Saturday, March 19, 2016

Skogsøy 19 March 2016 - Take what you can get.....

Light Northerly winds and overcast.

Had just about time for a little over an hour seawatching - and only by getting up at 0500. Thankfully it is now light enough in the morning.

2cy Great Northern Diver islom

Highlight was a second year Great Northern Diver islom heading north. Had I done what I normally do and check my camera when I get set up I could have had some excellent images. Instead I got these.

All in all a standard mid-March seawatch with 100 Oystercatcher tjeld heading north in the short time I sat there along with small numbers of Eider ærfugl and Merganser siland. A Red-throated Diver smålom seemed to alter course drastically as a White-tailed Eagle havørn headed its way.

Plenty of birdsong on the way out gave a definite so¨spring-like feel to the day.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Nautnes 18 March 2016 - Otter

Northerly winds and sunny.

Highlight today was seen from my terrace during a coffee break - an Otter with a butterfish it caught and ate whilst I watched. Obscenely long series of pictures taken from my terrace:

I popped out for a couple of hours and visited a couple of places. Nothing unusual bird wise but typically for the time of year White-tailed Eagles havørn very obvious all over the place. Birdwise the most noteworthy sighting was of Whooper Swans sangsvane at multiple locations - obviously on the move.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hernar 17 March 2016 - First trip to Hernar

Northerly breeze and sunny, clouding over and stronger winds later.

I just had to take the very rare opportunity to be able to get to Hernar for a few hours.

Nothing particularly exciting with 27 species including a few migrants, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin which may have been a surviving overwinterer or an early arrival, a few Skylark sanglerke heading over, 50 Starling stær and the usual suspects including a Razorbill alke, a couple of Black Guillemot teist and a Black Grouse orrfugl.

A few Rock pipit skjærpiplerke present with at least two of them singing - first time I have heard this species singing this year.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tjeldstø 16 March 2016 - Shame to be inside

Calm and sunny.

What a waste of a day! Busy doing pretty much everything except being out and about as I should have been.

A Lapwing vipe seen from the kitchen window at Nautnes was a new species for the garden list.

Tjeldstø was pretty much as expected with the usual early spring migrants including Skylark sanglerke and a couple of Fieldfare gråtrost. More Greylags grågås in, displaying Lapwing vipe, a few Oystercatcher tjeld, Herring gulls gråmåke now taking up breeding territories and a couple of White-tailed Eagle havørn scaring up the geese.

Herdlevær 15 March 2016 - Migrants "galore"

Light northerly winds and sunny.

Spent a whopping two hours outside - regretted it later though!

On the way to Herdlevær and picked up what was probably the bird of the day in an Øygarden context - a singing Nuthatch spettmeis. Although one of the commonest and most widespread species in Norway this is absolutely not the case in Øygarden. Small numbers breed and it is possible to see this species with a bit of effort - but normally this is something of an irruptive species. This bird was singing well away from the usual haunts,

Several Gannets havsule seen during a short coffee break

A White-tailed Eagle came pretty close

Herdlevær produced a few bits and bobs in the form of the first Skylark sanglerke and Snow Bunting snøspurv of the year - both of these species were pretty much expected. Rather less predictable were a couple of early Dunlin myrsnipe.

A light passage of Common Gull fiskemåke north and Shag toppskarv south were other sure signs that thngs were moving.

Male Teal krikkand at Kollsnes

Second year Whooper sangsvane at Kollsnes.

On the way home a couple of Teal krikkand flew in at Kollsnes after I had stopped to look at a couple of second year Whooper Swans sangsvane.

At Tjeldstø Greylag grågås numbers were approaching 90.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Nautnes 14 March 2013 - A noticeable influx and more Northern Lights

Calm with some fog patches early on, northerly winds and clear later.

Got up to find that some migrants had arrived at Nautnes, a flock of around 12 Blackbird svarttrost, a Redwing rødvingetrost, several Fieldfare gråtrost, getting on for 20 Starling stær and a Woodpigeon ringdue were in the area. These were seen during a pre.-breakfast-that-never-happened stroll with the dog. I must have got almost 200m from the house.

It's OK to have a house with this kind of view when you don't have time to go anywhere else.....

Late in the evening there was another Northern Lights display which was not as powerful as the other day but I may have improved on the photography side of things and managed to take some pictures. I've said it before and I'll say it again - about time to buy a landscape lense - along with a new pair of boots, a microwave and all that other stuff I never get time to do. Mostly the boots though, mine are shot....

Monday, March 14, 2016

Herdlevær 13 March 2016 - Another two bite the dust

Dull and wet with southerly winds.

Light drizzle pretty much all day. A walk at Herdlevær produced just about the usual suspects including my first Meadow Pipit heipiplerke of the year - a species I am fairly sure I have heard on at least two occasions during the last few days.

On the way to Herdlevær the Taiga Bean Goose sædgås showed at Breivk- this time in the company of Greylags grågås. A couple of Woodpigeon ringdue and a flock of Starling stær were further indications of new arrivals.

On the way home I picked up four Ringed Plover sandlo at the usual breeding site. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sæle 12 March 2016 - Bang on time

Dull and wet with southerly winds

Mistle Thrush duetrost with worm

Mistle Thrush duetrost listening/looking for worms

Not feeling very spring-like today. Just for a change I managed to get out for little over an hour. A drive-by at Sæle produced very little other than the first Mistle Thrush duetrost of the year. A very typical date for this scarce but regular migrant to turn up. The weather was also right on for this species. Despite the cold it caught a number of worms whilst I watched it.

I did Hjelme Vest very quickly. Not much doing here with a Common Seal steinkobbe probably the best sighting. Otherwise just a White-tailed Eagle havørn, increased numbers of Oystercatcher tjeld and a small flock of Long-tailed Duck havelle.

Feeding Woodcock rugde at Harkestad

At Harkestad a Woodcock rugde fed out in the open - an unusual sight given the conditions. This kind of thing usually only happens during extended periods of frozen conditions. Nice,

Friday, March 11, 2016

Breivik 11 March 2016 - What have I missed....?

Southerly winds and feeling cold.

FINALLY out of the house for a massive hour in the field. This short trip out makes me wonder what I've missed during the recent time spent at home and working.

Looking good for Taiga bean (fabalis) sædgås

A Bean Goose sædgås looking good for Taiga bean (fabalis) sædgås was at Breivik.

One of several pairs of Greylag grågås at Tjeldstø

Starling stær flock

At Tjeldstø there were Lapwings vipe displaying, a flock of Starling stær and many of the ever increasing numbers of Greylag grågås were already paired up and good to go. Four Woodpigeon ringdue here too - new migrants.

Whooper Swan sangsvane

A 15 minute walk in the sunset yesterday evening produced, among other things, a Whooper Swan sangsvane and a flock of eight Lapwing vipe at Tjeldstø.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Nautnes 07-08 March 2016 - Northern Lights and a new patch tick

Top two - point and pray camera

Next three "proper" camera with 150mm lens (smallest I've got)

Birds work better than lights - Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt

I singularly failed to capture the northern lights which continued into the early hours of the morning - a landscape lens might have helped but I think it was largely general ineptness that meant I didn't get anything more out of the spectacular show.

A brief breath of fresh air in the morning resulted in a new species for Nautnes. Goodness only knows how one of the commonest waders in Øygarden hasn't been recorded here before - but a single Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt sat on the rocks in front of the house.

Merganser siland taken from the terrace

On the 8th I returned as the light was going to see little other than an Oystercatcher tjeld and a several Mergansers siland.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Skogsøy 06 March 2016 - A couple of hours out at last

Almost windless, lovely conditions as it has been the last several days.

Skived off work by getting up early and spent an hour seawatching. Although there was nothing really special it was a case of a little bit of everything - a decent(ish) bird, a new for the year, some migration and a half decent photo or two.

This bird is not far off being an adult.....

A lone Great Northern Diver islom headed south - this species has been very thin on the ground this year. New for the year for me was a Puffin lunde on the sea (but this was not the first of the year in Øygarden) and there was a noticeable movement of Shags toppskarv heading south - typical for the time of year for this "inverted" migrant that heads south in early spring and north in late autumn. A few White-tailed Eagles havørn provided some photographic opportunities.

A drive-by at Tjeldstø produced a flock of six Lapwing vipe

Northern Lights from point and pray camera

...and from my proper camera but with a lens that zooms too much (not normally a problem in day to day life!)

In the evening there was a pretty impressive display from the northern lights. I'll buy a landscape lens one of these days.....

Øygarden 28.02 - 05.03 - Just about ticking over

Work, car and pretty much everything conspiring to ensure that I spend the minimum of time outside.

However, still keeping things just about ticking over - although its all "from the kitchen window", "whilst waiting for the bus" or something along those lines.

During strong winds on 01 March the first Woodpigeon ringdue passed the house along with a couple of domestic pigeons bydue.

Golden Eagle kongeørn flying past the house and attracting the attentions of a Great Black-backed Gull svartbak

On 03.03 a presumed 2cy Golden Eagle kongeørn flew south - I only spotted it because I'd left my desk to take a telephone call. On the same day I saw Lapwing vipe "everywhere" and a flock of 10 Fieldfare gråtrost from the bus on the way in to the office.....

Waiting for the bus on 04.03 a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett sang repeatedly.