Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Skogsøy 31 May 2011 - end of spring migration?

Dull and overcast changing to sunny with light northerly

A last minute decision to give Skogsøy a go was not a bad one. A typical late spring seawatch in that there was not much in the way of numbers passing. However, an adult Pomarine Skua polarjo heading north made the trip worthwhile in itself. Bonus birds were around 220 Pale-bellied Brents ringgås, several Great Skua storjo and small numbers of most of the usual species including Whimbrel småspove and Turnstone steinvender. Only a few Red-throated diver smålom.

A flock of 25 Arctic Tern rødnebbterne was the biggest I've seen thus far this year. Not a good sign....

Swallow låvesvale

Migration obviously winding down - time for a break before the autumn migration begins in a couple of weeks....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Øygarden 30 May 2011

Sunny with fresh southerly winds

A quick check at a few localities produced little of interest:

A Carrion Crow svartkråke remains at Tjeldstø where there were also three Golden Plover heilo out in the reserve.
Curlew storspove at Breivik

Friday, May 27, 2011

Herdlevær 27 May 2011 - more Brents

Brisk northerly and sunny.

Took things rather easier today - a lunchtime seawatch from Herdlevær produced well around 400 pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgås en route to Svalbard. Little else passing - just a couple of Great Skua storjo, small numbers of Red-throated Diver smålom, four Velvet Scoter sjøorre and most of the usual suspects.

 A small part of one of the Brent Goose ringgås flocks that passed on their way to Svalbard
 Record shots of Great Skua storjo

Great Black-backed Gull svartbak sees off a White-tailed Eagle havørn - a routine but necessary chore

At Tjeldstø just one Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås remained - more than likely that a bird seen heading south past Skogsøy earlier in the day was the other bird from Tjeldstø. Cuckoo gjøk heard again as well as Lesser Whitethroat møller.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Øygarden 26 May 2011 - Brent Geese

 Male Siskin grønnsisik feeding on dandelion seeds

Twite bergirisk also feeding on dandelions

Weak south easterly with light rain most of the morning.

A few hours on Hernar produced a Yellow Wagtail gulerle and at least three Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper along with the usual Hernar species (White-tailed Eagle havørn, Twite bergirisk, Sedge Warbler sivsanger, Wheatear steinskvett etc). Strangely there were no Fieldfare gråtrost to be seen - very strange as at least three pairs were on eggs during my last visit. Lots of Siskin grønnsisik about - as they are everywhere this year.

After a tip off about migrating Brent Geese ringgås from further south a few observers watched the sea from various places. Well over 1400 had passed by around 18:00. A bonus species in the garden seen whilst looking for the geese was an Icterine Warbler gulsanger - species #162 from the house.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Skogsøy 25 May 2011 - more Poms

Skogsøy was the seawatcher's Pavlovian response to the forecast of onshore winds....fresh westerlies and a few light showers during the course of the morning.

 Gannets havsule entangled in fishing gear

The huge numbers of skuas and other goodies anticipated didn't quite materialise but there were four each of Pomarine Skua polarjo and Arctic Skua tyvjo along with a couple of Great Skua storjo. A very respectable total (for the time of year) of 74 Fulmar havhest headed north as did a very similar number of Gannet havsule. A few auks and terns, 25 Kittiwake krykkje and small numbers of Common Scoter svartand and Velvet Scoter sjøorre also passed.

The only diver seen was a single Great Northern Diver islom heading south.

Unfortunately two of the Gannets havsule were hopelessly entangled in discarded / lost fishing gear. Whilst I took photographs of one struggling on the sea another flew past trailing an enormous length of net and rope. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon sight.

A maniac from Bergen drove out to twitch the Dotterel boltit from yesterday which were still present at Tjeldstø as were the Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås (seen from the living from just now...). Not enough birds about elsewhere or a symtom of something else....?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tjeldstø 24 May 2011 - Dotterel!

Fresh South-westerly and occasional showers after gales during the night.

After a bad start to the day (trampoline blown 150m out of the garden and completely destroyed!) things improved greatly. The same winds that caused so much bother had also deposited two Dotterel boltit in the reserve - a new Øygarden species for me. This long awaited species has only been recorded a few times at most in Øygarden. Normally I see this species on Gullfjell or the Hardangervidda - great to finally see it so close to home. A flock of four waders flying over the house earlier in the day also struck me as being this species.

Other migrants were a couple of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås grounded by the storm and a Black-headed Gull hettemåke.

 Above and below - the first Dotterel boltit for Tjeldstø

 Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås
 Golden Plover heilo
Lapwing vipe chick obeying the frantic cries of its parents and sitting very still in the grass

Singing Lesser Whitethoat møller, at least one Carrion Crow svartkråke and Lapwing vipe chicks were among the usual suspects.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tjeldstø 21-23 May 2011

 Golden Plover heilo
Mallard stokkand with young

Strong southerlies with some rain at times

Took things easy for a few days - missing a passage of Brent geese ringgås and a Snow Goose snøgås on 22nd....(source blog at: http://www.birdwatchnorway.com/)

Mostly just the usual suspects in the reserve including one or two singing Lesser Whitethroats møller and up to two Carrion Crows svartkråke on 23rd. Small numbers of Golden Plover heilo resting were the only migrants noted.

Otherwise just ever more Greylags grågås with chicks.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Skogsøy 20 May 2011

Strong southerlies throughout the day.

It was never going to be good for skuas and divers today. In fact a four hour seawatch produced very little of anything - the highlight being a flock of four Shelduck gravand. Around 60 Gannet havsule and a little over 40 Eiders ærfugl, all but four of them males, headed north.

Shelduck gravand

Pitifully small numbers of Cormorant storskarv, Common Scoter svartand, Kittiwake krykkje, auks alker and Red-throated Diver smålom on the move along with a few waders.

The Carrion Crow svartkråke was back at Skogsøy again - presuming it is the same bird commuting between Tjeldstø and Skogsøy/Herdlevær.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Øygarden 19 May 2011

White Wagtail linerle
 Above and below Fieldfare gråtrost

Southerly with occasional showers.

Rather regretted not making the trip to Hernar as there was little of interest to find elsewhere. The Ringed Plover sandlo pair at Sture have hatched four chicks which is good news - the nest was narrowly missed by trucks a few days ago. Otherwise just a singing Lesser Whitethroat møller at Sture, a few singing Blackcaps munk here and there and a couple of House Martins taksvale.

About 40 Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås headed north over Tjeldstø.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Herdlevær 18 May 2011

Southerly with light rain.

Not much new in so it was breeding birds that provided the interest today with an Eider ærfugl sitting on three eggs and four if not five species of waders holding territory.

Tjedlstø 17 May 2011

Spent the day out of Øygarden and missed a fantastic passage of skuas....

Saw the Great Egret egretthegre from the sitting room window in the evening.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SKogsøy 16 May 2011 - Skuas

Light NW then light SW

Well worth the trip out today - although it was a case of quality rather than quantity. Highlights were three Long-tailed Skua fjelljo, two Pomarine Skua polarjo and a Black-throated Diver storlom. Other stuff inlcuded a couple of Arctic Skua tyvjo and 89 Red-throated Diver smålom.

 Raven ravn
 Part of a flock of Red-throated Diver smålom
Record shot of one of the Long-tailed Skua fjelljo

One large diver was probably a White-billed Diver gulnebblom but couldn't quite rule out Great Northern islom.

A Wryneck vendehals sang several times from very close to my garden - no time to check it out more fully. Species 161 from the garden....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Øygarden 15 May 2011 Great Egret from the sitting room - again

A quick trip to Skogsøy confirmed that passage was better today than of late. Several Arctic Skua tyvjo made their way north as did over 20 Red-throated Diver smålom.

Due to other commitments the seawatching had to be cut short and Tjeldstø was the next stop. A Great Egret egretthegre was pretty much the first bird I got onto. No doubt the same bird as yesterday predictably relocating to the reserve. It was again very shy and flew up for "no reason" several times.

 Great Egret egretthegre - third occurrence for Tjeldstø and the second time from my living room.

A Carrion Crow svartkråke was also present in the reserve where most of the geese now have chicks - no doubt the focus of attention for the local White-tailed Eagles havørn.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Øygarden 14 May 2011 - Great Egret

Southerly and sunny.

Took a quick look at Breivik which produced only the long staying male Pied Wagtail svartryggerle of any interest.

Back home working on the house / garden I received a tip-off about a Great Egret egretthegre at Steinsvatnet. There was nothing else to do than pile the children into the car and head off to see it. A five minute drive later we were watching Øygarden's third (or perhaps fourth) find of this superb egret. A powerful heat haze hindered both viewing and photography but all the necessary details were seen in order to confirm this as an adult in breeding plumage. The bird was rather flighty and was chased off by Greylags grågås but thankfully did not stray far.

For a picture of the second occurrence see here.

 Øygarden's third or fourth Great Egret egretthegre

A White-tailed Eagle havørn circled the garden whilst we were eating celebratory ice creams....

Friday, May 13, 2011

Skogsøy 13 May 2011

Light southerlies and rain showers

Another rather quiet day, although a Turnstone steinvender flying past the lookout,  a singing Lesser Whitethroat møller and a Carrion Crow svartkråke were all new for the year.

Other stuff was limited to a late flock of at least 15 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and small numbers of Common Scoter svartand on the move.

The most uninspiring of local rarities - a Carrion Crow svartkråke.
Perhaps this bird is part of the movement that deposited large numbers of this species on Fair Isle a couple of days back?

Seabirds were limited to a couple of Razorbill alke, several Gannets havsule and a lone Kittiwake krykkje.

Hernar 12 May 2011 - Grasshopper Warbler

Light southerly and overcast to start with, clearing later.

Although the island didn't live up to last week's visit it still provided some excellent local birding. A female Black Redstart svartrødstjert and a very skulking Grasshopper Warbler gresshoppesanger were the highlights. Quite possible that both these birds are the same as those on Tuesday.

 Grasshopper Warbler gresshoppesanger
 Female Black Redstart svartrødstjert
 Common Whitethroat tornsanger

New arrivals included a few Common Whitethroat tornsanger, one of which was collecting nesting material, more Sedge Warblers sivsanger, two Common Terns makrellterne and a Common Sandpiper strandsnipe. A Tree Pipit trepiplerke was the first I've had in Øygarden this year (though the first was seen some time ago). Other notable birds for the island included a male Whinchat buskskvett, a House Martin taksvale and a male Tufted Duck toppand.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tjeldstø 11 May 2011

A stroll around the reserve brought in the usual suspects - loads of Greylags grågås now with chicks and quite a few hirundines including several Sand Martin sandsvale on the move.

 Male Teal krikkand
 Above and below Golden Plover heilo

Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk

A small flock of Golden Plover heilo gave good views, a couple of Collared Dove tykerdue flew past and a Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk dropped into the reserve briefly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Øygarden 10 May 2011 - Grasshopper Warbler

After spending the morning working a quick check of a couple of localities produced some decent birds - starting with a splendid male Yellow Wagtail gulerle (ssp flava) at Breivik.

Yellow Wagtail gulerle

At Kollsnes two Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk were present along with a male Whinchat buskskvett.

Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk

A cursory glance at Tjeldstø produced a pair of Collared Dove tyrkerdue flying over and a Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove feeding beside Husvatnet.

Grasshopper Warbler gresshoppesanger

Female Black Redstart rødstjert

A very quick trip to Hernar seemed to confirm that the Crag Martin klippesvale has indeed moved on. The bird was not seen during a relatively short search by visiting birders on Sunday and unknown status from yesterday. However, there was still plenty to see with only part of the island covered. Highlight was a singing Grasshopper Warbler gresshoppesanger - seemingly the first documented find of this species in Øygarden (an autumn record some years ago was not sufficiently documented to be accepted). A female Black Redstart svartrødstjert and a male Whinchat buskskvett were other birds of note.

Another first for the year was a dark phase Arctic Skua tyvjo that flew over Hellesøy whilst waiting for the boat to leave.....

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Skogsøy 08 May 2011

SE winds and sunny.

It is a very rare occasion that Skogsøy disappoints. Today was one of those days. Apart from small numbers of terns terner and a few Whimbrel småspove there was very little of interest today and I eventually gave up and went home.

At home I missed out on the first Spotted Redshank sotsnipe of the year, failed to identify a Bar-tailed / Black-tailed Godwit lapp/svarthalespove and had to make do with the first House Martin taksvale of the year.

 Gannet havsule at Skogsøy

 Redstart rødstjert at Kollsnes

An evening tip-off just about saved the day - an early Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper and a female Redstart rødstjert at Kollsnes.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Øygarden 07 May - Crag Martin still present

Although I took things easy today seeing only the first Greylag grågås chicks of the year during a quick stroll at Herdlevær the same couldn't be said for the 25-30 listers that descended on Hernar from all over the country to successfully twitch the Crag Martin klippesvale.
All the other sightings of note came from the island with the Stonechat svartstrupe remaining, the county's first Swift tårnseiler for the year, a Goldfinch stillits and more.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Øygarden 06 May 2011 - Crag Martin still present!

Five of Bergen's finest prior to connecting with the Crag Martin klippesvale
A crowd of birders this big in Øygarden is almost as rare as the bird they are going for - there is the possibility of many more at the weekend though....

Shelduck gravand

Flock of Red-throated Diver smålom

One of many porpoises nise seen today

Deer hjørt seen on the way to Skogsøy

VERY calm and largely overcast.

I spent the morning seawatching at Skogsøy where seven White-billed Diver gulnebblom and 114 Red-throated Diver smålom were the highlights. Two Arctic Tern rødnebbterne were the first of the year in the county. Small numbers of Whimbrel småspove, a couple of Shelduck gravand and over 100 Common Scoter svartand also headed north.

On Hernar the Crag Martin klippesvale was present throughout the day pleasing all who tried for it (including one who drove through the night from Stavanger and one who came up from Haugesund). Amazingly the second new for Øygarden in two days was seen from the island - three Mute Swan knoppsvane - just shows what a bit of coverage will do..... Other noteworthy species on the island included a Stonechat svartstrupe, a Tree Pipit trepiplerke and the county's first Lesser Whitethroat møller for the year.

Lets see what tomorrow's crowds will bring...