Sunday, July 29, 2018

Skogsøy 29 July 2018 - Another day, another seawatch

Sunny with strong southerly winds after some rain in the night.

I seem to have lost the ability to jump out of bed before dawn but managed to get out a bit earlier than yesterday.

Small numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls sildemåke on the move

Oystercatcher tjeld

One of this years young Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke

Flock of Sanderling sandløper

 Mixed bag of waders - Mostly adult Knot polarsnipe with two Turnstone steinvender and two Sanderling sandløper

Even more cropped to show the ID better.

With the weather very different indeed there was a distinct change in the species passing. Knot polarsnipe were the mainstay with many flocks of adult birds passing - over 130 in total and thus the most I have seen in Øygarden in a day. The best sighting was a migrating Temminck's Stint temminckssnipe - thankfully one of the closest waders to pass today giving good views in the scope. This is a rare bird out in Øygarden with only three previous sightings.

Other waders included at least 13 Sanderling sandløper (the first of the year for Øygarden - and Hordaland as a whole for that matter), two Turnstone steinvender, Greenshank gluttsnipe, Ringed Plover sandlo, Common Sandpiper strandsnipe, Curlew storspove, Whimbrel småspove and Oystercatcher tjeld.

The only other sighting of note was a single Great Skua storjo, also heading south.

Green Sandpiper skogsnipe against the light

A couple of Green Sandpiper skogsnipe were feeding at Sture on the way home.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Skogsøy 28 July 2018 - Too little too late

Easterly breeze, HOT and sunny.

Made it out late to Skogsøy and caught the back end of the morning's migration although things were slowing down rapidly by the time I made it out there. Best birds were several Swift tårnseiler and a couple of Knot polarsnipe. Migration consisted of a passage of Common Gull fiskemåke, Oystercatcher tjeld, Great Black-backed Gulls svartbak and Greylags grågås (way out out to sea).

Other than that just Gannets havsule, a few Twite bergirisk and the first Common Crossbill grankorsnebb for a while.

After a couple of hours seawatching it was back home to work.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tjeldstø / Nautnes 21-27 July 2018 - No birding

Apart from an hour of impromtu guiding on 24th there has been little or no birding this week.

Best bird was a Green Sandpiper skogsnipe from the house early in the morning of 27th - first of the autumn here in Øygarden. Next best was a Collared Dove tyrkerdue at Tjeldstø on 24th.

The unusual summer Pinkfoot kortnebbgås remained at Husvatnet until at least 25th.

Otherwise some indication of Common Gull fiskemåke and Black-headed Gull hettemåke migration and the usual White-tailed Eagle havørn trying to catch geese.

Animals seen from the house this week have included Porpoise nise, Red Deer hjørt and a bat flaggermus (not often I see the latter in Øygarden!). A fishing trip on 24th produced six species of fish....should probably start reporting these too.....

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Tjeldstø 20 July 2018 - Summer wildfowl

Calm and sunny.

A short stroll around Tjeldstø produced a very unseasonal Pink-footed Goose kortnebbgås as the best bird.  This is the first July record for Øygarden. A second Tufted Duck toppand had joined the bird from the other day.

Pink-footed Goose kortnebbgås at Tjeldstø

Pink-footed Goose occurrence in Øygarden (from artsobs)

Other than this just the usual breeding waders.

Chaffinch bokfink

Finches such as Linnets tornirisk and Chaffinch bokfink are starting to form flocks now.

A couple of Swift tårnseiler and a Black-headed Gull hettemåke were signs of migration from the terrace later in the day.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Inner islands, NW Øygarden 15 July 2018 - Game on

Southerly winds and overcast to start with (rain during the night), hot and sunny later.

Two of this year's Common Tern makrellterne (left and right)
Note that the second bird from the right is an Arctic Tern rødnebbterne.

Two Common Tern chicks - fingers crossed!

Another day, another boat trip. The aim of the day was to check out potential tern colonies. Bad news for Arctic Terns rødnebbterne as we found no definite nests, although we did see a number of adults (and there ARE some pairs breeding in the area as I see adults with fish flying over my house every day). Common Terns makrellterne seem to be fairing better - another look at the site I checked in on yesterday revealed six fully fledged young and two chicks still at the nest.

Not the easiest of conditions today.....

Adult Knot polarsnipe

Young Oystercatcher tjeld almost "good to go"

Wader migration is now picking up with the first Knot polarsnipe of the autumn. Two flocks, one of eight and another of six were seen, though there is some potential for these being the same birds. As usual for this time of year the birds were adults. Two Dunlin myrsnipe migrating were also the first of the autumn. Plenty of Oystercatcher tjeld again - some young looking ready to go. It will only be a couple more weeks before these birds are migrating. The only other waders were a few each of Curlew storspove and Whimbrel småspove.

This Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke was colour ringed but flew a couple of seconds too soon to read the number :(

Merganser siland with young

Eiders ærfugl posing around the islands.....

More Eider ærfugl with young, a Merganser siland with eight chicks and a light but steady passage of Gannet havsule were among the other birds seen.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Herdlevær 14 July 2018 - Back to normal(ish)

Calm and sunny.

It felt very good to be out for a couple of hours at Herdlevær. Almost normal in fact.

Common Sandpiper strandsnipe

Young Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

Shag toppskarv

Whimbrel småspove

Male White Wagtail linerle with food

Birdwise there were no real surprises other than that the Ringed Plover sandlo pair seem to still have young. The other breeding pair I know of had fledged young looking good to go three weeks ago....

A couple of Whimbrel småspove, small numbers of Gannet havsule and loads of birds with young were also seen here.

Common Gull fiskemåke making last minute preparations before attacking a Peregrine vandrefalk

Common Gull fiskemåke attacking Peregrine vandrefalk

Male Tufted Duck toppand - an unseasonal appearance.

At Tjeldstø the usual breeding waders were still going strong and an unseasonal male Tufted Duck toppand put in an appearance. It was a fantastic experience to watch a squadron of Common Gulls fiskemåke take off to attack a Peregrine vandrefalk. Very Battle of Britain like......

On my way home I checked out some tern activity at Nautnes where there was at least one fledged Common Tern makrellterne. Good news. A Sparrowhawk spurvehauk also showed up again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nautnes/ Tjeldstø / Dåvøy 10 July 2018 - The usual tradgey

Warm and sunny again.

Sparrowhawk spurvehauk being attacked by Common Tern makrellterne

Another decent raptor shot taken from my terrace....

A cup of coffee on my terrace gave the best sighting of the day with a Common Tern makrellterne seeing off a female Sparrowhawk spurvehauk. Just as they manage to chase off all the larger gulls, Hooded Crows kråke and anything else they don't like.

Inspired by this I took a detour to Dåvøy on my way to the shops to check out the Common Tern makrellterne colony there. There was no colony. There were no terns at all! Not a trace of them. This happens all over the place every summer - they arrive, seem to be doing well and then suddenly they are gone. I would love to know why - it certainly did not look like food issues - the pictures I took a few days ago show them coming in with prey constantly in the short time I was there. Mink, human disturbance and other possibilities spring to mind. A colony of that size should have been able to see off Great Black Backed Gulls svartbak much easier than the two-three pairs currently at Nautnes it must have been something scarier than that.

Redshank rødstilk, Lapwing vipe, Curlew storspove and Oystercatcher tjeld all seem to still have young on the go at Husvatnet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Nøvlingane 08 July 2018 - The Young Ones

Calm sunny and very nice weather to be out and about in.

This is nothing to do with the cult British TV comedy series from the '80s :)

We took a boat trip to look around the islands to check out what was going on.

Whimbrels småspove - a sure sign that autumn migration has begun.

Migration wise a flock of 8 Whimbrel småspove put in an appearance close to Nautnes.

One of a few families of Eiders ærfugl seen today.

Young Great black-backed Gulls svartbak

Grey Seal havert

Young Herring Gull gråmåke

Lesser Black Backed Gull sildemåke - by far in the minority out on the islands

One of several young Oystercatcher tjeld seen.

Adult Oystercatcher tjeld with limpit. Of more interest is that this bird is ringed....highly likely to have been ringed on the south coast of the UK if experience is anything to go by.

Raven ravn

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke really living up to it's name

Shag toppskarv

Other than these it was just the usual breeding birds including a single Black Guillemot teist, several Cormorants storskarv among the local Shags toppskarv, Oystercatchers tjeld, Eider ærfugl and the usual gull species. There were plenty of young Herring Gulls gråmåke and Great Black-backed Gulls svartbak on several of the islands.

Other stuff included a White-tailed Eagle havørn, a couple of Raven ravn, Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke and a couple of Gannets havsule. Several Arctic Tern rødnebbterne were seen but none on the island that looked so promising earlier in the year.

As is so often the case a couple of Grey Seal havert were hanging around.