During the last decade the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus has become a scarce but regular winter species in western Norway. In Bergen Peregrines have been seen annually in the city centre in the same period, feeding on local Feral Pigeons. During the last three winters an adult (female?) has spent the winter here, and the two tallest buildings in Bergen serve as watchpoints, preening sites and dinner tables.
Every year we count wintering seabirds in Øygarden, Hordaland, western Norway. The count is part of a national monitoring and mapping programme of Norwegian seabirds called SEAPOP. Because of the topography along the coast of Hordaland county, the count has to be carried out by boat. To do the survey the weather has to be rather good, and today was a beautiful winter day. A slight breeze from the southeast, a few degrees below zero and sun from a blue sky.
The area we count has gone through a steady decline of most seabird populations for decades, both winter and summer. The most common species are Common Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks and Red-breasted Mergansers. Small parties or larger flocks of these species inhabit the outer coastline, and they find their food by diving in rather shallow waters. Also common are both Shags and Great Cormorants. Other seabirds recorded today were Whooper Swan, Mallard, Common Scooter, Velvet Scooter, Common Goldeneye, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Curlew, Little Auk, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, Great Black-backed Gull (the most common Gull, and several pairs had already settled in their breeding territories), Herring Gull (also common and abundant) and a few Mew Gulls.
In addition it is worth mentioning at least a dozen White-tailed Eagles during the day. More frustrating was an observation of a completely black Scooter with a white neck. It was only seen briefly at rather long range on two occations, and will not be the source of a rarity report.
A short photographic summary of the day. Click on the pictures for larger versions:
A Short-beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) has been present for some time at Møvik outside Bergen in western Norway. The Dolphin stay close to a small harbour, where it greets all incoming vessels. Since it is speeding around submerged, and you never know where it suddenly breaks the surface, it was hard to get the shots I wanted. Despite poor photo-results, my personal offspring got a nice experience yesterday.
The short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) is a rare species in Norway, with only a few records each year.
November 2018: Fieldwork in three IBA's in Nepal