Monthly report May2020


General: coverage and weather
Highest temperature was 19.5 degC (31st) and lowest was 1.7 degC (12th). Total rainfall was 56.4mm. Most rainfall in one day was 14.2mm (23rd). Highest wind speed was 22m/s (22nd). Total number of species for May ended on a respectable 148, which is well over last years total of 115.


Nine different species is good even for May. A female-type Pallid Harrier arrived over Varen and continued west on the 3rd and a juvenile Marsh Harrier was reported at various localities on the 21st. Osprey were noted with two single flyovers on the 25th and 30th. Otherwise Sparrowhawk were reported with singles between the 21st and 23rd, Merlin with singles on the 1st, 22nd and 23rd, while Kestrel was the commonest species with one to three birds from the 20th until the end of the month. The local White-tailed Eagles and Peregrine falcon were also reported.


Pallid Harrier (Photo: Torborg Berge)


Resting Pink-footed Goose are not so usual in May and this year there were six birds on the 24th, two on the 25th and five on the 29th. Barnacle Geese and Brent Geese were noted on passage in large flocks, Barnacles in the period 3rd to 15th with a maximum of 850 on the 7th while Brent Geese were noted with a minimum of 1000 on the 21st and 800 on the 22nd. The month also resulted in a few unusual duck species such as: three Gadwall on passage north on the 8th, four resting Tufted Ducks on the 8th and a male in both harbors on the 24th, two pair of Scaup on passage on the 8th, a pair of Velvet Scoter on passage on the 3rd and six Goosanders also on passage on the 17th.


Red-throated Divers were also well represented with almost daily passage through the month with a maximum of 850 on the 8th, while a Black-throated Diver also passed on the 8th. Great Northern Divers and White-billed Divers were less numerous with one Great Northern on the 6th and two on the 19th and White-billed with three on the 3rd, one on the 6th, four on the 8th and one on the 22nd. A nice summer plumage Slavonian Grebe was in Nordvikvågen on the 16th and 17th. Manx Shearwater were reported on passage with singles on the 3rd, 23rd and 24th as well as two on the 15th. Pomarine Skua were noted on passage with one to five birds between the 8th and 22nd as well as Long-tailed Skua with six on the 17th and seven on the 18th. 600 Golden Plover were also on sea passage on the 8th.


The pool on Pedlestemmen has also given us a few quality waders during the month. Two Grey Plover on the 30th and three different Little Ringed Plovers on the 1st, 22nd to 23rd and a flyover on the 31st. A Wood Sandpiper there on the 20th and 21st with two other flyovers on the 21st.


The biggest surprise in this group was a Red-necked Phalarope that was seen from the ferry feeding on the sea between Urter and Utsira on the 30th.


Red-necked Phalarope (Photo: Håkon Heggland)


A Turtle Dove was at Kutre between the 9th and 15th. A Short-eared Owl was at various localities on the 29th and 30th while a Nightjar was in Sjoarskogen on the 23rd and 24th. Black Redstart were well represented and probably under reported with a male and female on the 1st and 2nd, female 21st and 22nd, new male 22nd and three to four different birds on the two last days of the month. Stonechat are elusive during the breeding season and only a female in Grotlehagen was noted on the 18th. The rarest bird of the month was a Booted Warbler that paid a few visits to Hegglands’ garden on Tuo, found by Brage Heggland and the Penk brothers.


Booted Warbler (Photo: Bjørn Penk)


A Blyth’s Reed warbler was ringed in merkeskogen on the 22nd and was present in the area until the 26th with another bird without a ring noted at Starabarje on the 26th and 27th. Marsh Warblers were singing at various locations between the 22nd and 30th, a few days with two to three birds. Another local rarity was a House Sparrow that visited Sørevågen on the 3rd. A Golden Oriole was ringed the 21st, a Ortolan Bunting was at Kutre on the 1st and 2nd and a male Rustic Bunting was at Austre plantning on the 9th.


Ortolan Bunting (Photo: Bjørn Mo)


Only eight days of ringing in Merkeskogen, and 256 ringed birds of 31 different species. The best day was the 1st with 60 birds of which Willow Warbler (31), Blackcap (9) and Chiffchaff (7) were the most numerous species. Most notable ringing records was a Golden Oriole, a Blyth’s Reed Warbler, a Marsh Warbler and a Bluethroat. Last year resulted in 430 ringed birds of 28 species during 7 days of ringing.


Golden Oriole (Phto: Espen Helgesen)


Year ticks:
48 new species for the year included: Little Ringed Plover, Ortolan Bunting, Blue-headed Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Sedge warbler and Garden Warbler (1st), Reed Warbler (2nd), Manx Shearwater, Great Skua, Velvet Scoter and House Sparrow (3rd), Great Northern Diver (6th), Common Tern (7th), Arctic Tern, Pomarine Skua and Scaup (8th), Rustic Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Turtle Dove and Collared Dove (9th), Feral Pigeon (13th), Knot (15th), Hen Harrier and Slavonian Grebe (16th), Long-tailed Skua, Turnstone and Goosander (17th), Wood Sandpiper, Kestrel and Swift (20th), Golden Oriole Marsh Harrier and Brent Goose (21st), Red-backed Shrike, Marsh Warbler, Blyth’s Reed Warbler and Icterine Warbler (22nd), Nightjar (23rd), Quail (24th), Osprey (25th), Booted Warbler (29th) and finally Common Rosefinch, Red-necked Phalarope and Grey Plover (30th).


Little Ringed Plover (Photo: Håkon Heggland)


Rarities/local scarcities:
Fourth records of Red-necked Phalarope and Booted Warbler, the last June 2005 and October 2018 respectively.
Fifth to seventh Little Ringed Plover, last in May 2019.
Eighth record of Nightjar, last in September 2019.
12th and 13th record of Long-tailed Skua, the las tin May 2015.
13th record of Pallid Harrier, last in April 2020
25th and 26th records of Blyth’s Reed Warbler, the last in October 2019.


Here is a record shot of the Long-tailed Skuas taken by Håkon Heggland:

Long-tailed Skua (Photo: Håkon Heggland)

Rustic Bunting is almost a National rarity nowadays:

Rustic Bunting (Photo: Håkon Heggland)

Two Blyth’s Reed Warblers was seen in May; one of they where ringed (Photo: Espen Helgesen)

Blyth’s Reed Warbler (Photo: Espen Helgesen)