Dec 31, 2014

31st of december 2014

Alas, not much birding lately. So my yearlist for Bergen ended with 140 species. Next year no year listing planned, we'll see what 2015 brings...
Happy new year to all of you!

Dec 4, 2014

Two new for Bergen

This morning I had a walk at the Marine Biological Station in Bergen, resulting in a new one for Bergen: Little Auk, which was still present. Also four Common Scoters and a Black-headed Gull at the same place. At Kalandsvannet the Slavonian Grebe was still present, being new for Bergen community as well. So far this year in Bergen 140 species for the year, still missing Green Woodpecker and Nutcracker of the more common species. Total for Bergen now 163.

Nov 27, 2014

Parrot Crossbills at Herdla

Finally a day off alone, so I decided for Herdla. A nice stroll produced two White-fronted Geese, some 150 Greylags and 11 Pink-footed Geese. Also two Razorbills, a Red-necked Grebe, two Slavonian Grebes and a Jack Snipe. No sign of the Richard'd Pipit. A calling Great Northern Diver also present. Best part was at the fort, with some 25 Parrot Crossbills (at least I think so) and a Marsh Tit!

Two birds of the flock. crossbills with big bills
another bird with a huge bill

Oct 19, 2014

the Netherlands

Last week a family visit home in the Netherlands. Almost no birding, only twitched two birds. One a much debated, but probably very good White-crowned Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga near Schiphol on the first saturday. The other a Steppe Grey Shrike Lanius lahtora pallidirostris at Den Helder in the north of the country. The latter was a real lifer for me resulting in having 446 species on my Dutch list.

White-crowned Wheatear by Sybrand de Bruin

Steppe Grey Shrike, photo's by Jan van der Laan

Back in Norway I visited Herdla with Hickman and Robin. Rather quiet, but with some geese. Five bernicla Brent Geese, three Greater White-fronted Geese of the race albifrons and no less than sixteen Pink-footed Geese. Further one Red-necked Grebe and three Slavonian Grebes.

Oct 6, 2014

Red-breasted Flycatcher at Herdlevær

Early morning birding at Herdlevær in beautiful autumn weather. It resulted in finding a Red-breasted Flycatcher. At first it showed well for about half a minute, but it was elusive after a Peregrine Falcon had flown over. It was rather vocal, but not constantly calling. Typical dry rattle: "trrrrr",  recalling a soft Wren. This call is different from the call of Taiga Flycatcher, which is even more dry and harder. I didn't see the bird well enough to see any plumage differences with the latter.
Alas, no sound recording and no pics either, because it was too elusive after I identified it. Both Egil Franzen and Bjørnard Skjold, who were birding in the vicinity, didn't see the bird.
Did get a sound recording of a Yellow-browed Warbler which was present as well. Further a flyby Grey Wagtail, a group of 22 Pink-footed Geese, a Common Chiffchaff, several Blue Tits, a Blackcap, a Garden Warbler and a Yellowhammer...

Yellow-browed Warbler:

Oct 5, 2014

After the storm. Herdla

Spent a few hours at Herdla  with my daughter in beautiful weather after the gales of friday and saturday. Hoped for some good birds... No rarities, but it wasn't dull either.
Best bird was a flyby Rough-legged Buzzard, heading south. Another nice one was a Jack Snipe. Further a Little Stint, good numbers of Dunlin, the Northern Pintail still about, a Red-throated Loon and twelve Pink-footed Geese. Passerines: two Northern Wheatears, lots of Rock and Meadow Pipits and some ten Skylarks on the fields and some ten (!) Willow Tits around the ringing station.

flock of twelve Pink-footed Geese

Sep 24, 2014

Yellow-browed Warbler

After a night shift I had to take Hickman out before I could go to sleep. About 150 meters from my house I heard a Yellow-browed Warbler call high up in the trees. It called about ten times its characteristic tsju-weet. Hadn't anything on me, so didn't sound-recorded it. Bird nr 137 this year in Bergen (but not on my house list, alas)!

Sep 8, 2014

Grasshopper Warbler on Turøy

Tried Turøy for the first time this autumn and it was good with lots of birds. At learst four Pied Flycatchers, many Meadow Pipits on the ground, three Tree Pipits, three Chiffchaffs and Robins all over the island. A calling Grey-headed Woodpecker was quite early and a Kestrel is worth mentioning, but definitely the best bird was a Grasshopper Warbler skulking in the bushes at the old school. Always exciting to find a locustella in september...
Below some record shots of the bird.

Grasshopper Warbler

Sep 5, 2014

Migration and rabbits

A walk with Hickman at Flesland produced a good deal migrating birds this morning. Plenty of Meadow Pipits, Wood Pigeons and Yellowhammers about. Flyby Jay's at both Flesland and Rådalen.
But what does this rabbit at Flesland. Is it a domesticated one, that escaped? I don't know. It's a sweet creature, anyhow.

Aug 31, 2014

Ruff for the year

At Flesland a group of six Ruffs was still present. 135th bird for the year in Bergen.

Robin at Skogsøy last week

Aug 23, 2014

Tveitevannet, gulls and ducks

Checked the gulls at Tveitevannet this morning. With Pallas's Gull in Oslo in mind, an inspiring thing to do, but nothing special today. Mostly Common Gulls and a few Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and of course the usual Mallards and Tufted Ducks...

juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull

juvenile Herring Gull

eclipse male Mallard

Aug 21, 2014


Guided a dutch birder (Mark Eising) on Herdla today. As expected lots of waders with many Ruffs, Golden Plovers, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Dunlins and a few Eurasian Curlews, but not any special birds though two fine juvenile Little Stints showed very well.
At Ravnanger we saw a Nutcracker flying over the car.

juvenile Little Stint

Aug 19, 2014


Just had to try this morning and did an hour or so sea watching at Herdlevær. Suppose the strong wind was from the wrong direction (north), because the only species I saw were Northern Gannets (ca 100) and Greater Black-backed Gulls. Circumstances were rather difficult due to the very strong wind and I was alone, so it could well be that that there was more about than I saw...I'll have another try next week for some shearwaters if I'm lucky...
Further at Herdlevær a nice group of Starlings, a young Whinchat, three Northern Wheatears among others. A very quick look at Tjeldstø only resulted in seeing the Bar-headed Geese, which are present for a long time already.

Aug 18, 2014

Bergen year list

After a lull of almost two months I had a new bird for the year for Bergen. A stroll on Flesland gård in steady rain produced two Eurasian Curlews, comprising 134 bird species so far in 2014 (by the way, only the second sighting for me of this species in Bergen). Further a group of eighteen Greylag Geese.
Missed the best bird this summer, a Sanderling on Nordnes...

Aug 13, 2014

Herdla, lots of waders

This morning a trip to Herdla, which proved to be very well. Loads of waders, behaving rather nervous though. I think that most of the birds were already present for a few days, but two and a half our produced one Sanderling, three Wood Sandpipers, nine Greenshanks, two Little Stints, two Red Knots, two Ruddy Turnstones, five Grey Plovers, about 150 Ruffs, 100 Dunlins and about 100 Golden Plovers. Besides that a family of Shellducks, that probably bred somewhere around Herdla. Not bad at all. Think these numbers are due to the bad weather recently...

Jul 27, 2014


Last week only som walks in the neighbourhood, ie Nattland. Tried to find some butterflies, but the variety is very low. Have to try other areas I guess. Many White's (Green-veined and Small most of them) and a few Small Coppers, Arran Browns and Large Wall Browns...

Small Copper, Ildsgullvinge Lycaena phlaeas

Jul 10, 2014

Demoiselle Crane

On the road through southern Norway to Denmark for a family holiday. The report of a Demoiselle Crane near Larvik changed the route. Saw it on monday. Good bird, I think, as do lots of other birders. At the time of writing this post, the bird has gone. The evening spent in Kristiansand on the 10th produced a calling European Nightjar at Holskogen, another new one for my Norwegian list. Otherwise no birding. Picture taken by Anne with a small lens.

As a kind of co-hobby I watch butterflies (and damsel/dragonflies) as well, as do many other birders; they fly, migrate, wander and get lost once in a while. In the Netherlands I was used to a real twitching culture...Numbers in Norway, especially Hordaland, are low compared to warmer areas, but this summer the weather is extremely good, so may be I'll find some more species than the numerous Pieris-species. So far I have seen a staggering 27 species in Norway...

Scarce Copper/Oransjegullvinge Lycaena virgaureae in Oslo

Arran Brown/Fløyelsringvinge Erebia ligea, also in Oslo

Jun 24, 2014

Great Snipes

Last weekend we made a camping trip with the family and took the opportunity to try Great Snipes at Isdalsvatnet on the Hardangervidda. We had to walk around for about an hour with the three of us (Anne, Robin and me) through the fields which are good for the species. Finally Anne flushed two birds. We only saw them fly on several occasions. Anyhow, I'll try next year a little bit earlier in the year to see them display.
Further the usual Common Crane, thunbergi Yellow Wagtails, Bluethroats, Twites and Mealy Redpolls.

Jun 8, 2014

Twite and Arctic Tern

Had two new Bergen-species for the year today, both at Espeland. One was -much to my surprise- a Twite (is it breeding?) and the other an Arctic Tern, that flew by and didn't bother the Common Terns sitting on their nests. These two resulting in 133 species so far...Further a couple of singing Garden Warblers, an Eider with four chicks and a Great Spotted Woodpecker with begging young.
A morning walk at Herdla produced nothing interesting, only two flyby Eurasian Curlews are worth mentioning.
Common Redshank at Herdla

Jun 5, 2014

Long-eared Owl at last

Yesterday evening another try for the Long-eared Owl, found by Ola Moen the night before. He heard two young birds calling.
At the locality I would meet Terje Hansen, Anders Bjørdal and Kåre Skarsvaag. We didn't have to wait long before at least one of the birds began calling. It was quite a long distance. Tried to record it, but nothing to hear on the recording, alas. We heard two birds. Further Tawny Owl and two displaying Woodcocks.
Before that I heard one Quail calling infrequently at Mjøs. 

Jun 4, 2014

Still looking for Bergen species

Yesterday evening another try for night birds in Bergen for the year list, but no luck. Tried Kalandsvannet, but I had only a Woodcock.
Today Espeland and Grimstad, but no special birds here either. Have to see Arctic Tern, but can't find it yet.
Ring-necked Doves still present at Espeland

Jun 2, 2014

Great Grey and Ural Owl

Last weekend I made a trip to Hedmark and it paid off! Did some birding on my own on saturday evening and on sunday I visited the woods around Elverum together with Jonas Langbråten and Lars Christian Stømner. We found Ural Owl and Great Grey Owl! These birds were both lifers for me.
Further I saw some eastern Norway specialities such as Ortolan Bunting (5), a Treelark,  Red-backed Shrike (a pair) a Black Woodpecker as well as many singing Common Redthroats...
Below some pictures and  a few sound recordings.

female Ural Owl

Great Grey Owl on the nest with at least two juveniles

Not the best photo's as compared to some others on the internet, but anyway...

alarm call of Ural Owl:

singing Ortolan Bunting: (two birds)

early morning Ring-necked Pheasant (not found in western Norway)

On the way back evening sun at the Hardangervidda

May 30, 2014

Nice stroll along Kismul at Kalandsvannet

This morning Robin, Hickman and I made a walk along the western side of Kalandsvannet, at Kismul. Beautiful scenery with lots of singing birds. Heard at least four singing Icterine Warblers, four Garden Warblers, two singing Spotted Flycatchers among others and a recently fled family of Long-tailed Tits.
Tomorrow leaving for Hedmark to try the big owls (Great Grey and Ural)!

Night birding

I've been birding several evenings lately without any luck, but yesterday I had a Grasshopper Warbler and a few Woodcocks at the Marinbiologisk Stasjon near Flesland. The recording of the Grasshopper Warbler is too bad to be published, but Woodcock is to be heard below.

May 27, 2014

Wood Warbler again, now Bergen

Just five minutes from my house a singing Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix in  the so-called Pitteskogen in Nattland (found by another birder yesterday). Good bird for the Bergen year list, on which 126 species up til today. Managed some shots and sound recording (below).

Male Wood Warbler with clear yellow throat, yellow eyebrow and contrasting dark eyestripe. Note also the elongated body with very long wings as well as the dark tertials with prominent yellow fringes.


May 20, 2014

White-backed Woodpecker

I knew about a nest of White-backed Woodpeckers, so I had to go out and try to make pics and sound recordings. They were easy to find, making lots of noise, these woodpeckers, so I managed to take some pictures and recordings. Taking pictures in a mixture of sun and shade is not the easiest thing, but with some effort and patience I got some reasonable shots and recordings of the call (see below). I did not use tape to lure them, by the way. Further on the way back a Common Buzzard soaring over one of Lindås beautiful valleys.

female White-backed Woodpecker

adult and young birds at the nest site

In the afternoon a walk with Anne, Robin and Hickman at Myrdalsvannet. We had two singing Icterine Warblers, first of the year for me. Below a link to the song of one of them.

May 19, 2014

Regular morning walk

During the months I'm off jobb to take care of Robin (may, june and july), I use to walk in the neighbourhood with her and Hickman. Not many special birds about, but today my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year and some five or six singing Pied Flycatchers (sound recording below), which is always nice. House Sparrow are abundant around Sædalen and Sanddalen.

male House Sparrow

song of Pied Flycatcher in my garden:

May 17, 2014


Today I decided to walk a bit with Robin and Hickman at Tjedstø. About the first birds I saw at Husvatnet were a couple of Garganey's! It could off course well be that these are the same birds as reported on the same spot 13-05. Anyhow, new county species for me. Missed them so far...
Coming home I saw that Bjornar Skjold had them as well, independently.
Further one or two Lesser Whitethroats along the road to Skjold.

male and female Graganey

Later on the day I checked the reported Glaucous Gull on Tveitevannet, which I couldn't find. The lingering possible fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull was present though. I don't know if this is a fuscus for sure, but it looks good with light head, slender bill, dark back and very long wings...(bird being ringed in Bergen, by the way)

2nd calendar fuscus in full moult. Among others new mantle- and back feathers, new secondaries and beginning primary moult, growing new inner and outer primaries old.

2nd calendar Herring Gull

Mute Swan

May 14, 2014

Wood Warbler

I am fond of Phylloscopus-warblers and Wood Warbler is a real beauty, so this morning Robin and I went to see one. Ola Moen found one in Vollom bøkskogen on Lindås yesterday and as to be expected it was still present today. It was singing all the time and behaving very restless in the canopy. Got a record shot, though! A sound recording is linked below!

Male Wood Warbler


later on the day: European Nuthatch, breeding near my house

May 10, 2014

Glossy Ibis!!!

Friday the ninth of May at Sandvin, Odda: Glossy Ibis. We saw this bird in the shallow waters of Sandvin, together with a few others from Bergen. Glossy Ibis is a very good bird for Norway, only the 19th!!
It was a little bit restless, but at least I got a distant shot.

second year Glossy Ibis

May 6, 2014

Golden Eagles again

While driving alongside Haukelandsvannet I had two soaring Golden Eagles, one adult and one subadult. I think they are the same birds I had a few weeks ago at Bontveit.
Had to park the car, but managed to take one record shot.

subadult Golden Eagle

May 5, 2014

Herdla, rain and a few birds

Today I had to guide two british birders for an afternoon. We chose Herdla, because of the short amount of time we had. The weather had changed (it rained continuously), so some activity was to be expected, but not many birds were migrating or had grounded.
But it was not bad after all. One fly by Whimbrel, one singing Dunlin, a group of Golden Plovers and the usual Redshanks and Ringed Plovers. Further a fine summer plumage Slavonian Grebe, some five Wheatears, two Linnets, three Twites, two Black-headed Gulls and ten Barn Swallows. Not many ducks, maybe ten Velvet Scoters, four Common Shellducks worth mentioning. At least the birders were satisfied.

May 1, 2014

Rock Ptarmigan in Bergen

While others spend 1 may at Skogsøy for the Yellow-billed Diver bonanza (and it was with 37 individuals today), I went with my family to Austefjell, Gullfjellet. It was cold, but sunny weather. On top we had a splendid male Rock Ptarmigan which showed well. This one new for my Bergen list!
Further some other mountain specialities: two singing Ring Ouzels, a Rough-legged Buzzard, five Wheatears and a Common Sandpiper (at Osavannet).
I'll probably go back a little later in the season to try Dotterel and Golden Plover.

fine male Rock Ptarmigan

Hickman, Anne and Robin

Apr 26, 2014

Capercaillie still present

The female Capercaillie was as expected still present this morning, just sitting and warming itself in the morning sun. I'd like to have it on the ground, but Robin wouldn't let me...

Apr 25, 2014

Western Capercaillie

This female Caipercaillie is visiting a school at Indre Arna in Bergen. It is living at the roof of this school every spring  for a few weeks, doing so for five years in a row now.
Every now and then it is walking and sitting on the ground, behaving extremely confident. I didn't know about this until today after being tipped. I will definitely return one of these days for better pictures!
Further this morning brief views of a White-backed Woodpecker on the east side of Nordvik, another new Bergen species for me!

Apr 24, 2014

Northern Shoveler

This afternoon I found a pair of Northern Shovelers at Kalandsviken. New for my Bergen list. Further the first Tree Pipits at Kalandsvannet and Nordvik.
Lately I saw a Ring Ouzel at Rødland, up to three Red-throated Divers on Kalandsvannet and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Sandalsbotn. Bergen yearlist total until today 104...

record shots of the birds