Monthly report  - January 2015

General: coverage and weather
We started as with most of the previous years with some extreme weather. Wind, temperature and precipitation all experienced extremes. Average temperature was 4.7 degC, 2.4 degC over the normal. Highest temperature was 9.0 degC (2nd), and lowest -0.7degC (2nd). Total precipitation was 275.6mm. The most rainfall in one day was 20.7mm on the 11th. Highest wind speed was 33.7m/s (10th).

The year’s first month resulted in 55 bird species on Utsira. A low total compared to the mainland however acceptable in Utsira terms. 2014 recorded 57 species in January.

The three species expected in January were all noted. White-tailed Eagle were noted with up to two birds of three ages, 2nd year, 3rd year and 4+ year between the 1st and 25th. Sparrowhawk was noted with singles between the 1st and 24th, and a few records of Peregrine.

As usual shorebirds contribute well to the species count in January (28 out of the 55 species recorded). Three Pinkfeet were present the whole month, while a flock of 11 toured the island on the 18th. A Greylag flock of 19 were present up until the 15th. A Red-breasted Merganser was noted between the 7th – 10th, first in Nordvikvågen and then in Sørevågen. The two over wintering Little Grebes from October were present all month (regular now with 1 to 2 birds from October to April since 2007).  Best day for seabird passage was the 13th with 135 Kittewake, 8 Little Auk and singles of Fulmar, Razorbill and Guillemot. Two Great Northern Divers were noted on the 11th, with one on the 3rd.

Of more note was a Moorhen found by locals in advance of the storm front on the 2nd. Storm Nina pushed 3 Purple Sandpiper into land on the 10th. A Redshank was noted from the 12th – 17th, joined by a second on the 13th,when the same day 3 Curlew were present on the island.

Rook and Jackdaw were noted from the middle of the month with from the 4 Rook and 4 Jackdaw from the 20th and 23rd respectively.One to two Carrion Crow were present from the 1st.  The three Tree Sparrows from December increased to four from the 23rd. If these hold out until February this will be the first ever month when that species has been recorded. Fingers crossed!

No ringing during the month.

Year ticks:
Unsurprisingly all 55 species were new for the year.

Rarities/local rarities:
First ever record of Tree Sparrow in January.

Some of the experienced extremes weather wice are here documented by Atle Grimsby: