Monthly report December 2020


General: coverage and weather
Highest temperature was 9.6 degC (19th) and lowest was 2.4 degC (25th). The average temperature was 6.6 degC during the month versus a normal of 3.9 degC. Total precipitation was 129.5mm (normal 116.0mm). The wettest day (17th) gave 18.4mm and the highest recorded wind speed was 20.1m/s (14th). The total number of species for December ended on 55 versus a poor 2019 December when there were 39 species.


Most notable recorded was a young Goshawk that visited and caused mayhem in the crow flock on the 5th. Otherwise Sparrowhawk was represented with singles between the 5th and 30th. The local Peregrine Falcons and up to five White-tailed Eagles on the 5th, and two to three daily through the month were the other raptors noted.


Three Whooper Swans passed slowly north over Klovningsneset towards Jæren on the 1st and an adult albifons White-fronted Goose was with the Greylag Geese on the 5th. Greylags were present throughout with 37 until the 5th and four to six during the rest of the month. There were also four Velvet Scoter noted on the 17th.




The Moorhen from November was still keeping company with the feral ducks in the north until the 17th. A Grey Plover that passed through Siradalen and 80 Purple Sandpiper on Lausingen on the 5th are notable for December. 110 Purple Sandpiper on the 31st was a new winter record.


There were also large numbers of Herring Gull at the end of the month, mainly in the area from Sørevågen to Spannholmane. There was a new maximum record of 6000 on the30th with approximately 80% of these on Spannholmane. The same day Great Black-backed Gulls numbered 300. The large gull numbers also included a few white-winged gulls. Three Iceland Gulls were noted on the 30th and 31st, 2 juveniles and one 2nd calander (see photo).




Three Glaucous Gulls were on Lausingen and Spannholmane on the 31st, with one on Lausingen on the 30th.



Not the most represented group of birds during this month, but there were some highlights; a hunting Long-eared Owl at Myre on the 20th and two to three Woodpigeons from the start of the month until the 21st. Also 210 Common Blackbirds on the 5th was a new winter record. A Blackcap was at feeding stations at Skare until the 6th and Chiffchaff noted until the 5th. There were a few Bullfinch still knocking around after the autumn, with three birds on the 5th, two on the 6th and one on the 12th.


A Tawny Owl was heard briefly singing in Nordvik on the 28th by resident birder Geir Mobakken.
Since owls are lacking the capacity to learn sounds there are really not any confusion species so this will be an unexpected first for Utsira. More information will follow.


No ringing activities during the month.


Year ticks:
Whooper Swan on the 1st and White-fronted Goose on the 5th were the two new species for the year. The total year list ended on 218 versus 209 in 2019.


Rarities/Local scarcities:
Tawny Owl – new for Utsira