Saturday, January 31, 2015

Skogsøy 31 January 2015 - "Migration"

Calm, more or less sunny with light easterly winds.

Things looked good before I even left the house with a flock of eight Waxwing sidesvans and a large flock of Fieldfare gråtrost heading south.

A Skogsøy well over 300 more Fieldfare gråstrost moved south - probably a response to the cooler weather. A Peregrine vandrefalk, a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and singles of Gannet havsule and Kittiwake krykkje were among the other birds seen here.

A drive-by at Herdlevær produced more Fieldfare gråtrost and nine Starling stær

Friday, January 30, 2015

Herdlevær 30 January - Back in business

Foul weather with strong southerly winds, rain and sleet.

A female Red-breasted Merganser siland - catching plenty of fish

Made the most of the conditions at Herdlevær. We had nice views of a Merganser siland which caught several fish in quick succession.

Eiders ærfugl

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt

Otherwise not that much about - just a couple of Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt - rather short billed.

Back home at Nautnes just the usual White-tailed Eagle havørn, a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and an Otter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tjeldstø - Nordøy 18 January 2015 - Too close to home!

Cracking weather made it all the more frustrating to be so near yet so far from home.

Sture terminal (or at least part of it!) by night

At work and on nights I spent all night and most of the day in Hjeltefjord close to Sture. Nothing much in the way of birds here - just a few White-tailed Eagle havørn knocking about.

View of the islands in the extreme north of Øygarden including Hernar and Nordøy

Later in the afternoon we sailed past most of the best bits - tantalisingly close to Hernar and Nordøy - picking up a couple of Øygarden year ticks on the way in the form of a Little Auk alkekonge on the sea and an adult Gannet havsule passing by.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Oslo 08 January 2015 - Not Birding Øygarden

Calm and sunny.

Took a stroll around the Botanic Gardens and saw a new for the year for me - other birders and lots of them! However, it was all too "little old lady" for my tastes and I quickly gave up and went home.

However, the lack of proper birding means I have time for other things. One of the gaps in the birding coverage of Øygarden last autumn can at least in part be explained by a trip to Thailand which I have finally managed to publish - see (Not) Birding Thailand. Hope to have (Not) Birding Laos out before too long....

 Not birding Thailand

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Tjeldstø etc 07 January 2015 - Nice weather = plenty of birds

Stiff southerly breeze but more or less clear.

It always amazes me how much stuff turns up after a spell of bad weather....

A Common Scoter svartand came right past the house at first light - makes me think I should just have been staying at home recently. Incredible that this was the first for the year - normally one of the commoner seaduck in the area!

Whooper sangsvane family at Tjeldstø

Tjeldstø was full of stuff including a surprise Jay nøtteskrike. Good numbers of thrushes with AT LEAST 60 Fieldfare gråtrost - and easily twice that number - accompanied by Redwings rødvingetrost and Starlings stær. Mallard stokkand numbers on Husvatnet were up to 24 - no doubt scared there by the rather active White-tailed Eagles havørn. Four adult and one young Whooper Swan sangsvane were also on the lake,

Solber held little other than a White-tailed Eagle havørn that robbed a Great Black-bakced Gull svartbak of its prey.

Above and below - record shots of the Golden Eagle kongeørn at Rong - a lot more white in the wing than the bird at Nautnes some days ago

Decent views of a Golden Eagle kongeørn at Rong - necessitating a run back to the car to grab the camera - too little too late. This bird is almost definitely a different one to that seen at Nautnes several days ago. Also a roost of 22 Heron gråhegre here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Northern Øygarden 06 January 2015 - A couple of bonus birds

Strong southerly winds, rain and dull.

Not the best of weather to put it mildly. Started off at Hjelmo where a surprise species was an unseasonal Woodpigeon ringdue. A Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a White-tailed Eagle havørn were also present here.

Next stop was Hellesøy where I had a quick look at the sea - it was here the bird of the day turned up - a Merlin dvergfalk flew over heading north. First for the county this year.

After that things went somewhat downhill although I finally managed to see a decent flock of Long-tailed Duck havelle off Sæle and the first Chaffinch bokfink for Nautnes this year.

Later in the afternoon a more predictable new for the year was seen from the house - a Black Guillemot teist - amazingly this species has avoided detection not just in Øygarden but the whole county thus far this year!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Skogsøy+ 05 January 2015 - Regulars still playing hard to get

Not quite what was forecast - southerly winds, steady light rain and dull.

Skogsøy failed to produce the goods today (quite a rare event) with a single Curlew storspove as the best bird and a Common Gull fiskemåke the only new species for the year. Virtually nothing going on over the sea and only small numbers of Eider ærfugl, Shag toppskarv and Cormorant storskarv on the sea.

A drive-by at Herdlevær failed to turn up anything of interest - just a flock of 12 Greenfinch grønnfink.

At Tjeldstø there were the usual thrushes and a couple of Whoopers sangsvane.

Business as usual at Nautnes with White-tailed Eagle havørn, a small flock of Fieldfare gråtrost and most of the usual suspects in the garden.

Above and below: the first Eagle Owl hubro of the year

The day was saved by a sighting of an Eagle Owl hubro.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Herdlevær 04 January 2015

Light NW and for the most part sunny.

The first trip of the year to Herdlevær was reasonably productive in some ways but proved that some of the winter regulars are still proving hard to find.

A few Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke were the only new species for the year but other sightings included 8 Redwing rødvingetrost, a flock of 25 Fieldfare gråtrost, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a single Kittiwake krykkje.

The only Long-tailed Duck havelle seen today was a single on the sea at Tjeldstø

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Dåvøy and Tjeldstø 03 January 2015 - Filling in the gaps

Brisk north-westerly winds, occasional showers.

Above and below: Herring Gull with yellow legs (omissus)

Redwing rødvingetrost

Starling stær

Once again a very late start. Kicked off at Dåvøy with a Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a female Velvet Scoter sjøorre new for the year. There were also four White-tailed Eagle havørn, Sparrowhawk spurvehauk, Redwing rødvingetrost, Starling stær, 35 Heron gråhegre present here but the sea was again very quiet. The omissus-type Herring Gull gråmåke was among a small flock of gulls here.

At Tjeldstø another Snipe enkeltbekkasin and more thrushes including a dozen Redwing rødvingetrost.

At Skjold there were 20 Redwing rødvingetrost, a Song Thrush måltrost, 15 Fieldfare gråtrost and 10 Starling stær. A Sparrowhawk spurvehauk caught one of the Fieldfare here but for some reason let it go again.

Solberg was extremely quiet as it has been of late but an Oystercatcher tjeld saved the day here. Also at least three White-tailed Eagle havørn present here.

Bird of the day was the first January record of Dunnock jernspurv in Øygarden - seen as the light went at 15:35.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Øygarden 02 Janaury 2015 - New Year's Bird Race Day 3

Very strong westerly winds, occasional short but heavy showers.

The day started very nicely indeed with a new species for the house list in the form of a Golden Eagle kongeørn.

Unfortunately things went rapidly downhill from there. A walk at Hjelme Vest produced only a Kittiwake krykkje and a Willow tit granmeis of any interest. Heavy seas and strong winds meant that even if there was anything present it was impossible to see much....

A quick check at Tjeldstø was ruined by a thundery hail shower so little was seen there either.

Back at Nautnes again a Goldcrest fuglekonge was the only new for the year.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Øygarden 01 January 2015 - New Year's Bird Race day 2

South westerly winds and overcast but no rain until after dark.

Not a bad day at all considering the effort put in - a walk around Tjeldstø without going out into the reserve followed by a break then a short trip out to cover Solberg and a couple of other places.

At Tjeldstø the best bird was a rather unseasonal Song Thrush måltrost. Other stuff included good numbers of Redwing rødvingetrost, several Starling stær, the Greylag grågås flock and a Woodcock rugde. A couple of Willow Tit granmeis and a Great Spotted Woodpecker flaggspett were the first I've seen in Øygarden for a while.

The Nuthatch spettmeis at Nautnes remained - not always an easy species to nail in Øygarden.

At Solberg a Curlew storspove was the best observation, though three very vocal White-tailed Eagle havørn were an impressive sight.