Dec 26, 2015

Oriental Turtle Dove

After I saw this bird already on wednesday,  I went back today to take some pics in better light conditions. It kept up high in the trees. It has the characters of a meena, with the belly and undertail coverts very light and the tail feather tipped white.
Anyhow, a very good bird for Bergen. Hope it's going to stay in order to get some better pics. Tried the Kingfisher at Osterøy before and the Short-eared Owl at Flesland afterwards, but no luck with those two...
Oriental Turtle dove
Click to get better views

Nov 22, 2015

Cold weather, garden birds

Very nice, cold weather and birds coming to my garden. A few days ago I had a group of twelve Goldfinches and today a few Yellowhammers in the neighbourhood...Otherwise Bramblings all over the place

male Yellowhammer, click on pic for better result

Nov 4, 2015

A good day for auks in Bergen

After night-shift I took one of my regular tours at the Biological Station with Hickman (off course). Had two Little Auks, one of which was captured by a Grey Heron, but it got away. Further a Black Guillemot in winter plumage. It was swimming and diving too far away for any pics. This one was a new Bergen species for me! In the marshes a Water Rail was calling frequently. Not bad at all for a morning walk!

one of the two Little Auks

Oct 13, 2015

Fantastic autumn weather, loads of birds

Two mornings birding on Øygarden in fantastic autumn weather. Thrushes, Meadow Pipits, Bramblings, Chaffinches, Siskins, Goldcrests and Robins all over the place. Visited Herdlevær yesterday and Sæle and Hjelme today, resulting i two new Øygarden species for me. A flyby Hawfinch on Sæle and three Nuthatches, two on Sæle and one on Hjelme!
Further three Yellow-browed Warblers (two on Herdlevær and one at Hjelme), a flyby Lapland Bunting (my first of the year), some ten Chiffchaffs and at last some sylvia warblers with four Blackcaps and one Garden Warbler...

one of the Nuthatches on Sæle

Oct 10, 2015

a short week on Utsira

Was with my family for five days on Utsira. My brother Sybrand joined us for three days. High expectations as always, but no extreme birds. Very nice birding, though. What about 44 Yellow-browed Warblers on sunday! Also a bonelli warbler (bonelli/orientalis). DNA will hopefully decide on that bird. We found a Barred Warbler on tuesday.
Further Turtle Dove, Richards Pipits, Red-breasted Flycatchers, Grey Wagtails, Short-eared Owls, Hen Harriers, lots of Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Blackcaps.

the bonelli/orientalis

one of the 44 Yellow-broweds on sunday


Hen Harrier

Northern Fulmar not well 

Turtle Dove

Short-eared Owl

Sep 29, 2015

Yellow-browed Warblers about

Two days in a row to Øygarden. Yesterday the weather was too fine and today lots of wind. Birds few and far between, but on Herdlevær one or two Yellow-browed Warblers and at Sele another one. Some Coal Tits, Goldcrests and thrushes here and there. Further is a flyby Kestrel at Tjedstø worth mentioning. Still no sylvia warblers seen so far this autumn...

 Goldcrest at Herdlevær

Sep 27, 2015

Feeding the ducks; Northern Shoveler

Went to Nygårdsparken to look for the northern Shovelers present there (rare in Bergen). Took pics in bad light. Afterwards feeding gulls and ducks with Robin at the Tveitevannet...Here a sinensis Great Cormorant present (see explanation below the picture). Click on the pics!

 Northern Shoveler

Continental Great Cormorant (sinensis). On Great Cormorants the gular pouch has two angles: on this bird the upper is large (more than 70 degrees). Besides that, the lower gular angle falls well behind the eye, which make this bird a sinensis. In Atlantic (carbo) the upper angle would be less than 60 degrees and the lower angle would fall before the eye.

first year Lesser Black-backed Gull

Sep 13, 2015

Rose-coloured Starling

Another late afternoon harrier hunt on Øygarden didn't produce any harriers, although at least three ringtails are around the last few days.
However, I came across this Rose-coloured Starling at Straumsundet. No parking opportunities, just parked on the road for about a minute, resulting in this record shot...This could very well be the same bird as the one at Nautnes

Young Rose-coloured Starling

Sep 12, 2015

Quiet afternoon on Øygarden

With all the Pallid Harriers reported in south-western Norway, I just had to get out to Øygarden this afternoon. It was quiet, however. Visited Breivik, Herdlevær and Sture. On Herdlevær nine Ruffs and at Sture a Common Kestrel worth mentioning...

Common Kestrel at Sture

one of the nine Ruffs at Herdlevær

Sep 3, 2015

Black-headed Bunting and Osprey!

The Black-headed Bunting was still present at Herdlevær. It was difficult to find and I only saw it for one minute, while it was sitting on a wire...It flew off and I couldn't relocate it despite two hours of searching. Also a flyby Yellow Wagtail, hunting Sparrowhawk, some twenty Barn Swallows and two Tree Sparrows.
On the way back I saw an Osprey flying over the car. I couldn't stop, however, so no pics of that one. It was a new bird for Hordaland! On Turøy another hunting Sparrowhawk and a Common Kestrel.

Aug 30, 2015

Black-headed Bunting at Herdlevær!!!

Eating breakfast I got a report of a male Black-headed Bunting at Herdlevær, found by Bjørnard Skjold. Easy choice, so Robin and I headed out for it. After a few moments of waiting it hopped into view. It was quite shy however, so not the best pics. Anyhow my own.
It had a ring on the left foot, so it may well be Utsira's bird, that was there for a large part of the summer.

Black-headed Bunting

Aug 29, 2015


Yesterday free, end of august. Tried the Sanderling at Flesland without any luck. A walk at Herdlevær and Breivik produced quite a lot of Ruff and the first autumn warblers: three Willow Warblers and a Song Thrush...
At the Tveitevannet a quick scan for gulls, but only the local Common Gulls. Tried my lens with satisfying results.

second summer Common Gull

juvenile Common Gull

close up of the same juvenile

Aug 9, 2015

Madeira at sea

North Atlantic seabirds are fun! So we planned a short week with family on Madeira for birding and relaxing. So we did.
I took the well known three afternoon pelagics with Madeira Wind Birds, run by Hugo Romano and Catarina Fagundes. Both are specialised in finding seabirds in Madeiran waters. New taxa in red.
The first two afternoons we had very little wind and a bit more on the last afternoon. We had good birding and photo opportunities on all three days, but saw just one Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira in the almost dark at sea on the second day.
We saw one Desertas Petrel Pterodroma desertas at close range, but that one flew all too fast for photo's. Further three unidentified, but probable Desertas. Many Cory's Shearwaters Calonectris borealis and Bulwers Petrels Bulweria bulwerii around all the time. Otherwise 8 Wilson's Storm-petrels Oceanites oceanicus, two Madeiran Storm-petrels Oceanodroma castro, two European Storm-petrels Hydrobates pelagicus, three or four Great Shearwaters Puffinus gravis , one Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus and five Long-tailed Skuas Stercorarius longicaudus!
Earlier in the week I joined the night expedition to the breeding colony of the Zino's Petrels and heard them very good and even saw one at very close range (maybe two meters) as a recognisable silhouette in moonlight!

On the island all the endemics: Madeiran Barn Owl Tyto (tyto) schmitzi (heard only), c 10 Trocaz Pigeons Colomba trocaz, Berthelots Pipits Anthus berthelotii madeirensis, Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea schmitzi, Madeiran Firecrests Regulus madeirensis and Madeiran Finches Fringilla celebs maderensis.
Other birds included Common Buzzard, Kestrels canariensis, Yellow-legged Gulls atlantis, Plain Swifts, a few Pallid Swifts, Atlantic Canaries, one Spectacled Warbler (heard only), Blackcaps, Goldfinches and Siskins. No tits on the islands!

We also saw a few Bryde's Whales Balaenoptera edeni, a few groups of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins Stenella frontalis (absolute "feel-good" animals) and a Blue Shark Prince glauca feasting on the chum.

Bulwer's Petrel

Wilson's Storm-Petrel

Long-tailed Skua

Cory's Shearwater

Berthelot's Pipit

Atlantic Canary

male Madeiran Finch

female Madeiran Finch

Aug 3, 2015

Madeira with a good start

We are on Madeira for a week holiday. The plan is of course to see all the special birds; I booked a three afternoons pelagic and a night tour to the Zino's Petrel breeding grounds.
We arrived on sunday and only after an hour we had already seen three taxa: some ten or so Trocaz Pigeons, lots of (juvenile) Madeira Firecrests and a Madeira Chaffinch (maderensis) in Paleiro Gardens northeast of Funchal. In the evening some Pallid Swifts and lots of Plain Swifts over Machico.

Trocaz Pigeon, a madeiran endemic

Jul 21, 2015

Nice day in the Top of Holland

We are on a holiday on Schiermonnikoog. On monday I took the opportunity to meet my brother Sybrand and Lazar Brinkhuizen for a one-day trip around Groningen. It proved to be a top day with lots of birds and I could test my new 300mm VR lens.
We saw Baillon's Crake with pulli, three White-winged Black Terns (of which one juvenile), a Pectoral Sandpiper on the same spot as the terns, two Pontic Gulls (second calender-year), two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls, a Marsh Sandpiper, a Pacific Golden Plover and loads of other waders!

Baillon's Crake

first-summer Pontic Gull

Pectoral Sandpiper

White-winged Black Tern

House Martin

juvenile Tree Sparrow

Pacific Golden Plover (photo by Lazar Brinkhuizen)

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull (left, photo by Lazar Brinkhuizen)