Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Skogsøy 16 May 2016 - All four divers!

Light northerly and sunny.

An excellent morning spent seawatching. Not massive numbers but steady action and a good variety of species - even though we somehow missed the Long-tailed Skuas fjelljo seen at Herdlevær. A good day for divers with multiple sightings of all four species - many at close range.

Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås

Massively cropped image of one of four Black-throated Divers storlom seen today

Common Scoter svartand together with a single male Teal krikkand

Cormorant storskarv

Adult Great Northern Diver islom - this bird gave the watchers at Herdlevær a headache so here is the proof.

Oystercatcher tjeld flock - many passed very close in

Velvet Scoters sjøorre

White-billed Divers gulnebblom

The last bird of the day - a White-billed Diver gulnebblom that came past overhead

We sat 05:40 to 13:00 and had the following

Red-throated Diver smålom 363 N
Black-throated Diver storlom 4 N (!) A good number for Hordaland.
Great Northern Diver islom 3 N (2 adult, 1 2K)
White-billed Diver gulnebblom 5 N
Gannet havsule 8 N
Cormorant storskarv 16N, 5S
Shag toppskarv 10 N, 10 S
Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås 2N Not quite the numbers we had hoped for after yesterday evening
Teal krikkand 2 N
Shoveler skjeand 2 N (both males)
Long-tailed Duck havelle 14 N
Common Scoter svartand 33 N
Velvet Scoter sjøorre 30 N
Merganser siland 3 N
Oystercatcher tjeld 101 N (suspect some flocks may have come too close to be seen)
Ringed Plover sandlo 2 N
Dunlin myrsnipe 6 N
Whimbrel småspove 5 N (also heard in addition to these)
Turnstone steinvender 2 N
Arctic Skua tyvjo 3 N
Kittiwake krykkje 10 N
Arctic Tern rødnebbterne 30 N
Guillemot lomvi 6 N
Razorbill alke 20 N
Auk sp 28 N

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tjeldstø 15 May 2016 - No hopes = good day!

Strong northerly winds and sunny yet again.

Osprey fiskeørn

Still feeling on the cool side - at least in the wind. I took a very late and lazy stroll at Tjeldstø with no expectations whatsoever. It was therefore a very pleasant surprise to see an overflying Osprey fiskeørn - not the commonest of birds out here.

Work also (almost) stopped play again as it has the last few days but as we worked Mrs Naturalbornbirder looked up from her computer to see a flock of geese passing. This was just the first of several flocks seen during the late afternoon / evening. In all around 600 Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås passed during the evening. One flock of a few hundred birds also rested on one of the offshore islands.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Skogsøy 14 May 2016 - Just in case

Strong northerly winds though somewhat decreased for a little while from yesterday's gale.

Hoping for skuas I headed out for a few hours early on. No skuas,

Gannet havsule coming past at close range

Whimbrel småspove on the move

But not a waste of time - a couple of small flocks of Turnstone steinvender were the first of the year. Other waders on the move were a couple of Dunlin myrsnipe and Whimbrel småspove. Apart from these it was just small numbers of the usual seaduck and Red-throated Diver smålom.

The only other bird of note was a Whimbrel småspove feeding at Tjeldstø.

Loads of geese with big families now....

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Øygarden 11 May 2016 - Another bogey bites the dust

Hot and sunny again.

Work has almost stopped play again.

2cy Bluethroat blåstrupe

Female Black Redstart svartrødstjert

Instantly recognisable Tree Pipit trepiplerke

Today another of my Øygarden bogey-birds bit the dust - not quite in the way I like but anything goes. Mr Goodgame caught a Bluethroat blåstrupe at Herdlevær - a new species for us both in Øygarden. Nice. Although little more than a drive by a Tree Pipit trepiplerke dropped in - perhaps the same bird that was caught later and the female Black Redstart svartrødstjert was still around - impossible to get close to but I tricked it by pretending to leave and then snapping a couple of shots from the car.

Male Gadwall snadderand

Lesser Redpoll brunsisik

Female Pintail stjertand

I managed a short walk at Tjeldstø which turned up the long-staying male Gadwall snadderand, the female Pintail stjertand that turned up yesterday and perhaps even better - singing Sedge Warbler(s). Sedge Warbler sivsanger were a regular breeder at Tjeldstø when I first moved out here but it has been a few years since I last heard one singing at this locality. Hope it / they stick around. It was very hot and the heat haze didn't exactly help with the record shots.....

Just before midnight last night a Greenshank gluttsnipe dropped into the bay in front of my house.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Herdlevær 10 May 2016 - Dotterel

Calm and sunny again.

Time to get back to work so I just took a quick check at Husvatnet, Tjeldstø and the short round at Herdlevær. I was not disappointed.

Heavily cropped picture of the male Gadwall snadderand (right hand bird)

At Tjeldstø I finally connected with the male Gadwall snadderand that has been hanging around for a few days. Also here the first Tree Pipit trepiplerke of the year flew out of the trees.

Probably a male Dotterel boltit

Female Dotterel boltit

Female Greenland Wheatear steinskvett

Twite bergirisk

Herdlevær was quite good with the undisputed highlight a nice pair of Dotterel boltit - first in the county this year. The female Black Redstart svartrødstjert was still knocking about and the ringers caught a couple of Greenland Wheatear steinskvett - amazing to think that these birds will fly all the way to Greenland. Also Whimbrel småspove, Twite bergirisk and the usual suspects.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Herdlevær 09 May 2016 - Pipit head-scratcher

Calm, sunny and HOT

Streaked rump

P5 looking too long to be RT

Not quite sure what this means yet but best to document

More of a super than on most Meadow Pipits

At first glance a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

A pipit caught in the nets at Herdlevær was a bit of a head-scratcher - not quite fitting anything quite right. It had rather dark legs, a streaked rump, wingth length right at the very top end for Meadow pipit (but fitting other stuff instead).At the time of writing my money is on a strange Meadow Pipit, but it could be all kinds of things, possibly even a hybrid.

Also picked up a female Black Redstart svartrødstjert - probably the same bird found here a couple of days ago.

Common Seal steinkobbe

A Common Seal steinkobbe was very close in and made the water look most inviting.....

Otherwise Cuckoos gjøk now all over the place and a singing Sedge Warbler sivsanger at the usual place was the first of the year for me.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Skogsøy 07-08 May 2016 Camping drama

Sunny and warm with SE winds.

Male Black Redstart svartrødstjert

Kicked off the camping trip pretty well with a cracking male Black Redstart svartrøstjert which more than made up for not bothering with the female at adjacent Herdlevær earlier in the day. Redshank rødstilk, Whimbrel småspove and Red-throated Diver smålom also on the move well into the evening.

Migrating Tufted Duck toppand

An early start on 08 May did not give anything more than small numbers of the usual suspects, although an Arctic Tern rødnebbterne was the first of the year as were a couple of Sand Martin sandsvale. Just one White-billed Diver gulnebblom today.

On the way home the drama really started with my youngest having a fall and cutting her knee open - something that required eight stitches. Thank goodness for the first aid kit I normally carry.

Needless to say the rest of the day was spent at home. Something that resulted in more Sand Martins sandsvale that joined joined other hirundines over the woods at Nautnes later in the day.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Breivik 07 May - Calmer and warmer = more stuff

Light northerly breeze with temperatures on the rise.

I missed out on a Black Redstart svartrødstjert at Herdlevær (well, didn't actually try and see it to be honest).

A stroll at Breivik showed that there was quite a bit going on with a flock of 30 Golden Plover heilo being the biggest flock I have seen thus far in Øygarden this year. Also a Goshawk hønsehauk that had taken a Greylag grågås, a flyover Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and a male Merlin dvergfalk, Also heard my first Cuckoo gjøk of the year, a couple of House Martins taksvale joined Swallows låvesvale feeding there and a Lesser Whitethroat møller sang here.

Back at Nautnes the best sighting was two Shelduck gravand heading south - first time from the house I think.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Hjelme 06 May 2016 - Three new without trying

Fresh southerly winds but warmer.

Only a short potter about at Hjelme and a short walk at Tjeldstø today.

Hjelme predictably gave up the first Lesser Whitethroat møller and Common Whitethroats tornsanger of the year.

Back at Nautnes a couple of House Martin taksvale flew over the house.

At Tjeldsø (just covered a bit of the northern part of the reserve) the highlight was a Collared Dove tyrkerdue heading south. A Lapwing vipe chased off crows meaning there are at least two pairs giving it a go this year - less than normal. A flock of seven Golden Plover heilo were also present here.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Tjeldstø 05 May 2016 - Housework

Southerly gale but sunny.

As the winds were too strong to expect any meaningful passage over the sea I used the day to get caught up on some household stuff that has been neglected during the last week or so - I have now changed over from winter to summer tyres and am sitting in a nice clean house.,,,

Lapwing vipe numbers seem to be down on previous years with only one or two pairs showing signs of breeding.

Meadow Pipit heipiplerke nest - the first of the year

A short walk at Tjeldstø produced a couple of Golden Plover heilo along with Common Sandpiper strandsnipe, the first Meadow Pipit heipiplerke nest of the year (much to the delight of my youngest), more Swallows låvesvale and most of the usual suspects.

Common Gull fiskemåke

Male Gargany knekkand

A tip off about a male Gargany knekkand at Blomvatnet meant I had to take a break from chores and check it out. It did nothing other than sleep whilst I was there - only lifting its head briefly once or twice.

Common Tern makrellterne from the terrace this evening.

Back home at Nautnes a Common Tern makrellterne was another new for the year in Øygarden.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Herdlevær 04 May 2016 - There's more to life than seawatching

Brisk southerly winds and sunny.

I may be exaggerating slightly when I say there is more to life than seawatching but I got the feeling that Herdlevær must be feeling rather neglected and decided to put that right today. It was a good call and there were certainly no regrets.

Slavonian Grebe horndykker - first seen in the shade

...and then in the sunshine

Note that the Red-breasted Merganser siland is already starting its moult into eclipse plumage

The first highlight was a cracking summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe (Horned Grebe I suppose these days) horndykker. Although a regular enough species around here it is unusual to see them in the spring and in breeding plumage,

Wryneck vendehals posing in the most photographed hand in Øygarden

Next up a Wryneck vendehals caught by ringers. A truly amazing bird in the hand,

A male Blackcap munk was the first I've seen in Øygarden this year (another was reported from Rong today). Other bird news included a Cuckoo gjøk reported from Tjeldstø.

Oystercatcher tjeld - probable mink victim

Now that all the bling is out of the way there was another far less pleasant find today. An Oystercatcher tjeld that appeared to have been taken by a mink. Each year in the spring I think about how I am going to start trapping and killing as many of these vermin as possible but I never get around to it. My dog has yet to kill one this year - although he has had a couple of near-misses. If we as birders don't do it who else will?

Non-breeding Cormorants storskarv heading south

A much neglected bird and one of the commonest in Øygarden - Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

A bonus bird in the evening was a nice Spotted Redshank sotsnipe beside Husvatnet, Tjeldstø - only seen because I had forgotten to buy a couple of things for tomorrow's dinner, the shops are shut tomorrow and it is almost impossible just to drive past Husvatnet without having a quick look....

Occurrence of Spotted Reshank in Øygarden

Spotted Redshank sotsnipe

The Spotted red was the first in the county this year; this species is not a common spring bird but occasionally turn up in late April / early May in Øygarden.