Thursday 18 September 2014

Røst 1

Røst - arrived and already on my third day on this rarity magnet of an island. Through the years, no island in Norway has built such an impressive species list in such a short time. Especially during autumn migration and for eastern vagrants, this island has earned its reputation. And here I am - for the next 11 days.

Røst has not only a lot of gardens, but also a lot of installations for air drying
fish. Røst is very much still a community based on fishery, and especially the
 winter cod fishery. The fish is air dried, and then sold mostly to Italy.
Underneath these installations is a rich vegetation ideal for pipits and other ground
living birds. 

16 Sept,
Arrived late yesterday evening, way after closing time for food store. This ment, early morning in the garden without anything to drink (drinking water here are unsafe to drink unless boiled due to too many sheep and  birds using the same water) or eat. And when you are out in the field, you quickly get absorbed into the birding mode. The hunt for the next rarity - or any rarity. Each garden is like a treassure coffin that just waiting to be unfolded. You never know what you find or when you find it. This also means that you forget to eat, and it would not be until about 19 in the evening that I realised I had forgotten to eat anything.

What I did find on this sunny day was a bright sun that always seemed to be in my eyes. I also found that the gardens were extremely difficult to bird, as there are still a lot of leaves on the bushes and the gardens here at Røst are big and not easy to get a good overview. They also seemed very empty - hardly a bird to be seen anywhere.

After a few hours of birding, I did however get my first expected Big Year list addition as a Barred warbler (hauksanger) flew out from a garden and into a bush further up the road. I never found it back despite searching. Some twenty gardens later I found my second semi rarity for the day, a Wood warbler (bøksanger) was actively feeding in a tree until it got scared away by one of the surprisingly many cars on this rather small island.

New birds: 1
Total: 186

17 Sept
Low clouds  and kind of misty. At midday even some drizzle before everything cleared by about 15:00. The rare treat of no wind. Birded the gardens, and what a change from yesterday! Gardens were filling up with birds as I was working my way from one garden to the next. This was a fall. Before long, a well known call was heard and a pipit flew over head. Unfortunately the almost certain Olive-backed pipit (sibirpiplerke) never landed and disappeared out of sight. It never made it to the list. A call and bird I have extensive experience with both from Norway and abroad, and even though the call is similar to tree-pipit, the calls are rather different. A bit later I did see a tree pipit in a garden on the other side of the island. Very different call indeed, but due to the rarity magnitude of olive-backed, I don't want to include it on to my Big Year list without a proper visual.

It was soon clear that this day was very different from yesterday, as every garden had birds in it. My very expected next Big Year bird soon appeared. The always beautiful Yellow-browed warbler (gulbrynsanger), was seen here and there. In total at least 5 indivuduals werer logged during the day. Despite a lot of birds on the island, nothing very rare was found.

I have already mentioned the dense vegetation in the gardens. This does not only make it hard to spot the birds, but also to photograph them. Despite trying to document both the barred warbler, and some of the yellow-broweds, I never managed to get a clean shot of any of them. Documenting birds on this island is very hard indeed at the moment, and I am looking with some horror until a bird we really need to document turns up - like a skulky Acrocephalus or maybe Norway's first Siberian blue robin.....

One of the many sheep on the island - for the moment not hiding in a bush,
but still helping to conteminate the drinking water on the island. 

New birds: 1
Total: 187

18 Sept
Cloudy, but more wind today from the north east ment more difficult to spot the birds in the moving bushes. It seemed like a lot of birds had left the island as well as only one Yellow-browed warbler was seen. Several small flocks of Ring ouzels (ringtrost) arrived and dropped in. Total of about 15 were logged. A few Garden warblers (hagesanger) and about 15 Chiffchaffs (gransanger). A female Sparrow hawk (spurvehauk) was new on the island since yesterday, and flock of about 120 Brent geese (ringgås) migrated pass as well as two White-billed divers (gulnebblom).

Tomorow, the weather forecast is easterly and south easterly. Cloudy in the morning and then it will start to rain. Almost no wind. This should be text book weather for a big fall out, so I can't wait for next morning's birding. Hopefully something good will come, and I can add a few to my Big Year list.

New birds: 0
Total: 187


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