Yesterday finished with a Storm Petrel ringing session with 7 birds caught. These birds are truly amazing. It is one thing seeing them from a boat out at sea, but it is only when you see them in the hand that you appreciate quite how small and fragile they are. It is almost impossible to imagine how they lead such a truly pelagic life and don't ever seem to suffer from storms. Larger seabirds can often be "wrecked" by storms but not the tiniest of them all. I assume that they are able to fly in a tiny pocket of calm air just centimetres above the waves where they avoid the ravages of the storm.
It was calm overnight and we had expectations of new arrivals. My first bird was a Yb Warbler which is the first bird we have had in the north of the island and a clear new arrival. I also had a few newly arrived Chiffchaffs but not much else. I chose this morning to first head east from our house which Kjell did yesterday whilst Kjell headed west which I did yesterday. It should come as no surprise that Kjell again was the one who found something with another and seemingly newly arrived Red-flanked Bluetail! The bird gave is a bit of a run around before finally being seen by everyone. I had rattled off a couple of hundred pictures before checking how they were on the back of the camera but there were none and the camera said I had no memory card installed - but I knew I had put it in!! Checking it appeared not to have been pushed properly in but why had the camera allowed me to think I was taking pictures? Well, I later discovered that the factory default setting is not warn you of a missing memory card. A big f*ck up from Canon if you ask me.
Luckily though the Bluetail showed again and even better so I did bag some good photos in the end.
In the afternoon I walked and walked around the gardens in the south without anything special to report for my efforts but my last bird of the trip was a Værøy tick. I drove back to the north to pick up Kjell before heading for the helicopter and we had a Grey-headed Woodpecker fly in off the sea from the north and then land on a hillside. We there then able to watch it clambering around on rocks looking for food. I have never seen this behaviour before although was aware they do it and was very happy to end Værøy 2018 like that.
No lifers, and hardly any year ticks, say enough about the quality of this years birding but that is part of the game and I wouldn't be without my annual trip. Kjell is staying on for at least another week and I look forward to him gripping me off with all sorts of rarities from both east and west.
|Red-flanked Bluetail (blåstjert)|
|Grey-headed Woodpecker (gråspett)|
|it looks like it is on vocanic rocks|
|adult Golden Eagle (kongeørn)|
|there are three leucistic Starlings in a flock of about 150 birds on Værøy and in flight definitely have you think Rosy Starling|
|Stor Petrel (havsvale)|
|Oslo Birder and Storm Petrel|
|my best Yb Warbler (gulbrynsanger) photo of the trip although shame the wings bars are not visible|
|Værøy Church as seen from the "forest"|
|leaving Værøy on the helicopter|
|and arriving in Bodø|