Monthly report December 2022

General: coverage and weather
Highs and lows of weather from the month – highest temperature was 9.4 degC (20th), and lowest was -1.9 degC (12th). Total precipitation was 196mm (normal 130.5mm). Wettest day was 31st with 30.8mm and strongest average wind was 25.0 m/s and gust 35.5 m/s (31st). On the 17th there was 8cm of snow, otherwise snow free. Total number of species ended on 68 versus 41 the previous December.

A total of nine raptor species during the month, following a new trend, with different species visiting the island through the month. Best record was a Black Kite that Jan Kåre observed passing over the island on the 2nd which may have been the bird from November, where both birds had a comparable tail and no other diagnostic features. A stable Rough-legged Buzzard was mainly in the Herberg area between the 2nd and 14th. Sparrowhawk were noted with one to three birds almost daily with a maximum of four on the 14th. A Goshawk was noted between the 2nd and 4th. A female Hen Harrier was at various localities on the 2nd. White-tailed Eagle were noted one to three birds daily. A Merin paid a brief visit on the 14th. A Gyrfalcon was reported on the 17th. Otherwise there were regular reports of the local Peregrine Falcons.

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Rough-legged Buzzard (Photo: Atle Grimsby)


Grethe Heggland has provided some of the best birds of the year. The last of this year was the Black Brant that appeared outside Heggelands home at Rabbajordet on the 13th. The bird was seen until the end of the month and is assumed to be the same bird that was at Værlandet in Vestland county until the 3rd December, a first for Norway. Two Greylag Geese were with the Black Brant from the 13th till the end of the month. Two Whopper Swan were reported from various locations between the 27th and 29th.

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Black Brant (Photo: Håkon Heggland)


A female Wigeon was on a pool at Veiot on the 29th. Four pairs of Mallard were in Sørevågen between the 10th and 25th with two until the 29th. A Goldeneye paid a brief visit on the 10th. A Moorhen arrived at Nordvikvågen on the 23rd and was with Moskus Ducks there until the end of the month. Two Lapwings were reported on the 10th and 11th, with a single on the 20th. A Curlew was in the south between the 11th and 29th, and was joined by another on the 31st. A Purple Sandpiper was noted on the 26th. Øysteins’ efforts with night optics provided good observations of birds displaced by snowy conditions. Woodcock was noted in good numbers throughout the month with a maximum of 55 on the 28th. Jack Snipe were noted with singles on the 3rd, 10th and 23rd. Snipe were also reported in good numbers with a maximum of 40 on the 10th.

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Moorhen (Photo: Håkon Heggland)


Kittiwake were noted in feeding flocks of between 30 and 200 with two good days on the 26th and 29th with 700 and 1650 birds respectively. Up to 300 Herring Gull were reported. A third year Iceland Gull was reported west of Klovningsneset and landed on Lausingen on the 26th. Two Little Auk were reported on the 17th with further singles on the 20th and 28th. A Razorbill was note don the 29th and up to ten Gannets were reported along with feeding gulls.

A Long-eared Owl was hunting outside Siratun on the 12th and two Short-eared or Long Eared Owl were hunting at Koltemyr on the 27th, and a further in Siradalen on the 29th. Two Jackdaws and three Carrion Crow were present throughout while a Rook was noted on the 18th and then again between Christmas and New Year. Skylark were noted with single son the 3rd and 11th. A female Blackcap was in Hegglands’ garden between the 14th and 23rd. Good flocks of Starling were noted throughout the month with a maximum of 250 on the 19th. A female Black Redstart was at Siratun between the 1st and 3rd and Crossbills were noted with three on the 2nd. Snow Bunting were reported with a single on the 2nd and eight on the 18th. A Goldfinch was also at Siratun between the 1st and 3rd, and then in Hegglands’ garden between the 10th and 17th.

A Jack Snipe and 14 Snipe were ‘picked-up’ on three days during the month. The total ended with 4650 ringed birds by Utsira Ringing Group for the year.

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Snipe (Photo: Håkon Heggland)


Year ticks:
There were three new years ticks during the month: Gyrfalcon (17th), Moorhen (23rd) and Iceland Gull (26th). The total for the year ended on 229 versus 211 in 2021.

Rarities/local scarcties:
Black Brant was a new sub-species for Utsira. Otherwise third record of Black Kite (if a new bird), last in November2022.

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Black Brant (Photo: Håkon Heggland)