Sunday, November 20, 2022

Hernar 14 November 2022 - Last chance saloon

Perfect conditions for a day on Hernar. The season is drawing to a close - largely due to shortening daylight hours and boat timetables rather than lack of birds.

 This was probably my last chance to visit the island this year so I went all in for a full day trip - no lunchtime return on a Monday:)

The short drive to Hellesøy just heightened the sende of anticipation with lots of thrushes and other burde flying up from the velges.

Eating breakfast and having a coffee whilst waiting for it to be light enough to bird I heard three Water Rails vannrikse. There was a fair bit of activity early on with various finches including Brambling bjørkefink, Redpolls gråsisik and Parrot crossbills furukorsnebb about.

Rough-legged Buzzard fjellvåk - the first record for Hernar and a rare bird in Øygarden

A variety of locally interesting sightings and several new species for the island this year were seen including Merlin dvergfalk, Little Auk alkekonge, Mistle Thrush duetrost, Woodcock rugde, and Kittiwake krykkje.

Velvet Scoter sjøorre were seen both migrating and on the sea.

Cormorant storskarv

The boat ride back to Hellesøy gave another Little Auk alkekonge, a few flocks of Common Scoter svartand, more Red- throated Diver smålom, several more Black Guillemots teist and a flock of 20 Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt among other things.

Common Scoter svartand

Little Auk alkekonge

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt

My new camera coped with most situations quite well but obviously not as quick ad my usual set-up.

All in all a great day out with over 45 species seen. 

Picked sweet peas, baby leaf spinach, celery and more in my garden when I returned home. Not bad for mid November in Norway.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Skogsøy 13 November 2022 - Less about the seawatching

 Strong southerly winds, overcast and with light drizzle most of the time I was seawatching.

Today was much more about what was seen away from the seawatching than what was going on migration wise. A Dipper fossekall, the second for Skogsøy (the first was in January this year) was out close to the lookout point - an unusual location but there is plenty of food in those pools:)

On my way back in a fly-by Short-eared Owl jordugle, three Parrot Crossbills furukorsnebb and three Slavonian Grebes horndykker were the best finds.

November is a good month to see migrating Dipper fossekall in Øygarden

Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, Skogsøy 

The bay at Skogsøy, the slav grebes should be visible in here somewhere

Slavonian Grebes horndykker came swimming over from Herdlevær

I sat from 0930-1110 and had a decent passage of gulls (mostly Herring Gulls gråmåke, Common Gulls fiskemåke and Kittiwake krykkje) and Common Scoter svartand plus a Red-throated Diver smålom, a late Oystercatcher tjeld and a few Velvet Scoter sjøorre. Most stuff passed very close in indeed - visibility was awful and it was not possible to see very far.

Migrating Common Gulls fiskemåke

Many Common Scoter svartand headed south at close range today

Herring Gull gråmåke (picture taken with the new superzoom, the rest of the flight shots with an older DSLR)

Kittiwake krykkje

Velvet Scoter sjøorre

On the way home I picked up a Goshawk hønsehauk hunting thrushes at Kollsnes. At Tjeldstø best sightings were a male Blackcap munk, a few Snipe enkeltbekkassin, three Whoopers sangsvane and a selection of duck including a few Wigeon brunnakke and a Teal krikkand.

Back home the latest ever Linnet tornirisk to be recorded in Øygarden fed in my garden:)

The latest Linnet tornirisk ever recorded in Øygarden
Also shows why "weeds" are so important to wild birds.

The first ever video with the new camera:)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Herdlevær 12 November 2022 - A new camera, a new era:)

 As my trusty DSLR has given up the ghost and with technology changing (and unavailable at short notice) I have changed tack completely on the photography side of things.

I now have what might be the perfects birders camera. Small, light and it seems like it takes decent enough pics most of the time. I was worried about flight shots with a super zoom but a morning out at Herdlevær taking a lot more pictures than I normally do gave the impression that it just might work. 

Yes, it is a little slower to get up and running and the focusing can be both slow and wrong but it can do the job. 

I spent more time trying out the camera than actual birding today so no doubt missed a lot. There was an obvious massive movement of stuff well offshore (i.e. scope on zoom to identify) with 100's of Kittiwakes krykkje , Common Scoter svartand and auks passing.

A flock of Parrot Crossbill furukorsnebb, a couple of late Woodpigeon ringdue, several Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke and a Woodcock rugde were among the birds seen during my usual round.

On the way home more Parrot Crossbills furukorsnebb at Breivik and Tjeldstø where there were also 15 Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt.

Here are some pics taken on the first morning out with my new camera:

GBBG svartbak - not a bad flight shot for a point and pray:)

Guillemot lomvi on the sea

More flight shot testing - this time Herring Gulls gråmåke

Parrot Crossbills furukornebb - lighting is almost always an issue when trying to photograph these birds.
Not how the head angle affects whether or not the mandibles actually cross or not.
I go through phases where I am sure I can pick up Parrot Crossibill on call. This autumn is not one of those periods - I failed big time on call with these birds:)

Rock Pipit skjæpiplerke photography training

Scaup bergand remains at Tjeldstø

A pleasing shot of a Wren gjerdesmett with the new compact superzoom.

These White-tailed Eagles havørn were further away than I normally bother with photographs for but had to try the new camera:)

Monday, November 14, 2022

Øygarden 06-11 November 2022 - November:)

November is one of my favourite months as although the main migration may be over there is always something to see and it often a time for things that may be common elsewhere to turn up.

I arrived home as the light was going on 06 November and just had to pop across to Sæle, just in case "something" might have lingered on. This was not the case but a couple of Bullfinch dompap (never common here but a typical early November migrant), some Blackcaps munk, a few Chiff-chaff gransanger and a Rook kornkråke along with the usual thrushes, Robins rødstrupe etc meant that it wasn't waste of time.

Chiff-chaff gransanger - this one was calling like a normal one

Rook kornkråke, a scarce but annual visitor in early spring and late autumn

The following day I was back there again for an hour or so - hoping to turn one of the Chiff-chaff into a tristis. This was also not the case but a Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis and a Willow Tit granmeis put in an appearance amongst the Blackcaps munk, Chiff-chaffs gransanger, Goldcrests fuglekonge and other migrants present. Plenty going on so it was most enjoyable.

Chiff-chaffs gransanger at Sæle

Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis

A very short visit to Herdlevær on 08 November produced a very vocal tristis Chiff-chaff sibirgransanger, a Woodcock rugde, a Willow Tit granmeis, a flock of six Waxwing sidensvans, a Goldfinch stillits and plenty of commoner migrants.

On the way home I picked up a couple of lateish Meadow Pipits heipiplerke at Breivik and a Lapwing vipe at Tjeldstø.

Crested Tit toppmeis at Herdlevær

Lapwing vipe at Tjeldstø

Three of six Waxwing sidensvans at Herdlevær

A morning visit to Hellesøy on 09 November gave a Waxwing sidensvans and a Merlin dvergfalk as highlights.

On the way home a couple each of Goldfinch stillits and Goldcrest fuglekonge were the only things of interest but plenty of Redwing rødvingetrost and Blackbird svarttrost about. Sæle gave up the same as the previous visits with Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis, Blackcaps munk and Chiff-chaffs gransanger still around. 

It was here disaster struck - my trusty DSLR gave up the ghost. I thought it was my lens that was on the way out but the camera itself refused to take pictures. Yet another one bites the dust and puts me in a predicament....

Next up was a female Scaup bergand at Husvatnet, without a camera there were no pictures...

Back home a Redpoll gråsisik and a couple of Tree Sparrow pilfink joined the more usual selection of species in the garden

There was no time to get out of the house on 10 November, though a trip to the shops in the late afternoon produced an unusual sighting in the form of a Fulmar havhest swimming amongst the boats at Rong and the Lapwing vipe a Tjeldstø was still present along with the Scaup bergand.

Fulmar havhest, either sick or exhausted at Rong.
Unusual place and time of year, this bird swam in among the small boats tied up along the quayside

On 11 November I did no birding at all, but drove into Bergen for a lovely couple of hours with my youngest and a quick visit to a camera shop. More about the latter later....