Monthly report October 2018

General: coverage and weather
Average temperature was 9.4 degC, which is about average. Highest temperature was 18.1 degC (11th) and the lowest 1.5 degC (29th). Total rainfall was 210.4mm. Most rainfall in one day was 27mm (23rd) Strongest wind speed was 24.6 m/s (23rd). There were a total of 150 different species noted during the month, almost the same as the previous year which resulted in 151 species.

Ten different raptor species is about what is expected in a month with good passage and good coverage. Three female type Hen Harriers were logged on the 7th, 10-11th and 27th respectively. Common Buzzard were well reported by one to two birds between the 1st and 7th and one to three Rough-legged Buzzards almost daily in the period 7th to 26th. Singles of Goshawk were noted on the 6th, 19th and 26th-29th. Kestrel were less numerous with only one to two birds between the 7th and 15th while Sparrowhawk were numerous throughout the month with between two and ten daily and a maximum of 25-35 on the 7th. Four singles of Merlin were noted between the 1st and 7th. The local White-tailed Eagle and Peregrine Falcon were also reported, while up to four White-tailed Eagles were seen on the 26th. A large young female Gyrflacon arrived at Koltemyr on the 24th.

Barnacle Geese were at various localities on the 11th and 12th, a Pink-footed Goose paid a brief visit on the 14th and Greylag Geese were reported in various numbers between the 7th and 27th, with a maximum of 15 on the 24th.

Despite the good winds there few good days with good passage of seabirds. Fulmar is a good indicator of such passage and were only noted with more than 30 birds on the 5th and 6th. October usually produces large flocks of Gannet and Kittewake feeding around Utsira. The 1st and 2rd gave good numbers of Kittewake with over 500 birds on both days. Three Manx Shearwater on the 5th, one Great Shearwater, two Sooty Shearwater and two Manx Shearwater on the 6th were noted. One to two Great Skua were on passage during the 3rd and 9th while one to three Arctic Skua were reported between the 1st and 9th. A Glaucous Gull was at various locations between the 5th and 23rd.


Glaucous Gull (Photo: Tore Vang -

A Red-throated Diver was stationary in both the north and south harbour areas between the 15th and 27th, otherwise there were a few other Red-throated divers reported on passage with between one and four birds during the period 2nd to 25th. Two to four Great Northern Divers were reported on the 1st, a Black-throated Diver on the 6th and a White-billed Diver on the 3rd. A Grey Phalarope were reported from the west in the 1st while a Sabine’s Gull passed Pedleneset on the 6th.

The Short-toed Lark from September was in Veito in Nordvik until the 6th. The same location produced a Pechora Pipit on the 5th-6th. An Olive-backed Pipit in Grotledalen on the 4th, followed by a new bird at Hovland on the 5th-6th. A Red-throated Pipit was logged on the 4th-5th. Richard’s Pipit were more scarce than previous years. Three birds on the 6th were promising, but otherwise there only singles on the 7th, 17th and 21st. A Eastern Yellow Wagtail was seen 6.-14th. Shorelark were reported on the 4th, 6th and 14th. A Woodlark was with seven Skylarks at Koltemyr on the 31st.


Pechora Pipit (Photo: Bjørn Mo)

The biggest bird was the Booted Warbler in Kvalvik on the 8th. This was only the 3rd record at Utsira


Booted Warbler (Photo: Alfred Haram)


A Red-flanked Bluetail was trapped in Merkeskogen on the 16th and was followed by a further bird in Grotledalen on the 21st. Black Redstart were noted with singles on the 5th, 14th, 21st and 27th. Yellow-browed Warbler were noted daily with estimates of between 25 and 50 birds during the 1st to 8th, three to eight until the 15th and then odd birds to the 19th. Barred Warbler were noted by on to two birds daily between the 3rd and 7th, followed by occasional records until the 15th. Red-breasted Flycatcher came in the form of singles at various localities daily between the 4th and 9th with a maximum of five on the 6th.


Red-breasted Flycatcher (Photo: Tor Egil Høgsås)


Little Bunting were absent until the 14th when one showed at west Nordvik. A new bird was ringed in Merkeskogen on the 16th then present on Hovland on the 19th and 20th, followed by a new bird ringed in Merkeskogen on the 20th which then relocated to Grotledalen until the 26th. Common Rosefinch were noted with stationary birds at various locations between the 2nd and 8th. A female House Sparrow was at Tuevågen on the 28th.


Red-flanked Bluetail with Little Bunting (Photo: Atle Grimsby)

Winds from the NE resulted in good numbers of land and invasion birds from the middle of the month. Goldfinch were numerous between the 7th and 27th, with a maximum of 20 on the 8th. One to two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were noted between the 4th and 11th, a Short-eared Owl was in the west between the 4th and 13th, four to six different Long-eared Owls on passage were reported between the 11th and 28th while a Tengmalm’s Owl was trapped and ringed on the 26th.


Tengmalm’s Owl (Photo: Atle Grimsby)

Long-tailed Tit were well represented with large flocks of 25 on the 11th, as well as six birds ringed in Merkeskogen on the 16th. Waxwing were also noted with flocks between the 15th and 28th, the largest flock involving 40 birds. Singles of Bullfinch were at various locations between the 16th and 28th. A large influx of Redpoll with up to 400 birds on the 28th resulted in two Arctic Redpoll trapped in Merkeskogen. On the 27th a new maximum of 91 Rook in one flock passed over Merkeskogen heading west, the largest flock ever recorded at Utsira.

A total of 1163 birds of 37 different species were ringed in 17 days of activity in Merkeskogen. The best day was the 11th when 265 birds were ringed of which Blackap (52), Chiffchaff (39) and Goldcrest (39) were the most numerous.  The months ringing was well below par for an October but quite comparable to the previous year when 1189 birds of 33 different species were ringed in 21 days of activity. A Red-flanked Buetail, two Little Bunting, two Barred Warblers, two Red-breasted Flycatchers, a Grasshopper Warbler, 37 Yellow-browed Warblers, two Long-eared Owl, a Tengmalm’s Owl, two Water Rail, two Arctic Redpoll and six Long-tailed Tit were the most noteworthy ringing records.


Arctic Redpoll (Photo: Atle Grimsby)

Year ticks:
The month resulted in 22 species new for the year: Velvet Scoter and Grey Phalarope (1st), Red-throated Pipit, Olive-backed Pipit and Shorelark (4th), Pechora Pipit and Little Stint (5th), Sabines Gull, Great Shearwater and Common Buzzard (6th), Rough-legged Buzzard (7th), Booted Warbler (8th), Parrot Crossbill and Long-tailed Tit (11th), Little Bunting and Pink-footed Goose (14th), Red-flanked Bluetail (16th), Goldeneye (19th), Gyrfalcon (24th), Tengmalm’s Owl (26th), Arctic Redpoll (28th) and finally Woodlark on the last day of the month.

Rarities/local scarcities:
The third record of Booted Warbler, the last in August 1997. Fourth record of Grey Phalarope, the last in September 2013. Sixth record of Pechora Pipit, the last in October 2009, around 20th record of Sabine’s Gull as well as the 22nd and 23rd records of Red-flanked Bluetail, the last in October 2017.


Olive-backed Pipit (Photo: Tor Egil Høgsås)

Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Photo: Tor Egil Høgsås)