Monthly report April 2021


General: coverage and weather
Highest temperature was 14.9 degC (19th), and lowest -2.1 degC (5th). Total precipitation was 37.9mm. Most precipitation in one day was 14.9mm (9th). Highest wind gust was 34.3 m/s and highest wind speed 24.7 m/s (5th). Total number of species ended on 101 versus 113 in April 2020.


Five different raptor species were reported in the month. A circling Common Buzzard on the 16th was the most notable occurrence.




Sparrowhawk were only noted with singles between the 5th and 17th, a single Merlin and White-tailed Eagle daily with one to four birds throughout the month and a maximum of six on the 17th. The local Peregrine Falcons were also reported during the month.


Greylag Goose dominated in the April with a maximum of 151 on the 3rd, otherwise daily with between 40 and 80 birds. Three Pink-footed Geese were stationary between the 3rd and 5th. A pair of Wigeon were present between the 18th and 26th. Teal were with seven birds on the 17th and a pair from the 18th until the end of the month. Five Velvet Scoter were on passage on the 24th. A pair of Red-breasted Merganser passed the wind turbines on the 25th. Water Rail were reported by a single bird in Merkeskogen on the 16th. The same day a Common Crane was seen migrating northwest and og the 18th migrating east.




The cold and dry weather prevented any influx of tringa wanders during the month. Only one to three Green Sandpiper were noted between the 17th and 19th and singles of Redshank on the 22nd and 23rd. Whimbrel was only reported with a single on the 18th. A few Woodcock were still knocking around, noted almost daily between the 3rd and 17th.


A juvenile Iceland gull in the Common Gull colony on the 7th was one highlight of the month. Numbers of Common Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gulls on passage were a maximum of 210 on the 1st and 90 on the 18th respectively.


There was little in the way of seabird passage in April. A Sandwich Tern past the wind turbines on the 25th, 80 Guillemot, 40 Razorbill and a Puffin were back on the breeding colony on Spannholmane on the 16th, additionally auks noted on passage. Red-throated Divers were noted with a single on the 16th followed by 8 on the 24th, 25 on the 25th and 37 on the 26th.


A flyover Stock Dove over Rabbajorde on the 16th and a Long-eared Owl in Merkeskogen on the 20th were the most notable records. A Greater spotted Woodpecker was in Merkeskogen on the 18th. Jackdaws were noted with one to two birds from the 18th until the end of the month. Rook were noted with two birds between the 8th and 15th and still one till the end of the month. Carrion Crow were also reported with two birds throughout the month. A Firecrest was ringed in Merkeskogen on the 4th and on the 16th a Nuthatch was hanging in the nets at the same location. The Nuthatch (a rare bird at Utsira) was present until the 18th.




Black Redstart were noted with a female in the north on the 3rd and male by the lighthouse on the 20th and 21st. Stonechats were more stable with one to two birds at various localities between the 1st and 21st and a maximum of five on the 17th. Grey Wagtail were also well represented with one to two birds at various locations between the 1st and 17th. Hawfinch were also noted in similar numbers between the 16th and 26th.




Bullfinch is quite scarce in spring so one to two birds around Merkeskogen – Varen on the 19th and 20th and a female at Koltemyr from the 28th to the end of the month are worth noting.

A nice hornemanni Arctic Redpoll first noted at Beite on the 12th was then reported at a feeding station at Grotlehagen until the 17th when it was then taken by a cat.




Common Crossbills were noted with three birds on the 19th and a Goldfinch with one bird on the 11th. Lapland buntings were present with singles between the 11th and 17th while Snow Bunting noted with two at Austrheim on the 7th and a male on the 16th.


There were five days of ringing in Merkeskogen during the month. A total of xx birds were ringed involving 16 species. The best day was the 19th when 47 birds were ringed on which Robin (24), Goldcrest (14) and Lesser Redpoll (3) were the most numerous. The previous year resulted in 67 birds of nine species being ringed during four days of ringing.




Year ticks:
April resulted in 28 new birds for the year: Pink-footed Goose (3rd), Firecrest (4th), Snow Bunting (7th), Rook (8th), Lapland Bunting, Goldfinch and Wheatear (11th), Arctic redpoll (12th) Ring Ouzel, Crane, Stock Dove, Lesser Redpoll, Common Buzzard, Red-throated Diver, Swallow and Nuthatch (16th), Whimbrel, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Mealy Redpoll (18th), Common Crossbill and Bullfinch (19th), Long-eared Owl (20th), Tufted Duck (24th), Sandwich Tern and Red-breasted Merganser (25th), Pied Flycatcher (27th) and Willow Warbler (28th).


Rarities/local scarcities:
Eighth record of Hornemanni Artic Redpoll, the last in September 2020
25th record of Firecrest, the last in October 2020.