Monday, 31 October 2011

I was hoping for some seabirds when I left the house just after 7am this morning. On arriving at Krokstrand though I was greeted by a flat sea and no wind. Great viewing conditions it has to be said but that helps little if there is nothing to view.
In an hour I did see a single Kittiwake, 2 Little Auks, single Guillemot and Razorbill, 2 Velvet Scoter, 12 Common Scoter and 16 Red-breasted Mergansers plus a seal so it wasn't a complete waste of time. Also a Hawfinch in trees behind the beach, a Snow Bunting heard going over and a flock of 4 Blue Tits that gave every impression of being on southward migration.

Having come this far and it still being early I decided to head for Kurefjorden where the calm conditions would hopefully allow me to pick up any rare ducks/grebes that may be there. Well, 14 Slavonian Grebes was a very notable sighting and is many years since I have seen so many (and also seen them in winter plumage which was the norm back in Sussex). Here you can see three of them (at some distance):
Slavonian Grebes
Also over 40 Great Crested Grebes but unforfortunately no red-necked grebes. A hunting Peregrine caused some panic amongst the Grebes although I don't think they were ever going to be in trouble and a distant Great Grey Shrike perched on a bush. No waders to see and Mallards were the only dabbling ducks alongside a few Red-breasted Mergansers, Goldeneye and Eider. By the car park a White Wagtail was a late bird. 3 seals in the bay including 1 hauled up on a stone.
Continuing to Ovenbukta, a huge female Goshawk seemed to have a go for a Greylag Goose before thinking better of it. a flock of 30 Grelylag Geese here will soon be going south but a group of 3 Grelyag and a single Barnacle Goose hanging out on an island all looked to be injured and will presumably try to overwinter. 80 Goldeneyes and 40 R-b Merganser were feeding in the bay here but nothing more exciting. 3 Marsh Tits were in the bushes.
Popping in at Brentetangen there were no seabirds to be seen here but Crested Tits and Goldcrest were in the trees. This Goldcrest nearly resulted in a great photo (just try to imagine that the bird in as good focus as the pine needles)

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