Røst – week 38

There is a saying that it is not really fall until we have had the first Yellow-browed Warbler on the coastal birding-spots in Norway. Well – this year we really had to wait. But on Sunday 24th September the long-awaited bird eventually showed up!

The week started with heavy winds, this time from north-east, which gave hope that it might bring in some exciting new eastern vagrants. But as the weather went back to normal and we got out, it turned out that the only new birds on the island were some nice flocks of Pink-footed Geese and Barnacle Geese. In the latter we found a leucistic, almost pure white individual, and they always get the pulse up a few beats. But unlike any of the white, North American species, this bird is all white, with no black tip on flight feathers. It is one of a handful known individuals with this pigmentation defect in the Spitsbergen population of Barnacle geese.

Most waders have left the island for their winter destinations, but quite a few Grey Plovers are still around.

Ducks are starting to assemble in the ponds, and during the weekend the regular species was accompanied by less common guests; a Shoveler and 3 Gadwalls. 

The Gyrfalcon is still around – performing beautifully like always!

The odd, bleached White-tailed Eagle shoved up on the main island at the end of the week.

Our optimism after the easterly winds did not live up to expectations. An unexpected Collared Dove late in the week was a tiny comfort. 

The ringing has been very slow with a combination of bad weather and few birds in the garden most of the week, with a couple of Ring Ouzels and an Arctic Redpoll as highlights. But on Sunday it turned to some serious downfall, dominated by Bramblings, and good 57 birds ringed.

Ring Ouzel

Arctic Redpoll

Female Brambling

With the appearance of the Yellow-browed Warbler on Sunday, and some interesting weather forecasts for coming days, we really look forward to week 39, also known as the peak week of autumn migration in the north.