mandag 10. november 2014

Late fall rarities!

Usually the birdlife slowly dies out trough fall, as most migrants leave our northern regions. But this autumn has been different, as a handful of extremely rare birds has showed up in late October and early November. 
The first alarm came in the last week of October, when an Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) showed up at Ramberg, followed by a Hume's Leaf Warbler at Fredvang a few days later. It all culminated with an highly unexpected Western Bonelli's Warbler at remote Mulstøa the first week of November!
The Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) at Ramberg
- mongolturteldue
Colors of outer tail feathers suggest subspecies meena, but there has been
som discussions about the id of subspecies of this bird
- mongolturteldue

The Western Bonelli's Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli) at Mulstøa.
The Bonelli's Warblers makes a difficult id-complex, but diagnostic
calls where heard by Martin Eggen, who found the bird. Details in
plumage also supports bonelli
- eikesanger

Also, some more common birds have shown unusual behavior in the Lofoten Islands. Grey-headed Woodpeckers are more numerous than usual in the eastern islands, and Black Grouse gather in large flocks along the coast.

A female Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) near Henningsvær
- gråspett

Female Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) near Henningsvær
- orrfugl

The Coot (Fulica atra) is a rare winter guest in the Lofoten Islands.
 This bird has been in Borgpollen since early November
- sothøne

A lonely Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) at Leknes in
November - probably an individual that lost its flock during
September migration
- kortnebbgås

onsdag 5. november 2014


Last night was beautiful, cold and clear, with an almost full moon and the first layer of white powder covering the mountain peaks. When an intensive northern light flashed the sky for when I was on my way home from work, it was time to stop and get out the camera...

fredag 24. oktober 2014

Old friends back in the Vestfjord

From the 1980'ies and up to 2006 Killer Whales where a regular sight in the Vestfjord between the mainland and the Lofoten Islands, as they followed the herring to their wintering grounds from October. But then the herring decided to change their migration route, and started wintering in the open sea in the north-west, and with them the Killer Whales disappeared.
However - every now and then the Killer Whales come by on «scouting trips» to check out if there are any signs of herring in the fjord. And last week they where here - a group of some 20 animals - some of them well known individuals from twenty years ago!

torsdag 23. oktober 2014

September at Røst

Røst is widely known for its seabird colonies. For many birders, however, the fall migration is the most interesting period on this remote island. Situated far off the Lofoten Islands, Røst becomes a magnet for rare, out-of-course migrants.
When I visited the island in September, we combined the search for passerines on the main island Røstlandet with a pelagic trip to the waters off Skomvær lighthouse.

Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are gathering everywhere on the island, and
seems to like it around the sheep. Stær.

The siberian Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) is regular on
fall migration at Røst - gulbrynsanger

A group of first year Red Knots (Calidris canutus) - polar sniper

First year Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus) at Skomvær - polarjo

A couple of Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus) showed up around
the boat off Skomvær - grålire

A soon as we had loaded some chum in the water, the Fulmars
(Fulmarus glacialis) showed up around the boat - havhest

A first year Greater Black-backed gull (Larus marinus) - svartbak

onsdag 22. oktober 2014

August in Lofoten: shorebird migration.

Late August is the peak period for migrating waders in the Lofoten Islands, and with right weather conditions the numbers can be rather good:

A first year male Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) - brushane
A flock of Curlew Sandpipers (Calidris ferruginea) - tundrasniper

Little Stint (Calidris minuta) was the dominating species on the mudflats
this August, with flocks up to hundreds - dvergsnipe

A Little Stint (Calidris minuta) deeply consentrated in search for food
- dvergsnipe

lørdag 30. august 2014

Minke Whale

This summer a Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) decided to swim trough a narrow inlet into a tiny fjord near Svolvær and stay there for a while. It is a lot of fish in the fjord, and the whale seems to like it in this new summer resort. We are excited to see how long it will stay.

Minke Whale near Svolvær - vågehval

lørdag 23. august 2014

Late summer birds in Southern Norway

In early august is dominated by the new generation of birds that have left their nests during the summer. Here are some of them that I met at Tjøme in Vestfold County in Southern Norway.

 This young Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Picoides minor) where captured
and ringed at Hvasser - dvergspett

A family group of Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) where merrily
flying and singing at the island Sandø - låvesvaler

Family group of Red-backed Shrike (Lanus collurio) - an adult male
and two young birds - tornskate

Young Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) - tornskate

Family group of Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima) - ærfugl

tirsdag 12. august 2014

Birding in Finnmark

In June-July my son and I did a two week birding road trip to Finnmark. We started with four days in The Pasvik Valley, continued with the coastal road on the Varanger Peninsula to Hamningberg, before we spent a night at the Hornøy Lighthouse.
From Vardø we took Hurtigruten to Kjøllefjord and spent a couple of days at Slettnes, before we returned via Stabbursneset i Porsanger.
Here are some of the birding highlights from the trip.
A thousand THANKS to Arnt Wiseth at Nikon Norway, who helped me out with equipment when my faithful old tele zoom had to go to the lens doctor...

Juvenile Siberian Tit (Poecile cinctus), Nilasmyra, Pasvik - lappmeis

Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus), Pasvik - lavskrike

Male Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Melkefoss, Pasvik - dompap
Singing Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), Skrøytnes, Pasvik
- sivsanger

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus), Vadsø - svømmesnipe

Male Steller's Eider (Polysticta Stelleri), Vadsø harbor - stellerand

Temminck's stint (Calidris temminckii), Skallelv - temmincksnipe

Portrait of Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis), Hornøy - toppskarv

Feathers of Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis),
Hornøy - toppskarv

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), Hornøy
- lunde 
Common Guillemot (Uria aalge), Hornøy - lomvi

Common Guillemot (Uria aalge), Hornøy - lomvi

Rock Pipit (Antus petrosus), Hornøy - skjærpiplerke

Female Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus), Slettnes - lappspurv

Female Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus), Slettnes - lappspurv

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus), Slettnes - lappiplerke