The annual county New Year Bird Race was held 31.12 - 02.01 and I tried to do my bit as usual whenever I am around at this time of year.
Basically it was a case of trying to find species that would not be found elsewhere in the county rather than going for as many species as possible.
Predictably the first day was spent at Skogsøy to try and get some of the seabirds in - I sat for an hour and the sea was rather dead. However, Peregrine vandrefalk, Gannet havsule and Kittiwake krykkje were all seen - the latter being the only sighting.
I also went for the Pinkfoot kortnebbgås correctly assuming that it and the Greylags grågås would be scared off by fireworks during the night. Sure enough these birds were not seen subsequently despite having been in the area for weeks beforehand.
A Snipe enkeltbekkasin on the way home was the only other sighting of note.
On 01 January I somewhat predictably kicked off the year at Hjelme Vest which produced most of the hoped for species and at least one bonus species in the form of a Merlin dvergfalk - actually chasing a Little Auk alkekonge at one point. Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker, Great Northern Diver islom, several Black Guillemot teist, a couple of Curlew storspove, 22 Long-tailed Duck havelle, a handful of Common Scoter svartand and several White-tailed Eagles havørn were among the species seen here.
After this I check Dåvøy again - this time connecting with the long-staying Yellow-legged Gull gulbeinmåke. Solberg was relatively quiet but an Oystercatcher tjeld dropped in and was a welcome addition to the bird race.
Yellow-legged Gull gulbeinmåke at Dåvøy
A cursory look at Tjeldstø gave a couple of Goldfinch stillits as the best birds. Plenty about though with Fieldfare gråtrost, Redwings rødvingetrost and Brambling bjørkefink all present in good numbers.
For some reason Common Gulls fiskemåke are anything but common during the winter so this 2cy bird at Tjeldstø was a welcome sight.
The rest of the daylight was spent looking for and eventually finding a Woodcock rugde.
By 02 January the majority of the expected species were in the bag - but with one glaring omission I felt I could do something about - Slavonian Grebe horndykker. This was therefore the target for my first stop of the day and after a little waiting it flew right past and landed on the sea a long way off. Great Northern Diver islom showed well too at the same place.
The Fieldfare gråtrost flock at Breivik had increased to 180 and also held a Starling stær and a couple of Redwings rødvingetrost.
The rest of the day was spent failing to see a few target species. This in no way meant there was not much to see. Tjeldstø produced a cracking Peregrne vandrefalk and a very unseasonal Meadow Pipit heipiplerke as well as Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and more.
Alvheim held both Oystercatcher tjeld and Curlew storspove.
Oystercatcher tjeld and Curlew storspove at Alvheim. Both species significantly less common than White-tailed Eagle havørn
Common Crossbill grankorsnebb are very obvious at the moment
In the course of these three days I had 56 species, several of which were (at least at the time of writing) the only ones recorded during the bird race. All in all not too shabby:)