Saturday, 31 October 2015

31st October

Still misty and murky but the easterly wind had dropped slightly at dawn allowing me to open a few nets (the wind picked back up after a couple of hours) which produced 9 new Blackbirds – including a Swedish control and a Blackcap in the first couple of rounds but nothing afterwards.   The poor visibility and having to nip backwards and forwards to check the nets limited the time I spent seawatching but birds did include a smart summer plumaged White-billed Diver, 4 Great-northern Divers, 21 Red-throated Divers, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, 153 Common Scoter and 536 Razorbills but a much reduced 2 Kittiwakes and 2 Little Auks.

                A Rough-legged Buzzard was hovering over Seviksmarka and a 1st winter White-tailed Eagle flew over through the morning before a walk round the coast was largely unremarkable with a Slavonian Grebe in Sevika, the young male Peregrine still, 3 Wheatears, a Lapland Bunting and a slightly out of place Great-spotted Woodpecker on the rocks in Sevika.

Slinky Minky having a snooze in between bouts of destroying the native wildlife

Long-tailed Duck

Friday, 30 October 2015

30th October

The overcast skies and very strong, cold easterly winds remained but this time with added murk and occasional light drizzle; the sea was a bit quieter in the first three hours but totals did include 2 White-billed Divers, 2 Great-northern Divers, 2 Red-necked Grebes and 5 Scaup along with 44 Red-throated Divers, 5 Tufted Ducks, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, 465 Common Scoter, 27 Velvet Scoter, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 67 Kittiwakes, 989 Razorbills and 86 Little Auks.

                The afternoon was also quiet in the dreary conditions with 2 Wheatears on Skarvodden, a group of 9 Herons south and a young male Peregrine looking at home out on Steinodden now that the Gyrfalcon seems to have moved off while inland the only birds of note were a male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in Lebeltet Nord with a Tit flock (only the second I’ve seen this year!) and a Rough-legged Buzzard hovering out over the fields.
Migrating Herons

Thursday, 29 October 2015

29th October

Pretty much identical conditions to yesterday – overcast with a blazing, cold easterly wind; I spent the first three hours seawatching  where there were again thousands of birds passing SE with the highlights being 3 White-billed Divers, 12 Great-northern Divers and an increased 3,363 Razorbills.   The rest of the totals comprised 62 Red-throated Divers, single Red-necked Grebe and Slavonian Grebes, 4 Brent Geese, 542 Common Scoter, 48 Velvet Scoter, 20 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Purple Sandpipers, 20 Common Gulls, 158 Kittiwakes, 11 Guillemots, a Black Guillemot and a good 447 Little Auks.

                The area was then fairly quiet with a Slavonian Grebe in Sevika, a Red-necked Grebe in Verevågen, an increase to 44 Goldeneye, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, 4 Woodlarks at Bakkan, a Chiffchaff and 2 Lapland Buntings.   There were then 17 Pink-footed Geese and 3 Great-crested Grebes on Kvilljobukta (but not yesterday’s Bewick’s Swans!) and 3 Slavonian Grebes and 2 Great-northern Divers in Nordhasselvika.

                Another hour’s seawatch in the afternoon revealed far fewer birds passing but a 1st winter Little Gull went SE along with 11 Red-throated Divers, 3 Tufted Ducks, 175 Common Scoter, 3 Velvet Scoter, a Black-headed Gull, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 41 Kittiwakes, 124 Razorbills and another 25 Little Auks.

                A little look in Vågsvollvika late afternoon then produced a good flock of 11 Herons, 53 Wigeon and 2 lingering Wheatears.

A rapidly disappearing Little Auk

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

28th October

A real autumnal feeling day with complete cloud cover and a strong, cold easterly wind; I went out and about for the first few hours but there wasn’t much passing Steinodden although a Purple Sandpiper, a Great-northern Diver, a Slavonian Grebe, a Jack Snipe and 2 Wheatears were out along the coast while birds inland included a Rough-legged Buzzard, a good looking Siberian Chiffchaff in Lebeltet, 3 Northern Bullfinches, 6 Woodlarks at Bakkan, 150+ Fieldfares, 4 Grey Wagtails, a Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Short-eared Owl along with much reduced number of Bramblings, Siskins etc.

                I got back to the lighthouse mid-morning where there were thousands of birds streaming SE at sea – they annoyingly must have been taking a line that missed out Steinodden – typical!   The rest of the day was dominated by seawatching where my highlights were a Leach’s Petrel and a White-billed Diver while other bits that I saw included 2 Red-necked Grebes, 2 Scaup, 6 Purple Sandpipers and a Curlew.

                The rest of the days totals (which I saw a good proportion of) were made up of 144 Red-throated Divers, 170 Gannets, 17 Teal, 7 Tufted Ducks, 13 Long-tailed Ducks, 115 Eiders, 100 Velvet Scoter, 1,510 Common Scoter, 27 Red-breasted Mergansers, 16 Black-headed Gulls, 123 Common Gulls, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 580 Herring Gulls, 90 Great Black-backed Gulls, 471 Kittiwakes, 53 Guillemots, 2,010 Razorbills and 148 Little Auks.   A pod of 4-5 Pilot Whales also showed well late morning.


Little Auk

Record shot of the Siberian Chiffchaff

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

27th October

Perfect conditions through the morning; overcast with a light but increasing easterly breeze.   The nets however were much quieter than yesterday with only 33 new birds caught including single Blackcap and Chiffchaff.   It was another great morning for overhead passage though with at least 3,200 Bramblings heading SE dominating along with smaller numbers of the usual autumn species including Goldfinches, Siskins, Chaffinches, Redpolls, Yellowhammers and c730 Fieldfares in two large flocks.

                Other bits and pieces through the first half of the good morning (until the increasing wind reached a point that stopped the passage) included 16 Waxwings, the first Whooper Swan of the autumn, 2 Northern Bullfinches, 33+ Crossbills, a Great Grey Shrike which flashed by, a 1st winter White-tailed Eagle low over the lighthouse, a female Goshawk sat on the edge of Lebeltet, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 4 Grey Wagtails and at least 14 Sparrowhawks also heading SE.

                The wind gradually died down through the afternoon producing very pleasant conditions to be out in and birds along the coast included the female Surf Scoter still in the same place, three exhausted and skinny Little Auks resting in funny places (including one picked up off the road being attacked by Magpies!), 3 Wheatears, 6 Twite in Sevika and a Lapland Bunting.   Inland, birds of note included now 9 Woodlarks at Bakkan along with 6 Waxwings and another Northern Bullfinch, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers and a general continuation of this morning’s birds with little flocks of Finches mooching around and a couple more Sparrowhawks.

Blue Tit

Stranded Little Auks - they were pretty skinny but quite feisty and flew off strongly when released back out to sea


White-tailed Eagle


Velvet Scoter

Monday, 26 October 2015

26th October

After several days of howling, gale force winds and rain, a bright day with a light southerly wind was always going to be good and so it proved; the nets dominated most of the day with 140 new birds caught, unfortunately 101 of those were Blue Tits which came in a couple of big waves but the total also included 2 cracking male Northern Bullfinches, 2 Treecreepers and 4 Coal Tits.   The morning was also excellent for birds overhead especially raptors with c50 Sparrowhawks dominating but also producing single Goshawk, Hen Harrier and Rough-legged Buzzard while 2 Merlins went south at sea.

                Other birds overhead through the morning included my first 2 Waxwings of the autumn, at least 3 Snow Buntings, 10 Twite, 28+ Crossbills, a Woodcock and big numbers of Finches whirling around but seemingly not really going anywhere purposefully with 600+ Bramblings interspersed with Siskins, Common Redpolls, Goldfinches, Chaffinches and a few Yellowhammers.   I didn’t really get the chance to look at the sea too much but the little I saw included a Great-northern Diver, a few Little Auks and Kittiwakes, 4 Red-throated Divers and a handful of Guillemots and Razorbills.

                With the busy nets I only had a couple of hours late afternoon to get out into the field but it was full of birds with huge flocks of Bramblings in their high hundreds roaming the plantations again with smaller but significant numbers of Common Redpolls, Siskins and Goldfinches and big flocks of 800+ Jackdaws and 600+ Starlings out in the fields.   Bits and pieces were made up of a Slavonian Grebe and 6 Grey Wagtails in Sevika and a Black Woodpecker at Groda – a brilliant day but just lacking that one quality bird!

Not much fell to my camera today despite it being pretty busy so here's the same Brambling front and back!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

25th October

A rough morning with a blazing strong force 8 westerly gale along with several vicious showers whipping through so time was spent watching the sea where it was probably a bit too windy for big numbers of birds with a late juvenile Arctic Tern, 2 Bonxies, 18 Kittiwakes, 7 Little Auks, a Great-northern Diver and small numbers of Auks and Ducks.

                The coast was difficult in the very windy conditions (although it was sunny and the wind was almost imperceptively dropping) and birds included a Jack Snipe, an adult Arctic Tern in Verevågen, 3 Wheatears and a Lapland Bunting along with a few more Little Auks, Razorbills and Kittiwakes passing by; the only other thing of note really was the first Snow Bunting of the autumn over the Radiomastene.
Long-tailed Duck

Slightly unseasonal adult summer Arctic Tern

Saturday, 24 October 2015

24th October

A brisk southerly wind meant that most of the morning’s interest was on the sea where birds passing southwards included a pale phase adult Arctic Skua, 7 Red-throated Divers, 36 Common Scoter, 11 Velvet Scoter, 2 Dunlin, 51 Kittiwakes, 41 Guillemots, 200 Razorbills and 7 Little Auks while 3 Grey Wagtails and a Blackcap were the only other birds of note.

                Around the coast in the afternoon birds included more awesome views of the very relaxed Gyrfalcon perched out on Steinodden, a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine, 34 Goldeneye, 5 Wheatears and 50+ Rock Pipits while a Great Grey Shrike at the Radiomastene was the only thing of note inland before the weather closed in mid-afternoon.

No captions needed!

Friday, 23 October 2015

23rd October

It was still very windy first thing after a really wild night but the wind eased down pretty rapidly to become pleasant by mid-morning; the sea was surprisingly average with a 1st winter Little Gull heading north the highlight along with 150 Common Scoter, 10 Kittiwakes, 3 Great-northern Divers, 90+ Gannets and a few Auks.

                The bushes were quiet but presumably the same 3 Woodlarks flew over the lighthouse at lunchtime somewhat bizarrely in the company of 2 Crossbills; there was then little change around the coast with a Purple Sandpiper, a Lapland Bunting and a Slavonian Grebe in Verevågen along with noticeable increases in Meadow Pipits, Rock Pipits and Starlings.

                There was little else but the Three-toed Woodpecker was still in Lebeltet along with a handful of Chaffinches, Bramblings, Siskins and Redpolls while a single Wheatear was still in Vågsvollvika.

The Three-toed Woodpecker in action

Still some Wheatears hanging on

Thursday, 22 October 2015

22nd October

A moderate SW wind with a bit of rain which soon cleared up allowed me to open some nets but I drew a blank; there was much more action on the sea with hundreds of Gannets, Razorbills and Gulls heading south but I didn’t look too much.   I went out to Steinodden late morning where good numbers of Gannets were streaming past at close range and the Gyrfalcon was as confiding as ever sat out on the tip while the highlight was a group of 3 Woodlarks at the Radiomastene.

                I then walked the rest of the coast in the ever increasing wind which was hard work but with some rewards including more amazing views of the Gyrfalcon scaring everything to death in Sevika before perching on a post and allowing me to get to within 10m of her, 3 Purple Sandpipers on the shore at Fuglejønna where the female Surf Scoter was still offshore, 2 Jack Snipe, a Lapland Bunting in Verevågen and a very big build-up of Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.   By late afternoon the weather had built up into the first real storm of the autumn with a blasting force 8-9 gale making birding almost impossible!
Posing well again today

trying to cough up a pellet

and cruising past



Oystercatchers trying to be synchronised until the third one joined in and ruined it

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

21st October

The weather finally broke with a moderate but increasing SW wind and a few showers in the morning giving way to extended rain in the afternoon; I wasn’t ringing today so an hour spent out on Steinodden produced a few birds heading SE including 2 Great-northern Divers, 2 Little Auks, 4 Red-throated Divers, 62 Common Scoters, 4 Velvet Scoters, 3 Kittiwakes, 31 Razorbills and a late juvenile Common Tern.

                The Gyrfalcon was still lurking around Skarvodden before the rain moved in and pretty much ended the day with a single Wheatear still here and the Scaup still in Vågsvollvika with the Goldeneye.

Great-northern Diver

Red-throated Diver

Little Auk

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

20th October

Still very calm but with plenty of cloud cover coming and going with a few heavy looking showers surrounding us but never actually raining here; the nets were saved by a flock of 27 Bramblings which were caught together early on while a big female Northern Bullfinch and a Common Redpoll were also noteworthy.

                There were a few birds around as well with Robins, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes calling from dawn and some good overhead passage unfortunately going NW slightly inland from the lighthouse so counts were very inaccurate with 300+ Bramblings dominating along with a few Goldfinches, Redpolls, Yellowhammers and Skylarks amongst others.   A late juvenile Arctic Tern flew south offshore and the Gyrfalcon did a close flypast before having a bit of a tussle with a Raven.

                There was little new along the coast with the Surf Scoter still in the same place, the Gyrfalcon cruising around, the Slavonian Grebe still in Sevika, a Jack Snipe, a Wheatear and a Lapland Bunting while there was a Black Woodpecker and 35 Fieldfares in Lebeltet Nord.   The female Scaup was still in Vågsvollvika along with 18 Goldeneye, another Wheatear, the Brent Goose and 99 Wigeon.

Northern Bullfinch

Gyrfalcon making friends with a Raven

Surf Scoter

Common Scoter

Black Woodpecker