Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Skogsøy 26 March 2024 - Best Oystercatcher count since 2003....

Calm and sunny

With winds dropping and generally good conditions I thought it may be a good migration day. I was not wrong:) Highlight of four hours of seawatching was my best Oystercatcher tjeld count since 2003 with over 1600 heading north. A Merlin dvergfalk headed the same way as did 12 Shelduck gravand. Smaller numbers of the usual early spring stuff also on the move. Unusually there were more Shag toppskarv flying the "wrong" way (ie. north) than normal at this time of year.

A Dunnock jernspurv singing on the way out to the lookout was the first of the year and a Common Crossbill grankorsnebb was the first I've seen for a few weeks. Redwings rødvingetrost have now also joined the dawn chorus - first I've heard singing after the huge arrival last week.

Red throated Diver smålom N 2

Great Northern Diver islom S 1

Northern Gannet havsule N 2, S 1

Great Cormorant storskarv N 27, S 2

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 68, S 96 Uusally high number heading north today

Greylag Goose grågås N 11

Shelduck gravand N 12 A flock of 10 came swimming past before taking off and flying north

Eider ærfugl N 3, S 3

Long tailed duck havelle S 2

Common Scoter svartand N 9

Merganser siland N 8, S 7

Oystercatcher tjeld N 1626 My highest count since 2003. Wish I could have stayed longer:)

Eurasian Curlew storspove N 10

Common Gull fiskemåke N 217

Common Guillemot lomvi N 11

Razorbill alke N 18

Black Guillemot teist S 1

Atlantic Puffin  lunde N 2

Auk N 48, S 5

Merlin dvergfalk N 1

Common Scoter svartand (male on the left)

Oystercatcher tjeld were pouring past today.

Shags toppskarv heading south

...and Shags toppskarv heading north

Migrating Shelduck gravand

Monday, March 25, 2024

Tjeldstø and Herdlevær 25 March 2024 - Cheeky pre-work outing

Sunny with a cool northerly wind again.

I was up bright and early and decided to get a couple of hours birding in before work - partly spurred on by the fact the first bird I heard from my terrace was a singing Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett.

Things went pretty well with the first Pink-foot kortnebbgås of the year on Husvatnet - a very common bird indeed in the east of Norway at the moment but not many move up the west coast of the country. Also singing Meadow Pipit heipiplerke here - the first I've seen locally. My first one was across the fjord last week:)

Pinkfoot kortnebbgås before the sun came up properly.
I was glad I stopped as I didn't see this bird on the way home

I did my usual round at Herdlevær where migrants included a few each of Skylark sanglerke and Song Thrush måltrost and a couple of Snow Bunting snøspurv. Here too Meadow Pipits heipiplerke had arrived.

One of the Meadow Pipits heipiplerke at Herdlevær

A short breakfast break with the scope produced much the same as Skogsøy did yesterday although passage seemed rather more subdued. A couple of Puffin lunde headed south and two Red-throated Diver smålom headed north.

My point and pray had mixed results - in fully automatic mode it tends to opt for a shutter speed too slow for flight photographs

Cormorant storskarv results not as good as yesterday:)

Massively cropped Guillemot lomvi - not to shabby considering the range

My good deed for the day was to show some birders/photographers from town the male Stonechat svartstrupe at Kollsnes.

Home before 10:00 and back to the grindstone.....

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Skogsøy 24 March 2024 - More than 1100 on the move

Sunny with fresh northerly winds

I spent a few hours seawatching at Skogsøy, slow going on the way out as there was some light frost.

Plenty of movement and a typical early spring day with Oystercatcher tjeld and Common Gull fiskemåke dominating. A Carrion Crow svartkråke headed out to sea shortly after dawn and a couple of Snow Bunting snøspurv headed north. A couple of White-tailed Eagle havørn flew over and were harassed by the local Raven ravn pair.

Red throated Diver smålom N 3

Northern Gannet havsule N 15

Great Cormorant storskarv N 14, S 1

Eurasian Shag toppskarv N 9, S 120

Greylag Goose grågås N 1

Eider ærfugl S 12

Long tailed duck havelle N 3, S 1

Merganser siland  N 2, S 1

Oystercatcher tjeld N 518

Common Gull fiskemåke N 319

Lesser black backed Gull sildemåke N 2

Black-legged Kittiwake krykkje N 2

Common Guillemot lomvi N 4, S 3

Black Guillemot teist N 1

Auk N 49, S 65. Undoubtedly a lot more than this, rather distant.

On the way home a short stop at Husvatnet showed that Greylag grågås numbers had suddenly increased to 80 - a big arrival during the last day or two.

Today I took my "proper" camera rather than the point and pray with me.

Common Gulls fiskemåke

Cormorants storskarv

Gannet havsule

Great Black-backed Gull svartbak

Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

Oystercatchers tjeld

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Øygarden 18.03-23.03.2024 - Arrivals

I returned to Øygarden as the light went on 18 March to find the fields were FULL of migrants - big flocks of Redwing rødvingetrost, Fieldfare gråtrost, Blackbird svarttrost and Starling stær were EVERYWHERE. A new species for the year were a couple of Golden Plover heilo with them.

Golden Plover heilo with Fieldfare gråtrost at Breivik

The following day I had a guiding trip and given the forecast of fresh southerly winds and rain I actually left Øygarden and did Herdla along and a quick look at my old haunts near Gullfjell. Just under 50 species noted during the course of the day. At Herdla a cracking 2cy White-billed Diver gulnebblom vied for top spot with a lovely male Lapland Bunting lappspurv. Four albifrons White-fronted Geese tundragås, a maleShelduck gravand, a flocks of Dunlin myrsnipe, Ringed Plover sandlo, Golden Plover heilo, Curlew storspove, all the usual seaduck, huge numbers of Skylark sanglerke, Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke and more meant this locality was a great success. Elsewhere Dipper fossekall, small numbers of Whoopers sangsvane, Goosander laksand and even a couple of "inland" Long-tailed Ducks havelle meant there was always something to see.

A business trip saw me leave Øygarden again on Wednesday morning but I did pick up the first local Black-headed Gull hettemåke of the year and a flock of around 20 Lapwing vipe on my way. Before I left a couple of Tree Sparrow pilfink turned up in my garden and a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk flew over.

It was long after dark on Thursday before I returned and Friday was spent largely confined to the home office where a couple of Goldfinch stillits and a Rock Pipit skjærpiplerke turned up in the garden. A trip to the shops produced the Stonechat svartstrupe pair at Kollsnes among other things.

Curlew storspove now back on their breeding grounds (up to now just coastal overwintering birds have been seen)

Goldfinces stillits on my feeder

On Saturday 23 March I took the morning off and did my usual round at Herdlevær and visited both Breivik and Tjeldstø. 

Other than a Rook kornkråke Herdlevær did not produce any surprises. Breivik produced two Rook kornkråke and two Jackdaw kaie. Nearby at Kollsnes a flock of 23 Skylark sanglerke was a good number for these parts. Tjeldstø held couple of pairs of Teal krikkand, singing Song Thrush måltrost, displaying Curlew storspove and more.

Rook kornkråke #1

Rook kornkråke #2

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Oslo 09-17 March 2024 - Urban Birding

On Saturday 09 March a walk at Bygdøy had a decidedly spring-like feel with flocks of Greylags grågås in the fields, a very vocal Black Woodpecker svartspett, Stock Dove skogdue and Woodpigeons ringdue noted. A flock of nine Purple Sandpipers fjæreplytt at Huk were as always nice to see and a flock of over 50 Oystercatcher tjeld also rested there. Even though the woods were mostly rather quiet it was nice to connect with things like Treecreeper trekryper and Willow Tit granmeis.

The following day I predictably took the boat out to Gressholm where there were more spring vibes in the form of Shelduck gravand and an obvious arrival of Blackbirds svarttrost. Otherwise just the usual Great-crested Grebe toppdykker, Velvet Scoters sjøorre.

The rest of the week was rather hectic at work. On Tuesday all I managed was 20 minutes outside the office at Fornebu which produced a Goshawk hønsehauk as the best bird. Signs of spring here too with displaying Oystercatcher tjeld, Woodpigeon ringdue singing and so on.

Male Goldeneye kvinand at Fornebu

Male Red-breasted Merganser siland at Fornebu

One of several Oystercatcher tjeld outside the office at Fornebu

Displaying Oystercatcher tjeld

On 15 March I took the five minute walk to the Botanical Gardens and was pleasantly surprised by a Grey Wagtail vinterle feeding along the small stream that runs through the gardens - obviously a migrant that has stopped to feed. It was difficult to photograph due to constant disturbance by users of the park. Not a rare bird but this sighting was probably the birding highlight of the week for me.

On Sunday 17 we had a lovely afternoon on Gressholmen in fantastic weather. Hard to choose the best bird among the highlights but a cracking female Lesser-spotted Woodpecker dvergspett was absolutely among them. Other nice sightings included three Woodcock rugde - seemingly the first in Oslo this year and a number of other new species for the island this year.

Female Lesser-spotted Woodpecker dvergspett on Gressholmen

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Hernar 07 March 2024 - MIstle Thrush

Calm and mild with light cloud - fantastic conditions.

Having returned home Wednesday evening it was time to pay Hernar the first visit of the year. Typically rather quiet so early in the season but a Mistle Thrush duetrost hung around all morning - it was as usual for this species very flighty.

A decent influx of Blackbirds svarttrost with an absolute minimum of 12 seen, 10 Starling stær and a flyover Skylark sanglerke were the rest of the migrants. Several Wren gjerdesmett and a few Robin rødstrupe may have been overwintering brds.  Otherwise just the usual suspects - a handfull of White-tailed Eagles havørn, a few Black Guillemot teist and small numbers of the usual seaduck. A Magpie skjære also turned up - not a bird that is always present on the island.

Most of the Blackbirds svarttrost were males....

Mistle Thrush duetrost

At least two of the Robins rødstrupe were singing

Edda Fauna on its way out to work in the North Sea

One the way home to an afternoon of meetings and an evening of comparing quasi geoid models I picked up two more Mistle Thrush duetrost at Sæle along with a Woodpigeon ringdue.

One of the Mistle Thrushes duetrost at Sæle

A drive-by at Dåvøy produced a pair of Goldfinches stillits which have been rather thin on the ground this winter.

Goldfinch stillits at Dåvøy

Bits and bobs from the terrace included a Great Northern Diver islom, a couple of White-tailed Eagle havørn and the usual.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Øygarden 27.02-02.03.2024 - Drive-bys

No birding worth mentioning from 27.02 - 01.03, just a few very brief drive-bys here and there.

A couple of Curlew storspove at Herdlevæar on 28 February and a Goshawk hønsehauk flying over Breivik and disappearing over Dåvøy (where I suspect it has been hanging out recently) were the only sightings of any note.

Curlew storspove

I managed a couple of hours at Skogsøy on 02 March before heading off to work for a few days.

Calm conditions again and very similar to the previous visit with slightly increased passage of Shags toppskarv (137) heading south and Oystercatcher tjeld (39) heading north. A Great Northern Diver islom on the sea and another flew past at reasonable range. Velvet Scoter sjøorre, Greylag grågås and Starling stær were new species for the year for this locality.