Thursday, May 29, 2014

Skogsøy 29 May 2014 - Sea-fog

Calm and sunny but after only an hour sea fog rolled in and reduced visibility. The same fog thwarted attempts to bird alternative localities.

A couple of small pale phase skuas were the best birds - initially resting on the sea they took off and disappeared into the fog.

Common Tern makrellterne at Nautnes

Some Oystercatchers tjeld still heading north

Red-throated Diver smålom - note last bird in non-breeding plumage

Several Guillemots lomvi, a few Black Guillemot teist and a flock of Red-throated Diver smålom were the best of the seabirds. Other migrants included Ringed Plover sandlo and House Martin taksvale.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Herdlevær 28 May 2014 - Sylvias

Calm and sunny.

Out rather later than I should have been and took a short stroll around Herdlevær. Best birds were a couple of Garden Warblers hagesanger - at least one of which was singing. A Lesser Whitethroat møller put in an appearance and both Blackcap munk and Common Whitethroat tornsanger were singing.

A quick look at the sea showed that Red-throated Divers smålom are still passing with 10 or so seen in about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Øygarden 21 May 2014 - Tedious rarity and scarce spring migrant

Light SE winds with some thundery showers.

Started the day at Herdelvær. Little happening here but a Sand Martin sandsvale or two , another Meadow pipit heipiplerke nest and a Whimbrel småspove were seen here.

A drive-by+ at Tjeldstø produced the first Ruff brushane for the this year with two females present. Four Tufted Duck toppand was an increase on yesterday. A Carrion Crow svartkråke out in the reserve was technically the best bird of the day but what a tedious rarity! Two House Martin taksvale feeding over Husvatnet were of more interest.

Adult White-tailed Eagle havørn attacking Greylags grågås - parents keep young between them for protection

The young Greylags grågås dive, parents prepare to defend

With the young still submerged both parents leap out of the water to drive off the eagle

At Nautnes a Greenshank gluttsnipe scared up by a White-tailed Eagle havørn trying to take Greylag grågås chicks was a new species for the house....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sture 20 May 2014 - just 15 minutes out

A very short stroll at Sture in the late evening produced the first Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper of the year in Øygarden. Otherwise just the usual Cuckoo gjøk etc.

At Tjeldstø the pair of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås were still present - I'm beginning to suspect that these birds are actually from one of the "feral" populations further south/ east in the country...A male Tufted Duck toppand was the first I've seen there for a while.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Skogsøy 14 May 2014 - Almost disappointing

Strong NNW winds and sunny.

Spent several hours seawatching under what should have been ideal conditions for skuas and divers. There were precious few of either - just four Arctic Skua tyvjo, singles of White-billed Diver gulnebblom and Great Northern Diver islom and only 7 Red-throated Diver smålom.

Two Arctic Skua tyvjo heading north

One of many small flocks of Long-tailed Duck havelle

Just about record shot of the only White-billed Diver gulnebblom seen today

However, all was not lost as there was some reaosnable passage of other species including the first Dunlin myrsnipe and Knot polarsnipe of the year. Around 140 Long-tailed Duck havelle, decent numbers of terns and, in the context of recent times also a decent passage of auks - including a late Little Auk alkekonge.

A second year Great Northern Diver islom was seen heading north. Initially identified (with little hesitation) in the field as a Black.throated diver storlom this bird looks like an obvious Great Northern from photos. It seemed small, with rapid wingbeats in the scope but the wedge on the neck, the size of the bill and then evenly wide neck all point towards Great Northern.

Above: second year Great Northern Diver islom

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tjeldstø 13 May 2014 - Gargany!

Calm conditions whilst I gave the reserve some good coverage. North-westerly winds later on....

Pretty much the first birds I got onto today were a pair of Gargany knekkand on Husvatnet. Unfortunately they quickly disappeared and despite a few attempts to relocate them they were not seen again.

The two Barncalce geese hvitkinngås, a female Wigeon brunnakke and a few Black-headed Gulls hettemåke were all still present.

A singing Lesser Whitethroat møller was the best of the passerines.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Øygarden 12 May 2014 - Another good morning out and about

Sunny yet again with light northerly winds.

Whinchat buskskvett

Spent a few hours in the morning checking a few localities - something that paid off very well indeed. At Breivik a couple of singing Sedge Warbler sivsanger were the first I've had this year along with a singing Whinchat buskskvett. It is not often one hears the latter species singing in Øygarden.

Whimbrel småspove

Herdlevær was relatively quiet with little in the way of migrants. As with "everywhere" else in Øygarden there were Greylags grågås with newly hatched chicks. A couple of singing Blackcap munk, a Whimbrel småspove and a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke nest with four eggs were the best of the other sightings here.

At Tjeldstø just one Black-headed Gull hettemåke present today but the two Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås were still there and a female Wigeon brunnakke put in an appearance.

Solberg produced one of the best birds of the day - a dark phase Arctic Skua tyvjo. A flock of 12 Arctic Terns rødnebberne heading north and a single Twite bergirisk were also noteworthy here.

Eagle Owl hubro
Peregrine vandrefalk
Elsewhere nice views of an Eagle Owl hubro and a Peregrine vandrefalk provided some extra excitement.

Sture 11 May 2014 - Wryneck

The calm and sunny weather continues.

Didn't really get out today. A drive-by at Tjeldstø produced a flock of six Black-headed Gulls hettemåke on Husvatnet where the two Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås were still present.

A short but very pleasant stroll at Sture in the evening provided the highlight of the day in the form of a singing Wryneck vendehals. Quite a rarity in spring in Øygarden - and singing bird even more so! A pair of Ringed Plover sandlo were incubating close by.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Skogsøy 10 May 2014 - Borderline seawatch nightmare

Calm and for the most part sunny.

Strings of fog from inland came out of the sea and cut visibility to nothing at times. Patches of fog continued through much of the morning - meaning we were happy just to be able to see at times. See this link for more about seawatching nightmares.

One of two Black-throated Diver storlom seen today

Most of the Cormorants storskarv passing today were non-breeders

A small flock of Red-throated Diver smålom

White-billed Diver gulnebblom

The day was not as productive as some recent visits (e.g. 37 White-billed Diver gulnebblom on 01 May and Surf Scoter brilleand on 03 May). However, it was far from dead with four White-billed Diver gulenbblom - three adults and a second year bird, a couple of Black throated Diver storlom and around 90 Red-throated Diver smålom. Good numbers of Velvet Scoter sjøorre and a few flocks of Whimbrel småspove were the other highlights.

New for the year were a few Arctic Terns rødnebbterne and a House Martin taksvale.

Herdlevær 09 May 2014 - Killer

Calm and sunny.

The highlight of a late stroll around Herdlevær was a huge male Killer Whale offshore. Other mammals seen were Porpoise nise and Otter oter.

Male Merlin dvergfalk at Herdelvær

Birdwise it was relatively quiet but picked up a few Whimbrel småspove resting on one of the islands and a cracking male Merlin dvergfalk put in a brief appearance.

2cy Red-throated Diver smålom - picture taken from my terrace

Back home at Nautnes a nice second year Red-throated Diver smålom spent much of the day feeding right outside the house.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Nautnes / Tjeldstø 07-08 May 2014 - Not birding, just catching up

Back at last but no time whatsoever to get out for even the briefest of walks.

On 7th May a Sand Martin sandsvale over Husvatnet, Tjeldstø was the first I've seen in Øygarden this year as were two Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås at Skjold as well as a Common Sandpiper strandsnipe and a singing Lesser Whitethroat møller heard from the terrace at home.

All the new birds on the 8th were heard before I even got out of bed before 0600 - Blackcap munk, Common Whitethroat tornsanger and Cuckoo gjøk.

Hopefully there will be some time to get out and about sometime in the foreseeable future....