Monday, August 22, 2016

Herdlevær 22 August 2016 - Photogenic waders and an exciting falcon

Light easterly breeze, hot and sunny.

The cracking weather continues - too nice really from a birding point of view.

The potential highlight was a very large, bulky and long-tailed falcon which I kept getting a "Goshawk vibe" off. There is a very strong possibility that this may well have been a Gyr jaktfalk.....I spent too long watching it sitting on a rock before it disappeared further north - I had hoped it would come and take one of the Knot polarsnipe feeding in front of me.

Curlew storspove

(This image has not been cropped at all)

First year Knot polarsnipe

There was not a huge amount of variety of waders at Herdlevær today - but they posed well for the camera. Knot polarsnipe were the most numerous with over 30 present - all but a few of them first year birds.

A Kestrel tårnfalk and the now usual Twite bergirisk also seen here.

A Yellow wagtail gulerle flew over whilst I was waiting for a bus at Nautnes - first I've had in Øygarden this year.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Herdelvær 21 August 2016 - Third August record

Calm, hot and sunny again,

Tufted Duck toppand at Herdlevær

Best bird was the third August record for Øygarden of Tufted Duck toppand.

A small selection of waders included Knot polarsnipe, Sanderling sandløper and Whimbrel småspove.

Elsewhere both Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and Kestrel tårnfalk seen migrating at Nautnes and Tjeldstø.

Other than that just the usual White-tailed Eagle havørn etc.

Common Crossbill grankorsnebb seem to be on the move with birds seen "everywhere".

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hernar 20 August 2016 - Waders

Calm, hot and sunny.

A trip to Hernar was not part of the day's plans but it was a most welcome change. The island was full of birds but very quiet on the migration side of things. Good numbers of Twite bergirisk, Starling stær and most of the usual species. The only migrant passerine of any interest was a single juvenile Common Crossbill grankorsnebb.

A selection of the commoner autumn waders flew over including a Greenshank gluttsnipe.

Juvenile Black Guillemot teist

Adult Black Guillemot teist

Curlew storspove and Whimbrel småspove in flight

Knot polarsnipe flock and a Dunlin myrsnipe

More Knot polarsnipe and Dunlin myrsnipe

Little Stint dvergsnipe

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt - first of the autumn

Sanderling sandløper

Shag toppskarv

One of several Turnstone steinvender seen today

Whimbrel småspove

The journey there and back proved rather more productive with 15 species of wader including a few flocks of Knot polarsnipe, a single Sanderling sandløper, the first Little Stint dvergsnipe of the year and the first Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt of the autumn. Other sightings included Black Guillemots teist, Peregrine vandrefalk and Kestrel tårnfalk.

A Merlin dvergfalk flew right past me as I left the shop at Tjeldstø.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Skogsøy 19 August 2016 - LSW "invasion"?

Light winds, overcast but bright.

A short (1.5 hour) seawatch produced a steady passage of birds including the first southbound Red-throated Divers smålom of the autumn - including two overhead that alerted me to their presence by calling.

Very much the usual suspects with some waders and Cormorants storskarv moving south and Shags toppskarv heading north for the winter.

Peregrine vandrefalk

Red-throated Diver smålom

A Peregrine vandrefalk put in an appearance - a typical sighting as these birds move to the coast to make the most of the autumn migration.

Numbers were:
Oystercatcher tjeld 146 S
Curlew storspove 1 S
Golden Plover heilo, Dunlin myrsnipe, Ringed Plover sandlo and Redshank rødstilk all heard repeatedly but not seen
Common Scoter svartand 7 S
Teal krikkand 3 N
Shag toppskarv 52 N
Cormorant storskarv 25 S
Gannet havsule - small numbers milling around offshore
Red-throated Diver smålom 3 S

Lesser-spotted Woodpecker dvergspett

Above: Black Guillemot teist - this year's bird and probably hatched locally

Nice views of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker dvergspett on the way home makes me wonder if there is  an ongoing movement of this species at the moment. A combination of lots of branches and crazy lighting made this bird difficult to photograph even though it allowed close approach. A Black Guillemot teist was feeling rather  more photogenic

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Herdla and Øygarden 18 August 2016 - Guiding

Calm and overcast over Herdla, hot and sunny in Øygarden.

Kicked off a day guiding at Herdla- racking up well in excess of 50 species including a decent number of waders. A Little Stint dvergsnipe, a few Knot polarsnipe, 60 Ruff brushane and plenty more other waders. Some duck had arrived here too including Common Scoter svartand and Velvet Scoter sjøorre. Other decent birds included a Black Guillemot teist, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker dvergspett and a Marsh Tit løvmeis.

It was harder work in Øygarden but several of the same wader species were seen here too along with the usual White-tailed Eagle havørn, Crested Tits toppmeis, Twite bergirisk and a Peregrine vandrefalk.

No pictures today as I tend not to use the camera whilst guiding,

Monday, August 15, 2016

Danish Sector May 2016 - Superzoom trial and spring migrants

Although there have not been the usual regular updates from Øygarden on these pages this spring and summer I have still been out and about to a certain degree.

An offshore trip in the Danish Sector in May gave me an opportunity to try out a Canon PowerShot superzoom camera. I left my DSLR behind and took on the superzoom with me. Further information about various cameras and bird photography in general can be found on these pages.

Sinensis Cormorant, Danish Sector, May 2016

Sand Martin prospecting for nest site on back deck of a survey vessel

Spotted Flycatcher, Danish Sector, May 2016
This trip presented a good opportunity for a test of my Canon PowerShot

Friday, August 12, 2016

Engerdal, Hedmark June 2016 - Broad-billed Sandpipers and more

This trip to Engerdal was yet again anything but a full blown birding trip, In between work and family stuff I did manage to get out and about for an hour or two most days - with excellent results.

One of the things this trip highlighted was that the Norwegian bird recording system cannot yet be relied upon to give accurate species lists as many older records have yet to find their way into the database. I initially thought that this trip produced two new species for the district - in the form of Oystercatcher tjeld and Wood Warbler bøksanger.

Some limited research proved that Oystercatcher tjeld has been recorded in the area before, just not recently. Wood Warbler bøksanger may well be a new species as I found a few singing birds at a rather exceptional high altitude woodland just below the treeline. This find was probably the biggest surprise this time around.

Above: Broad-billed Sandpiper fjellmyrløper

Male Ruff brushane

Seven km of rowing without covering the whole site......

Among the many highlights was the finding of a new site for Broad-billed Sandpiper fjellmyrløper with at least four displaying males present. Despite a lot of rowing the site I found these birds at was not fully covered and more birds may well have been present. Having previously tried known sites without luck I picked this site from a map and was proved correct. It is quite likely that further such localities exist in the area. I also found Ruff brushane in suitable breeding habitat.

Other mega-news from Engerdal in June included the finding of a singing Red-flanked Bluetail blåstjert - although the observers understandably did not release the news until a month later.

Common Redpoll gråsisik

Rock Ptarmigan fjellrype

Willow Grouse lirype

Breeding Common Scoter svartand, Long-tailed Duck havelle, Black-throated Diver storlom and  Grey Wagtail vintererle were among the other highlights of this visit.

One of the commonest species in Engerdal - Goldeneye kvinand

Siberian Jay lavskrike

This was on top of the usual Engerdal species - including cracking up-close and personal views of a party of nest-raiding Siberian Jays lavskrike, Capercaille storfugl, Willow Ptarmigan lirype, Rock Ptarmigan fjellrype and more.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Northumberland 29 June - 10 July - Summer hols

Ten days back "home" in Northumberland were largely dedicated to family stuff but I did manage 10 minutes at Druridge bay, a day out at Lindisfarne as well as family walks in the Hartope Valley and at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

Part of a flock of Manx Shearwater havlire, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Northumberland, 03 July 2016

Mediterranean Gulls svarthavemåke were, as usual, a feature at Newbiggin with a few different ages groups represented. An early morning walk with my grandaughter gave cracking views of Manx Shearwaters havlire close in - something not quite reflected in the pictures here.

Avocet avosett, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, 04 July 2016

Little Owl kirkeugle, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, 04 July 2016

Ten minutes at Druridge bay on 04 July gave plenty of decent sightings with Avocet avosett, Little Egret silkehegre, a flock of Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove and an obliging roadside Little Owl kirkeugle were the hightlights.

Dunlin myrsnipe were among returning waders seen at Lindisfarne, July 2016

Sanderling sandløper, Lindisfarne, July 2016

On 06 July a number of returning waders were already present at Lindisfarne nature reserve including flocks of Sanderling sandløper, Knot polarsnipe and Bar-tailed Godwit lappsove. The were also good numbers of Little Terns dvergterne in the area. I was informed that is now a criminal offence to take pictures of the latter species - though quite how true this is away from the breeding sites remains to be confirmed.

Tjeldstø 08 August 2016 - One minute to bird

Strong southerly winds with showers.

A one minute stop at Husvatnet produced a family party of Whinchats buskskvett - the first I've had in Øygarden this year and a sighting that very much fits the typical pattern of occurrence.

Other recent sightings have included some Common Tern makrellterne migration and a couple of Greenshank gluttsnipe at Nautnes plus the usual White-tailed Eagle havørn etc.

Oystercatchers tjeld and Greylags grågås now on the move or getting ready to leave any day now,

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

01-03 August Tjeldstø - Ruffing it

Warm and sunny with light winds for the most part.

Not out in any serious way but obviously waders on the move - most notably the first Ruff brushane of the year with three-four birds present at Tjeldstø the last few days and a flock also seen flying over Nautnes.

Other waders have included a Green Sandpiper skogsnipe (Tjeldstø), Whimbrel småspove (Herdlevær) and an obvious increase in Common Snipe enkeltbekkassin at Tjeldstø.