Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Øygarden 15-19 December 2017 -

Barely out of the house for the time being. Life is really getting in the way of birding, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

I've largely been limited to drive-bys in conjunction with errands, though I did get out for a little under two hours on Saturday 16th and again on 17th.

One of a number of Great Northern Diver islom seen recently - it seems like this is a good winter for them

Landscape photography with a telephoto lens - from Herdlevær

There are plenty of Snipe enkeltbekkasin about - they were forced into unfrozen areas a few days ago but have spread out again now....

White-tailed Eagles havørn are as obvious as ever....

Parrot Crossbill furuskorsnebb seem to be the dominant crossbill species at the moment with flocks of up to 20 all over the place. Snipe enkeltbekkasin have been showing well at a number of localities and a Dipper fossekall or two seem to have settled in for the winter. Great Northern Diver islom is another species that is showing well with individuals seen at several places over the last few days.

Seaduck on the other hand are virtually non-existent.

Waders other than Snipe enkeltbekkasin also seem thin on the ground, though I have seen the occasional Curlew storspove and some Woodcock rugde tracks in the snow that has melted during the last couple of days.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Nautnes and Blomvatnet 05 December 2017 - Calm after the storm pays off.

Strong onshore winds and rain for most of the daylight hours today.

Moorehen sivhøne

Above and below: Female Scaup bergand (right hand bird) together with four Tufted Duck toppand and a Goldeneye kvinand

Four Tufted Duck toppand

Still too much to do to be out and about but whilst running errands I popped in at Blomvatnet - this proved quite successful with the first Moorehen sivhøne of the winter (and the year for that matter) - quite possibly a returning bird from the east of the country. A female Scaup bergand was another good find here. Otherwise it was just four Tufted Duck toppand along the usual Goldeneyes kvinand, Mallard stokkand etc.

Very often I am almost surprised how many birds there are about as soon as the weather calms down - today was yet another example of this.

Around 1430 I noticed the wind had dropped and it had stopped raining and whilst waiting for several pages of work documents to go through my scanner I looked out of the window to see what I have looked for many times before - a Hawk Owl haukugle sitting in trees a fair distance off. I managed to confirm the observation in the scope but it flew before a camera could be brought to bear....Species 131 from the house:) Also in the area a couple of Willow Tit granmeis and a small flock of Parrot Crossbill grankorsnebb.

Not bad going to get two new for the year in Øygarden on a bad weather day in early December!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Dåvøy 04 December 2017 - Most of the winter suspects in one go

Calm and mild if a little on the dull side.

A quick trip to Dåvøy produced many of the usual winter suspects with a Slavonian Grebe horndykker on the sea together with a Great Northern Diver islom. Other stuff here included Black Guillemot teist, seven Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a flock of 25 Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb and several Common Scoter svartand.

The Heron gråhegre here roost has increased to over 40 birds.....

Monday, December 04, 2017

Øygarden 28 November - 03 December - Back but not really in business

I was welcomed home by news of the Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv and some fantastic weather. However, being preoccupied with other things I did not really make the most of a period of settled and sunny conditions although White-tailed Eagles havørn, Otters and other things did their best to distract me.

Highlights 28 - 29 November were a Bullfinch dompap flying over the house (my first in Øygarden this year), Dipper fossekall near Alvheim, a Water Rail vannrikse at Hatten. Common Crossbill grankorsnebb, Common Redpoll gråsisik, Whooper Swans sangasvane and a flock of 12 Greylags grågås were among the birds seen.

Great Northern Diver islom

Two of the three GNDs present

Red-throated Diver smålom

One of four White-tailed Eagles havørn seen - here with Lyngøy in the background

Its that time of year again. Gratuitous White-tailed Eagle havørn spam

A trip out to Hjelme Vest on 01 December as the light was going produced some good sightings - including three Great Northern Divers islom and a Red-throated Diver smålom on the sea along with 25 Long-tailed Duck havelle, a Little Auk alkekonge and a couple of Black Guillemot teist. A Goshawk hønsehauk put in an appearance earlier in the day near Alvheim.

A couple of days of wilder weather made it easier to get on with things and not think about birding too much although I had Snipe enkeltbekkasin at Nautnes among other things.

Hatten 14 November 2017 - Black-headed Bunting

Whilst I was away a Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv was seen and well photographed at Hatten on 14th November.

This is only the second record for Øygarden - but perhaps not unexpected as there have been good numbers in Norway this autumn.

Pity it didn't hang around until I returned - I have missed both occurrences here:(

Photos by Roald Hatten.

Black-headed Bunting svarthodespurv