Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Øygarden 19-23 July 2019 - Soon back in business

The pace has slowed somewhat though not quite to the extent that there is much time to be out and about. Soon though, soon.

An abortive trip to Skogsøy on 22 July proved both promising and disastarous. Birdwise things started well with a pale phase Arctic Skua tyvjo as the first bird, a few Puffins lunde passed and there was a steady movement of Common Gulls fiskemåke with 80 passing in 40 minutes. Autumn migration well underway🙂

Then it started raining. Not an issue I thought and went for my coat that WAS NOT IN MY RUCKSACK. Rookie error.....

Other nice sightings have been more incidental with a hunting Merlin dvergfalk giving hope that the species is hanging on as a breeder.

Hunting Merlin dvergfalk

Random Arctic Skua tyvjo shot taken from my terrace

Watching Common Terns makrellterne fishing from my terrace on 23 July whilst drikking my morning coffee was quite eventful as suddenly there was an Arctic Skua tyvjo beating up the terns.

Tame Herring Gull gråmåke on my terrace 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Kollsnes July 2019 - Industry as a nature reserve

I have been working out of the Kollsnes gas processing plant in Øygarden for the last few weeks. Although there has been no birding as such I have parked my car and walked through the area daily. Photography is not allowed so my camera has been left in my car.

I have spent up to several seconds taking the following photos from my car window. I'm sure the photography ban doesn't cover the birds.....

At least one pair of Common Sandpiper strandsnipe breed inside the Kollsnes gas processing plant area

A few pairs of Oystercatcher tjeld have well grown young

This Ringed Plover sandlo had at least one young in tow. Right outside the accomodation block inside the plant

The Kollsnes plant covers a large area, much of which seems to be undisturbed a lot of the time. It is fenced off and access strictly controlled so there are no walkers, joggers or other normal forms of disturbance. At least five species of waders breed inside the fence - and I saw young of three of these without even trying. Curlew storspove, Ringed Plover sandlo, Common Sandpiper strandsnipe, Oystercatcher tjeld and Snipe enkeltbakkasin were breeding in the area during my time there. I strongly suspect that Lapwing vipe also breed within the fenced off area but may already have moved out. I only saw part of the area, it would be interesting to have a walk around more of it, preferably with binoculars...

In other words more pairs of more species than on the surrounding farmland. More pairs of more species than in nearby designated "friluftsområde" (basically places for walking etc).

Almost on a par with the nature reserve at Tjeldstø (where cats and other disturbance are prevalent).

Protection by industry. Worth a re-think......?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Øygarden June-July 2019 - Non-birding record

A new record for number of days without birding has been set. A record I have no wish to break.

No birding at all for weeks, I kept stopping beside Husvatnet for a while but even that faded away after a period. Many MB of data storage saved on my computer, and still plenty of unused pages in my notebook.....

Common Tern makrellterne (garden)

Young Meadow Pipit heipiplerke (garden)

Ringed Plover sandlo

Wryneck vendehals and Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper seemed to settle in to territories but I had neither the time nor energy to follow-up.

Ringed Plover sandlo seem to be doing well this year with more pairs than usual and with a number of these with young on the go.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Hernar 06 June 2019 - Corncrake catch up

I spent a couple of hours on my favourite island before work, so a price had to be paid later in the day.

The island was full of birds but without anything particularly surprising. A Yellow Wagtail gulerle was perhaps the most unexpected find. However, best birds were two "singing" Corncrakes åkerrikse.

Several newly fledged Fieldfare gråtrost were being fed by their parents

Gannet havsule

A Redpoll brunsisik in the garden when I got home had a lot of white in the streaks on its back - something I normally associate with Mealy (Common) Redpoll, but still plenty of buff in the wing-bar.

Overflying Red-throated Diver smålom

Snipe enkeltbekkasin keeping watch

Obligatory Hernar Twite bergirisk shots......

Velvet Scoter sjøorre

Wheatears steinskvett also have plenty of young to feed

A Peregrine vandrefalk, the usual Twite bergirisk, Cuckoo gjøk, a few Sedge Warbler sivsanger and a flock of five Red-throated Diver smålom flying overhead were among the other sightings.

A pair of Velvet Scoter sjøorre on the sea together with a couple of Common Scoter svartand were the only ducks seen.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Øygarden 01-03 June 2019 - BEE-EATER UNBLOCKED!

After being glued to the computer all day on 1st June I decided I just HAD to get away from work for an hour or so. I thought Hjelme might produce an interesting warbler or some other late spring passerine.

I had barely got out of the car when I glimpsed a silhouette of an interesting looking bird on a telephone wire and heard the briefest of calls - BEE-EATER bieter sprang to mind and after a short walk I managed to relocate the bird. It was rather flighty but thankfully quite vocal.

It took only a few minutes for the other local birder from Øygarden to turn up but a lot longer to relocate the bird in rapidly failing light. Thankfully we got there in the end - finally unblocking this species locally for me as I have been away for both the previous sightings.

Bee-eater bieter swallowing a wasp of some sort

Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett playing hide and seek on a telegraph pole

Unsurprisingly with this being only the third record for Øygarden the twitchers were on the scene early the next morning though only a few of them connected. I managed brief views shortly before 0600 but had to head into town to pick up a guiding client - I headed straight back and picked up the bird again around 0915 but despite others being around this seems to be the last sighting of the bird.

Other stuff in the area included singing Wryneck vendehals, Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett, Woodcock rugde and more.

On 2nd June I picked up a singing Tree Pipit trepiplerke at Hatten (one of very few occasions I have heard this species sing in Øygarden), Garden Warbler hagesanger and Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper at Hjelme, Swift tårnseiler at Nautnes and Tjeldstø and plenty more besides.

3rd June saw me guiding again with more of the same.

And that was pretty much the last of the birding for several weeks.....

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Øygarden 30-31 May 2019 - Hanging in there for Manx

Birding activity at a virtual standstill but still trying to squeeze in some time here and there.

On 30th May drive-bys at the usual places on the way to and from work provided encouraging signs for the local Common Terns makrellterne and Arctic Terns rødnebbterne 

One of several Arctic Tern rødnebbterne pairs in among the Common Terns

Common Tern makrellterne (though I did look twice given the all dark bill!)

Lapwing vipe chicks at Husvatnet, Tjeldstø

Young Lesser Redpoll brunsisik

Skylark sanglerke - not often I take pictures of this species despite small numbers breeding in the area

Adult White-tailed Eagle havørn

The various breeding waders are starting to hatch with Ringed Plover sandlo, Lapwing vipe and Curlew storspove all with young. The Redshanks rødstilk must be imminent if they don't already have young.

On 31st May I spent a few hours seawatching at Skogsøy. This paid off well with the first Manx Shearwater havlire of the year. Plenty of other stuff passing too, so well worth the effort! In addition to the birds listed below a pair of Arctic Skua tyvjo, one pale phase, the other dark flew overhead as I walked out to the lookout point.

Red throated Diver smålom N 19
Northern Fulmar havhest N 3
Northern Gannet havsule N 170
Northern Gannet havsule S 8
Great Cormorant storskarv N 3
Common Scoter svartand N 27
Turnstone steinvender N 8 (first of the year for me)
Great Skua storjo N 1
Common Gull fiskemåke N 21
Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 79
Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje S 13
Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 3
Common Guillemot lomvi N 43
Razorbill alke N 18
Atlantic Puffin lunde N 2
Guillibill alke/lomvi N 17

Common Scoter svartand

As usual at this time of year non-adult birds start to dominate

Migrating Red-throated Diver smålom

Some Red-throated Diver smålom are not in breeding plumage - younger birds heading north to check out what to do next year?