Blyth’s Pipit (Photo: Egil Ween)Monthly report October 2015

General: coverage and weather:
An average temperature of 10.7 degC, 1.3 degC over the normal. Highest temperature was  14.5 degC (6th), and lowest 7.5 degC (14th). Total precipitation was 40.8 mm. Most rainfall in one day was 11.5mm (25th).

Highest wind speed recorded was 20.1 m/s (7th). Rarity week and many visiting birders in weeks 40 and 41 resulted in good coverage. Species total for the month ended on 146 versus last year’s 152.

Nine different raptor species was reasonable (11 different species were noted in October 2014). There were few days with double figure counts of raptors. Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon were noted daily, in reasonable numbers, as were two White-tailed Eagles.

Up to three Hen Harriers were noted between 3rd and 11th, with further singles until the 20th.  Goshawk were noted between the 4th-5th and 14th-19th.

Rough-legged Buzzard were noted with singles between 17th and 19th and two on the 27th while the Gyrfalcon from September was noted until the 2nd and then further singles on the 12th and 20th. Merlin was also well represented with singles between 3rd and 14th and also a single on the 25th.

Hen Harrier (Photo: Odd Einar Evendsen)

Good seabird passage was noted in the first two days of the month with 12 Sooty Shearwater on the 2nd, as well as good passage on 9th-10th. Otherwise the 25th was the best day for passage with 250 Fulmar, 110 Gannet, 4 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Great Northern Diver a Red-throated Diver as well as good numbers of Guillemot and Little Auk.

There were fourteen reports of a total of 16 Great Northern Diver between the 1st and 27th. Red-throated Diver were noted with a maximum of eight on the 1st, otherwise spread between the 1st and 25th. A Pomarine Skua passed Pedleneset on the 22nd. Two Scaup were flybys on the 9th while a female Smew was in Måkskittmyr on the 14th. A Slavonian Grebe was briefly noted in Kvalvikvågen on the 18th and the two regular Little Grebe in Nordvikvågen were present again from the 22nd.

One to two Barnacle Geese were present all month as well as several small flocks of between six and eight on passage. Two Pink-footed Geese were also present all month. A Red-necked Phalarope photographed in Skarvanesvågen at the start of the month and a Little Gull around Austrheim on the 28th is also noteworthy.  

October was a good month for Short-eared Owl. Seen almost daily between the 1st and 25th with a maximum of 5 birds on the 6th. Long-eared Owl was also noted with singles on the 9th and 14th. The Turtle Dove from September was present in Nordvik until the 5th.

A Red-throated Pipit was noted on the 3rd and 4th. The Olive-backed Pipit trend concerned one or two birds, when one was in Hauglandhagen between the 5th and 7th and one in Sjoarskogen on the 10th and 11th. Richard’s Pipit is fairly numerous on Utsira in October. A record maximum of 12 birds in one flock was noted on the 4th. Otherwise Richard’s Pipit was noted on 11 days in between 3rd and 17th, with a few days where there were noted two to four birds. The bird of the month was the Blyth’s Pipit which was present at Skare between the 14th and 18th.  

Blyth’s Pipit (Photo: Egil Ween)

There was also a new record for Yellow-browed Warbler when 36 birds were noted on the 1st and then 44 on the 4th. High numbers were recorded through to the 13th and then singles until the 17th.

A Hume’s Leaf Warbler was present in Herberg from the 15th to 17th. Pallas’s Leaf Warbler was also well represented from the 16th to 20th with one to two birds daily in the Herberg area.

The month’s best Phylloscopus was the silent Bonelli’s Warbler (Western or Eastern) which was trapped in Merkeskogen on the 5th and then noted the following day in Siratunskogen. The bird had overlapping biometrics so one will have to wait for the DNA results to identify the species.

Bonelli’s Warbler sp. (Photo: Atle Grimsby)

Red-breasted Flycatcher where noted daily from the 1st to 6th involving one to two birds. Barred Warbler was noted on the 4th with two birds and then daily from various locations till the 13th.

A Red-flanked Bluetail went into the nets at Merkeskogen on the 17th. Black Redstart was only recorded on the 14th and 27th involving female-type birds. Little Bunting where noted daily from the 1st to 5th with one to two birds, and singles also on the 8th and 17th.

Red-flanked Bluetail (Photo: Atle Grimsby)

Great Grey Shrike were noted regularly involving one to two birds between the 6th and 13th. Common Rosefinch was also reported regularly with one to two birds between the 1st and 5th, and then a late bird at Pedlestemmen from the 17th to 20th. Waxwing where noted with 8 birds on the 16th and 45 birds on the 28th. A Redwing of the subspecies coburni was noted in a large flock of Redwing at Tednevik on the 12th.

Yellow-browed Warbler (Photo: Christian Tiller)Ringing:
A totalt of 1460 birds of 30 different species were ringed in 16 days of ringing in Merkeskogen/Herberg. The best day was the 11th with 694 ringed birds of which Goldcrest (336), Blackcap (177) and Chiffchaff (53) were the most numerous.

Of special note were the 31 Yellow-browed Warblers ringed during the period 1st-10th, 12 of which were ringed on the 3rd. A Red-flanked Bluetail, a Barred Warbler, a Goshawk, a Long-eared Owl and three Grey Wagtail are also noteworthy ringing records.

This year’s October ringing was a little lower than the previous year when 1928 birds of 44 species were ringed.  

Year ticks:
Eleven new sepices for the year in the month of October: Red-necked Phalarope, Red-throated Pipit (3rd), Blyth’s Pipit and Smew (14th), Hume’s Leaf Warbler, (15th), Pallas’s Leaf Warbler and Waxwing (16th), Red-flanked Bluetail and Rough-legged Buzzard (17th), Slavonian Grebe (18th) and Little Gull (28th).

This brings this years total up to 196 species.

Rarities/local rarities:
The Blyth’s Pipit found at Skare by Bjørn Ove Høyland was a new and much expected species for Utsira (no. 327 for Utsira).

Should the Bonelli’s Warbler be identified as Easter Bonelli’s Warbler this will be the first for the island (there is one unconfirmed record from 1987).
In the event of Western Bonelli’s Warbler this will be the fifth record for Utsira (Last in October 2011).

The Red-necked Phalarope photographed by locals is the third record, the last being in June 2005. The eighth Hume’s Leaf Warbler (last seen October 2014), while the Red-flanked Bluetail was the 16th record, the last being in October 2012. The Little Gull was the 29th record, the previous record being in November 2011

Atle Grimsby (translated by Mark Thomsen)

Here a few more photo from October:

Red-breasted Flycatcher (Photo: Christian Tiller)

Pallas’s Leaf Warbler (Phoro: Bjørn Ove Høyland)

Turtle Dove (Photo: Christian Tiller)

Hume’s Leaf Warbler (Photo: Egil Ween)

Short-eared Owl (Photo: Isak Grimsby)