Cold, calm, mostly sunny with snow showers.
Abnormally cold and snowy for the west of Norway. Temperatures mostly around freezing, down to a few degrees below at night and up to a few degrees above during the day.
On 28 January all I managed was a late afternoon walk west of Rong. Just a few White-tailed Eagle havørn, six Velvet Scoter sjøorre and some of the usual suspects. Generally rather quiet - and hard to walk on the snow/ice never knowing if it is rock or ice below the snow.
A walk at Herdlevær with Sonia on 29 January was rather more productive - potentially a LOT more. Highlight was a probable Grey Phalarope polarsvømmesnipe at long range in the scope - a small. pale bird fluttering around in circles low over the sea. Worth claiming? Maybe - not sure what else it could have been. A light passage of auks heading north were too far off to identify. Birds that were identified included a Razorbill alke on the sea, Snipe enkeltbekkasin (despite staying away from the most likely spots) and a Velvet Scoter sjøorre.
Elsewhere Woodcocks rugde at a couple of locations, Starling stær and Fieldfare gråtrost struggling in the snowy conditions and 12 Blackbird svarttrost in the garden.
Early on Saturday morning (30 January) I did my usual Skogsøy walk and seawatched for an hour. Very quiet, just a couple of flocks of Common Crossbill grankorsnebb and a Woodcock rugde on the way out. Seawatching was largely unproductive though a distant flock of 40 auks was the biggest flock thus far this year. A flock of 20 Guillemot lomvi headed the same way and a couple of Gannet havsule stopped to look at something.
As usual a few White-tailed Eagles havørn were seen and a Cormorant storskarv struggled with a wrasse sp that was right on the limit of what it could manage:) A flock of 24 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt was probably the best sighting here.
On my return to the car the local Hoodies kråke panicked and a flock of Herons gråhegre took to the wing. Despite looking frantically around I didn't get onto the raptor that scared them - I was thinking Goshawk hønsehauk but given the timing of a reported Gyrfalcon jaktfalk a kilometre to the north it may well have been this that scared them
Other stuff seen during the day included a couple of Whoopers sangsvane at Alvheim well before dawn, Woodcock rugde and Curlew storspove from the house and the flock of 20 Greylag grågås at Breivik.
Needless to say on 31 January I was thinking raptors - even though I have had my eye open for them the last couple of weeks. This paid off quite well with a Goshawk hønsehauk at Tjeldstø, Sparrowhawk spurvehauk at Oen and from my terrace and best of all - a cracking male Merlin dvergfalk at Solberg