Thursday, October 25, 2012

Øygarden 25 October 2012 - Winter

Gale force northerly winds, hail, snow and sleet showers.

Overnight it turned to winter! Gone were all the large numbers of thrushes and other migrants. Took things relatively easy today but still managed to see a few things of interest.

A Jay nøtteskrike flying over the road at Hatten, three Waxwing sidensvans at Sture and 40+ at Tjeldstø.

 Above and below: Tufted Duck toppand on the left, presumed Scaup bergand on the right.
ID bases largely on head shape.

Two aythya ducks on Husvatnet proved quite interesting, one was clearly a Tufted Duck toppand but the other looked more like a Scaup bergand with white undertail coverts. Goldeneye kvinand beginning to show more regularly now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Skogsøy 24 October 2012 - Another twitch

Overcast with northerly winds.

Late and lazy start today and a relatively short seawatch.

Lots of thrushes on the ground on the way out including a Ring Ousel ringtrost.

 Above and below: Great Northern Diver islom

 Above and below: Gannets havsule

The Rosefinch rosenfink remains in the garden for the third day and is now pulling in the twitchers

Not much movement today, just small numbers of the usual species including a Great Northern Diver islom and one unidentified large diver kjempelom. A Peregrine vandrefalk hunting in the area and a fly over Lapland Bunting lappspurv were the only other good sightings.

Back home the Rosefinch rosenfink put in an appearance again and today some twitchers from town drove out to see it...A few Goldfinch stillits and a flock of Waxwing sidensvans flew over the garden too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Herdlevær 23 October 2012 - Hawfinch

Calm with scattered cloud cover.

Very pleasant conditions again and yet again plenty of birds about. Highlight today was a Hawfinch kjernebiter. Other decent sightings included a flock of 35 Waxwing sidensvans and a late Oystercatcher tjeld.

 Chiff-chaff gransanger

 Goldcrest fuglekonge - still plenty of migrant Goldcrests passing through

The dangers of migration - all that remained of a Redwing rødvingetrost after being taken by a raptor

Plenty of the usual migrants - hundreds of thrushes feeding in the fields and on the heath, a scattering of Brambling bjørkefink, a few Chiff-chaff gransanger and a couple of Skylark sanglerke.

 Male Brambling bjørkefink - ridiculously high ISO values often lead to a watering down of colours

 Same bird as above taken using flash - better colours but not quite as sharp

Female Brambling bjørkefink with grub

Nigel Goodgame removing birds from the net

 Some better shots of the Rosefinch rosenfink were obtained today - quite good considering the lack of light

 One of a few Tree Sparrows pilfink to get a ring today

A small flock of Waxwing sidensvans dropped into the neighbours garden.

Back home the Rosefinch rosenfink turned up late in the afternoon in poor light and a dozen more Waxwing sidensvans put in an appearance.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Øygarden 22 October 2012 - Rosefinch on the garden list!

Southerly winds, cloudy at times.

A quick check at Solberg produced some flyover Waxwings sidensvans and a male Blackcap munk as the best birds. A single Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and good numbers of thrushes aslo present here.

Moving on to Breivik the highlight was a Bullfinch dompap - the first in Øygarden for me this year although the first one turned up a couple of weeks back. A flock of 30 Waxwings sidensvans present here too along with plenty of thrushes, Brambling bjørkefink, a couple of Skylark sanglerke and at least 20 Meadow pipit heipiplerke.

Above and below: Waxwings sidensvans at Turøy
Big increase in numbers today.

Meadow Pipit heipiplerke at Breivik

Made the trip down to Turøy to check out an interesting warbler found there yesterday and met another birder there. Although we heard an unfamiliar call resembling Eastern Bonelli's Warbler furusanger we never actually saw it and after an hour or so ran out of time to look. Another flock of approximately 30 Waxwings sidensvans was seen feeding here.

 In poor and fading light I tried flash to improve things....
 Common Rosefinch rosenfink with House Sparrow gråspurv in the garden.

Came home to find a Common Rosefinch rosenfink in the garden - new for the garden and the first in Øygarden this year. An interesting parallel to the previous late autumn find of this species - see here. This takes the garden list up to 166 species. Four Goldfinch stillits flew over whilst I was trying to take some record shots.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tjeldstø 21 October 2012 - Yellow-browed at last!

Calm and dull early on, brightening up later.

Took things very easy today with a late and lazy stroll around the reserve. This proved most productive - a great day even without the best bird....the long awaited first Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger of the autumn for me. Having had a probable or two earlier in the autumn it was nice to nail this one properly.  It was typically very active and all but impossible to get any decent pictures of.

Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger

Other good birds included at least one Ring Ousel ringtrost, a flock of six Goldfinch stillits and a Snow Bunting snøspurv.

Huge numbers of other migrants too including a minimum of 1000 Redwings rødvingetrost  with smaller numbers of Fieldfare gråtrost, Blackbird svarttrost and Song Thrush måltrost. A Skylark sanglerke, another Blackcap munk, a Little Auk alkekonge and lots of Brambling bjørkefink meant there was always something to look at.

Well over 40 species today.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Breivik 20 October 2012

Calm and overcast with light drizzle.

Just a short trip out today - perversely because of the birds as I had to make the trip to town in order to buy more sunflower seeds.

Breivik was full of birds but the best I could manage was a Ring Ousel ringtrost or two. A Skylark sanglerke, good numbers of Brambling bjørkefink and plenty of thrushes feeding in the area.

Back home a Black Guillemt teist seen from the sitting room was the first at Tjeldstø this year.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Skogsøy 19 October 2012

Overcast with showers early on. Squally westerlies early but calming later.

Migrating Long-tailed Ducks havelle

Nothing special during a 2.5 hours seawatch. Just the usual autumn suspects with a Great Northern Diver islom and 13 Little Auk alkekonge as the best birds. Seaduck were obviously on the move with 70 Long-tailed Duck havelle, 89 Common Scoter svartand and 95 Eider ærfugl heading south.

A Lapland Bunting lappspurv also flew over.

A drive-by at Herdlevær produced a couple of Chiff-chaff gransanger in the bushes.

Brambling bjørkefink

Ringing in the garden proved quite productive with a couple of Brambling bjørkefink being the best birds caught. A Waxwing sidensvans flew over and a female Blackcap munk fed in the garden but evaded caputure.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Herdlevær 18 October 2012

Relatively calm and overcast.

Little on the move today and generally much quieter on the ground. Small numbers of Common Scoter svartand heading south and a couple of Little Auks alkekonge were the only things over the sea.

 Common Gull fiskemåke
 Herring Gull gråmåke - quite a southward movement of this species the last week or so
 Skylark sanglerke
 White-tailed Eagle havørn - several seen at Herdlevær today

Both at Kollsnes and Breivik there were some good flocks of Meadow Pipits heipiplerke feeding on the heaths but didn't see anything else with them other than a Skylark sanglerke that made me look twice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hernar 17 October 2012 - no rarities?

Calm and sunny.

A decent enough morning on Hernar produced the usual selection of late autumn stuff including a Water Rail vannrikse, a Waxwing sidensvans, a Goldfinch stillits and a flock of 11 Tree Sparrows pilfink - obviously migrants.

This was about as good as views got....Reed Bunting sivspurv skulking in long vegetation

At least six Reed Bunting sivspurv were present and a "tick" bunting was heard a few times but never seen anything like well enough. Another bird that got away was a pipit that sounded rather like Tree Pipit trepiplerke but could just as easily been somewhat more interesting....

Other migrants included a few Chiff-chaff gransanger, a couple of Blackcap munk, a Skylark sanglerke and various thrushes and finches. Twite bergirisk numbers now dropped to around five birds.

A flock of seven Waxwing sidensvans flew over the house as I got home.....obviously on the move now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Herdlevær 16 October 2012 - Stonechat mayhem

Another day of light easterly wind and sunshine.

Today there was plenty of action to go with the superb conditions - even more so than yesterday. The Siberian Stonechat Asiasvartstrupe was present again but rather more flighty and sometimes in the company of a "normal" Stonechat svarstrupe (still a county rarity in its own right).

 Siberian Stonechat asiasvartstrupe
 Above and below: heavily cropped record shots of Stonechat svartstrupe

 Another excessively cropped shot of a Waxwing sidensvans
One of the Chiff-chaffs gransanger present at Herdlevær today

Plenty of other good birds seen including a Waxwing sidensvans, a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker dvergspett, at least one Yellowhammer gulspurv, a few Goldfinch stillits and more.

Other migrants included at least three Chiff-chaffs gransanger, some small flocks of Twite bergirisk and Brambling bjørkefink

Monday, October 15, 2012

Herdlevær 15 October 2012 - The first to Dip? / Sibe Stonechat

Stronger Easterly winds with high cloud cover.

Started the day at Herdlevær where pretty much the first bird I found was an apparent Siberian Stonechat Asiasvartstrupe! Initially I "dismissed" this bird as a European Stonechat svartstrupe (still an excellent find locally!) but late in the evening when I looked more closely at the downloaded pictures I saw the rump was clearly unstreaked. The bird promptly disappeared but I relocated it later with another birder and several birders twitched it later in the day.

 No obvious eyebrow in this shot but clearly pale underparts

This flight shot clearly shows the unstreaked rump

This shot shows the rather white throat - and a hint of an eyebrow

 Red-throated Diver smålom

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

Wigeon brunnakke at Tjeldstø

Some birders, including at least two from Stavanger made the long drive up to try for the Buff-bellied Pipit myrpiplerke but as far as I know were unsuccessful. This is therefore the first day this bird failed to show.

Three patient birders waiting for the pipit to show (these guys are easily identifiable on the original image!)

Other good birds reported from Tjeldstø inlcuded the first Waxwing sidensvans of the autumn, a flock of 20 Goldfinch stillits, a Merlin dvergfalk and the first Woodcock rugde of the autumn. A Yellowhammer gulspurv was another good bird in a local context.