Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Øygarden 09 - 12 October 2022 - Barnacle geese

Little field activity again.

On 09 October I was mostly at home, a couple of Black-headed Gulls hettemåke flew past around dawn and the much commoner / regular White-tailed Eagles havørn showed well as usual. A very short walk at Herdlevær in the afternoon produced little other than a Chiff-chaff gransanger and a flock of 11 Wigeon brunnakke flying over.

One of at least three White-tailed Eagles havørn seen from the terrace.

My usual round at Herdlevær  0n 10 October (albeit with a shorter stop for seawatching) showed that a lot was passing. In the 15-20 minutes I sat there a flock of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås flew south with a white bird among them. A Snow Bunting snøspurv also flew over.

Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

Herring Gull gråmåke

Common Gulls fiskemåke

Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås

A notable arrival of Redwing rødvingetrost started on the 10th. Up to a couple of hundred were seen at various localities. 

On 11 October a male Long-tailed Duck havelle turned up on Husvatnet - not the usual place for this species.

Male Long-tailed Duck havelle on freshwater at Tjeldstø

Another short walk at Herdlevær on 12 October gave very little other than a flock of Wigeon brunnakke and a couple of Dunlin myrsnipe heading south.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Øygarden 30.09 - 08.10.2022 - Giving up

Hopes of having time off in October evaporated quickly.

A Common Sandpiper strandsnipe and a Willow Tit granmeis from my terrace on 30.09 and 01.10 respectively were the only notable sightings on these days.

A 15 minute walk at Breivik on 02.10 resulted in a Peregrine vandrefalk as well as the more usual Sparrowhawk spurvehauk, Skylark sanglerke, Snipe enkeltbekkassin and around 40 Meadow Pipits heipiplerke.

On 03 October the first Goldeneye kvinand of the autumn turned up on Rotevatnet, a Spotted Redshank sotsnipe flew over (possibly the same bird as seen later in the day across the fjord at Herdla).  A female Pintail stjertand turned up at Husvatnet along with several Wigeon brunnakke. A small flock of Goldfinch stillits flew over here too. On the way home a (the?) Green Woodpecker grønnspett posed well, albeit in fading light.

A decent sized Conger Eel havål being set free

Green Woodpecker grønnspett

Female Pintail stjertand

Wigeon brunnakke

An interesting find the same day was a Conger Eel havål that my neighbour caught in a crab pot and released again. 

On 05 October I managed a massive 20 minutes at Breivik where the best bird was a Jack Snipe kvartbekkassin.

The following day no actual time out birding but picked up a flyover Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås at Tjeldstø along with three other gesse, probably Pinkfeet kortnebbgås. Another Barancle Goose hvitkinngås rested at Kollsnes.

Barnacle Goose hvitkinngås at Kollsnes

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke at Breivik
This bird looked rather cleaner, with more well defined streaking and had  more obvious eye ring than most local birds have.

A seawatch at Skogsøy on 08 October was disappointing given the recent seawatching results both north and south of Øygarden with just 60+ Gannets havsule heading north, a few Red-throated Diver smålom heading south and a Black Guillemot teist along with a lot of rather distant auk and gull movement.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Hernar 29 September 2022 - Back home and a morning off

 After being away there was never a choice about where I was going today. A half day on Hernar proved quite successful despite not much in the way of migrant passerines.

Three Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger were the highlight. Other migrants included a Water Rail vannrikse, three Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggpett, a Grey Plover tundralo and several small flocks of Swallow låvesvale.

Plenty of birds about with the usual Twite bergirisk, most of the usual thrushes (except Fieldfare), Reed Bunting sivspurv, good numbers of Robin rødstrupe and Wren gjerdesmett.

A Great Northern Diver islom on the sea from the boat on the way home was a nice bonus.

Others saw a Hen Harrier myrhauk and a couple of Snow Bunting snøspurv migrating past.

Great Northern Diver islom

One of the Great Spotted Woodpeckers flaggspett on the island today. These birds are migrants and part of a bigger movement underway

Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Barents Sea 17-28 September 2022 - A whale of a time

 A work trip in the Barents sea for the first time in many years:)

Whales were seen pretty much daily, probably Minke Whales grindehval but always rather distant. Several blows in quick succession followed by extended dives was the pattern.

The usual Fulmars havhest (including several "blue" ones), Kittiwakes krykkje, Herring Gulls gråmåke and Great Black backed Gulls svartbak were present throughout.

On 20 September the first passerines started turning up with at least five Snow Bunting snøspurv onboard. The following day just one Snow Bunting and a Meadow Pipit heipiplerke were seen. A distant auk looked rather dumpy but had to remain unidentified.

Blue Fulmar havhest

Fulmar havhest

Birds weren't the only things flying - here the crewchange chopper coming in for landing:)

On 23 September at least 50 Snow Buntings were around, some flocks seemed just to pass by whilst others rested on the vessel. A Wheatear steinskvett, two Brambling bjørkefink and a Common Redpoll also spent time onboard. Unusually two Long-tailed Duck havelle also turned up and fed actively. As the water depth at the work location was over 230m I can only guess they were feeding on stuff in the water column rather than at the seabed.

Brambling bjørkefink

Two Long-tailed Duck havelle

Common Redpoll gråsisik

Snow Bunting snøspurv

Snow Bunting snøspurv

Snow Bunting snøspurv

Wheatear steinskvett

Snow Bunting snøspurv

The 24th was pretty much more of the same although a Gannet havsule and a Great Skua storjo flew past:) A few pods of Orcas turned up, one of which came right past the bow just as I happened to be outside  - nice timing:)

Orcas spekkhogger

After that it was transit down to Tananger with heavy seas for the first couple of days.

More whales and dolphins were seen off Florø/Måløy on 27 September where Guillemots lomvi were feeding well offshore and several Red-throated Diver smålom headed south. Just one passerine onboard - a Redwing rødvingetrost

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Engerdal 09-15 September 2022 - Back in the wilderness

 Almost a week in one of my favourite parts of Norway.

Having not visited since February it was high time to catch up on what was going on in Engerdal. Arriving in the evening of 09 September I managed a quick walk in the fast fading light. A couple of Chiff-chaff gransanger, several Meadow Pipit heipiplerke and a few Reed Bunting sivspurv were pretty much all I managed.

Meadow Pipir heipiplerke

The following morning I did my usual Engerdal round picking up Goshawk hønsehauk and Dipper fossekall at Heggeriset. Galten gave much more including Osprey fiskeøn, Black-throated Diver storlom, Slavonian Grebes horndykker, a Ringed Plover sandlo and more. Best bird was a Great Grey Shrike varsler at Drevsjø, where Yellow Wagtail gulerle, Osprey fiskeørn, Kestrel tårnfalk and more also put in an appearance.

Black-throated Diver storlom

Goosander laksand

Reed Bunting sivspurv

Red Squirrel ekorn

White Wagtail linerle eating seeds at the bird feeder

In the afternoon Lisetra gave up a well-fed Peregrine vandrefalk.

On 11 September I gave Svarthammaren a go, walking as far as Blakksjøen. Hunters were commoner than birds but I still managed several Ptarmigan fjellrype, a Kestrel tårnfalk, Wheatear steinskvett and plenty more besides - including a nice flock of Teal krikkand that hunters and their dogs thankfully walked right past without noticing.

Common Buzzard musvåk

White wagtail linerle

The next couple of days work kept me chained to the computer but still hear Black Woodpecker svartspett and saw a Common Buzzard musvåk fly over the house.

Common Buzzard musvåke

WhiteWagtail linerle

Beaver bever

Red squirrel ekorn

Another Great Grey Shrike varsler at Sølenstua on 14 September was the best bid that day. Also rans included Osprey fiskeørn, Slav Grebe horndykker, Black-throated Diver storlom, Merlin dvergfalk and several Snipe enkeltbekkassin.

Great Grey Shrike varsler

It was time to leave on 15 September but a couple more Goshawk hønsehauk, probable Gyr Falcon jaktfalk and another Merlin dvergfalk were among the species seen.

Goshawk hønsehauk hunting ducks at Vurrusjøen

A stopover in Hamar on the way back to Oslo gave some good birds too despite minimal time out and about. Around 200 Ruff brushane, a Bar-headed Goose stripegås and a couple of Shelduck gravand were the best birds here.

Shelduck gravand at Hamar