Thursday, November 29, 2012

Øygarden 29 November 2012

Light southerly winds with some light showers.

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke at Dåvøy

At Dåvøy the Heron gråhegre roost had increased to 26 birds, a Red-throated Diver smålom on the sea, a Little Auk alkekonge and a Snipe enkeltbekkasin.

Solberg was rather quiet but a flock of 16 Velvet Scoter sjøorre flying north was notable. Otherwise just five Purple Sands fjæreplytt and an Otter fishing.

Alvheim was virtually dead on the sea - just a single Velvet Scoter sjøorre in the channel there.

Below Herring gulls gråmåke of various ages:

Øygarden 28 November 2012 - Work

Perfect conditions for finding stuff on the sea - flat calm and sunny.

Red-throated Diver smålom at Dåvøy

Completely predictably work reared its ugly head and I wasted spent the day at work. A quick dash around in the near dark before I left proved that there were indeed some birds about including two Red-throated Diver smålom at Solberg and another at Dåvøy.

Goldfinches stillits were seen at Dåvøy and Tjeldstø (these whilst I was running for the bus).

Also at Tjeldstø a Little Auk alkekonge, 11 Common Scoter svartand and a first year Kittiwake krykkje.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tjeldstø 27 November 2012 - Stuck

Calm AND sunny today. Predictably stuck at home in the decent weather.

Not to be deterred we spent the morning ringing in my garden - and caught more birds in three hours than they did on Utsira over the whole weekend. Best bird was a Blue Tit blåmeis with a ring on its leg that indicates it has probably come north up the coast from Lista. Just goes to show...Otherwise just the usual plus a fly over Lapwing vipe.

 Razorbill alke
Guillemot lomvi

A quick dash to the shops - prompted by the discovery of two auks on the sea outside my house - produced a Razorbill alke and a Guillemot lomvi.

Thrush numbers seem to be dropping but still at least six Redwing rødvingetrost present among larger numbers of Fieldfare gråtrost.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Øygarden 26 November 2012 - Grey-headed Woodpecker

Fantastic weather again. Light easterly breeze and mild.

Red-throated Diver smålom

A decent enough morning out. Started at Hjelme West where there were several White-tailed Eagles havørn and small numbers of the usual seaduck. Best bird here was a Red-throated Diver smålom.

 Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett

 Fieldfare gråtrost
Robin rødstrupe

A short stop at Sæle produced a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett - the first I've seen for a while - and a small flock of Waxwing sidensvans.

 Just look at the beak on this thing - massive!

At Hatten a flock of around 20 Parrot Crossbills furukorsnebb fed right beside the road.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Skogsøy 25 November 2012 - At last a change in the weather

Finally the weather changed. A fresh easterly with high cloud cover, even some blue sky at times.

The changing conditions seemed to have an immediate effect on the birding - sat at Skogsøy for just over two hours and had an excellent late November seawatch notching up the majority of what can be expected at this time of year:

Great Northern Diver islom, 2S, 1N
Red-throated Diver smålom 3S
Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker 1S
Eider ærfugl 149S
Velvet Scoter sjøorre 1S
Common Scoter svartand 26S
Long-tailed Duck havelle 22S
Red-breasted Merganser siland 8S
Goldeneye kvinand 1S
Little Auk alkekonge 27S
Black Guillemot teist 2S
Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke 1S
Kittiwake krykkje 2S
Common Gull fiskemåke 8S
Cormorant storskarv 37S
Shag toppskarv 31S

 Second winter Iceland Gull grønlandsmåke - first of the autumn for Øygarden

 Cormorant storksarv
Great Northern Diver islom

Other birds of note included a Snow Bunting snøspurv flying in off the sea, Curlew storspove, Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, a Guillemot lomvi on the sea and a couple of fly over Redpolls gråsisik.

The walk to and from the lookout produced two flocks of Waxwing sidensvans, 20+ Common Crossbill grankorsnebb and some very fresh Woodcock rugde tracks.

This gull headed south. Initially in flight I took it to be a Common Gull fiskemåke and took a few record shots. A quick check in the field made me change my mind to Herring gull gråmåke. Downloading the images later has me scratching my head.....answers on a postcard please

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Herdlevær 24 November 2012

Strong southerlies, some showers but a glimt of sunshine.

No real change in the birds - a few Little Auk alkekonge, a couple of Kittiwake krykkje and the usual Snipe enkeltbekkasin, White-tailed Eagles havørn, thrushes etc.

 Part of a feeding Fieldfare gråtrost flock
Herring Gull gråmåke

Raven ravn

Plenty of Fieldfare gråtrost knocking about with flocks seen at Herdlevær, Breivik and Tjeldstø.

Weather forecast set to change tomorrow - we can but hope....

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tjeldstø 23 November 2012 - on my way out now

It now goes without saying that there were very strong southerly winds, that it was pouring with rain and very dull.

Spent the morning updating some pages on my website - this mornings updates were all from Australia and include this total stunner:

 White-tailed Tropicbird
Rainbow Lorikeet

More pictures of birds and other wildlife off Western Australia in August / September 2012 can be seen on this link.

Around 13:00 the weather improved slightly and a stroll around the reserve proved quite productive with highlights being a nice Goshawk hønsehauk, a Lapwing vipe and two flyover Whooper Swans sangsvane. Other stuff inlcluded a big flock of Fieldfare gråtrost (around 300 - not bad for the time of year!), 12+ Redwing rødvingetrost, Waxwings sidensvans and small numbers of Starling stær.

Rather more down to earth image of today's Lapwing vipe

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Øygarden 22 November 2012

Somewhat predictably strong southerly winds, dull and wet.

Didn't get out and about that much today.

Solberg was quiet but a fly-over Waxwing sidensvans and a feeding Otter were seen here.

Breivik produced around 70 Fieldfare gråstrost, a couple of Redwing rødvingetrost and the usual suspects. A flock of four Common Gull fiskemåke flew over - a big flock in Øygarden this late in the year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hjelme West 21 November 2012 - Crossbill headaches

You guessed it! Yet again strong southerly winds, dull with some rain. Still the best weather thus far this week. At least it remains mild.

Tried Hjelme West today which was relatively quiet on the sea but made up for it to some degree ashore. Several White-tailed Eagles havørn, a Black Guillemot teist and small numbers of Long-tailed Duck havelle and Common Scoter svartand were pretty much all that was to be seen offshore.

 Lots of Crested Tit toppmeis about today. Arty movement effect was of course carefully planned...

 Male Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb - actually appeared to be singing to the female pictured below

 Female Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb

 Above and below - more presumed Parrot Crossbills furukorsnebb

Common Crossbill grankorsnebb

 Peregrine vandrefalk
 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt - auto function (and therefore flash)

 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt - surprisingly good results for ISO1000

A couple of small flocks of Waxwing sidensvans flew south, two Woodcock rugde flushed from woods and a few flocks of Crossbills - one flock was obviously Common Crossbills grankorsnebb but a few smaller flocks appeared to be Parrot Crossbills furukorsnebb. I might just be finally getting to grips with the calls.....

A short stop at Sæle produced another decent Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb flock but a Peregrine vandrefalk flew over and flushed them just as I was getting into a decent position to photograph them. Other stuff here included a female Blackcap munk, a Nuthatch spettmeis and a couple of Redwing rødvingetrost.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Herdlevær 20 November 2012

Rather predictably southerly gale and very dull. However, almost no rain.

A half decent selection of the usual late autumn species seen today including a total of eight Waxwing sidensvans, two Redwing rødvingetrost, 15 Fieldfare gråtrost, a couple of Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a Woodcock rugde, a Little Auk alkekonge and a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk.

Otherweise just small numbers of the usual duck including several Common Scoter svartand, at least four Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke and a couple of White-tailed Eagles havørn.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Øygarden 19 November 2012

Strong southerly gale with occasional torrential showers. Worsening throughout the day.

Popped in at a couple of places but the only one that came good was - finally -  Solberg.

Here there were a couple of Curlew storspove - probably marking the arrival of the overwintering birds after a long absence. A single Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, 30 Long-tailed Duck havelle, a Red-throated Diver smålom and most of the usual suspects.

Elsewhere flocks of Fieldfare gråtrost at Breivik and Tjeldstø, Sparrowhawk spurvehauk at Toftøy and Breivik and a Tufted Duck toppand at Toftøy.

Used the bad weather to publish trip report from the Turkish Black Sea from May 2012, to go along with the Russian Black Sea (April 2012) and the Black Sea (March 2010)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Øygarden 18 November 2012

Dull, wet and windy again.

Not often that I struggle with motivation to get out birding but today was one of those days.

Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett at Breivik

It felt like there wasn't much too see, a few Waxwing sidensvans at Breivik and a couple of decent Fieldfare gråtrost flocks about together with a few Redwing rødvingetrost.

Had at least 10 Kittiwake krykkje from the house - not often I see so many in the fjord. Perhaps something to do with a pod of Dolphins that swam south down Hjeltefjord....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Øygarden 16 November 2012

Dull, wet and windy again.

Hard going to find anything much at all today with very little at Solberg, Alvheim or Tjeldstø.

It was Hatten that saved the day with a flock of four obliging Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb feeding at close range - first of the year for me. Camera was of course in the car at the time.... Other stuff here inlcuded a Woodcock rugde and a Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett.

Yesterday evening I received a call from an earlier colleague who had been hunting near Tjeldstø and reported a Tengmalm's Owl perleugle a couple of weeks ago. This is a species that must pass through Øygarden regularly but will likely go down in habitat little covered by birders. This isn't the first I've heard of from hunters in the area. Needless to say I spent a futile hour or so thrashing around in the area today....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Skogsøy 15 November 2012

Fresh westerly, slightly brighter than of late.

 White-tailed Eagles havørn are everywhere at the moment...

Cormorant storskarv

Relatively quiet again passage wise - in one hour and twenty minutes I had the following:

Kittiwake krykkje 22 south (all but one adult)
Little Auk alkekonge 18 south
Black Guillemot teist 1 south
Red-throated Diver smålom 1 south
Common Scoter svartand 30 south
Gannet havsule 1 south

Small numbers of gulls and a few flocks of unidentified auks also heading south.

A Peregrine vandrefalk was in the usual place and at least three White-tailed Eagles havørn were present.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Herdlevær 14 November 2012

South westerly winds and rather dull.

Quite a bit about without anything very special. A flock of around 150 Fieldfare gråtrost contained several Redwing rødvingetrost and Blackbirds svarttrost.

 Part of a flock of Common Scoter svartand with two Velvet Scoter sjøorre

 Eider ærfugl coming in to land

Great Black-backed Gull svartbak

Over the sea a there was light passage of Common Scoter svartand moving south along with a few Velvet Scoter sjøorre. Other stuff here included a few White-tailed Eagles havørn and a couple of Kittiwake krykkje.

A brief look at Breivik produced a lone Lapwing vipe - the first for ages. Not much else here other than a few Snipe enkeltbekkasin.

At Tjeldstø there was another good flock of Fieldfare gråtrost (90+) feeding in the fields and a Goldfinch stillits flew over the garden.