Monthly report March 2018

General: coverage and weather
Average temperature was 1.4 degC, 1.4 degC under the normal. Highest temperature was 6.4 degC (24th), and lowest -5.0 degC (17th). Total precipitation was 38.4 mm. Most precipitation in one day was 10.6mm (22nd). Highest wind speed was 19.7 m/s (23rd). The total number of species for the month on Utsira ended on 73 versus 70 the previous year.

A healthy six different species of raptor were seen during March, and the months best raptor came in the form of a Red Kite which arrived over Merkeskogen on the 28th. A female type Hen Harrier was by Austre Plantning on the 30th. A Goshawk was around Merkeskogen on the 28th and 29th, and singles of Sparrowhawk were noted throughout the month. Numbers of White-tailed Eagle were higher than normal with a maximum of nine towards the end of the month. The local Peregrine Falcon were also noted during the month.


Red Kite (Photo: Sveinung Larsen)

The Mute Swan ‘The Harbour Master’ from October was present throughout. The largest Greylag Geese flocks arrived on the 9th with 60 birds present until at least the end of the month. Five Barnacle Geese arrived at Tuo on the 29th and were still present at the end of the month. A male Teal, two Wigeon and up to seven Mallard were present in Småvågane between the 13th and 31st.

35 Lapwing arrived on the 23rd with two to four birds noted throughout the month. The first Oystercatcher was noted on the 6th with three birds and a Dunlin was seen at Måkskittmyr and Småvågane on the last day of the month. A Water Rail was at the dump in the latter part of the month, while an early Puffin was in Nordvik on the 17th.

A Long-eared Owl has been present all winter and was seen sporadically in March on the 7th and towards the end of the month, while a Short-eared Owl was hunting around Merkeskogen on the 30th. A Collared Dove was in Herberg on the 28th and the first Woodpigeon arrived on the 6th, thereafter the largest flock was 24 birds on the 28th and 29th. Singles of Grey Wagtail were noted from the 17th until the end of the month as well as singles of White Wagtail between the 25th and 28th.

Black Redstart were recorded with single males at Veito on the 24th and Klovning on the 29th. A female Stonechat was noted in Veito on the 24th. The month was notable for the large numbers of thrushes. There was a record fall of Blackbird in Merkeskogen with over 7500 birds in four morning hours on the 27th. Mistle Thursh were also well reported, the first was on the 2nd with reports until the 23rd and thereafter four to five birds daily till the end of the month. A Ring Ouzel was reported at the end of the month. Hawfinch were also well represented by one to two birds between the 27th and 30th. A flyover Lapland Bunting on the 25th is also worth a mention.

There were six days of ringing in Merkeskogen in March. A total of 624 birds of five different species were ringed. The best day was the 27th when 317 birds were ringed of which Blackbird (314) and Song Thrush (3) were the species ringed. The large numbers of Blackbird give a significant improvement on the previous year ringing in March when 109 birds of eight species were ringed during eight days of ringing.


Blackbirds beeing ringed in numbers (Photo: Atle Grimsby)

Year ticks:
March resulted in 26 new species for the year as follows: Mistle Thrush (2nd), Oystercatcher (6th), Long-eared Owl and Razorbill (7th), Fulmar and Widgeon (13th), Puffin, Grey Wagtail and Coal Tit (17th) Stonechat and Black Redstart (24th), Lapland Bunting, Rook, Chiffchaff and White Wagtail (25th), Hawfinch (27th), Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Collared Dove, Goshawk and Red Kite (28th), Black-headed Gull (29th), Short-eared Owl and Hen Harrier (30th) and finally Lesser Black-backed Gull and Water Rail (31st).

Rarities/local scarcities:  
Red Kite was the earliest and third record for Utsira, the last seen in May 2011.


Large numbers of Blackbirds in the mistnets (Photo: Atle Grimsby)