Monday, 31 August 2015

31st August

A perfect, flat calm day with good cloud cover and plenty of birds around the lighthouse in the morning; the nets were (relatively) busy with 45 new birds caught including 2 Sparrowhawks, a Yellow Wagtail, 5 Garden Warblers, 9 White Wagtails, a Reed Warbler, 8 Tree Pipits and 2 Rock Pipits.   The day’s highlight though came mid-morning when a superb GYRFALCON flew SE along the coast at close range – now that I’ve seen one properly the bird I saw two days ago was almost certainly a Gyr as well!

                There were good numbers of other birds around as well especially 30+ Yellow Wagtails and 25+ Tree Pipits while 10+ Sparrowhawks and a Merlin whizzed around.   A bit frustratingly I couldn’t get out and about until late afternoon but by then it had clouded over completely and was a bit dark and gloomy but there were Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtails and Whinchats all over the place while a big Goshawk and more Sparrowhawks were around and a few flocks of Crossbills were in the woods.
Yellow Wagtail

Tree Pipit

30th August

A really nice day, sunny with light winds but the morning was very quiet with pretty much nothing on the sea and not much in the nets but the highlight was an Osprey which flew south at lunchtime.   Due to things getting in the way I didn’t get out until late afternoon but there were a few birds inland including a good 20+ Tree Pipits, 9 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Redstart, 22 Crossbills and a Spotted Redshank in Verevågen where there was also a Peregrine tucking in to a freshly killed Redshank.
No pictures from today but here's a few from The Kalahari where I worked for The University of Cambridge collecting behavioural data on Meerkats way back in 2000/2001

I knew them before they were famous!

Weighing time

And a Pangolin from when I went back to visit in 2003 (I think this photo was taken by Rik)

Saturday, 29 August 2015

29th August

A pleasant day with bits of sun here and there and lightish SW winds; the morning however was almost completely dead with nothing at all to mention!   The coast was also very quiet in the afternoon with wader numbers again reduced, I did however see a very large Falcon at long range sat out on Steinodden which looked quite good for a Gyr but it flew when I was still miles away and just headed high, straight out to sea and away.

                There were quite a few birds scattered around inland which included a Wryneck, a Cuckoo, 5 Red-backed Shrikes, the first Treecreeper in the area this autumn, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Redstart, a Brambling, a Garden Warbler, a Merlin, the Goshawk again, 12+ Tree Pipits and a few Whinchats and Wheatears dotted about.


Spotted Flycatcher

Red-backed Shrike

Friday, 28 August 2015

28th August

After two weeks or more of the wind being in the easterly quadrant we had a nice fresh westerly wind for a change but this meant that there were few birds around with an adult Black Tern heading south offshore definitely the highlight while a big female Goshawk caused chaos simply by drifting slowly across Vågsvollvåien putting up a much increased 140+ Hooded Crows and 70+ Jackdaws.

                The coast was quieter again with single Little Stint and Spotted Redshank again the highlights while inland migrant totals included a good 52 Whinchats, 6 Tree Pipits, a Wryneck, 4 Red-backed Shrikes, a few Yellow Wagtails, a Pied Flycatcher and a couple of Crossbills.
Little Stint

Red-backed Shrike

Thursday, 27 August 2015

27th August

A really good looking day, dry after rain overnight with a light SE wind and overcast throughout; there was a nice bit of variety in the nets (although numbers are still very low) with an Icterine Warbler, 2 Redstarts, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 very young Whitethroats which must have just fledged from a very late nest somewhere, a Garden Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat.   The rest of the morning was pretty quiet with 2 Bonxies offshore, 16 Crossbills overhead and 10+ Yellow Wagtails dotted around.

                Wader numbers were much reduced around the coast with 180 Dunlin and 105 Redshank the main species along with single Little Stint and Spotted Redshank; also out there was a juvenile Little Gull which went south past Steinodden, 5 Pintail in Sevika and the Goshawk still hunting out along the shore.   Inland totals included 27 Whinchats, 10 Tree Pipits, 3 Redstarts, 4 Red-backed Shrikes (still local breeding birds) and a couple each of Spotted and Pied Flycatchers.

I thought I got abnormally close to this Sparrowhawk

Then I could seen that she was probably blind in one eye, in other words a pirate!

Little Gull

Turnstone having a scratch

This Green Sandpiper was watching a Sparrowhawk in a tree so intently that he didn't even notice me as I strolled up to him!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

26th August

A difficult day with a brisk (becoming pretty strong) SE wind bringing with it frequent, nasty showers and general murk; I had a little hope that the interrupted ringing session might produce some birds but it was very quiet but Vågsvollvåien was very busy with waders and ducks which included the first Black-tailed Godwit of the autumn, 67 Lapwings, 17 Ruff, 10 Greenshank, 3 Wood Sandpipers, 30 Redshank, 18 Wigeon and 2 Pintail.   Offshore was slow with 3 Bonxies and 3 Red-throated Divers of note.

                The day’s highlight came at lunchtime when I set out across the fields and a very smart juvenile BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER dropped into Gunnarsmyra, landed for 10 seconds or so and hopped over the road to land in Vågsvollvåien but that coincided with a particularly nasty shower and when that had cleared through there was no further sign.     Birds out across the fields then included 36 Whinchats, 31 Ruff, a few Tree Pipits and Yellow Wagtails and one of the juvenile Marsh Harriers before heavy rain moved in and effectively ended the day.  
Red-breasted Merganser

Very soggy and fed up Lapwing!

An equally soggy Ruff

Yesterdays orange flagged Redshank; CJN was ringed 10 days ago up in Makkevika, Møre og Romsdal, 490Km to the north

Dunlin, also from yesterday

And this very pale and unusual juvenile Little Stint was also in Sevika yesterday had me trying to turn it into allsorts (I paid close attention to its feet!) 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

25th August

Heavy rain at dawn soon passed through leaving a good autumnal feeling day – overcast with a fresh easterly wind; the nets, while never busy yielded a nice range of birds including an angry female Sparrowhawk, 3 Bramblings and single Tree Pipit, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Fieldfare.   The sea was fairly quiet with the trickle of waders still heading south and birds round the lighthouse included a Red-throated Pipit with a general increase in White Wagtails and Meadow Pipits and a good flock of c50 Crossbills over Lebeltet.

                The coast was then packed full of birds with another big wader influx but the highlight was a smart group of 3 juvenile Black Terns which dropped into Sevika for a few minutes (a Norwegian tick!); waders were everywhere as totals included 550+ Dunlin, 73+ Ringed Plover, 165+ Redshank (including an orange flagged bird which I’m not sure where it’s from), 27+ Knot, a Temminck’s Stint, 6 Little Stints, a Grey Plover, a Spotted Redshank, 22+ Turnstone, 6 Ruff, 4 Sanderling and assorted Tringa’s.   Other birds out there included my first 2 Pintail of the autumn, 10 Wigeon, 70 Teal and the female Goshawk zig-zagging through the rocks by Fuglejønna.

                A little look around the sheltered side of the plantations then produced 9 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Redstarts, a Cuckoo, 15+ Tree Pipits, 16 Whinchats and a few more Yellow Wagtails.

A rather surprised looking juvenile Fieldfare

Lesser Whitethroat

Record shots of the Black Terns in Sevika - quite a rare bird here!

Spotted Redshank

Temminck's Stint

Ringed Plover


Little Stint


Monday, 24 August 2015

24th August

The blazing strong easterlies continued but the few nets we were able to open produced single Tree Pipit, Garden Warbler and Pied Flycatcher; the rest of the morning was pretty quiet with a few Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits around, several Kestrels and Sparrowhawks heading south, 450 Greylag Geese, a Red-throated Diver and a few waders.

                It was also a bit quieter around the area as well with 10+ Tree Pipits, 3 Redstarts, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Pied Flycatchers, 16 Whinchats, the Goshawk again and at least 5 Peregrines including a big young female chasing a redshank across Verevågen.   Two Rooks were new in Vågsvollvika late afternoon with 80+ Hooded Crows and 2 Carrion Crows.

A quiet day really with nothing posing for my camera so here's a few birds from my time on Fair Isle - any of which I would love to catch again here this autumn!
Blackpoll Warbler, 2009

River Warbler, 2007

Lesser Grey Shrike, 2007

Great Reed Warbler, 2009

Corking adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher, 2009

Sunday, 23 August 2015

23rd August

Lovely at first light with clear skies and a very light breeze but this lasted less than two hours as the easterly wind soon grew to a strong force 7!   Single Tree Pipit and Spotted Flycatchers were caught in the small weather window while offshore another 500 Greylag Geese were encouraged to move in the light winds along with a few waders, 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Velvet Scoters and 5 Arctic Terns; a few raptors started to move first thing with 4 Kestrels and 7 Sparrowhawks going south but the best was a Goshawk which came in low across the sea and inland but the increasing wind stopped any bigger numbers.

                There was a general increase in White Wagtails and Meadow Pipits around the lighthouse along with a handful of Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits before birds inland included 8 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Redstarts, 33 Whinchats and the female Goshawk still while there were two Spotted Redshanks in Verevågen.

- The orange flagged Dunlin I saw in Sevika a few days ago was indeed ringed on Svalbard as a juvenile in 2012 and had been seen in France in May this year.

A Sparrowhawk pulling some ridiculous shapes as it was chasing some Wagtails, it looks like the photos should be rotated around but these were the actual angles it was using!  Flying sideways while looking the opposite direction is very impressive!


White Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail