Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Øygarden 15 February 2017 - A new kind of guiding

Weather better than forecast (as is often the case out here at the coast). Basically calm and more or less sunny at first going over to more or less cloudy. Very little rain and nothing like as much wind as forecast either,

Normally I guide birders. Today, for the first time,  it was photography that was the aim of the game - and we were not disappointed. Within the first hour close range pictures had been taken of an Otter dragging a large lumpsucker rognkjeks ashore. This has long been my "dream shot" but as I was guiding my camera was in my rucksack and there was not the opportunity to take pictures myself.

During the day we had a minimum of 10 White-tailed Eagles havørn, a couple of which also were obliging for the camera. Other birds that performed for the camera included some Common Crossbill grankorsnebb, Merganser siland and Heron gråhegre,

Bird of the day was seen after dark as I took my compost out and filled up the bird feeders - a couple of "grey geese" flew up from the sea in front of the house. They were not Greylags or Pinkfeet, based on the call I'd guess Bean Goose sædgås.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Øygarden 14 February - I love SEAPOP

Indescribable weather! Calm and sunny - in other words perfect conditions for messing around in boats- which is just as well as today was the annual SEAPOP count - in other words counting seabirds from a small boat.

Most of this was done in Øygarden but with a brief foray into the neighbouring district of Fjell.

Black Guillemot teist

A common sight today - mixed flock of Cormorants storskarv and Shag toppskarv resting on the islands

Bachekor boys - an almost all male group of Eiders ærfugl. The lone female was getting rather a lot of attention....

Male Eider ærfugl

Male Long-tailed Duck havelle

....with a more typical shot - not easy trying to take pictures of moving birds from a moving boat

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt - this flock was of around 70 birds

Shags toppskarv - adult on the left, presumed 2cy bird on the right

Conditions were great even if the numbers of most of the seaduck were not. NO Velvet Scoter sjøorre seen and only TWO Common Scoter svartand seen from the boat. Numbers of Long-tailed Duck havelle and Eider ærfugl also seemed down on usual. Although I don't have the data from previous years I am pretty sure gull numbers were also much reduced compared to normal and with very few immatures.

However, Black Guillemot teist, White-tailed Eagle havørn and Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt were around normal.

Dipper at dawn

Other stuff today included a Dipper fossekall near Alvheim and the first Black Guillemot teist I've seen from the terrace this year.

I also saw a distant flock of four grey geese (quite possibly Bean) flying north and apparently going down but I didn't see them on my way home.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Herdlevær 13 February 2017 - Winter weather at its best

Not a breath of wind and sunny. Just cracking!

Just fantastic to be out and about today in the calm and sunny conditions. I took a walk around Herdlevær where there were just the usual suspects with a single Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a Black Guillemot teist, Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke among the birds seen. The species list in no way reflects what a great walk this was today.

Driving past Breivik on the way home I picked up another Snipe enkeltbekkasin and a flock of thrushes feeding in one of the fields numbered around 20 Fieldfare gråtrost with at least five Redwing rødvingetrost.

A Water Rail vannrikse at Tjeldstø was the first of the year for me but given the conditions (very frozen) hardly a surprise. The weird thing is that although most freshwater is frozen there were quite a lot of insects hatching in the sun (especially near any water that isn't frozen) and I even saw a bee today!!

Back at the house a Little Auk alkekonge fed actively and one sweep with the scope from the terrace produced five White-tailed Eagles havørn.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Nautnes / Skogsøy 12 February 2017 - Spring!

Glorious calm and sunny weather,

It felt too warm too have frost but all freshwater very much frozen.

The first Lapwing vipe of the year flew over the house as I took my first cup of coffee on the terrace. More snowdrops now flowering in my garden and the first crocus in flower just down the road. With Robin rødstrupe and various other species in song it really felt like spring today!

I did a quick trip to Skogsøy today - nothing out of the ordinary but unsurprisingly some Whoopers sangsvane now present there (a popular place with this species when freshwater freezes). Also a Curlew storspove and small numbers of various duck.

Common Crossbill grankorsnebb still very widespread - this one was singing

I took my youngest skating in the afternoon - something that produced the first local Great Spotted Woodpecker flaggspett of the year.

As the light went an Otter turned up on the shore in front of the house.,..

Otter with fish - probably short-spined sea scorpion

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hjelme Vest 11 February 2017 - Best weather of the year so far?

Very springlike today, calm and sunny with more snowdrops now flowering in the garden (first was out a couple of weeks ago), Robin rødstrupe singing and so on.

Took a stroll at Hjelme Vest in cracking weather - some species "missing" but at least 60 Long-tailed Duck havelle, 12 Common Scoter svartand, at least 5 Black Guillemot teist, 5 White-tailed Eagle havørn, a flock of four Curlew storspove, 21 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt and a bunch of other stuff present.

At Nautnes a couple of Sparrowhawk spurvehauk, a Curlew storspove feeding on the shore.

A Dipper fossekall showed up at Alvheim yesterday evening as it got dark.