Saturday, 25 October 2014

Proper seawatching

Through the gloom of the weather this week there has been an ever growing light at the end of the tunnel with strong southerlies forecast from Thursday evening and through the weekend which as you will have guessed means seabirds or at least the promise of.

I persuaded Per B to join me at Krokstrand and he was already braving the elements when I arrived at 0830. The wind was as predicted but rain and mist made viewing conditions difficult at times. Until 11am we had very little just a few auks and a couple of Red-throated Divers (smålom). A wall of rain coming our way prompted Per to depart and also me to move position to where I could use the car as cover.

Poor Per!! The wall of rain seemed to bring the birds and also my new position gave a much better viewing angle. First I noticed a couple of Kittiwakes (krykkje), then a Puffin (lunde) on the water with a couple of Guillemots (lomvi) before it all kicked off at 1130. First three Pomarine Skuas (polarjo) shot through heading north, then 3 adult Little Gulls (dvergmåke) appeared. Whilst watching these 2 more Poms flew north stopping up briefly to harrie some Herring Gulls. A small grey bird that popped above the waves was a Grey Phalarope (polarsvømmesnipe) but as I grabbed my camera I lost sight of it but was happy when half an hour later it or another flew south allowing good scope views and some dodgy photos. At times it looked like it couldn't cope with the wind and landed on the sea where it promptly disappeared but it was probably actively feeding because it soon headed purposely and quickly south into the wind.
Pomarine Skuas again made their presence known. A group of 7 hang around to the south of me for over an hour and when I picked up a group of 10 flying high and fast to the north I assumed they contained these 7 but no it was a new group and the group of 7 continued to fly around before an increase in the wind also three them north. So 22 Poms in total!  There have been huge numbers passing southern Sweden recently and these are undoubtedly birds from there pushed north.

Other seabirds were a couple of Gannets (havsule) and Fulmars (havhest), an Arctic Tern (rødnebbterne) and a few more Little Gulls and Kittiwakes.

I called it a day at 1530 after 7 hours and a sore back. Heading back to Oslo I thought I would give the fjord off bygdøy a try as those skuas had to be somewhere. Just as it was getting dark one flew by - an Oslo tick and a great way to end the birding day!

Pictures will come tomorrow!

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