Friday, February 24, 2023

Engerdal 18.02-24.02.2023 - Winter

 With about a metre of snow and temperatures of down to -12 the contrast between the east and west of Norway could not have been bigger - apart from the paucity of species that is.

Despite putting in some time and effort it proved difficult to locate some of  what I consider to be the winter regulars.

My first trip out proved quite promising with an Arctic Redpoll polarsisik at Drevsjø, not just my first for the area but also the first reported there ever.

together with Common Redpolls gråsisik and  a Bullfinch dompap

Arctic Redpoll polarsisik - this bird really stood out from the accompanying Common Redpolls gråsisik not just in terms of plumage but also structure with a very small bill and "loose" plumage. A single thin stripe on the undertail coverts was present.

In the days that followed I managed to connect with Siberian Jay lavskrike a couple of times, a breif sighting of a Hazel Grouse jerpe, even briefer of Black Woodpecker svartspett, distant views of a Golden Eagle kongeørn and many of the usual suspects.

Siberian Jay lavskrike

A sad sight on my arrival was a dead Great-grey Shrike varsler which had flown into a window and died. 

Great-grey Shrike varsler

One of the species I had hoped for was Tengmalm's Owl perleugle - a species that is normally singing by now. I did hear of one that popped into a nestbox on 04 February but has not been seen since.

Roe Deer rådyr out on the completely frozen Engersjøen

Monday, February 13, 2023

Nautnes 13 February 2023 - Home Office advantages

Fantastic weather, calm and mild. It was criminal not to be out under such conditions but a couple of coffee breaks on the terrace made things just about bearable.

Clocked up another couple of new species for the garden this year in the form of a fly-over Red-breasted Merganser siland and a Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett. More unusually a Collared Dove tyrkerdue turned up again. Only saw one White-tailed Eagle havørn today but a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk put on a decent show and the usual Otter fed on the shore.

Sparrowhawk spurvehauk takes a break

Collared Dove tyrkerdue


Sparrowhawk spurvehauk - not a bad flight shot for a point and pray:)

Sparrowhauk spurvehauk

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Skogsøy 12 February 2023 - Purple Sandpiper uncropped

 Very similar weather to yesterday with a light SW wind and some occasional light drizzle.

I opted for Skogsøy in the hope that the movement from yesterday would continue. It didn't and the sea itself was rather quiet with just a couple of Razorbill alke, a few Gannets havsule and a Kittiwake krykkje passing.

Ir was nice to have some company and I was joined by a Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt who flew up to land beside me when it heard my thermos fall over. Although reasonably alert for 15 minutes or so it quickly lost interest in the passage and went to sleep. I should probably have done the same:)

I was joined by a Purple Sandpiper fjæreplytt today:)

Other birds at Skogøy included a couple of White-tailed Eagle havørn and a Great Northern Diver islom feeding inshore.

The long-staying Rook kornkråke at Oen showed itself on the way home as did a Fieldfare gråtrost - a species that has been very thin on the ground the last couple of weeks.

Fieldfare gråtrost

The Greylag grågås flock at Tjeldstø increased to five (the two from yesterday joined by the birds from Breivik?). Back home a flock of three flew over the house where I also had a few more Gannets havsule, a Peregrine vandrefalk and a couple of Long-tailed Duck havelle.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Øygarden 11 February 2022 - Weekend Birder

Lght winds, overcast and mild.

It seems I have become something I never wanted to be  - a weekend birder. Without having to think about work I had the most enjoyable day for some time - without even trying too hard, just doing a few relaxed walks here and there.

I started with a relatively late start to my usual round at Herdlevær which produced several new species for this locality this year including Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt, Kittiwake krykkje and Sparrowhawk spurvehauk. There was also a noticeable movement of GBBG svartbak heading north.

Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt at Herdlevær

Just one of the day's White-tailed Eagles havørn

Spring is on the way, Snowdrops have been in full flower for over a week now

Curlew storspove at Herdlevær

Next up was a walk with my middle daughter and a couple of dogs at Tjeldstø. Nothing unusual here but seven Whoopers sangsvane and a Greylag grågås were among the species seen here.

After this a brief stop at Hatten to finish sorting out my new phone (having destroyed yet another smartphone yesterday). My birding/family phone is still a Samsung "brick" that has outlasted and outperformed several smartphone challengers. Just the usual suspects here including a few GSW flaggspett, Crested Tit toppmeis etc.

A short visit to Sæle in the afternoon provided the bird of the day - a cracking White-billed Diver gulnebblom that gave superb views in the scope but proved challenging for my new point and pray. Happy enough with the results though:). A Guillemot lomvi on the sea and a White-tailed Eagle havørn were the only other sightings of interest here.

White-billed Diver gulebblom - it looked a lot better in the scope.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Øygarden 04.02- 10.02.2023 - Work stops play

Generally rather quie, although this probably has more to do with not doing much birdin.

On Saturday 04 February there was just a brief trip out which included a visit to Solberg. Several flocks of distant birds headed north, probably ducks but could have been auks. Some Eider ærfugl, a Gannet havsule, a Kittiwake krykkje and a White-tailed Eagle havørn were among the species actually identified.

Sunday 05 February was just wall to wall fantastic weather and I did my usual Herdlevær round late and lazy with my youngest. Met more birders than I saw birds which in a way was nice. Just a few new species for this locality for the year - a couple of Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke, a Common Gull fiskemåke, a Black Guillemot teist and a Tree Sparrow pilfink. Lovely walk though:) And we did see an Otter (as usual).

Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke at Herdlevær

Otter making it almost tempting to go for a swim:)

On 06 February I didn't really leave the house but clocked up a Great Northern Diver islom heading south in addition to the usual White-tailed Eagles havørn.

The following day was much of the same but a nice Peregrine vandrefalk over the terrace saved the day.

On Wednesday there was no birding to speak of yet again but a Collared Dove tyrkedue put in a brief surprise visit to the garden.

On 09 February I actually left the house. A short stop at Solberg gave 11 Long-tailed Duck havelle, no doubt forced inshore due to the stormy weather and a Curlew storspove fed on the shore there. A flock of 16 Starling stær at Breivik was the biggest flock of the year and a probable indication of some movement. Further north at Hellesøy where I ate my lunch a couple of windblown Kittiwakes krykkje seemed to be finding enough to eat.

Heron gråhegre at Tjeldstø

Kittiwakes krykkje at Hellesøy

Shag toppskarv

Kittiwake krykkje feeding at Hellesøy

On Friday the winds were strong and there was sleet and rain in the air. Not that it made much of a difference as I had to go into town for a course. I stopped at Kårtveitpollen on the way home and saw the long staying Moorehen sivhøne which I haven't bothered with until today (and doesn't really count anyway as this was in the new Øygarden rather than the old one where I tend to go birding). At least 70 Mallard stokkand and several Mute Swan knoppsvane present here too.

Moorehen sivhøne - a scarce but more or less annual winter visitor in Øygarden

Another lunch break at Hellesøy gave just a second year Black Guillemot teist and a Common Gull fiskemåke of note.