Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hernar 30 October 2013 - dawn to dusk birding

Light northerly winds, mostly sunny

Given the conditions it was never going to be a day for grounded migrants. However, it was a day of good late autumn birding.

Predictably there was a lot of passage early on, largely Mealy Redpolls gråsisik, Common Crossbill grankorsnebb and other finches.

Part of one of the Mealy Redpoll gråsisik flocks - unfortunately they almost never stop to allow checking for more interesting things...

Colour ringed Herring Gull gråmåke

A few of the Waxwings sidensvans seen today

Twite bergirisk

1cy Woodpigeon ringdue

Twite bergirisk

Wren gjerdesmett - numbers still increasing

Female Black Grouse orrfugl showing off camoflauge

Female Black Grouse orrfugl - very regular on Hernar this year

Highlights were a flock of 15 Waxwing sidensvans, a flock of six Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb (though many more were heard) and a late Lesser Whitethroat møller. Other notable sightings were a total of 13 Goldfinch stillits, a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett, two  Water Rail vannrikse, a Peregrine vandrefalk and a Yellowhammer gulspurv (the latter being a new species for the island).

In all a total of 56 species seen.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nautnes 29 October 2013 - a new record

Not out today at all but just as I left the house a flock of 30 Jackdaw kaie flew over - the biggest flock ever recorded in Øygarden. Previous best was 23 on Hernar 23.10.2010. Never a common or numerous species around these parts. Histogram below shows the 51 records of 165 birds from artsobs database.

Good migration weather tomorrow......

Monday, October 28, 2013

Skogsøy 28 October 2013 - Seawatch fix at long last

Strong SW with showers becoming calmer and drier later.

FINALLY made it out to Skogsøy for the first time in way too long. For a seawatch junky like myself this was just what the doctor ordered. I paid scant attention to the weather forecast and just went for it as the first and only likely chance in the foreseeable future.

I spent three hours seawatching - something that proved quite productive without anything very special. All heading south:

Kittiwake krykkje

Peregrine vandrefalk

Part of a Red-throated Diver smålom flock

Mixed flock of Common Scoter svartand and Long-tailed Duck havelle

White-tailed Eagle havørn

White-tailed Eagle havørn

Great Northern Diver islom 2 (1ad and 1 1K+ together)
Red-throated Diver smålom 88 inlcuding a single flock of 21 - a HUGE flock by autumn standards
Black-throated Diver storlom 1
Little Auk alkekonge 133
Razorbill alke 30
Guillemot lomvi 3
Black Guillemot teist 2
Wigeon brunnakke 1
Common Scoter svartand 285
Velvet Scoter sjøorre 4
Long-tailed Duck havelle 54
Merganser siland 5
Black-headed Gull hettemåke 1
Common Gull fiskemåke 5
Herring Gull gråmåke 150++
Kittiwake krykkje 31 (6 first years)
Dunlin myrsnipe 3

Other sightings included a few White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Peregrine vandrefalk and at least one Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb.

Back home a Treescreeper trekryper was another addition to the new house list.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Øygarden 27 October 2013 - decent late autumn birding

Light south westerly winds and sunny.

A casual look at a few localities produced a number of decent birds today.

At Hjelme Vest the highlight was a Pomarine Skua polarjo initially seen sitting on the rocks. Other sightings here included some Øygarden oddities such as Willow Tit granmeis and Treecreeper trekyper. Some movement over the sea with a couple of Great Northern Diver islom, a Little Auk alkekonge and a light passage of Common Gulls fiskemåke. An Oystercatcher tjeld was rather late whilst a small flock of Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt were the first of the autumn for me. A Woodpigeon ringdue and a few Bullfinch dompap here were obviously migrants.

A couple of flocks of Mealy Redpoll gråsisik, plenty of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb and at least a couple of Two-barred Crossbills båndkorsnebb.

Dipper fossekall - would be nice to know where this ringed bird came from.

From the house a Dipper fossekall was new for the garden - and even turned out to be ringed. Two more new species for the garden were Great Northern Diver islom and a few Common Scoter svartand. More Two-barred Crossbills båndkorsnebb here too.

Heavily cropped record shot of an Eagle Owl hubro

Elsewehere in Øygarden distant views of an Eagle Owl hubro meant that the day was something of a success.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Herdlevær 26 October 2013 - almost back in business

Southerly winds, overcast with rain at times.

Not really birding as such. Still some stuff about including Two-barred Crossbills båndkorsnebb and the usual selection of autumn migrants.

A couple of Curlew storspove feeding on the shore, a Golden Plover heilo flying over and a Razorbill alke on the sea were the only things of any interest.

At Tjeldstø the first Whoopers sangsvane of the autumn were on Rotevatnet - first seen yesterday.

More Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb at Nautnes.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hernar 17 October 2013

Strong NNE winds and sunny.

Four birders met up at Hellesøy under mildly put less than ideal Hernar conditions and headed off to see if anything could be found on the island.

Goldfinch stillits - with obvious parasites around its beak

Record shot of the Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger

Given the advserse conditions it was predictably quiet and hard going. Four hours of tramping around produced a couple of Water Rail vannriske, two Black Grouse orrfugl, some Goldfinch stillits and a Willow Tit granmeis as best birds.

As is often the case the best bird turned up just before the boat back to the "mainland" in the form of a Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger.

Other stuff included a Peregrine vandrefalk, a Guillemot lomvi and seven Twite bergirisk.

Herdlevær 16 October 2013 - Pallas's Warbler!!

Perfect conditions. Little wind, light cloud cover and plenty of stuff about.

Above: Pallas's Warbler fuglekongesanger

A truly fantastic morning at Herdlevær produced the county's eighth Pallas's Warbler fuglekongesanger. Initially picked up on call it gave brief views before disappearing. This represents the first find for Øygarden of this cracking little gem and the first in Norway this year.

The county's twitchers were on the scene very quickly, obviously dropping work and other commitments as soon as the message was sent. They struggled to refind it but after a few hours managed to nail it.

Above: atypical Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger. Thankfully it called a couple of times...

An interesting Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger had me scratching my head until it called and confirmed its identity. Rather subdued colouring and very faint first wing bar had me thinking something else for a while......

Pied Flycatcher svarthvit fluesnapper

Willow Tit granmeis

Several Two-barred Crossbills båndkorsnebb, a late Pied Flycatcher svarthvit fluesnapper and a fly over Grey Wagtail vinterle were among the other goodies seen.

Before I left the house a flock of Waxwing sidensvans headed south and a couple of Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb landed nearby. House list now 38.

Øygarden 15 October - Almost there

Finally managed a short trip out of the house but before I left a couple of Grey Wagtail vintererle and a flock of Shag toppskarv were additions to the new garden list - which now stands at a whopping 35 species.

A late Lesser-black backed Gull sildemåke was the highlight at Husvatnet, Tjeldstø.

Part of the Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb flock 

Common Crossbill grankorsnebb feeding in rowan bushes

Willow Tit granmeis - good numbers of this irruptive migrant passing through recently

Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett

Mealy Redpolls gråsisik - some pale rumps seen but nothing good enough to claim anything....

At Herdlevær a mid afternoon stroll produced lots of grounded migrants including a few each of Chiff-chaff gransanger and Blackcap munk along with the usual selection of autumn thrushes and finches. Highlight here was a flock of seven Two-barred Crossbill båndkorsnebb. Other stuff of interest were a couple of Willow Tit granmeis and a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett.

Nautnes 14 October 2013 - Late migrant

Managed 20 minutes of what could almost be called birding today and added a few more species to the garden list. Higlight was a very late Arctic Tern rødnebbterne - the latest I have seen in Øygarden.

The other new were rather more mundane - Chaffinch bokfink, Song Thrush måltrost and Meadow Pipit heipiplerke.

So "only" another 134 species to go before the old garden list is equalled....

Nautnes 11-13 October - Moving in

Fantastic weather with loads of birds about.

No birding whatsoever but the new garden list now looks like this:

Gannet Havsule
Cormormant Storskarv
Grey Heron Gråhegre
White-tailed Eagle Havørn
Osprey fiskeørn
Sparrowhawk Spurvehauk
Herring Gull Gråmåke
Great Black-backed Gull Svartbak
Great-spotted Woodpecker Flaggspett
Wren Gjerdesmett
Robin Rødstrupe
Blackbird Svarttrost
Fieldfare Gråtrost
Redwing Rødvingetrost
Goldcrest Fuglekonge
Willow Tit Granmeis
Crested Tit Toppmeis
Coal Tit Svartmeis
Blue Tit Blåmeis
Great Tit Kjøttmeis
Magpie Skjære
Hooded Crow Kråke
Raven Ravn
Starling Stær
Brambling Bjørkefink
Greenfinch Grønnfink
Mealy Redpoll Gråsisik
Common Crossbill Grankorsnebb
Bullfinch Dompap

Øygarden 10 October 2013 - End of an epic house list and the start of a new one

Fanstastic weather and LOADS of stuff about both overhead and on the ground.

Unfortunately no time to get out and about - largely because of moving house.

The old house list ended on a massive 167 species - and now I have to start again from scratch.

The new house has superb views and the potential for a decent number of species but lacks a view over fresh water and has little in the way of a garden but being on the west side with a view over the sea rather than the fjords may help offset these disadvantages. Time will tell. The new garden list was kicked off nicely with an Osprey fiskeørn flying over this morning....

Tjeldstø 05 October 2013 - Pinkfeet

Overcast and dull.

A short stroll through the reserve produced little of interest other than a (the) flock of Pinkfeet kortnebbgås.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Herdlevær 04 October 2013

Strong SE, overcast.

Plenty of grounded migrants but largely the usual selection of autumn thrushes and finches including Brambling bjørkefink and Twite bergirisk. Best among the passerines was a Willow Tit granmeis.

Peregrine vandrefalk

A hour or so seawatching produced a Sooty Shearwater grålire at close range, 300+ Gannets havsule and small numbers of Red-throated Diver smålom, Guillemot lomvi, Velvet Scoter sjøorre and Common Scoter svartand. A Peregrine vandrefalk also came through.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Herdlevær 03 October 2013

Strong southerly winds, mostly sunny

Just a quick walk around and a short seawatch whilst I ate breakfast. By no means covered the whole area - generally speaking quite a bit about. Didn't really check for passerines but Chiff-chaff gransanger, at least three Blackcaps munk and a Wheatear steinskvett seen.

Gannet havsule

Guillemots lomvi

Guillemot lomvi with garfish hornjel

Herring Gull gråmåke

Shag toppskarv

Several Dunlin myrsnipe, a Ruff brushane and a flock of Golden plover heilo as well as more unidentified waders further out. Good numbers of Gannet havsule and small numbers of Guillemot lomvi about.

A Jack Snipe kvartbekkasin was probably the best bird.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Sture 02 October 2013 - Yet another new - they just keep coming!!

Strong southerly winds, largely clear.

A report of a probable Hawk Owl haukugle whilst I was sitting in a meeting at work meant that as soon as I got home there was some serious checking to do.

The legwork paid off big time and confirmed the first find for Øygarden - thank you Bjørnar!! With the massive invasion of Great-spotted Woodpeckers flaggspett, Two-barred Crossbills båndkorsnebb and other woodland species who knows what the next goodie will be....

Some record shots of this eminently photogenic and long-awaited species below:

Record shots of Øygarden first Hawk Owl haukugle

A flock of 26 Pinkfeet kortnebbgås over my garden at Tjeldstø would normally have been the find of the day but paled into insignificance beside the owl.

Part of a flock of Pinkfeet kortnebbgås flying over Tjeldstø

This roadside Snipe enkeltbekkasin gave nice photo opportunities whilst looking for the owl