Saturday, September 24, 2016

Herdlevær 24 September . Missing more than I see.....

Very strong SE winds, warm with a few light showers.

I took a quick walk at Herdlevær picking up a Yellow-browed Warbler gulbrynsanger and a selection of the usual stuff.

A couple of Yellow Wagtail gulerle fed by the car park at Skogsøy.

Generally a lot of birds about - largely thrushes and Starling stær.

There were quite a few other birders out and about in the area - including a NOF outing. The stuff I didn't see included a Little Bunting dvergspurv, a Hawk Owl haukugle, a Hawfinch kjernebiter and more Yellow-broweds. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Engerdal 16-21 September 2016 - Migration update from the hills of eastern Norway

Fantastic weather almost constantly! Rather warm for the time of year too.

Whilst many birders head west to the coast and offshore islands I headed in the opposite direction and spent a week in Engerdal in eastern Norway.

Part of a flock of migrating Crane trane over Heggeriset 21.09




Hawk Owl haukugle

Long-tailed Tit stjertmeis

Red Squirrel ekorn

Reed Bunting sivspurv were very common and widespread


Three-toed Woodpecker tretåspett - I finally connected with this species in Engerdal!

Waxwings sidensvans

Wheatear steinskvett - one of a number of migrants still on the high ground

White wagtail linerle


Highlights included Three-toed Woodpecker tretåspett, Hawk Owl haukugle, Great Grey Shrike varsler and a flock of almost 80 migrating Common Crane trane.

There were still a lot of birds about - sometimes in large numbers. Flocks of Fieldfare gråtrost, Redwing rødvingetrost and Mistle Thrush duetrost were "all over" and feeding on the plentiful berries in the area. Waxwings sidensvans were also very obvious but were still feeding largely on the many flying insects. I saw my first flock of Long-tailed Tits stjertmeis in the area - this is at the exact time I used to see this species migrating in Gullfjell.

Finches were also very plentiful with Brambling bjørkefink perhaps the commonest followed by Siskin grønnsisik and Common Redpoll gråsisik.

Some tropical migrants were also still hanging around including Wheateat steinskvett, Swallow låvesvale and Willow Warbler løvsanger.

Other stuff worth mentioning were lots of Reed Bunting sivspurv (though mostly lower down now), Grey Wagtails vintererle and a decent variety of wildfowl including both Velvet Scoter sjøorre and Common Scoter svartand (the latter still on their breeding lake high in the mountains), good numbers of Black-throated Diver storlom still on the breeding grounds too.

Predictably almost all the waders had left with just one small flock of Golden Plover heilo seen on the tops.

Other sightings worth mentioning were Capercaille storfugl (common in Engerdal) and Grey-headed Woodpecker gråspett (rather hard to find in the area).

Also worth noting and very commendable was that I heard grouse hunting has been stopped this season over much of the district and where hunting is still allowed it has been very much reduced - the quota in the limited area where hunting is allowed at all is one bird per hunter per day,


Friday, September 16, 2016

Hernar 15 September 2016 - First Sibes of the autumn

Light ESE breeze, hot and sunny.

There were a massive five birders to cover Hernar today - almost a record! Weather was too nice to ground a lot of stuff but the island produced a decent selection of autumn migrants. Highlight was a Richards Pipit tartarpiplerke that flew around a couple of times. A Lapland Bunting lappspurv was probably the next best thing. There were lots of the usual common birds on the island as well as migrants passing over.

Pied Flycatcher svarthvit fluesnapper

Typical flight shot of Richard's Pipit tartarpiplerke

White-tailed Eagle havørn


A selection of the usual warblers, a Pied Flycatcher svarthvit fluesnapper (actually the first I've seen in Øygarden this year), various finches including a flock of at least 40 Twite bergirisk and at least one Brambling bjørkefink were also present. Sand Martin sandsvale, Reed Bunting sivspurv both flew over. Among the birds resting and feeding there were a few Song Thrush måltrost, some small flocks of Redwing rødvingetrost, several Fieldfare gråtrost and plenty of Blackbird svarttrost.

Four species of raptor were recorded - but just the usual Øygarden suspects - White-tailed Eagle havørn, Peregrine vandrefalk, Sparrowhawk spurvehauk and Kestrel tårnfalk.

Waders included a small flock of Knot polarsnipe and a Redshank rødstilk.

All in something approaching 50 species. The only fly in the ointment was that at least one, if not two Hawk Owls haukugle were seen further south in Øygarden and a much needed Øygarden species for me went into the nets at Herdlevær - a Little Bunting dvergspurv.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Skogsøy 14 September - Fog stops play

Calm, very warm and sunny until 0920 when fog rolled in and stopped play. It cleared an hour or so later but by then it was too late.

Common Gulls fiskemåke on their way south

Eiders ærfugl


Gannets havsule

Lesser Black-backed Gull sildemåke

Part of one of the Shag toppskarv flocks seen today

I thought it might be a reasonable migration day in the calmer weather - and it was but there was not much in the way of variety. Cormorants storskarv now very obviously on the move with the biggest flock being 76 birds which included a fair number of young birds.

In a little under two hours the following passed:
Gannet havsule 173 S, 2N
Cormorant storskarv 130 S, 2N
Shag toppskarv, 26N, 27S
Eider ærfugl 6S (all males)
Great Black-backed Gull svartbak 75S
Common Gull fiskemåke 38S
Curlew storspove S 4
Meadow Pipit heipiplerke 90S

Small numbers of the usual waders, a few Lesser Black-becked Gulls sildemåke, a Sparrowhawk spurvehauk migrating a long way out to sea and a White-tailed Eagle havørn were among the other sightings

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Herdlevær 13 September - New Øygarden tick!

Light southerly wind and rather warm.


Golden Plover heilo


Migrating Heron gråhegre

Raven ravn

Things had changed in a quite predictable way - waders were still moving but further out. A couple of flocks of Ruff brushane and several flocks of Golden Plover heilo were the most numerous but Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove, Curlew storspove, Turnstone steinvender, Dunlin myrsnipe and Ringed Plover sandlo were also moving.

Red-throated Diver smålom and Cormorant storskarv were rather more obvious - with the largest flocks of both species topping 20. Raptors were a Peregrine vandrefalk and a Merlin dvergfalk,

A pale-bellied Brent Goose ringgås was the first I've seen in Øygarden this year.

Other odds and ends included a Black Guillemot teist and a few Arctic Terns rødnebbterne.


Marsh Warbler myrsanger, Svensson and the most photographed hand in Øygarden



As I returned to the car the phone went and off I drove to Sørgårdsvatnet to see my fist Marsh Warbler myrsanger for Øygarden. This is only the second record for the district if memory serves me correctly.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Skogsøy 12 September 2016 - Seawatching at last

Near gale force southerly winds but sunny with it.

I FINALLY managed to squeeze in a couple of hours seawatching between other stuff like taking the youngest to the dentists. The day started well with a fly over Grey Wagtail vintererle as I put the dog in the car - the first I've had locally this year.

The conditions were mildly put challenging today with the strong winds shaking the scope. In addition I was looking out to sea with the scope rather than just scanning with binoculars as normally do. It seemed every time I looked down below me I was just about missing a flock of waders.

Bar-tailed Godwit lappspove



2cy (or possibly a very early moulting adult) Black-throated Diver storlom
 The rounded head, lack of half-collar, bill size (and the way it is held) and the white flanks point towards this species.

Two Curlew Sandpipers tundrasnipe with a Ringed Plover sandlo in the middle

Dunlin myrsnipe

Gannet havsule

Two Golden Plover heilo (left) with two Knot polarsnipe

Ringed Plover sandlo and Sanderling sandløper

Sanderling sandløper

Turnstone steinvender

Turnstone steinvender with Knot polarsnipe

There were plenty of waders passing including my first Curlew Sandpipers tundrasnipe and Grey Plover tundralo of the year in Øygarden. Ringed Plover sandlo, Sanderling sandløper, Turnstone steinvender and Knot polarsnipe were the most numerous waders but there were also several Bar-tailed Godwits lappspove among other things.

A diver came by relatively close - to me this looked like a second year Black-throated Diver storlom.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Nautnes 05 September - Two new for the house list

Largely sunny with light southerly winds.

Yet another day spent in front of a computer. But this time at home and not at the office. Obviously some migration early one with two rather embarassing house ticks - Spotted Flycatcher gråfluesnapper and a Turnstone steinvender.

Otherwise just the usual including a White-tailed Eagle havørn.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Tjeldstø 29 August 2016 - Half an hour in the sun

Cracking weather, unfortunately the day was spent as so often in front of the computer,

Part of a Golden Plover heilo flock

Golden Plover heilo

Mixed flock of Golden Plover heilo and Ruff brushane

Migrating Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk with a Common Snipe enkeltbekkasin

I went to the shop in the evening and took half an hour in the reserve at Tjeldstø. This proved quite productive - a flock of over 50 Golden Plover heilo and at least 15 Ruff brushane were present but very restless -constantly flying up and landing again. A sure sign that an interesting raptor must have been present. All I saw though was an adult White-tailed Eagle havørn.

Other good birds included a mixed flock of Turnstone steinvender and Ringed Plover sandlo flying over, the first Goldeneye kvinand of the autumn and the first Wood Sandpiper grønnstilk I've seen locally this year.

During the occasional coffee break on my terrace at Nautnes I head Merlin dvergfalk, Greenshank gluttsnipe and the usual.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Herdlevær 22 August 2016 - Photogenic waders and an exciting falcon

Light easterly breeze, hot and sunny.

The cracking weather continues - too nice really from a birding point of view.

The potential highlight was a very large, bulky and long-tailed falcon which I kept getting a "Goshawk vibe" off. There is a very strong possibility that this may well have been a Gyr jaktfalk.....I spent too long watching it sitting on a rock before it disappeared further north - I had hoped it would come and take one of the Knot polarsnipe feeding in front of me.

Curlew storspove


(This image has not been cropped at all)





First year Knot polarsnipe

There was not a huge amount of variety of waders at Herdlevær today - but they posed well for the camera. Knot polarsnipe were the most numerous with over 30 present - all but a few of them first year birds.

A Kestrel tårnfalk and the now usual Twite bergirisk also seen here.

A Yellow wagtail gulerle flew over whilst I was waiting for a bus at Nautnes - first I've had in Øygarden this year.