Sunday, March 27, 2022

Skogsøy 27 March 2022 - Typical early spring seawatch

Overcast with light NW winds

I was up well before dawn and headed out to Skogsøy. On the way there a brief stop gave two roding Woodcock rugde and A LOT of birdsong:)

The walk out to the lookout point showed that there has been an arrival of birds since I was last there with a lot of Redwing rødvingetrost song for the first time this year.

Almost three hours seawatching showed that it was rather quieter than yesterday but still enough going on to keep interest levels up:

Northern Gannet havsule N 6, S 2
Great Cormorant storskarv N 8, S 2
Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 16, S 5
Greylag Goose grågås N 2
Eider ærfugl N 3
Long tailed duck havelle N 2
Common Scoter svartand N 1
Merganser siland N 3
Oystercatcher tjeld N 94
Eurasian Curlew storspove N 19
Common Gull fiskemåke N 366
Lesser black backed Gull sildemåke N 2
Herring Gull gråmåke N 10
Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 3
Common Guillemot lomvi N 6
Razorbill alke N 1, S 1
Black Guillemot teist N 1

4cy White-tailed Eagle havørn

Gannet havsule

One of the Oystercatcher tjeld flocks heading north today

Part of a Curlew storspove flock

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke

A few White-tailed Eagles havørn about but just one adult. Rock Pipits skjærpiplerke, Ravens ravn and the usual breeding species were also in attendance.

The only bird of note on the way home was the first Dunnock jernspurv of the year at  Hjelme.

A Stock Dove skogdue was reported from Breivik later in the day and whilst looking for it the first Wheatear steinskvett turned up - and was singing despite the light drizzle that had set in. The Stock Dove was typically flighty and came past having been spooked by someone feeding their sheep.

The first Wheatear steinskvett of the year - normally this bird would have got a bit more attention but I was looking for the next bird:)

Stock Dove skogdue - the second in Øygarden this year but the first one seen alive:)

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Øygarden 23-26 March 2022 - Common Gulls on the move

First some more pics of the Common Seal steinkobbe from 22 March - in the evening it turned up just off my terrace and it would have been rude not to take some more pictures😀

On 23 March a late and lazy stroll at Herdlevær produced little in the way of new migrants, although a flock of 20 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt was the largest flock at this location so far this year.  A minimum of five White-tailed Eagles havørn hanging around - none of them adult.

On the way home a flock of 80 Starling stær at Breivik and a Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke at Tjeldstø were the best of the sightings. Husvatnet also held a flock of seven Teal krikkand.

A quick look at Tjeldstø on the morning of 24 March showed that at least a couple of Curlew storspove and a pair of Lapwing vipe were displaying over the freshly burnt heather. A couple of Jays nøtteskrike also put in an appearance here.

Friday 25 March was a bit wet and work commitments meant there was no chance of an outing. A Guillemot lomvi turned up off my terrace. Curlews storspove continue to arrive along with other migrants such as Meadow Pipits heipiplerke.

Guillemot lomvi from the terrace

My usual route at Herdlevær on 26 March was cool in the northerly breeze but sunny (like every day this week with the exception of Friday). A couple of Meadow Pipit heipiplerke were the only new passerines in, a Chiff-chaff gransanger spent most of its time feeding on the ground and a Ringed Plover sandlo flew over.  A few each of Red-throated Diver smålom (including one in breeding plumage) and Guillemots lomvi were on the sea.

Chiff-chaff gransanger feeding on the ground

Some of the almost 200 Common Gull fskemåke that passed in the course of an hour.
Severla more flocks were seen passing before I started counting

I sat for an hour with my scope and had almost 200 Common Gull fiskemåke head north along with several Guillemot lomvi, a small flock of Curlew storspove, a few flocks of Oystercatcher tjeld, three Long-tailed Duck havelle and several Kittiwake krykkje. There was also a light passage of Shags toppskarv heading south.

I then covered Breivik where the best birds were another relatively early Linnet tornirisk, three Pinkfeet kortnebbgås spooked by three White-tailed Eagles havørn and a singing Common Crossbill grankorsnebb - the first I have seen for a while and seemingly a second year male.

Common Crossbill grankorsnebb

Mallards stokkand are now settling down in suitable places...

Three Pinkfeet kortnebbgås with a couple of Greylag grågås

...the Pinkfeet came right overhead:)

Woodpigeons ringdue also fleeing the eagles

On the way home a flock of eight White-tailed Eagles havørn contained just one adult

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Øygarden 19 - 22 March 2022 - Abnormally Social

 Birding took a back seat - and for once work was not really to blame. 

A social Friday night meant that any early morning birding on Saturday went out the window. So it was fishing instead, without much success other than a couple of nice Whiting:)

A Razorbill alke that swam past whilst I was fishing (point and pray superzoom)

On Saturday a sudden trip into Bergen where I actually went into a pub ended in another late night so I took things easy on Sunday too. However, the first Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett of the year sang somewhere close to my house and was heard from the terrace throughout the afternoon. At Tjeldstø a couple of Snipe enkeltbekkasin turned up along with a Black-headed Gull hettemåke, both probably new arrivals. A pair of Stonechat svartstrupe were also seen.

At 0630 on Monday morning I was woken up by earthquake with an epicentre out in the north sea ! A very rare occurrence these parts. After that the day was spent working but a flock of five White-tailed Eagle havørn together with a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk simultaneously over the terrace made things a little better.

Tuesday 22.03 was yet another calm and clear day in a string of such and I spent the morning on Hernar. On the way there a Common Seal steinkobbe posed on the rocks close to my house and we found a flock of 110 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt - biggest flock of the winter thus far.

Common Seal steinkobbe

Some of the 110 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt

Hernar itself was full of activity without anything remarkable. Three Twite bergirisk, four Linnet tornirisk, a Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke were all new for the year and there were plenty more arrivals on the island with around 30 Lesser Redpoll brunsisik, 20+ Blackbird svarttrost, a few Song Thrush måltrost, a Snipe enkeltbekkasin, a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke and a couple of Woodpigeon ringdue to name but a few.

Raven ravn chasing Hooded Crow kråke

The trip back home gave another new for the year in the form of a Redshank rødstilk, several Curlew storspove (hard to say if the latter were new arrivals or some of the wintering birds), Long-tailed Ducks havelle and more.

Common Gulls fiskemåke numbers are on the rise as these birds arrive for the breeding season

Several small flocks of Long-tailed Duck havelle were seen here and there

The first Redshank rødstilk of the year

Adult White-tailed Eagle havørn - one of several seen on 22 March

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Herdlevær 18 March 2022 - Big fall

Back west with good timing 😊 Light Southerly winds and sunny after some showers during the night.

The very small amount of rain did what was necessary - there were flocks of thrushes all over and a number of other migrants turned up.

On my way to Herdlevær over 100 Fieldfare gråtrost fed in the fields at Breivik along with Redwings rødvingetrost and Starlings stær.

Herdlevær was pretty good with a minimum of 40 Redwing rødvingetrost present. Three Chiff-chaff gransanger fed together - first of the year for me but the first for Øygarden this year turned up whilst I was away. Four Woodpigeon ringdue were new arrivals there too but there was only one Song Thrush måltrost. The first lamb I've seen this year was also teetering about on wobbly legs.

One of the Chiff-chaffs gransanger at Herdlevær - typically these birds fed on the ground a lot

Cormorant storskarv

Guillemot lomvi

Red-throated Diver smålom

Tree Sparrow pilfink

My usual breakfast / coffee break showed that Oystercatcher tjeld and Common Gulls fiskemåke were heading north. Guillemot lomvi and Red-throated Diver smålom fed close inshore.

On my way home the customary stop at Husvatnet produced at least eight Lapwing vipe and a Rook kornkråke fought off Hooded Crows kråke to defend whatever it was it had found to eat:) 

The first Rook kornkråke of the year in Øygarden

Later on I headed to a garden at Hellesøy where a nice male Black Grouse orrfugl showed well.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Northern Øygarden 04.03 - 06.03 2022 - Seawatching season start

On Friday 04.03 all my free time was taken up with an abortive attempt to get my COVID booster. A flock of 60 Redpoll gråsisik headed south over my house not long after dawn and a couple of Guillemot lomvi turned up just off my terrace.

A couple of Guillemot lomvi photographed from my terrace

A trip to Herdlevær on 05.03 was relatively quiet but once again flocks of Redpoll gråsisik and Siskin grønnsisik very obvious. There was some light rain early in the morning so I checked out a few places on the way to Herdlevær and was rewarded with two Mistle Thrush duetrost at Harkestad - which predicatably proved popular with the birders from town. On the way home I picked up a male Stonechat svartstrupe at Kollsnes which had been found there a short time earlier.

Male Stonechat svartstrupe at Kollsnes

Two Mistle Thrush duetrost at Harkestad came ever so slightly closer

I started the seawatching season at Skogsøy with a couple of hours from 08:00-10:00 on 06.03. Passage wise it was a relatively normal early March seawatch with 91 Oystercatchers tjeld heading north and 87 Shag toppskarv heading south. A nice White-billed Diver gulnebblom fished offshore in very nice scope range as did a Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker, Black Guillemot teist and the largest flock of Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt thus far this year flew past (29 is still not very many though!).  Other sightings included a Great Northern Diver islom flew south quite close in, a hunting Peregrine vandrefalk and some large flocks of Siskin grønnsisik and Redpoll gråsisik heading over - once again south was the direction of choice.

Great Northern Diver islom

One of the many Oystercatcher tjeld flocks heading north

Massively cropped Red-necked Grebe gråstrupedykker.
It looked much better in the scope:)

On the way home two Stonechat svartstrupe at Kollsnes and the two Mistle Thrush duetrost remained at Harkestad.

Back home a Goshawk hønsehauk flew over (first from the house this year) and a Guillemot lomvi put in an appearance too. A Collared Dover tyrkedue singing in the evening was probably the first time I have heard this song from the terrace.

Guillemot lomvi