therefore not much to report. A hunting Peregrine vandrefalk over Tjeldstø and another smaller falcon seen flying over the road there. An otter oter fishing at Solberg where there were also four Twite bergirisk and not a whole lot else.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Øygarden 19 May 2009

Pinkeet kortnebbgås at Herdlevær

Three singing Sedge Warblers sivsanger at Breivik - along with an abandoned pair of binoculars. A couple of singing Skylark sanglerke also there along with the first couple of Tree Pipits trepiplerke of the year.
At Herdlevær the best birds were a flock of four Pinkfeet kortnebbgås.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tjeldstø 18 May

Sand Martin sandsvale

Rather quiet but two singing Sedge Warbler sivsanger were new in and a pair of Sand Martin sandsvale turned up at Husvatnet.

Gullfjell 17 May 2009

Dotterel boltit

Dotterel boltitGolden Plover heilo

I was out of Øygarden for Norway's constitution day and had a quick early morning check on my old patch of Gullfjell before all the festivities started. Undoubted highlight here was a flock of three Dotterel boltit at their regular mid-May stop-off.
Other birds here included Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk and Ring Ousel ringtrost.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hernar 15 May 2009 - Icterine Warbler

Hernar must be the best place to see Twite bergirisk in Øygarden
Wheatear steinskvett

Record shot of Icterine Warbler gulsanger

Blackcap munk

In what most people would call fantastic weather Hernar showed some of its potential. In blazing sunshine and light winds (not the best of weather to ground migrants!) there were generally few birds about, just a few Willow Warbler løvsanger, a Chiff-chaff gransanger and a couple of Blackcap munk. However, in among all the common stuff the best bird was an Icterine Warbler gulsanger - the first I have seen in Øygarden (excessive seawatching during May rather than inherent rarity must take the blame for it taking so long...). A female Redstart rødstjert was another bonus species and a House Martin taksvale was the first I've seen locally this year(?!)

A Sedge Warbler sivsanger sang most of the day from the one area of suitable habitat for this species and Common Whitethroat tornsanger were everywhere. Loads of Twite bergirisk and Wheatear steinskvett about.

Whilst waiting for the boat at Hellesøy a Cuckoo gjøk was the first I've heard this spring.

Back at Tjeldstø four Tufted Duck toppand, a Kestrel tårnfalk and a flock of nine second year Black-headed Gull hettemåke were of interest and a Redshank rødstilk nest contained four eggs.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hjelme 14 May 2009 - Hawfinch!

Common Whitethroat tornsanger
Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper

Common Sandpiper strandsnipe

Blackcap munk

A quick check at Hjelme predictably produced a Lesser Whitethroat møller and a couple of singing Blackcap munk. Far less expected was a Hawfinch kjernebiter which called as it flew past me - only the second one I have seen in Øygarden and later than "expected". This species has been seen in Iceland recently so perhaps it is part of a larger movement.
Another bonus bird here was the first Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper I have seen this year.

Tjeldstø 13 May 2009

Wheatear steinskvett are a garden bird at Tjeldstø....
Part of a Golden Plover heilo flock at Kollsnes

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne

Glorious weather and a few birds too! Spent a couple of hours looking at the reserve with around 50 pensioners who seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Several Arctic Tern rødnebbterne were displaying and making a lot of fuss - obviously excited to be back. A Sand Martin sandsvale was the first for Tjeldstø this year and a male Whinchat buskskvett was present - possibly the same bird as the other day.
A Peregrine vandrefalk flew over with prey in its talons.
Amazingly a Siskin grønnsisik flying over the garden was a year tick for me! Must be some kind of a record to get so far into a year without seeing one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Skogsøy 12 May 2009 - Loonatics

Velvet Scoter sjøorre
Skylark sanglerke at Herdlevær

Merganser siland

Diver addicted seawatchers (loonatics) started counting at 0540 and had the best diver day thus far of the spring - although the White-billed Divers gulnebblom are still thin on the ground with only one passing today. This was something of a surprise given that 210 Red-throated Diver smålom, a Black-throated Diver storlom and a second year Great Northern Diver islom passed.
Without doubt the highlight in a local context was a Sandwich Tern splitterne heading north. Other stuff worth a mention inlcuded a migrating Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker, a largish whale and a Grey Seal.
Very strangely NOT ONE skua was seen.
Some indications of return migration (what autumn already?!) with small numbers of Oystarcatcher tjeld and a couple of Shelduck gravand heading south.

Two singing Lesser Whitethroats møller and a Carrion Crow svartkråke were the only noteworthy birds on the land.
Back home a Twite bergirisk sang in the garden.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tjeldstø 11 May

A quick dash through the reserve before work and daily chores took over produced the first Whinchat buskskvett of the year and a highly unusual record of a Goldfinch stillits - normally only a late autumn / winter visitor to these parts.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Skogsøy 10 May 2009 - Poms and White-bills - again!

Could this be a Jackdaw kaie from a more northerly / easterly population? Rather pale and full collar compared to the normal birds seen passing through earlier in the spring. The timing of this bird might explain things...

Gannet havsule like they should be....

At least two Gannets havsule looked more like this....

Obligatory record shot of the star of the day......

Another relatively quiet day in terms of general migration numbers. However, the quality made up for it - highlights being two adult summer White-billed Diver gulnebblom and eight Pomarine Skua polarjo.
Other birds of interest included three Arctic Skua tyvjo, a measly 13 Red-throated Diver smålom and 15 Whimbrel småspove.
Unfortunately at least two of around 40 Gannets havsule were quite badly oiled - makes me wonder if there has been an oil spill - or at least some vessel washing its tanks out.

First of the year for me was a flock of 20 Arctic Terns rødnebbterne heading south around dawn - another flock of 20 "commic" tern headed the same direction later on.
The Lesser Whitethroat møller sang from the same place as last time.
Back at the car park a surprise find was three Jackdaw kaie - at least one of which showed a very well developed collar - especially when comparing this bird with others seen earlier in the spring (a more typical time for this species in Øygarden). A return visit later in the evening produced a Carrion Crow svartkråke - probably a different bird to the one seen further north yesterday.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Tjeldstø 09 may 2009

Lapwing vipe at Tjeldstø

Carrion Crow svartkråke at Nautnes

Strong winds again today made conditions difficult. Best birds were a flock of around 100 Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås heading north.
A Black-headed Gull hettemåke put in an appearance at Husvatnet and a couple of Gannet havsule headed up the fjord but other than that it was business as usual.
A roadside Carrion Crow svartkråke at Nautnes was technically speaking the bird of the day.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Tjeldstø 08 May 2009

Male Wheatear steinskvettWhitethroat tornsanger

Only had time for a short stroll. Strong winds and heavy showers meant that most stuff was keeping its head down.

Best birds were the singing Lesser Whitethroat møller and a couple of Gannets havsule heading south down the fjørd. A new bird in (for me at least) was a Whitethroat tornsanger which gave a few half-hearted bursts of song. The first Golden Plover heilo I have seen at Tjeldstø this year also turned up.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Skogsøy 06 May 2009

Although not a particularly good photo I liked the piano keyboard effect on the wings of this Gannet havsule

Not exactly ideal diver migration weather so only small numbers again today - inlcuding an adult White-billed Diver gulnebblom and a second year Great Northern Diver islom. Another highlight was a Pomarine skua polarjo.

Other stuff included a couple of Arctic Skua tyvjo, 18 Red-throated Diver smålom and a hunting Peregrine vandrefalk.

At Breivik the Sedge warbler sivsanger first reported a couple of days ago was in full song at 0430

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Skogsøy 05 May 2009 - At last!

Record shot of the first White-billed Diver gulnebblom of the year

Carrion Crow svartkråke at Tjeldstø. Can rarities possibily be less interesting than this one?

Second year male Northern Wheatear steinskvett

A late 'n' lazy trip to Skogsøy today - little passing but what did pass was excellent. Best bird was the first White-billed Diver gulnebblom of the year. Two fantastic Pomarine Skua polarjo were close runners-up and a dark phase Arctic Skua tyvjo was yet another first for the year.

The only other bird of note at Skogsøy was a singing Lesser Whitethroat møller.

Back at Tjeldstø a Carrion Crow svartkråke was the first I've had this year.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Tjeldstø 04 May 2009

Male Pintail stjertand with two Mallard stokkand
Male Wheatear steinskvett

Best bird identified in the reserve was a male Pintail stjertand. However, the best bird seen was an unidentified medium sized raptor last seen disappearing towards the south west....
Nothing much else of note although the Lesser Whitethroat møller continues to sing unabated.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Øygarden 03 May 2009

Golden Plover heilo at Breivik

Had a quiet day with just a short walk at Breivik out of the house.

Bird of the day was a male Shoveler skjeand scared up out of the reserve at Tjeldstø by an eagle.

At Breivik a flock of at least 25 Golden Plover heilo joined the local Lapwings vipe and Curlews storspove. Best bird here was a Lapland Bunting lappspurv. The area was heaving with Wheatear steinskvett and plenty of the usual suspects.

Elsewhere a Sand Martin sandsvale was the first I have seen in Øygarden this year.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Skogsøy 01 May 2009 - High hopes

Migrating Oystercatcher tjeld
Barnacle Geese hvitkingås

Expectations were running high for five intrepid seawatches for the traditional 1st May diver bonanza. Alas this was not to be - this was the worst ever May count of migrating divers - a measly three Red-throated Diver smålom headed north in over six hours of seawatching.

However, all was not lost as several flocks of Barnacle Geese hvitkingås passed - 185 in total. Small numbers of Whimbrel småspove were the first of the year. In recent terms it was also a good auk day - we actually saw some! Puffins lunde were the most numerous with around 30 seen.

Technically speaking the best bird was a Ring Ousel ringtrost although only brief views were obtained.

A total of six "commic" terns were seen, although only one was positively identified as Common Tern makrellterne. A Common Sandpiper strandsnipe on the shore was yet another new for the year.

Back at Tjeldstø a Barnacle goose hvitkingås fed with the Greylags beside Husvatnet and a female Merlin dvergfalk hunted in the reserve.