Thursday, August 31, 2023

Øygarden 11-20 August 2023 - Dog sitting

 Another slight improvement in the amount of time spent out and about - from 17.08 onwards this was largely due to looking after a lovely Border Collie which meant I had to go out:)

On 11 August there was no trip out but Dunnocks jernspurv turned up in the garden after a long absence and there was some Greylag grågås migration. An unseasonal Whooper sangsvane was on Husvatnet where the Tufted Duck toppand family was reduced to five young ones. The Whooper was present there on and off throughout the period.

A walk at Hjelme on 12 August produced very few birds other than at least one Spotted Redshank sotsnipe heading south and a few Woodcock rugde in the woods. Back home birds from the terrace included another Spotted Redshank sotsnipe, a couple of Turnstone steinvender and a Greenshank gluttsnipe

Tjeldstø produced some good birds with no less than four Grey Plover tundralo feeding in the area - a species that normally keeps to the coast rather than feeding in the heather like the commoner Golden Plover heilo. Several Lapwing vipe included at least two of this year's birds so it looks like there has been some success there:)

Also found Small Emperor Moth nattspåfugløye caterpillar at Tjeldstø.

Almost three hours of seawatching at Skogsøy on 13 August proved quite productive despite the rain.

Common Gull fiskemåke S 259

Gannet havsule S 53

GBBG svartbak S 66

Curlew storspove S 9

Oystercatcher tjeld S 251

Cormorant storskarv S 4

Herring Gull gråmåke S 6

LBBG sildemåke S 12

Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove S 2

Knot polarsnipe S 1 adult

Redshank rødstilk S 10

Dunlin myrsnipe S 26

Ringed Plover sandlo S 4

Shag toppskarv S 6, N 4

Greenshank gluttsnipe S 3

Golden Plover heilo S 12

Turnstone steinvender S 1

Ruff brushane S 8

Razorbill alke N 1

Common Scoter svartand S 6

Greylag grågås S 98

On the way home at least 300 Starling stær fed beside Husvatnet. Back home and doing stuff in the garden I had another 90 Greylags grågås migrating south, three Spotted Redshank sotsnipe flying over and a couple of Dunlin myrsnipe resting on the shore.

Dunlin myrsnipe at Nautnes

A quick round at Herdlevær the next day proved fairly quiet but a few Teal krikkand was a sign of migration and a small selection of the usual waders were seen.

Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

Ringed Plover sandlo

Teal krikkand

Wheatear steinskvett

On 15 August I wasn't really out but another Spotted Red sotsnipe headed south over the house as did a Greenshank gluttsnipe. The number of Tufted Duck toppand chicks on Husvatnet was down to four and a lone Grey Plover tundralo was still present in the reserve (could have been more - just did a very quick drive-by). Stonechats svartstrupe still hanging around at Kollsnes and seven Lapwing vipe at Breivik included some of this year's birds - another success story:)

First year Stonechat svartstrupe at Kollsnes

I did my usual walk at Herdlevær with the dog on 18 August. Most of the usual waders were seen including 24 Ruff brushane flying over and a Curlew Sandpiper tundrasnipe heading south. Fishing in the evening at Sture produced a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker dvergspett - bang on time for this early autumn "migrant".

The following day I was back at Herdlevær and even had time to sit down for a hour - obviously a decent day's migration with 85 Greylag grågås, 13 Ruff brushane, 60 Golden Plover heilo, 258 Oystercatcher tjeld, 4 Knot polarsnipe and more heading south. Four first year Shelduck gravand flew the wrong way. Other birds seen at Herdlevær included a couple of Spotted Redshank sotsnipe that flew up from one of the pools there, Greenshank gluttsnipe and a Great-spotted Woodpecker flaggspett - a good indication that this may be an invasion year later on.

First year Stonechat svartstrupe in the sun this time:)

On 20 August I was back at Skogsøy where the dog seemed to be settling in and we sat for a little over a couple of hours. Light southerly winds with poor vis clearing

GBBG svartbak S 54
Common Gull fiskemåke S 134
LBBG sildemåke S 12
Gannet havsule S 16
Oystercatcher tjeld S 41
Whimbrel småspove S 2
Ringed Plover sandlo S 10
Red-throated Diver smålom S 1
Curlew storspove S 6
Redshank rødstilk S 3
Knot polarsnipe S 36
Greenshank gluttsnipe S 2
Turnstone steinvender S 2
Black-headed Gull hettemåke S 1

Best bird was a Green Sandpiper skogsnipe on the way back to the car.

A flock of Knot polarsnipe heading south

Migrating Oystercatcher tjeld

Whimbrel småspove right overhead


Sunday, August 27, 2023

Øygarden 06-10 August 2023 - Skogsøy finally pays off

I came home from work on 06 August and paid Skogsøy some attention whenever possible spending two hours seawatching on 06 and 07 August without anything much other than Gannets havsule on the move. A whale blowing  a few times on 06 August was of great interest but I didn't see the animal itself and am not that good on identifying whales just on their blows....

Female Tufted Duck toppand  at Tjeldstø now down from seven to six chicks

White-tailed Eagle havørn being mobbed by Common Gulls fiskemåke
Filmed from my terrace:)

Various ages of Gannet havsule passing Skogsøy on 07 August

Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

The northbound movement of Shags toppskarv seems to have started

Plenty of toads about these days - this one in broad daylight on the way home from seawatching at Skogsøy.

A seawatch in strong northerly winds on 10 August was an altogether different story and it turned into an all day sesh:) The first Sooty Shearwater grålire of the year for the county passed at 0815, seven Manx Shearwater havlire, 22 Fulmar havhest and the best observation - a "real" observation of Storm Petrel havsvale (rather than the fake tape luring thing the twtchers do to get the species on the year list). Quite a few Kittiwake krykkje on the move too with 20 adult and 12 of this year's birds - so some have managed to get some young off despite bird flu hitting many colonies both in Norway and elsewhere.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Øygarden 16-31 July 2023 - Green Sand and breeding Tufties

This period was marginally better for time spent birding, but only just. I also spent the best part of a couple of weeks working away.

In many ways rather similar to the first half of the month, though wader and gull passage was more obvious with Common Gulls fiskemåke on the move and some obvious Oystercatcher tjeld migration.

The last few days of the month gave Green Sandpipers skogsnipe at three localities, including from my terrace at Nautnes.

One of three Green Sandpiper skogsnipe feeding at Herdlevær
This is a typical second half of July species in Øygarden, especially if it rains:)

I had my first local Swifts tårnseiler of the year on 30 July - again from my terrace during a break from work. 

The biggest news was that Tufted Duck toppand have bred at two localities - a female was looking after seven chicks on Husvatnet on 30 July:)

On 21 July I managed my usual round at Herdlevær where a Reed Bunting sivspurv was an unseaonal oberservation. Even managed to sit and look out over the sea for an hour where there was a steady passage of Common Gull fiskemåke and Oystercatcher tjeld, plus a few Common Scoter svartand, two Red-throated Diver smålom and various other species. Curlew storspove and Whimbrel småspove fed in the area too.

The next day I was out at Skogsøy for a massive 1.5 hour seawatch. Unfortunately not much going on, just 50 Gannet havsule heading north and a light passage of Common Gulls fiskemåke. Best bird was a Great Skua storjo.

Meadow Pipit heipiplerke

Rock Pipit heipiplerke

I ended the month leaving home yet again but picked up a male Stonechat svartstrupe with three young on my way out....

Male Stonechat svartstrupe with two young

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Øygarden 06-15 July 2023 - All stop

Quite possibly the month I have birded least in my entire life:(

Correspondingly little to report but obviously things going on at least some of the time.

At Nautnes Nuthatch spettmeis suddenly turned up again - not an everyday species out here. Terns too seemed to do quite well with adults of both Arctic Tern rødnebbterne and Common Tern makrellterne feeding fledged young - most likely from localities close by.

Mergansers siland at Tjeldstø

Two young Oystercatcher tjeld at Tjeldstø

Young Lapwing vipe, recently fledged Redahank rødstilk and the long-staying male Wigeon brunnakke were among the species seen at Tjeldstø during all too brief drive-bys. Post-breeding Starling stær flocks typically started to show various places.

Small flocks of recently fledged Goldfinch stillits here and there showed that this species continues its advance in the region. Small numbers of migrants started to show with several Golden Plover heilo at Tjeldstø.

Young Goldfinch stillits - one of few species that seems to be doing well

Nuthatch spettmeis - another species that seems to be more widepsread in recent times

Plenty of young Swallows låvesvale arounf

Small numbers of waders started passing with Greenshank gluttsnipe, Redshank rødstilk, Golden Plover heilo and others on the move. Recently fledged Teal krikkand at Kollsnes seems to be leaving things a bit late - possibly failed on first attempt.

Stonechats svartstrupe seem to have managed to fledge young at two localities at least:)

Curlew storspove migrating past Herdlevær 09 July

White-tailed Eagle havørn over the house as I took the shopping out of the car. Thankfully there is no need to go very far to see some birds:)

Monday, August 14, 2023

Kollsnes/Tjeldstø 26 June 2023 - Another new species for Øygarden

 As usual I was at home in front of the computer but a call regarding a potential RUDDY SHELDUCK RUSTAND had me out of the house before I knew it.

A few minutes later I was on the bird and it was a case of trying to document that it was not an escaped "park bird". It was very shy and flighty and had no "bling" on its legs. I had less time than I thought and did not make it home before the next inevitable Teams meeting.

Therefore I opted to do the meeting whilst parked next to Husvatnet. This turned out to be a big win for the town's twitchers who had, as usual, headed out to get the bird. It had disappeared from Kollsnes but as I sat in the meeting I saw it fly in and land at Tjeldstø - much to the relief of the twitchers who had driven an hour or so:)

Two new species for Øygarden in as many days is no bad going, Especially given that at no point was I actually out birding:)

One leg free of "bling"

Both legs free of "bling"

On arrival at Tjeldstø

Tjeldstø 25 June 2023 Incidental Birding #1 - First county record of Gull-billed Tern

Post Engerdal work and life conspired to effectively stop any meanigful birding activity.

As most people know I am not a twitcher and don't have the time or inclination to chase stuff other people have found. I have made my choices and live in an area where there is a fair chance of seeing something of interest during the course of daily life - whether it be from the terrace or a trip to the local supermarket. Let's face it, this is where the time is spent if one has a life that involves work or indeed any other form of commitment.

Having been away for  a while with work and other stuff there was a lot to catch up with so I took a quick drive on 25 June just to get an impression of what, if anything, was going on in northern Øygarden. I stopped at Kollsnes where I met one of the very few local birders. There was some activity, including a Stonechat svartstrupe, several Redshank rødstilk and a Golden Plover heilo but not much else.

Whilst hanging out here one of my daughters called and asked if dinner at mine would work. Of course I said yes and headed to the shops. Having bought the necessary supplies I suddenly realised I could pick up another daughter on the way home and stopped beside Husvatnet to call her. Whilst on the phone I picked up a tern which meant that the telephone call was very short - a GULL-BILLED TERN sandterne was feeding over the lake there!! Having seen reports of this species from Maridalen (Oslo) and Iceland earlier in the year I had thought that it was about time Øygarden got a bit of the action.

I immediately rang the friend who I had left only a few minutes earlier, but as I did so the bird took off to the south west and disappeared. A frantic search of other likely spots proved fruitless but my friend did not give up and refound the bird in the same place and with identity confirmed and some record shots taken we put the news out. As soon as we did so the bird did another disappearing act.

The usual suspects headed out from town immediately but unfortunately it did not return.

If accepted this will be the first record of Gull-billed Tern for Vestland county:)

Common Tern makrellterne attacking a Great Black-backed Gull svartbak at Dåvøy