Friday, October 31, 2014

Øygarden 31 October 2014 - Not very scary

Light southerly winds with persistent light rain all day.

Not really out and about in any meaningful way. 

The day's first cup of coffee on the veranda produced a new house tick (#98) in the form of a Nuthatch spettmeis. This species varies enormously in it's occurrence in Øygarden - 2014 has been quite a good year with many observations from a variety of localities during the course of the autumn - no doubt irrupting birds from elsewhere. A Blackcap munk was also present here.

A short walk at Solberg produced some migrants - all typical for the time of year in the form of thrushes of various species, a Skylark sanglerke and a Woodcock rugde.

Part of a flock of Pinkfeet kortnebbgås at Breivk

A flock of 30 Pinkfeet kortnebbgås fed with nine Greylags grågås at Breivik.

Common Scoter svartand at Heggøy - probably a first year male given the bill colouring which isn't too visible in this image.
Otherwise all quiet on the home front.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Toft 14 October 2014 - Radde's Warbler and Turtle Dove - birding to the bitter end.

Calm and sunny.

Fantastic conditions and an early morning stroll at Tjeldstø revealled that it was surprisingly a day for grounded migrants rather than visible migration - with clear skies and no wind this came as totally unexpected.

RADDE'S WARBLER VIERSANGER - second county record.

The day took an unexpected turn as I prepared to leave for work - just before I was going to leave on the 10:00 bus to town local ringer Nigel Goodgame rang me on the last remaining credit on his phone - telling me of an interesting phyllosc and could I please let his wife know. Nice prioritising!

Incredibly, whislt hitching a ride to see the bird with another local birder we managed a Turtle Dove turteldue on a roadside telephone wire near Nautnes.

The ID of what turned out to be a Radde's Warbler viersanger was straightfoward - all the relevant features for this mega are clearly shown in the above images.

The next problem solved itself - missing the bus but hitching a ride with one of the twitchers who had made it out in amazingly short time. Autumn speed traps on the way out to Øygarden could prove fruitfull.

Talk about birding to the bitter end. Not the easiest conditions in which to leave Øygarden....

Monday, October 13, 2014

Skogsøy 13 October 2014 - Quiet but good

Very light winds and mostly sunny.

A couple of hours seawatching did not bring the hoped for mass migration. However, there was a steady passage of stuff including the following:

White-billed Diver gulnebblom S 2 (together, at least one of them an adult)
Great Northern Diver islom 3 S
Red-throated Diver smålom 17 S
Cormorant storskarv 38 S
Greylag grågås 3 S
Common Scoter svartand 40 S in small flocks
Velvet Scoter sjøorre 8 S
Long-tailed Duck havelle 24 S
Merganser siland 3 S
Eider ærfugl 14 (all but two of them males)
Common Gull fiskemåke 110
Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke 7 S
Kittiwake krykkje 1 S
Little Auk alkekonge 5 S (first of the autumn)

Other good birds at Skogsøy were a Jack Snipe kvartbekkasin out at the look out point, a late Common Sandpiper strandsnipe feeding on the shore and a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett.

A half-hearted look at Herdlevær produced a couple of Wheatear steinskvett in the fields and another Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett.

Tjeldstø was fairly quiet but the first returning Goldeneye kvinand was back on Husvatnet together with a Tufted Duck toppand. A Turnstone steinvender rested with Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt on one of the islands.

Male Blackcap munk

Red Admiral

Loads of flies and bees as well as butterflies.

Some flowering ivy showed how important this plant is at this time of year - the late flowers attract huge numbers of insects and butterflies - most, if not all, were Red Admirals. In one garden at least four Blackcap munk (among other things) took full advantage of this.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nautnes / Herdlevær 12 October 2014 - Vis Mig / Doing the right thing....

Southerly breeze, some showers

Grey Wagtail vintererle from the terrace

Sparrowhawk spurvehauk flying over the house

Spent the morning at home on the terrace and found that things have suddenly started moving. Flocks of thrushes and finches came over constantly during the first few hours. Most were not specifically identified but there were good numbers of Redwing rødvingetrost, Bramling bjørkefink and Starling stær. Among the other species seen heading south were smaller numbers of Siskin grønnsisik, many Chaffinch bokfink a Dunnock jernspurv, a late Arctic Tern rødnebbterne,and a Merlin dvergfalk.. A Grey Wagtail vintererle dropped in and at least one Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb showed up in the treetops.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke - small numbers still heading south

Dotterel boltit

White-billed Diver gulnebblom - white/pale primary shafts visible in this image.

Male Wheatear steinskvett - still striking even in the autumn

A trip to Herdlevær later in the day was also pretty successful with brief views of what was presumably the same Dotterel boltit first seen a couple of days ago, at least one Lapland Bunting lappspurv, a couple of White-billed Diver gulnebblom, a Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger, a few Wheatear steinskvett and good numbers of Golden Plover heilo.

Golden Plover heilo with missing wing. It was carefully carried home and fed before I finally came to my senses and put it out of its misery.

It was one of the Golden Plover heilo that caused something of a dilemma. The bird was seen at close range but it was not immediately obvious that it was missing a wing. The missing appendage was soon located on the ground not far from the stricken plover. With my youngest accompanying me I bowed to the pressure of not just putting the bird out of its misery and we dutifully took the bird home and fed it some worms before I came to my senses and shot it  in the head,

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Øygarden 11 October 2014 - Another productive day

Southerly winds with showers.

Nautnes produced most of the usual plus a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke, a Skylark sanglerke (species #97 for the house) and a couple of Blackcap munk.

Golden Plovers heilo at Hjelme Vest

Later on a walk out at Hjelme Vest proved worthwhile with a couple of Grey Plover tundralo as the best birds. Also seen here were a Curlew storspove, a nice flock of Golden Plover heilo and several Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt. Some passage noted with Common Scoter svartand and Common Gull fiskemåke making up the bulk of the migrants. Several Red-throated Diver smålom and a few Wigeon brunnakke also passed. Nothing much of note in the woods though a Willow Tit granmeis joined the usual tits.

Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger

A quick walk at Sæle gave fleeting views of Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger and Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett. Other than just several Blackcap munk, a Nuthatch spettmeis and the usual.

Great Grey Shrike varsler clearly visible in the top of the pine tree . THIS is what we call a record shot!

Massively cropped from above picture - clearly identifiable!

A telephone call as the light was going meant that we had to head out to Tjeldstø in a hurry in order to catch up with a Great Grey Shrike varsler.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Herdlevær 10 October 2014 - Expect the unexpected....

Southerly winds with showers.

Conditions were excellent for finding something today - plenty of birds about and the feeling that something was going to turn up was ever- present.

I have to admit today I was thinking waders - hoping for a Grey Plover tundralo or even a Grey Phalarope polarsvømmesnipe. Today's best bird was indeed a wader - but certainly not one that had crossed my mind as even a remote possibility...

Dotterel boltit at Herdelvær

Highlight was a very late and completely unexpected Dotterel boltit - only the second time I have seen this species in Øygarden and the first time in autumn. It is only the sixth October record for Norway and the latest ever in Hordaland according to "the database". I'm well aware that not all records are in the database but this at least gives a pointer towards how unusual this sighting was. It was first picked up on call as a flock of Golden Plover heilo, a Dunlin myrsnipe and some Ringed Plover sandlo passed - and shortly afterwards found on the ground.

Some good flocks of Common Gull fiskemåke passed today

Dunlin myrsnipe

Colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

Razorbill alke

Red-throated Diver smålom

Other decent sightings were a couple of Jack Snipe kvartbekkasin, a late Oystercatcher tjeld and at least 600 Common Gull fiskemåke heading south. Also of interest were a colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke, a number of Red-throated Diver smålom, a flock of 14 Skylark sanglerke and good numbers of Song Thrush måltrost.

Tufted Duck toppand with two Wigeon brunnakke at Tjeldstø

At Tjeldstø the first Tufted Duck toppand of the autumn joined a couple of Wigeon brunnakke on Husvatnet.

Brambling bjørkefink at Nautnes

Back at Nautnes a Restart rødstjert was a late autumn record.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Nautnes 05 October 2014 - GHW

Glorious weather - clear skies, warm and sunny.

Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett

Only had time for a short stroll at Nautnes. Best bird here was a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett but there was obviously quite a lot of movement with lots of Robins rødstrupe, a couple of Blackcap munk and some migrating Woodpigeons ringdue to name but a few.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Herdelvær 04 October 2014 - Good feeling but no cigar

Southerly winds, very mild.

First year Cormorant storskarv

A Merlin dvergfalk was the best bird for me, along with a Jack Snipe kvartbekkasin but the real best bird was a fly over Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk.

The Merlin put everything up from my favourite spots so there was little else to see.... A few Red-throated Diver smålom, a Wheatear steinskvett and most of the usual suspects.

Marsh Tit løvmeis

Back home at Nautnes a Black Grouse orrfugl flew over the house, two late Swallows låvesvale headed over as well as flock of 12 Greylags grågås. The Marsh Tit løvmeis came back for a second day but apart from that it was just the usual White-tailed Eagles havørn etc.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Skogsøy 03 October 2014 - Gale!

Southerly gale.

The wind was so strong it was difficult to walk at times. Finding a sheltered spot wasn't really an option either.

Above: various ages of Gannet havsule

Wheatear steinskvett

Wigeon brunnakke

I spent an hour seawatching but all that passed were Gannets havsule, a few Shag toppskarv and small numbers of gulls. Out at the lookout point a Wigeon brunnakke was on one of the small pools there - an unusual sighting to put it mildly. Other stuff included a few Wheatear steinskvett, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a Common Sandpiper strandsnipe.

Brambling bjørkefink in the garden - a through-the-kitched-window shot

A real Øygarden mega - Marsh Tit løvmeis. Another through window shot

Back home in the garden House Sparrow gråspurv doubled to a massive two and the Marsh Tit løvmeis returned for a second day.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Øygarden 02 October 2014 - Finished in style!

Southerly winds, warm and sunny.

Yet another fantastic day out in Øygarden!

Chiff-chaff gransanger

Part of one of many flocks of Cormorant storskarv seen heading south today

Garden Warbler hagesanger

A look back to Hernar as we left - note the new "cabin" on the right of the picture - a perfect place for any self respecting birder with superb views and the potential for a truly massive house list!

Merlin dvergfalk - this passed together with a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and a Kestrel tårnfalk as we waited for the boat to arrive

Reed Bunting sivpsurv - good numbers seen today

Spent the morning on Hernar (where else on a Thursday?!). Similar in many ways to a couple of days ago but slightly less on the ground and in the bushes - but ALWAYS something going on and plenty to see. Again quite a lot of visible migration with highlights being a couple of Great Northern Diver islom, five Pinkfeet kortnebbgås and a Merlin dvergfalk. Other stuff included a Garden Warbler hagesanger, several Chiff-chaff  gransanger, five Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås. Peregrine vandrefalk and several Swallows låvesvale.

Another Peregrine vandrefalk was seen as we got off the boat at Hellesøy.

A breif look at Tjeldstø produced a couple of hundred Meadow Pipits heipiplerke, a Jay nøtteskrike and a Kestrel tårnfalk. Next stop was Breivik where we had three more Kestrel tårnfalk and six more Swallows låvesvale as well as a Wheatear steinskvett and a few more White-tailed Eagle havørn.

We started on Herdlevær before having to leave for Rong - here the best bird was a Yellowhammer gulspurv just as we got out of the car - a hard bird to see in Øygarden. Otherwise it was more of the same here.

Juvenile Pomarine Skua polarjo at Rong

At Rong we managed to get onto a Pomarine Skua polarjo that had been found shortly beforehand. Although quite regular in autumn they are always birds passing down the west side of the islands - not hanging around like this one. As this is probably my favourite species it was an excellent end to an excellent day.

Back home at Nautnes I managed two new species for the garden list in the form of a House Sparrow gråspurv and a Marsh Tit løvmeis - the latter being a new species for me in Øygarden and could conceivably be the same bird found very close by last month. Now on 96 species as I approach the anniversary of living at Nautnes.