Monday, May 29, 2023

Herdlevær and Tjeldstø 29 May 2023 - Weather works again:)

Today it was overcast and raining so I opted to not go seawatching. Just my usual round at Herdlevær but without the scope - this produced a few nice observations: an adult Black-headed Gull hettemåke feeding in the fields, Redshank rødstilk acting like it might be trying to breed there, ditto for Ringed Plover sandlo (late arrival or have I just been missing them on previous visits?), a few Whimbrel småspove grounded by the weather and most of the usual suspects including a White-tailed Eagle havørn flying over and two singing Lesser Whitethroats møller.

On my way home I stopped briefly at Tjeldstø, almost the first thing I heard was calling Black-tailed Godwit svarthalespove and two dropped out of the sky, fed for a few minutes and then carried on their way. Not an easy species to see in Øygarden, though spending time at Tjeldstø in the spring does increase chances. One was seen briefly at Tjeldstø on 18th May.

All photos massively cropped using my point and pray. Really need to get back into digiscoping - looked a lot better in the scope:)

Black-tailed Godwits svarthalespove at Tjeldstø

In the evening a male Goosander laksand flew over the terrace - a highly unpredictable species in Øygarden and a new for the garden list:)

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Skogsøy 28 May 2023 - All day sesh / Poms at last!

Perfect weather - a fresh North westerly breeze with some clouds.

The light changed constantly from full on sunshine to overcast and back again - the first of two challenges today. The second being that, at least for the first few hours, there was a lot going on a long way out whilst at the same time interesting stuff was passing in binocular range - no doubt I missed stuff at both distances:)

I sat from 05:45 until 13:00. Thought about leaving a few times but never quite brought myself to quit. Managed to avoid the "dead hour trap" and kept going without any regrets:)

Although far from a mega day there was a lot more going on than recent visits - highlights being of course two Pomarine Skuas polarjo, a Great Skua storjo and six Arctic Skuas tyvjo. A couple of Knot polarsnipe were another first for the year for me and there was plenty of interest most of the time. Two decent sized wader flocks escaped ID but I suspected Turnstone steinvender for the first and Sanderling sandløper for the second, another small flock of Turnstone steinvender came past later.

Small numbers of pale-bellied Brents ringgås, decent numbers of Kittiwake krykkje, Gannets havsule, Fulmar havhest, a 2cy Great Northern Diver islom, almost 70 Red-throated Diver smålom and more meant there was never a dull moment (with the exception of the dead hour between 09:00-10:00).

Arctic Skua tyvjo - easier to identify in the field than by photos

Another Arctic Skua tyvjo 

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne

Pale-bellied Bents (hrota) ringgås

Common Scoter svartand

Gannet havsule

3cy Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke heading north

Red throated Diver smålom N 68

Great Northern Diver islom N 1 2cy

Northern Fulmar havhest N 13

Northern Gannet havsule N 127, S 3

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 7, S 44

Brent Goose ringgås N 151

Common Scoter svartand N 28, S 27

Merganser sland N 4

Red Knot  polarsnipe 2

Turnstone steinvender N 5

Pomarine Skua polarjo N 2 (1 dark, 1 pale)

Arctic Skua tyvjo N 6 (3 dark and 3 pale)

Great Skua storjo N 1

Common Gull fiskemåke N 2

Lesser black backed Gull sildemåke N 6

Great black backed Gull svartbak N 4

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 75

Arctic Tern rødnebbterne N 29, S 4

Common Guillemot lomvi N 2

Razorbill  alke N 21 For some reason Razorbills have vastly outnumbered Guillemots this year - possibly something to do with the big movement last autumn that pushed them further south than usual?)

Little Auk alkekonge N 1 Freak record! Not often I see this species so far out in May!

Atlantic Puffin lunde N 7

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Skogsøy 26 May 2023 - First Fulmars

Onshore winds with just a couple of showers. 

Typically rather quiet this late in the spring but a few reasonable observations - the first Fulmars havhest of the year for my part, a few pale phase Arctic Skua tyvjo, a White-billed Diver gulnebblom and a light passage of Kittiwakes krykkje and Arctic Terns rødnebbterne.

Pale phase Arctic Skua tyvjo

On the way back to the car the first fledged Redwing rødvingetrost of the year, a couple of Twite bergirisk and the usual.

Otherwise just White-tailed Eagles havørn at Skogsøy and home at Nautnes, Stonechat svartstrupe and the usual.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Breivk and Hernar 24-25 May 2023 - No rarities

 The 24th brought southerly winds and rain and with rarities turning up everywhere else I thought something might turn up in Øygarden too. I didn't find anything:( 

However, all was not lost - at Breivik another Lapwing vipe pair now have three young and others at Tjeldstø are now also guarding chicks. A pair of Stonechat svartstrupe also obviously have young:)

Plenty of White-tailed Eagle havørn food about:)

Stonechats svartstrupe

UK9 at Skjold - always interesting to see where these birds have been seen:)

On 25th I decided to go to Hernar, more because I could than anything else. The place was lifting with birds but other than a single Whichat buskskvett there were no migrants to be seen. Sedge Warblers sivsanger were nest building whilst Greenfinch grønnfink were feeding fledged young and Twite bergirisk were feeding on "weeds". I had slightly more species on the island than my previous visit at the end of March but plenty of new for the year for my favourite island:)

Lesser Whitethroat møller and most of the usual suspects were back on the island:)

Common Terns makellterne on Hernar

One of this years's Greenfinches grønnfink

Displaying Snipe enkeltbekkassin near Sæle

Twite bergirisk clearing up some dandelion seeds - birds need weeds at various times during the year.

Whinchat buskskvett

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Skogsøy 22-23 May 2023 - High hopes

The 22nd May was always going to be about visibility. The forecast was for sea fog early on clearing by 0900. Pretty much the opposite happened:)

Before I left the house a Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett sang a couple of times - a good start to the morning:)

View to the east from the parking place at idiot o' clock

And the view to the west - not bad at all, promising even:)

An innocent looking fog bank at 09:10. It was not as thin as it looked.

No massive numbers passing but steady and with some quality (pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgjess, White-billed Diver gulnebblom, a Black-throated Diver storlom, Merlin dvergfalk and more). 

Pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgjess

Cormorants storskarv

We sat for a couple of hours after the fog rolled in as it seemed like it would clear at any moment. Fog is the #1 seawatch nightmare in the spring and unfortunately resulted in an update to my seawatch junky page:)

When it was finally deemed safe to leave we checked out a couple of places including Tjeldstø - in glorious sunshine - typically the fog affected only the sea and a couple of hundred metres inland. Best birds were a couple of Wood Sandpipers grønnstilk and the first Sand Martin sandsvale of the year for me at least. At least five Lesser Whitethroat møller were heard singing at various places:)

Wood Sandpipers grønnstilk at Tjeldstø

The following day the forecast was better with a fresh northerly breeze and sunshine on the cards. Normally a recipe for a good day at this time of year but passage was slow and the hopes of unprecedented numbers of skuas were dashed. Not a complete waste of time though with good views of Brent Geese ringgjess, White-billed Diver gulnebblom and Black-throated Diver storlom as the best sightings. Two Ringed Plover sandlo migrating north were the first I've seen locally this year - two of the usual breeding sites have remained unoccupied so far this year.....

Two of the Arctic Terns rødnebbterne that headed north

Pale-bellied Brents ringgjess at close range

A couple of record shots of the Black-throated Diver storlom

White-billed Diver gulnebblom

Whimbel småspove

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Øygarden 19-21 May 2023 - Brents on the move

 I took things pretty easy for a few days but still caught up on a few bits and pieces in the world of birds.

On 19 May I just did a walk at Tjeldstø where just the usual species were present including the male Wigeon brunnakke that has been around for some time now and the first Common Whitethroat tornsanger locally this year. Plenty of new Tjeldstø species though:)

At home a few Greylag families turned up sporting this year's crop of goslings - one pair had just two young in tow whereas another pair still had eight going strong. Twite bergirisk, Goldfinch stillits, Cuckoo gjøk and the other usual suspects also seen from the garden.

I barely did anything the following day but saw the first Lapwing vipe chicks of the year at Kollsnes. Lesser Whitethroat møller still singing "everywhere". A Merlin dvergfalk was a promising find - indicating that this species might still manage to breed in the area from time to time. 

Lapwing vipe chick at Kollsnes

Lesser Redpoll brunsisik in the garden (along with Siskin grønnsisik, Golfinch stillits and more)

Best sighting of the day was from the terrace in the form of about 20 White-sided Dolphins:)

Atlantic White-sided Dolphins (kvitkjeving) photographed from the terrace

On 21st May I had planned for Skogsøy but there was fog early on when I got up so I went back to bed and did a late and lazy round at Herdlevær - here I had 820 pale-bellied Brent Geese ringgås heading north in the space of an hour - the first of the year and, as usual now, somewhat earlier than the traditional movement at the end of May. Several Velvet Scoter sjøorre also headed north along with a selection of the usual species including my first Arctic Terns rødnebbterne for 2023. I really should have gone to Skogsøy:)

Just about record shots of some of the Brent Geese ringgås that passed

I also picked up my first local Sedge Warbler sivsanger of the year - over a month later than the first I had offshore:)

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Herdlevær 18 May 2023 - Finally home again!

 A late and lazy stroll. Good to be home again:=

A couple of flocks of Barnacle Geese hvitkinngås headed north in the twenty minutes I stopped for a coffee. 

Song Thrush måltrost at Herdlevær

Common Sandpiper strandsnipe now "everywhere" as are Goldfinch stillits - one of the few species that have "moved in" on Øygarden and are actually increasing in number in stark contrast to many / most other species.

Goldfinches stillits in the garden)

A male Wigeon brunnakke on Husvatnet was the first I have seen locally this year (!), other new species included Lesser Whitethroat møller (various places). 

A pair of Tufted Duck toppand now present at Tjeldstø - can't be long before they actually breed there.