Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Some seawatching

Since Sunday there have strong southerly winds blowing up the Oslo Fjord. I had a quick look from Krokstrand yesterday morning without seeing a single sea bird but sightings from further south showed that birds were moving and when the forecast changed and the winds were forecast to continue today I decided to give Hulvik a go. It took a long time to get there due to the rolling programme of tunnel work that is going on in Norway but at 0950 I was in place. The wind was strong and from the south, the light was good and approaching heavy rain clouds were also welcome as they can often bring birds with them. And birds there were. In the distance, I could see lots and lots of Gannets and as the rain clouds approached so did the birds. There were at least 200 out there and I have never seen such numbers here before.

The first good bird I had was an enormous Great Northern Diver that was heading south. Soon after this I got a message from ca.20km south at Brentetangen that lots of birds including Manx Shearwater and Great Skua were heading north. That was good motivation to keep scanning. Before any of those appeared, I had a tick! When, on Friday, I listed the “easy” species that I had yet to see in Norway I forgot to mention Sandwich Tern and that was what I saw today. Long range scope views so no photos of what may well be my 300th Norwegian species (or 299th depending on which list I look at).

After this a Great Skua showed and then in front of a rain storm a Manxie showed very briefly but disappeared from view in the rain plus I had to run for cover. Whilst seeking cover under trees I could see that loads of Gannets were heading north in the rain and I hoped that the shearwater had also done the same. After the rain stopped the Gannets came south again but no shearwater unfortunately. About this time Zak turned up and in addition to the Gannets we enjoyed a Great Skua that came through at relatively close range. After this though things really slowed down and even the Gannets evaporated. But what (by local standards) a seawatch I had had! There were very few other birds though, not even commoner gulls. I had two commic terns, a Razorbill and a Hobby so if it wasn’t for the large numbers of Gannets it would have been long and far between birds.

What with the distances and the rain it is amazing I took any pictures but Gannets and one of the Bonxies cames close enough for an attempt at a record shot.

I reckon this just about counts as a record shot. Great Skua/Bonxie/Storjo

some of the Gannets that started heading north ahead of a rain storm

adult Gannet

a younger bird probably a 2cy

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