Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hernar 27 May 2020 - Back in Black

Calm with some high cloud early on, sunny later.

After a couple of days dealing with work-related stuff (though you might well ask how on earth this should be necessary when I don't technically have a job) it was time to do some more birding. 

Hernar was the name of the game and almost the very first bird I put my binoculars onto was a cracking male Black Redstart svartrødstjert. This is the fifth time I have seen this species on the island and is a rather late spring record.

Male Black Redstart svartrødstjert

Carrion Crow svartkråke (or black crow - continuing the black theme for the day)

The long-staying Carrion Crow svartkråke was unsurprisingly still present. There was not much in the way of other migrants - just a male Blackcap munk and a flock of six Woodpigeon ringdue that made a brief stop on the island before heading off to the north. However, numbers of Sedge Warblers sivsanger, Whitethroat tornsanger had both increased.

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne - a cracking bird posing among flowering thrift and goose droppings

Common Tern makrellterne

Many Swallows låvesvale nest in the fishing cabins at Nautnes. Here one poses briefly on a boat.

Checked out a small breeding island near my house - plenty of Common Tern makrellterne and some Arctic Terns rødnebbterne are settling in there. Fingers crossed as always!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Tjeldstø 24 May 2020 - Marsh Harrier blunder

Light rain and lighter winds provided better conditions for bringing "something" in.

And today that something was a cracking female Marsh Harrier sivhauk that came past at point blank range as I got back into my car at Tjeldstø. I turned for my camera only to find it was still in my rucksack. What a blunder! One day I will have to learn that the camera is no use in the rucksack. By the time I extracted the camera the bird had gained height and was heading south over the reserve. This is the 11th find of this species in Øygarden.

Female Marsh Harrier sivhauk mobbed by Hooded Crows kråke

Marsh Harrier occurrence by week number in Øygarden (from artsobs)

A Merlin dvergfalk also put in an appearance at Tjeldstø.

Common Whitethroat tornsanger at Tjeldstø

Golden Plover heilo

Meadow Pipit heipiplerke at Kollsnes

Lapwing vipe at Kollsnes

Other than that it was very much business as usual during a quick round of localities.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Øygarden 21-23 May 2020 - Taking it easy

On 21 May we finally completed some painting tasks - though the process was painful on so many levels. Not least to have my back to the sea where flocks of pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgås were heading north.

Just before going up the ladder I took the time to make sure I saw at least some of them:

Brent Geese ringgås heading north past Nautnes

In the afternoon a fishing trip turned up some Common Crossbills grankorsnebb that may well be breeding. Not the most visited of birding localities. Freezer full again:)

UN7 is still around, though he has not been reported very much recently......

I took a few drive-bys on 22nd without seeing anything much of interest, although at least one of the Lapwing vipe pairs in the reserve at Tjeldstø has hatched young running about. A short walk at Hjelme produced the first Swift tårnseiler of the year and a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett sang briefly.

House Martin taksvale at Tjeldstø

I did even less on 23 May although I did connect with my first local House Martin taksvale of the year at Tjeldstø where there the long staying Golden Plover heilo flock were still present.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Hernar 20 May 2020 - A long awaited visit

Calm and sunny so a long awaited trip to Hernar was today's excursion.

Unfortunately there has been little in the way of southerly or easterly winds and no rain either so there were, possibly for the first time ever, no migrants other than many of the birds that have arrived since my last visit. 

Chiff-chaff gransanger and Swallow låvesvale

Arctic Terns rødnebbterne. Male on the right - based on the fact he has a fish for the woman of his dreams

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt - still hanging around but at least they have moulted

Technically speaking the best bird of the day - a Carrion Crow svartkråke

Linnets tornirisk are almost as numerous at Twite bergirisk on the island this year

Just one of many White-tailed Eagles havørn seen today.

So just the usual Twite bergirisk, a singing Sedge Warbler sivsanger, Whitethroats tornsanger and so on.

Plenty of White-tailed Eagles havørn about with around 10 different birds seen.

The boat trip there and back was very nice producing 20 Arctic Terns rødnebbterne on one island and at least 30 on another. They were courting and obviously thinking about staying. Let's hope this year goes well of them. These attracted the attention of an Arctic Skua tyvjo.

A flock of 12 Purple Sandpipers fjærelplytt were well on their way into summer plumage. They should get going soon.....

Plenty of gulls settled in nicely on their breeding colonies along with Oystercatchers tjeld etc. A few adult Black Guillemots teist were on the sea near one of their usual breeding haunts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Skogsøy 19 May 2020 - Another day, another seawatch

Northerly winds and sunny so predictably seawatching again.

The best birds today were a nice adult Long-tailed Skua fjelljo and a couple of flocks of Knot polarsnipe.

Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås

One of the Great Skuas storjo that passed

Raven ravn

Still reasonable numbers of Red-throated Diver smålom heading north

Red-throated Diver smålom followed by two Guillemots lomvi

Today's totals were:
Red throated Diver N 149
Northern Gannet N 32
Great Cormorant N 3
Great Cormorant S 1
Eurasian Shag N 5
Eurasian Shag S 24
Barnacle Goose N 64
Long tailed duck N 12
Common Scoter N 20
Merganser N 10
Oystercatcher N 10
Red Knot 23
Whimbrel N 1
Arctic Skua N 1
Long-tailed Skua N 1
Great Skua N 2
Common Gull N 47
Lesser black backed Gull N 1
Black-legged Kittiwake N 12
Arctic Tern N 23
Common Guillemot N 14
Razorbill N 16
Atlantic Puffin N 10
Auk N 23

On my way home I had to come to an abrupt stop to check out a raptor - a nice Peregrine vandrefalk causing havoc:)

Peregrine vandrefalk

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Skogsøy 17 May 2020 - Ja vi elsker joer

Norways's national day and spent in the traditional fashion - seawatching!

I did a one man parade out to the lookout point to the sound of Cuckoo gjøk, Dunnock jernspurv and Willow Warbler løvsanger. The procession I watched was unlike the ones most of the rest of Norway watched:)

Four hours seawatching were quite productive with the first bird passing a nice Manx Shearwater havlire accompanied by the first local Fulmar havhest I have seen this year (plenty offshore though!). Seven Pomarine Skua polarjo, a Great Northern Diver islom on the sea and plenty of other passage meant that time flew and the showers were not too troublesome.

Pomarine Skua polarjo

Red-throated Diver smålom

Red throated Diver N 164
Red throated Diver S 1
Northern Fulmar N 1
Manx Shearwater N 1
Northern Gannet N 23
Northern Gannet S 17
Eurasian Shag N 3
Eurasian Shag S 16
Long tailed duck N 10
Common Scoter N 18
Velvet Scoter N 8
Oystercatcher N 27
Pomarine Skua N 7
Arctic Skua N 5
Great Skua N 1
Common Gull N 2
Black-legged Kittiwake N 47
Common Tern N 3
Common Guillemot N 1
Razorbill N 4
Atlantic Puffin N 3
Auk N 6

The previous day I did not do much but had some Common Terns makrellterne at the usual place at Dåvøy and saw roding Woodcock rugde near Hatten in the evening.

Some of the Common Terns makrellterne have rather dark bills - as shown by the bird on the right here

A species I almost never take photos of - a Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

Monday, May 25, 2020

Skogsøy 15 May 2020 - Skuas on the move again

Another day of NW winds. Feeling rather cold and wintery despite my thermal overalls.

Once again it was seawatching that was the name of the game. 14 Poms polarjo, six Arctic Skua tyvjo and four Great Skua storjo were the highlights but still good numbers of Red-throated Diver smålom, Kittiwake krykkje and Long-tailed Duck havelle passing.

Dark phase Arctic Skua tyvjo (left) with two Poms polarjo

Dark phase Arctic Skua tyvjo (left) with two Poms polarjo
 When you see these two species together it is difficult to understand how the two can be confused. But I certainly don't manage to ID every skua that passes.....

Two Poms, an Arctic Skua and a Grey Seal

The Barnacles hvitkinngås passed at close range again on their way north

Two of the Great Skua storjo that passed today.
I have to admit I prefer the name of Bonxie that I grew up with.....

Guillemot lomvi illustrating why a Brunniches might be difficult to claim.
So often the light makes it look like they have a white line running down the bill - at this range this is not a problem when the underwing etc etc can be seen but further out they are probably overlooked

Another decent day for Long-tailed Duck havelle - strong headwinds are a pre-requisite for larger numbers of these birds

Still Mergansers siland heading north

POMS!! Polarjo.
Along with White-billed Diver these are highlight of the spring. And this year I was at home AND seawatching:)

Velvet Scoter sjørre 

In almost six hours I had the following passing:

Red throated Diver N 137
Red throated Diver S 1
Black throated Diver N 1
White Billed Diver N 2
Northern Gannet N 73
Northern Gannet S 20
Eurasian Shag N 7
Eurasian Shag S 12
Barnacle Goose N 14
Eider S 2
Long tailed duck N 162
Common Scoter N 23
Velvet Scoter N 11
Merganser N 4
Oystercatcher N 33
Whimbrel N 2
Pomarine Skua N 14
Arctic Skua N 6
Great Skua N 4
Common Gull N 1
Black-legged Kittiwake N 71
Arctic Tern N 13
Common Guillemot N 27
Common Guillemot S 1
Razorbill N 8
Atlantic Puffin N 1
Auk N 11