Sunday, August 27, 2017

Eidfjord (18Jul2017)

Eidfjord is a great little town smack dab in the middle of a fjord.  While Melissa did her morning ablutions I went birding in the town.

White Wagtail

At the time I thought this was just another Willow Warbler but now I see it is a Wood Warbler.  Clean white below.

Spotted Flycatcher

Now that Melissa was all clean and smelling good we hopped in the Mercedes and sped up the gorge to Voringfoss.

I took about 1000 bad pictures of House Martins.  Here you can barely see one speeding up into it's nest on the cliff face.

House Martin

Voringfoss waterfall from the top.

House Martins hunting in the gorge.

Rough-legged Hawk (Buzzard in eurospeak)

We found a beautiful hike in the gorge, but it was hard to make it down the trail due to all the good birds.

Ring Ouzel

Record shot of my lifer European Green Woodpecker

Great Tit

Willow Warbler

Grey Wagtail

Willow Warbler

White-throated Dipper!  The national bird of Norway.

Dipper chick!

Momma Dipper

Willow Tit - the bib is a tad wider than Marsh Tit.

The secondaries on the Willow Tit is lighter.

Long-tailed Tit

Hmm, guessing a fledgling European Robin

Eurasian Siskin

A young bird, probably also a Robin

European Green Woodpecker

Around lunch time we set off on the drive to Bergen.

Yet another gratuitous fjord picture.

Friday, August 25, 2017

North Carolina Backlog (31Jul-12Aug2017)

I am developing quite a backlog of pictures of NC birds since I made it back from Iceland and Norway so here is a little intermission from Norway pics to clear some of it out.

Common Terns - I have been scrutinizing them a lot lately.  This one has just a little hint of a dark bill tip but his black primaries give him away.

Semipalmated SPs and Western SPs are in huge numbers at Fort Fisher and present ID challenges.  This one is a Semi.

I routinely see eBird reports of Long-billed Dowitcher in Wilmington, and the weird thing is that most of them list 3-4 Long-billed with no Short-billed on the list.  To me that is a red flag.  I have seen thousands of Dowitchers in the past 3 weeks and I have not been able to convince myself that any of them are LB.  I have been taking photos of some to scrutinize on the comfort of my couch.  The above bird has spotting on the breast, a relatively short bill and a pronounced loral angle.  In addition the black chevrons on his back are not squared off.

This one interested me initially when I saw the unique bulging on her back but then she straightened out and the bulge went away.  Posture can change the look of a bird very quickly so it is important to not make hasty ID based on one look.

The bill on this one looked relatively long and straight, but the spotting on breast and pronounced loral angle make this a SB I think.

I initially heard that the distribution of dark to white on the tail can help ID but when I look at the expert guides I don't see that now.  I think there is too much variation in that field mark.

Yet another SB....

Piping Plovers are plentiful in Wilmington.

I have been taking my family along on evening walks on the beach.

This was my first Pectoral in New Hanover County for the year but since then I have seen a ton.

Black Terns have also been omnipresent.

I was able to secure access to Figure Eight Island a couple weeks ago which was a long time coming.  I have lived in Wilmington for 12 years and never been over the Figure 8 Bridge.  Its a beautiful place, with most landscaping being very natural and hiding the hulking mansions quite well.  Also, mixed in are some really nice little unassuming beach houses that must me grandfathered in.  I can see why they want to keep the Riffraff out with a guard shack preventing entry.

Once Sam and I made it to the North side, it did not take long to find the resident Snowy Plover.

Shun, Dave and I took a trip a couple weeks ago to the VOA site at Bear Grass, NC.  The specialty bird there is Henslow's Sparrow and the site is finally opened to the public.  The issue is that the section where the sparrows are is in the Southeast corner and is somewhat hard to access now that the roads have been removed.  I would never trespass myself, but there is a logging road on the south end of the property that is posted and takes you straight to where the birds are.  I'm just saying....

It took about 5 minutes to find this bird and we heard several others.

Eastern Wood Pewee - there were tons here around the logging roads leading into the VOA site.  Of course I would not know anything about it as I did not go that way.

Painted Skimmer?

Four-spotted Pennant

Needham's Skimmer

Painted Skimmer

Blue Dasher?

Back in Wilmington I did some early morning trips and late evening trips to Fort Fisher.  Every year about this time, there is post-breeding dispersal of all kinds of birds.  In this case I found a bunch of Yellow-crowned Night-herons.

Yellow-crowned Night-herons and a Glossy Ibis

Finally the Coup de Gras, la Creme de la Creme or the Cherry on the Top.  A pelagic trip out of Hatteras.  Jeff L called me and it took about 2 minutes to convince me to do an August pelagic.  On the way I stopped at the requisite spots on Bodie and Pea Islands.

Pectoral SP

The morning dawned with promise of stormy weather but there is nothing that pelagic birds like more than a good stiff wind.

First pelagic species was this Sooty Tern.

Great Shearwaters followed the legendary Stormy Petrel II for most of the trip.

Another Sooty Tern

Audubon's Shearwaters were plentiful.

Cory's Shearwater

Audubon's Shearwater




Sooty Tern


Great Shearwater showing off his arm pits

Young Bridled Tern

Jeff and I yelled out at the same time - BOOBY!  It was an adult Brown Booby.  Some folks saw it but it flew by quickly and did not offer good looks.  I was able to get this diagnostic pic though.

Black-capped Petrel

Cory's Shearwater

Audubon's Shearwater - note the long tail and white eye ring.

Band-rumped Storm-petrel seen during a downpour.



Cory's molting

Sooty Tern

Fairly certain this is a Manx Shearwater - the darker morph can have axillary markings.

Manx Shearwater!  Not sure if it is the same one.  Note the hooking white chin strap that frames the cheek and the shorter tail.

El Diablotin


Great Shearwater

Bridled Tern


Back on land I was able to revisit the flooded fields at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center.

Still SP and Lesser Yellowlegs

Stilt SP

White-Rumped SP

Pectoral and WRSP

This Stilt SP's bill was super curvy.

I love NC.