Thursday, May 26, 2022

Skogsøy 25 May 2002 - Back on form

Fresh SW winds with rain during the night. I used the rain as an excuse to lie in and did not get out and seawatching until 0630. With further rain on the forecast I opted to use the "hide" which is not as good as sitting out in the open where I usually sit but is very comfortable:)

Birds were pouring past to start with but passage tailed off quite quickly. Should have ignored the rain:)

Highlights were two Long-tailed Skua fjelljo and a Pomarine Skua polarjo. During "a last scan" whilst packing up a Sandwich Tern splitterne flew south at reasonable range:)  A couple of Black Guillemot teist and a lone hrota Brent Goose ringgås were among the other sightings.

The "hide" is a bit challenging, especially when it comes to photography so I mostly didn't get any images.

The biggest flock of Red-throated Diver smålom today...

Rock Pipit skjærepiplerke

Brent Goose ringgås going it alone
In almost 3.5 hours the following past:

Red throated Diver smålom N 49, S 2

Northern Gannet havsule N 192, S 7

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 3, S 4

Brent Goose ringgås N 1

Long tailed duck havelle N 2

Common Scoter svartand N 2, S 10

Oystercatcher tjeld N 8, S 1

Pomarine Skua polarjo N 1

Arctic Skua tyvjo N 6

Long-tailed Skua fjelljo N 2

Black headed Gull hettemåke N 2, S 4

Common Gull fiskemåke N 6

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 118, S 4

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 1, S 3

Common Guillemot lomvi N 8, S 3

Razorbill alke N 10

Black Guillemot teist N 2

On the way home I picked up a Kestrel tårnfalk and a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk at Tjeldstø.

Tragically the Starling stær chicks that were being fed so prolifically by their parents in my nestbox died at some point in the last 24 hours. There was no lack of food so I have no explanation other than that something happened to the parents.

Four dead chicks....
Strangely little in the way of nesting material

....yet up to a day or so ago the parents were coming in with food constantly

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Herdlevær 24 May 2022 - More gull stuff

Light E breeze with light drizzle.

My usual round at Herdlevær provided several year ticks for this locality but without anything remarkable. A House Martin taksvale and a Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper were among the migrants seen there. 

A drive by at Kollsnes on the way home produced an odd/interesting looking gull which raised the pulse rate for a little while. Probably just a faded 2nd year Herring Gull gråmåke.

Here with a Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

A brief look at Sæle on the way home gave a few more House Martin taksvale and at least two Goldfinch stillits - they seem to be breeding there. A few years ago and this would have been an unusual observation but these days there seem to be increasing numbers breeding in the area. At least some species are on the increase!

Goldfinch stillits at Sæle

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Dåvøy 23 May 2022 - Colour ringed gulls

SE with rain / drizzle.

Not really out that much today but covered a few places briefly.

For late May the few gulls present gave an unexpected number of colour ringed gulls.

JJ329, an adult GBBG svartbak was present, the first time I have seen this bird. Ringed as a chick just across the fjord on Askøy in 2018 it was seen at Dungeness, UK during August and September 2019 then in Hirsthals, Denmark in March 2021. Now in Øygarden:)

JJ329, first sighting back in Norway after a stay in southern UK and a visit to Denmark

The other two were both Herring Gulls where one, an adult, was a local bird ringed on Fedje and seen futher south in Øygarden previously during the winters of 2019 and 2020. The other was from further afield (Møre og Romsdal), ringed as a chick in June 2021 and has been seen a few times in Øygarden since I found it on 01.01.2022.

J957K has been in Øygarden since the New Year

Also noted at Dåvøy was a Herring Gull with yellowish legs. Not as bright yellow as the real one has:)

Otherwise a new pair of Stonechat svartstrupe which looked (and sounded) like they were breeding.

A few Golden Plover heilo at Tjeldstø.

In the garden a pale rumped Redpoll gråsisik got my attention. However, bill looked rather too bulky and flank streaking too heavy for an Arctic. Nevertheless, the pale rump, the obvious ear-coverts and "chamois leather" colour on the upper breast had me going for a short time. 

Elsewhere in Øygarden a couple of 3cy LBBG sildemåke were seen including this bird at Breivik:

An adult White-tailed Eagle havørn took a gosling in an almost casual manner at Husvatnet and without the usual hysterics from the adult geese.

Tree Sparrow pilfink and Goldfinch stillits still visiting my garden - both unusual in my garden so late in the spring.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Breivik and Skogsøy 21-22 May 2022 - Skogsøy disappoints

 Sunny and calm on 21 May. Took the opportunity to get some stuff done and made only a brief foray out.

At Breivik a singing Icterine Warbler gulsanger was the highlight. Similar to yesterday's bird it was singing at half notch rather than the usual full on song of birds on breeding territory. It did, however, give some brief views. 

Also at Breivik two Carrion Crows svartkråke with another at Tjeldstø.

One of two Carrion Crows svartkråke at Breivik

Icterine Warbler gulsanger playing hard to get

Lapwing vipe at Kollsnes

On 22 May with slightly more wind from the south I gave Skogsøy a go. Very little passed indeed so I gave up and went home. Highlight were three Shelduck gravand heading north and nice views of a rather pale White-tailed Eagle havørn.

A small flock of Golden Plover heilo were present at Breivik on the way home.

Shelduck gravand

Rather pale White-tailed Eagle, presumed 3cy

Common Tern makrellterne fishing in front of my house

Young Greenfinch grønnfink in the garden

"My" Starling stær bringing slugs to its young.
Great work Mr & Mrs Starling! Just forage more IN my garden than anywhere else and we will all be happy:)

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Hernar 20 May 2022 - Late migrant bonanza:)

 Light SE winds, seafog in the night / early morning, clearing during the morning to a sunny day.

When I got up this morning and took my coffee on the terrace I was in two minds about heading to Hernar - which had been my plan. The low-level sea fog could prove disastrous or it might just have brought some stuff down. However, I made the decision to give it a go and met two other birders in the car park at Hellesøy who were obviously thinking along the same lines.

Late May is a good time for Icterine Warbler gulsanger and Rosefinch rosenfink both of which turned up today. The Icterine Warbler was hard work, making all the right sounds but singing very slowly and being ever so skulky. The Rosefinch dropped in to a bush right in front of me while I was sitting and eating a sandwich. I took a couple of record shots before I started fumbling for my phone to alert the others. During these few seconds it must have flown as it was nowhere to be seen when they arrived. A few hours of manic bush watching and the others finally refound it at the other end of the island.

A decent selection of other migrants included Garden Warbler hagesanger, Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper, a thumbergii Yellow Wagtail såerle and a female Pied Flycatcher svarthvit fluesnapper. In addition to these many of the local breeders had arrived since my previous visit exactly a month ago - Common Whitethroat tornsanger, Sedge Warbler sivsanger and Common Sandpiper strandsnipe were among these.

Two species I missed were Arctic Skua tyvjo and House Martin taksvale, but the others missed several of the species I saw too:)

thumbergii Yellow wagtail såerle

Twite bergirisk

Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper - these are a migrant on Hernar and do not breed there

Song Thrush måltrost, on the other hand, do breed there

2cy male Rosefinch rosenfink

Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

Linnet tornirisk

Garden Warbler hagesanger  - these birds can "look like anything" so the first few seconds of seeing this thing hopping around in cut grass had me going....

Friday, May 20, 2022

Herdla ++ 19 May 2022 - Off the reservation AGAIN

Another day of guiding with plenty of variety. South easterly winds with a couple of showers which were almost perfectly timed:)

Herdla was the first stop, the wind direction and rain during the night paid off exactly as planned so a Temminck's Stint temminkssnipe, a couple of summer plumaged Turstone steinvender, a flock of Dunlin myrsnipe and a thumbergi Yellow Wagtail såerle were among the almost 40 species seen here - without covering even the usual round.

Dipper fossekall was the next target and showed well at Gullfjell along with Cuckoo gjøk, Raven ravn and a variety of other species.

Heading back to Bergen via the back roads avoided rush hour and produced new species at every stop. Several Whinchat busskvett, Buzzard musvåk, Tree Pipit trepiplerke, Swift tårnseiler and several more species were added to the day list.

Common Buzzard musvåk

Herdelvær 18 May 2022 - Taking a day off

I dropped the seawatching and did my usual round at Herdlevær instead. It was my first visit to Herdlevær for a few weeks so there were several new species at this locality for me this year, although nothing out of the ordinary, a pair of Twite bergirisk, singing Lesser Whitethroat møller, displaying Common Sandpiper strandsnipe and the usual selection of stuff.

At least four pairs of Merganser siland were present at Herdlevær

Other sightings included a Carrion Crow svartkråke and several Sand Martins sandsvale at Tjeldstø and singing Lesser Whitethroats møller here and there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Skogsøy 17 May 2022 - Gratulerer med dagen

As is often the case I spent the first part of Norway's big day at Skogsøy 

With glorious sunshine and light SE winds the day was not set up to be among the best of them. Nothing very remarkable but an early flock of 11 pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgås heading north was a nice bonus. Just one adult White-billed Diver gulnebblom and a reasonable movement of the usual suspects.

Pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgås heading north

Yet another adult White-billed Diver gulnebblom

On the way out two singing Lesser Whitethroat møller and a flock of five Common Crossbill grankorsnebb were the best finds.

Red throated Diver smålom N 94, S 2

White Billed Diver gulnebblom N 1

Northern Gannet havsule N 21, S 4

Great Cormorant  storskarv N 1, S 1

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 15, S 35

Brent Goose ringgås N 11

Eider ærfugl S 3 (all males, most birds passing now are males)

Long tailed duck havelle N 1

Common Scoter svartand N 2, S 74 (as usual in the second half of May most Common Scoter are seen heading south - on their way down and into the Baltic?)

Merganser siland N 19, S 7

Oystercatcher tjeld N 68

Whimbrel småspove N 7, S 1

Black headed Gull hettemåke S 1

Common Gull fiskemåke N 93

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 1

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 1

Razorbill alke N 11

Atlantic Puffin lunde N 1

With calm winds and the sun high in the sky White-tailed Eagles havørn were pretty obvious at Tjeldstø and from my terrace at Nautnes. Also Sparrowhawks spurvehauk at both locations. At Nautnes some 14 House Martins taksvale heading north - the first I have seen this year.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Skogsøy 16 May 2022 - Black-throated Diver

Light N breeze and sunny.

After over a week of not actually going birding I was finally back in the field today. 

A singing Sedge Warbler sivsanger on the pre-dawn drive to Skogsøy was the first of the year for me.

Singing Lesser Whitethroat møller and Cuckoo gjøk were Skogsøy year-ticks on the way out and there was more to follow.

Not a spectacular seawatch but a fair bit of movement with the highlight an adult Black-throated Diver storlom. Just one White-billed Diver gulnebblom and just shy of 200 Red-throated Diver smålom. 

In 5.5 hours the following birds were noted:

Red throated Diver smålom N 194

Black throated Diver storlom N 1

White Billed Diver gulnebblom N 1

Northern Gannet havsule N 22, S 27

Great Cormorant storskarv N 10, S 1

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 16, S 73

Eider ærfugl N 3, S 9 (all but one male)

Long tailed duck havelle N 2

Common Scoter svartand N 11, S 39

Velvet Scoter sjøorre N 3

Merganser siland N 11, S 3

Oystercatcher tjeld N 157, S 5

Ringed Plover sandlo N 1

Whimbrel småspove N 3

Black headed Gull hettemåke S 2

Common Gull fiskemåke N 68

Lesser black backed Gull sildemåke N 2

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 9

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 11

Common Guillemot lomvi N 3, S 1

Razorbill alke N 8

Some 35 Common Scoter svartand fed in the area and a Black Guillemot teist turned up relatively close in on the sea too.

Mergansers siland heading north

Gannets havsule

Black Guillemot teist