White-tailed Eagles (Atle Grimsby)Monthly report March 2015

General: coverage and weather
Average tmeperature was 5.1 degC, 2.5 degC over the norm. Highest temperature var 9.9 degC (17th), and lowest 0.3 degC (26th). Total rainfall was 122,0 mm. Most rainfall in one day was 30.2 mm (23rd). Strongest wind was 24.9 m/s (10th). Total number of species for March was 59 versus 67 in 2014.

The local pair of White-tailed Eagle where present throughout the month with additional records of juvenile birds. On the 21st four young birds were noted.

Only one record of Sparrowhawk, on the 26th. A few records of the local Peregrine Falcons throughout the month and this year first Merlin appeared on the 30th.

Seabirds and waders:
No notable days with decent seabird movement, large rafts of ducks or small gulls in March. From the 12th there were arrivals of Greylags with a maximum of 48 on the 15th. The 14 Pinkfeet from January were present until the 7th with a new flock of 15 noted on the 30th. The two stationary Little Grebes were in Nordvikvågen until the 14th with the last noted on the 30th. A female Goldeneye was at Kvalvikvågen on the 8th and two Ringed Plover were on Skare between the 8th and 12th. Maximums of Lapwing and Oystercatcher were 2 and 15 respectively on the 7th.

Lower passage activity of early migrants compared with previous years. Blackbird was noted with a maximum of 80 individuals on the 23rd and Starling with 80 on the 30th. Stonechat was well represented between the 2nd and 18th with a male on the 2nd and 3rd, a pair between the 13th and 15th, two males between the 13th and 15th and a single male on the 30th; all were in Veito and Vestre Nordvik. Mistle Thrush was noted with only a single bird on the 12th. A hunting Long-eared Owl at Skare on the 12th, a Great Spotted Woodpecker between the 8th and 31st and a male Bullfinch between the 18th and 24th were the best of the rest.

Despite temperatures 2,5 degC over the normal temperature there was little movement of thrushes and other early migrants. Low turnover of birds, lack of sound system in Merkeskogen and poor coverage attributes to the low results for the ringing group in March. The month resulted in only 58 individuals of 8 species in 9 days of ringing. The best days were the 29th and 31st with 10 individuals each. Special ringing records were the three Coal Tits on the 12th. This month ringing is well behind the previous year when 446 individuals of 22 species in 13 days were ringed.

Year ticks:
March resulted in 13 new species for the year:
White Wagtail (1st), Stonechat (2nd), Chiffchaff (7th), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Ringed Plover and Goldeneye (8th), Snow Bunting (9th), Golden Plover (11th), Long-eared Owl (12th), Bullfinch (18th), Mistle Thrush and Dunnock (20th), Teal (22nd), Grey Wagtail (29th), Merlin (30th) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (31st).

Rarities and local rarities:
Second March record of Long-eared Owl. The two overwintering Tree Sparrows are also the earliest March record of this species (previous 25th March 2010).

Here some photos from Utsira now in March taken by Atle Grimsby: