Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Spanish ringed Shag in Øygarden - a first for Norway - or not

Update 31.08.2017:
Following what I believed to be the first record of a Spanish ringed Shag in Norway further information has come to light. It seems that a scheme not registered on the European Colour-ringed Birding site has been started in Rogaland using the same colours and codes as the Spanish scheme. So it is more likely that the bird mentioned below was part of the Norwegian project. To me this is a ridiculous situation as it is within the realms of possibility that birds from UK can be seen in both Norway and Spain such that there is a definite chance of overlapping ranges between these colour ringing projects. Why has the Norwegian project not been registered?  How is it possible for field observers who will probably not be able to read the metal ring to differentiate between these two schemes?

Original post:
Here is an update that I just HAD to post despite not knowing all the details yet. This is what makes birding so great - finding out about stuff like this.

The colour-ringed Shag toppskarv photographed on Saturday WAS ringed in SPAIN!!!

To quote the mail I received:

....We ringed it on 2012 at Lekeitio (Basque Country, northern Spain)......

On Saturday I had already checked a couple of ringing Atlases (both the Norwegian ringmerkingsatlas and the UK's Atlas of Bird Migration - the latter being my favourite book by the way). The Norwegian book did not mention any recoveries from Spain whereas some birds ringed in the UK have turned up there.

To make sure I have visited one of the best websites ever in the world of birding  and done some double checking.

First all the foreign ringed birds recovered in Norway (none from Spain):

and then all the Norwegian ringed birds recovered abroad:

In other words no birds from Norway have been recovered in Spain and no birds from Spain have been recovered in Norway before.

Amazing for a bird that is not considered to move very far!!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bleikenøvlingen etc 26 August 2017 - Messing around in boats

A couple of hours spent checking out the islands to the north and west of Øygarden - Bleikenøvlingen, Høgaskjeret, Høgenøvlingen etc in the evening was quite productive.

There was the usual selection of autumn waders of at least nine species including Knot polarsnipe, Sanderling sandløper, Dunline myrsnipe, Turnstones steinvender and the first Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt of the autumn.

One of two first year Black Guillemots teist seen. Presumably local breeders.
Almost impossible to photograph as they bobbed up and down behind the waves whilst we did the same

Resting migrant Common Gulls fiskemåke

Highly camouflaged Dunlin myrsnipe paid us no attention as they fed....

A curious Grey Seal havert...

Almost dream shot of Knot polarsnipe with breaking wave

Knot polarsnipe. Mostly first year birds seen today but some adults present too.

Ringed Plover sandlo

Colour ringed Shag toppskarv, Green ring with white lettering on right leg, normal metal ring on left leg
Could it be possible that this bird comes from a Spanish colour ringing scheme?!
 Cormorant storskarv in centre and another Shag on the right.

Shelduck gravand

Turnstone steinvender with Dunlin myrsnipe (and a Ringed Plover sandlo in the background)

Turnstones steinvender

One of the many Shags toppskarv seen was colour ringed - it was possible to read off the ring from photographs. Amazingly the only colour ringing project I have been able to find that fits the ring colour and coding is from Spain. I have not been able to find any details about Norwegian Shags having been found in Spain before but birds from the UK have so anything is possible. Watch this space.....

The only other birds of note were two young Shelduck gravand - presumably resting migrants.

Another bird of note for me was my first local Jay nøtteskrike of the year. This in no way reflects the status of this species in Øygarden - it is more a reflection of how little time I spend in woodland.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Herdlevær 25 August 2017 - Waders

Glorious sunny weather again so not ideal for grounded migrants.

Migrating Ringed Plover sandlo and Redshank rødstilk at Herdlevær

Part of a mixed flock of waders that flew in - here a Golden Plover heilo and a Ruff brushane

Ruff brushane at Breivik

During a morning walk at Herdlevær there was a selection of at least 10 species of wader both migrating and on the ground including Ruff brushane, Knot polarsnipe and Dunlin myrsnipe.

Raptors were represented with Peregrine vandrefalk, Kestrel tårnfalk and Sparrowhawk spurvehauk. White-tailed Eagle havørn put in a number of appearances from my terrace whilst I was doing some painting.

Various other waders were seen elsewhere including a Ruff brushane at Breivik and a Greenshank gluttsnipe at Skjold.

Ringing of Storm Petrels havsvale during the night proved successful with 20 birds caught.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hernar 24 August 2017 - Catching up on the island

Calm, some cloud cover early on.

Very hot and with a lot of midges early on. There were a lot of birds early on too, but action died down after a couple of hours. 

Collared Dove tyrkerdue

Whitethroat tornsanger, probably a bird hatched on the island

One of only a few Willow Warblers løvsanger present today

Best bird was a Collared Dove tyrkerdue - only the third sighting on Hernar and the first since 2012 when this species was seen twice during the autumn. Migrants were fairly thin on the ground, a Sedge Warbler sivsanger may well have been a bird that bred here, other than that there were small numbers of various waders including my first local Greenshank gluttsnipe of the year.

White-tailed Eagle havørn, Peregrine vandrefalk and Sparrowhawk spurvehauk all put in an appearance. 

Other than that the species list of 40 was more or less the usual suspects.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eastern Norway 11.08-22.08 Incidental birding....

A largely family orientated trip to Hamar and further north to Engerdal in a roundabout kind of way produced some decent incidental sighting.

First year Red-backed Shrike tornskate, Hamar

First year Whinchat buskskvett, Hamar

From a terrace in Hamar on 13.08 a couple of cups of coffee produced a Red-backed Shrike tornskate, a Marsh Harrier sivhauk, Goshawk hønsehauk, two Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and at least one Osprey fiskeørn. Nice.

Up in the mountains in Oppland (Åsdalstjønna) there were still Bluethroat blåstrupe present along with a variety of other passerines.

Siberian Jay lavskrike with blueberry, Engerdal

Plenty of Yellow Wagtails gulerle about in Engerdal with a good mix of adult and young birds

Golden Plover heilo

Roadside Hawk Owl haukugle (actually in Sweden, but not by much)

Small numbers of Tree Pipits trepiplerke still around in Engerdal

One of several Osprey fiskeørn sightings - this one as I was packing the car to leave Engerdal

Engerdal produced most of the usual suspects despite little effort in the field. Siberian Jays lavskrike eating blueberries and mushrooms, more Ospreys fiskeørn and plenty of passerines now moving down into the valleys - Yellow Wagtail gulerle being the most numerous. Predictably not many waders left but still some Whimbrels småspove high up on their breeding grounds, a Greenshank gluttsnipe, small numbers of Common Sandpiper strandsnipe and a single Golden Plover heilo.

A quick shopping trip over to Sweden gave roadside views of Hawk Owl haukugle and Sibe Jay lavskrike.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Skogsøy 10 August 2017 - Pavlovian response to onshore winds

A fresh onshore breeze meant that there was no choice but to head out to Skogsøy. There were, of course, no shearwaters - I see them just as often with the wind in the east or at least anywhere but west.

Sometimes one can get lucky and get the whole bird in....

The more usual result when photographing diving Gannets havsule

Something approaching my dream shot of Shag toppskarv. If only it was in focus....
The fish looks like a Short-spined Sea Scorpion

Most Shags toppskarv today were first year birds - perhaps they migrate north before the adults...

It was relatively quiet with just a southbound migration of Oystercatchers tjeld, the autumn northward migration of Shags toppskarv (most of which were this year's birds) and small numbers of Gannet havsule.

A couple of White-tailed Eagles havørn did some seawatching from the next headland south, one of which was there when I arrived and left at the same time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Øygarden 08-09 August 2017 - Skogsøy, Herdlevær and the usual.

Fantastic to be back out in the field! 

On 08 August several hours seawatching was a great experience if only for the company and the weather (we were drenched by a few short but heavy showers). Birdwise there was something going on most of the time with Oystercatcher tjeld and Common Gulls fiskemåke typically dominating.

There were plenty of other species including an adult Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove, a family of Shelduck gravand (two adults with seven young), a couple of Red-throated Diver smålom, small numbers of Common Scoter svartand and a selection of the usual waders.

At Tjeldstø an EXTREMELY early Brambling bjørkefink turned up with other finches and a Whinchat buskskvett put in an appearance.

One of the Greylag grågås flocks - not the typical V-shaped skein....

A selection of Twite bergirisk shots

The 9th August saw me doing the usual round at Herdlevær in fantastic calm and sunny conditions. A lot more Greylag grågås headed south with at least 145 passing (another flock of 60 flew over the house after I got home). A couple of flocks of Twite bergirisk gave cracking views as they fed on ripening seeds. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flaggspett also put in an appearance - a sign that this year may be another invasion year.

Otters were seen both days, Sparrowhawks spurvehauk, several White-tailed Eagles havørn and an Eagle Owl hubro were among the other species seen.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Eastern Norway 21-23 July - Run to the hills

One of many young Bluethroat blåstrupe at Fokstumyra

A few days of guiding in eastern Norway gave some birding. We started the ball rolling at the well-known Fokstumyra nature reserve. There were virtually no waders or wildfowl but a number of good birds put in an appearance including Hen Harrier myrhauk and Crane trane. There were good numbers of young Bluethroat blåstrupe about with some of these attended by adults. Best bird here, however, was a completely unexpected species in the form of a singing Quail vaktel.

Female Red-backed Shrike tornskate

The next day we headed on to Valdresflye. The journey there gave cracking views of Siberian Jay lavskrike, a pair of Red-backed Shrikes tornskate at a much higher altitude than I ever expected to see them at, Rough-legged Buzzards fjellvåk, Ring Ousels ringtrost and plenty more besides. Perhaps the best sighting was an adult Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove at Ovre Sjodalsvatnet.

Dotterel boltit

Shorelark fjellerke

Young Snow Bunting snøspurv

Stunning scenery....

Valdresflye itself was a bit on the quiet side but good numbers of Dotterel boltit inculding plenty of young birds were very nice to see having heard little other than doom and gloom about the breeding season up north this year. Other species here included Shorelark fjellerke, Snow Buntings snøspurv and more Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk.

Østensjøvatnet, Oslo

We finished the trip with a visit to Østensjøvatnet in Oslo where we picked up Green Sandpiper skogsnipe, had point blank views of Reed Warblers rørsanger and added plenty of new species to the trip list.