Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hernar 30 September 2014 - Putting the Hernar year list right

Southerly breeze very mild, light cloud

A magic day's birding on Hernar - full on action almost constantly but without any real rarities (at least not confirmed). There was something to see pretty much all the time and obvious migration going on throughout the day. Just under 60 species were seen on the island today.

Part of a flock of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås that went through

This Blackcap munk was feeding on rosehips

Very obvious Blue Tit blåmeis migration today with several large flocks moving through

Common Gulls fiskemåke on the move

One of quite a few Reed Bunting sivspurv seen today

Wheatear steinskvett

Highlight would probably have been one of the three Tree Pipit trepiplerke calls we heard. At least one of the calls sounded very short indeed. Frustrating.

However, there was plenty of other stuff to make up for it - including at least 14 new species for the year on Hernar. A Grey Wagtail vintererle, a Jack Snipe kvartbekkasin and a Water Rail vannrikse were probably the best birds.

Other migrants included Skylarks sanglerke, at least one Tree Sparrow pilfink, a Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett, a couple of Wheatear steinskvett, good numbers of Reed Bunting sivspurv, several each of Blackcap munk and Chiff-chaff gransanger (the latter feeding all over the place - even out in the heather). Redwing rødvingetrost and Song Thrush måltrost migration has obviously picked up too.

Waders seen were Ringed Plover sandlo, Dunlin myrsnipe, Curlew storspove and Golden Plover heilo and Snipe enkeltbekkasin. Raptors were well represented with three White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Peregrine vandrefalk, two Kestrel tårnfalk and a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk.

Seabirds included 11 Red-throated Diver smålom, a Guillemot lomvi and a small flock of Razorbill alke. There was also a light passage of Common Gull fiskemåke and Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke.

Getting on for 1000 Meadow Pipits heipiplerke, over 100 Brambling bjørkefink, almost 100 Twite bergirisk and a few decent Blue Tit blåmeis flocks also passed through.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Øygarden 29 September 2014 - Flogging it

Light westerlies early on, calming even further later. Mostly sunny.

A great day out and about and even better - no problems running out of time today!

Seawatchers we salute you!

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke - pale legs, white outer tail feathers, white wing bars but incomplete eye ring and dark lores.

Some Gannets havsule came by at VERY close range
Common Sandpiper strandsnipe

One of many Jays nøtteskrike seen today - part of a larger movement over much of southern Norway

Started off at Skogsøy where I had hoped for either some return movement of birds displaced by the recent heavy weather. Neither kind of movement materialised....However, all was not lost with a nice Great Northern Diver islom, a few Sanderling sandløper (amazingly the first I've had in Øygarden this year!) and a light passage of Gannets havsule and Common Gulls fiskemåke.

White-tailed Eagle havørn

Sparrowhawk spurvehauk with Hooded Crow kråke

Raptors were well represented here with White-tailed Eagle havørn, Peregrine vandrefalk and Sparrowhawk spurvehauk. Good numbers of Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke and a Common Sandpiper strandsnipe.

Jays nøtteskrike were a feature of the day with eight over Breivik, two at Tjeldstø and another at Herdlevær. From late morning onwards there was an obvious movement of passerines - largely Meadow Pipits heipiplerke (biggest flock >100) and Blue Tits blåmeis (biggest flock 40).

Long-tailed Duck havelle on Husvatnet, Tjeldstø.

An unusual sighting was a Long-tailed Duck havelle on freshwater at Husvatnet at Tjeldstø - first of the autumn as well.

Bird of the day in Øygarden was a Turtle Dove turteldue seen at Breivik.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Herdlevær 28 September 2014 - A miss is as good as a mile

Light westerly winds, largely clear

A late and short check over the sea showed there was little passing - just several Red-throated Diver smålom and the usual Gannets havsule etc.

On the land it was a slightly different story, a late-ish Willow Warbler løvsanger, a Jay nøtteskrike - obviously a migrating bird and a very interesting pipit - a short Tree pipit trepiplerke-like call was heard a few times but, although not just a fly by the bird proved impossible to see properly on the ground. Time ran out but I returned later to try again - this time a pipit flew up from the same area and gave a call similar to one of the other calls of Olive-backed Pipit sibirpiplerke on "Calls of Eastern Vagrants". Once again time ran out before I managed to get anything more out of it.

Yet another missed chance at this seemingly impossible species - worth checking again....

Friday, September 26, 2014

Skogsøy 26 September 2014 - Sort of seawatching

Westerly gale, mostly sunny.

Gannet havsule

Wind too strong for most stuff to be flying but grabbed an hour of seawatching between 1215 and 1315. At least 165 Fulmar havhest headed north during this period as did a few Guillemots lomvi and a single Kittiwake krykkje. This is the highest number of Fulmars seen in the county for some years - at least according to artsdatabasen. Also seen were at least 60 Gannet havsule - heading in both directions.

Heading south were 11 Common Scoter svartand, a Teal krikkand and four Red-throated Diver smålom.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hernar 25 September 2014 - A chance that had to be taken

Dull, showery and with winds around south.

Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås with Nordøy and Fedje in the background

Barncale Geese hvitkinngås

A morning on Hernar failed to produce any scarce birds but was far from a waste of time - the first Water Rail(s) vannriske for the island this year turned up and a flock of around 80 Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås headed south.

Other stuff inlcuded at least 20 Twite bergirisk, several Chiff-chaff gransanger, a Blackcap munk and the usual Black Grouse orrfugl.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Øygarden 20 September 2014 - Common Terns

South westerly winds with heavy showers at first, clearing nicely later.

A quick look at Tjeldstø produced nothing much other than a few flocks of Golden Plover heilo and a few Chiff-chaff gransanger.

The young Common Terns makrellterne sat on the sea and begged whenever they saw adults catch anything - despite the fact that they caught fish themselves.

The rain wasn't the main problem - it was rather dark and gloomy meaning it wasn't easy to take pictures - it was necessary to use obscene ISO values to get anything worthwhile.

Herdlevær was relativelt quiet - the hoped-for waders didn't show and there were few new passerines in. Highlight here were a flock of 10 Common Terns makrellterne . a few adults and several young. Chiff-chaff gransanger, Willow Tit granmeis, plenty of Goldcrests fuglekonge and a hunting Peregrine vandrefalk were the best of the rest.

Elsewhere a Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger was seen at Skjold.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Øygarden 19 September 2014 - Another cracking day!!

Light south easterly winds, warm and sunny.

Another excellent day's birding. Kicked off with a very vocal Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger at Alvheim and then went back to Hernar.....

First stop was Lyngøy where there were a lot of Goldcrest fuglekonge in the few bushes on the island, a Chiff-chaff gransanger and a Willow Warbler løvsanger were also present so there were high hopes for Hernar....

Red-breasted Flycatcher dvergfluesnapper

Hernar was generally a lot quieter than yesterday - perhaps due to an overnight clear-out or perhaps because it was just later in the day. However it was quality not quantity today and the east end of the island produced two Red-breasted Flycatchers dvergfluesnapper which were very vocal. Initially infuriatingly difficult to take any decent pictures of they settled down nicely and with some patience allowed us to obtain some good pictures.

Still plenty of Twite bergirisk present on both Hernar and Lyngøy

Also present on Hernar were a Garden Warbler hagesanger and a few each of Blackcap munk and Chiff-chaff gransanger.

Three Shags toppskarv and a Cormorant storskarv

Two adult and one young White-tailed Eagle havørn

Common Seal steinkobbe

The boat ride home produced a Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt and a Black Guillemot teist or two.

The Willow tit granmeis movement seems to have picked up the pace a bit with birds seen at a few localities today.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hernar 18 September 2014 - Back where the action is!

Light southerlies, warm and sunny.

I wasn't alone in thinking Hernar was worth a shot today and was joined by Frode for a very enjoyable morning on Øygarden's best rarity hotspot. And I can only sympathise with poor Rixy who is now obviously chafing at the bit to get "out west". Believe me - I was at Fornebu on Monday!

Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove - looking a bit bedraggled due to feeding in wet grass

House Sparrow gråspurv - as rare as Richard's pipit tartarpiplerke on Hernar!

Redstart rødstjert

Starling stær - many feeding on snails today

Twite bergirisk with white feathering on its head - made me look twice!

Rarity wise the best bird was undoubtedly the first Richard's pipit tartarpiplerke of the autumn - although in a Hernar context a House Sparrow gråspurv gave the pipit a run for its money in the rarity stakes. However, the island was full of birds and the feeling that something big might happen never left us. The bushes were full of Goldcrests fuglekonge and various species of tit - including several Willow tit granmeis.

Other migrants included several each of Blackcap munk and Chiff-chaff gransanger, a Redstart rødstjert, a Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove and a Grey Wagtail vintererle (only the second record for the island and the first in Øygarden this year)

All the usual finches including about 30 Twite bergirisk were present - one of which had rather a lot of white feathering on its head. A male Black Grouse orrfugl, a Kestrel tårnfalk and several White-tailed Eagles havørn were also among the almost 50 species seen today.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Øygarden 05 September 2014 - More stuff on the move

Light southerly winds and sunny

Not out in any meaningful way but obviously a fair bit on the move with Garden Warbler hagesanger, Blackcap munk and a variety of other migrants seen at Tjeldstø,

Housework back home produced at least one Tree pipit trepiplerke and another new species for the house list - Jay nøtteskrike.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Herdlevær 04 September 2014 - mini fall

Southerly winds with showers.

A good day out with enough going on to keep interest up. First migrant was an obliging Tree Pipit trepiplerke. This was closely followed by Pied Flycatcher svarthvit fluesnapper and a Yellow Wagtail gulerle.

Tree pipit trepiplerke - this shot shows all the key ID features - short hind claw, finer flank streaks and the bulker bill. This bird also called several times.

Tree pipit trepiplerke in a tree.

Good numbers of pipits in the area, several Wheatear steinskvett, Whinchat buskskvett, a Garden Warbler hagesanger and a selection of the usual waders were also seen.

A Swift tårnseiler fed over Husvatnet on the way home - beginning to be late for this species.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Herdelvær 03 September 2014 - Not birding again

Southerly winds, more or less overcast but warm.

Obviously stuff on the move. A non-birding stroll at Herdlevær showed that there was obviously stuff on the move with Whinchat buskskvett present along with a number of other species.

Later in the evening routine family stuff produced a number of Twite bergirisk among the usual run of the mill stuff.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tjeldstø 02 September 2014 - Just about out

Calm, warm and overcast

Spent half an hour in the area I found yesterday's shrike. There was never much optimism as a number of birders spent a fair bit of time combing the area yesterday afternoon.

All I had was a Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk,a flock of 14 Twite bergirisk and small numbers of the usual Ruff brushane and Golden Plover heilo.

Back at Nautnes a Greenshank gluttsnipe fed in front of the house as has been the case for the last few days.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Tjeldstø 01 September 2014 - First mega of the autumn.

Overcast with southerly winds

Guiding at Tjeldstø proved to be the best choice today. A walk through the reserve produced a singing Wryneck vendehals as the best bird and a selection of the usual autumn migrants including Ruff brushane, Golden Plover heilo, a Ringed Plover sandlo and Teal krikkand.

Note the powerful bill and extensive black on the forehead 

Long primary projection. Peachy front varied with lighting

Approaching the last of the pools at the north end of the reserve a bird suddenly turned up on an overhead wire. It was obviously a shrike - and any shrike is a good find in Øygarden so I was immediately keen to nail the ID. The time of year was off for the more usual Great-grey and closer inspection in the scope showed that it was in fact a male Lesser Grey Shrike rosenvarsler - the first for Øygarden and only the third for the county of Hordaland.

Not sure if the hint mottling on the forehead helps indicate the age

Relatively small white wing patches

The bird was quite flighty (and/or active) and did not allow a close approach so I had to settle for some long range shots and left the bird feeding on large insects - it was seen to catch at least one big beetle.