Ærfugl, September 2008
Sandpipers / Fjæreplytt,are a common winter visitor in
Auks of various
species can be
seen all year round, of these Black Guillemot is perhaps the species of
most interest to visiting birders. This species is especially easy to
see during the winter months.
numerous winter visitors
Little Auk and Long-tailed Duck. Eider breed in the area and
numbers are swelled in winter, though where these birds come from is
uncertain - traditionally it was thought that the Eiders wintering in
Øygarden came from further north but there are some
populations from the south may be invloved.
Fish eating birds are very numerous in Øygarden, huge
gulls can be present and large flocks of roosting Great Cormorant and
Eurasian Shag can be seen on the offshore islands for much of the year.
are a number of heronries and numbers are further swelled during the
winter: there are several Grey Heron roosts which number 30 birds or
more. In the summer both Common and Arctic Terns are common, often
giving suberb views as they hunt small fish.
The main habitat
nutrient poor heathland, bogs and shallow pools.
Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Oystercatcher, Great
Black-backed Gull and
breed over much of the area. Raven are a typical bird of the
often seen out on the islands.
true seabird the Fulmar / Havhest is a regular species in
Geese / Hvitkingås, Herdlevær, October 2003
Linnet are one of
commonest finches during the summers months; Twite probably still breed
small numbers and are generally more abundant from late summer through
autumn. The numerous woods are full of Willow Warbler, Common
Whitethroat, Lesser Redpoll,
Chaffinch, Crested Tit and Coal Tit. Crossbills are regular and can
turn up in large numbers pretty much at any time of year - both Common
and Parrot Crossbills can be seen, although the latter is considerably
|Raven / Ravn,
Skogsøy, May 2006
||Black Grouse /
Svellingen, January 2004
Black Grouse breed
small numbers but are more often seen in the
winter months when it is possible that birds come over from the
mainland. Tree Sparrow is a relatively scarce species in
Hordaland but in Øygarden there are a number of localities
the species is very regular.
that are reasonably regular during the appropriate
seasons are Grey-headed
Woodpecker (especially autumn),
Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting
and Twite. Goldfinch are a hard bird to find in Hordaland but are seen
relatively often in Øygarden during late autumn and winter.
birding trips include the prolific Porpoise,
occasional Pilot Whales and Orcas and, very rarely, Minke Whale.
Mink, Red Deer and a species of vole are the most often
encountered land mammals whereas Otter
are less regularly seen. See the Øygarden
animal page for more details.
is one of the better places
to find rarities in
Øygarden and deserves
a page for
an area of
farmland just north of Herdlevær. The fields here can attract
waders, geese and flocks of thrushes; these fields are worth checking
regularly especially during the winter and early spring when they seem
to be most productive. Winter geese are often "good" geese such as
White-fronts or Bean Geese.
In March these fields regularly produce Mistle Thrush among flocks of
the commoner Fieldfare. Stonechat has also been recorded here.
Warbler" pond (picture taken 04:40, early July)
Owl / hubro, September 2009
Goose / Sædgås, January 2006
Following the road
one passes a small pond surrounded by reeds,
this is probably the best place to see Sedge Warbler in
Øygarden. During the spring and summer Eurasian Woodcock can
seen "roding" here. It also seems a very promising locality for Water
Rail and should be worth checking regularly during the late autumn.
is an ideal winter birding spot to scan the sea
for seaduck, it is also a easily accessible spot to check if there is
any activity out at sea.
Good numbers of Eider and Long-tailed Duck are usually present, Common
Velvet Scoters are also regular, although usually in smaller numbers.
and any of the other typical Øygarden species can also be
seen here. It is also excellent for White-tailed Eagle and other
raptors such as Peregrine Falcon. Even Gyrfalcon are a possibility here
during the late autumn and winter. Waders are thin on the
winter but at Solberg both Purple Sandpiper and Eurasian Curlew are
regular at this time.
During the late spring and early summer this area is favoured by terns,
and these in turn can attract Arctic Skua.
From late summer and throughout the autumn waders can turn up on the
islands right in front of the lookout point. The commonest are Ringed
Plover and Dunlin, but just about anything can turn up.
Solberg can be reached by turning left immediately north of
Tjeldstø, signposted Alvheim. Follow the road for
approximately 1km and turn left immediately after passing the school on
the right. Follow the road without
tuning off until
ends with a boom blocking the track. Park here and follow the track
about 50m before turning off to the left on a narrow gravel path before
the main area of summer houses is reached.
a possibility during the late autumn and winter
is another island in the vicinity of Solberg, here good views can be
obtained of Red-breasted Merganser and Common Goldeneye feeding very
close to the road. Grey Herons roost there in large numbers at times
and it is one of the most regular spots to find wintering Little Grebe.
One does not even have to get out of the car at this locality!
A common migrant in Øygarden but winter birds such as the
one above are harder to find.
this locality excels in winter,
although it is worth
a visit at any time of year. There is a superb lookout point to the
north of the harbour overlooking a number of islands.
the tops of
the islands for White-tailed Eagle and other the
raptors and the sea for duck, divers and the occasional Red-necked
Grebe. Waders can be seen on any of the islands, although views are
|Crested Tit /
Tjeldstø, June 2008
Siland, Tjeldstø, February 2008
well from the main road and there is ample
parking down by the harbour - it is only a very short walk to the
lookout point from the car-park. Little grebe has occasioanlly turned
up in the harbour itself.
Resting Shags / Toppskarv
- a typical sight in Øygarden
is a good place to visit to look for
the gardens and hedgerows. There are a number of places to park and
then one can stroll along the roads checking the fields and hedgerows
for birds. Keep an eye on the sky too - White-tailed Eagle and other
raptors regularly fly over here.
Following the road down to the sea offers views of most of the
usual seaduck and the offshore islands.
at Sæle, June
Steinskvett, Breivik, October 2008
||Common Guillemot /
Tjeldstø, September 2008
the very northern end of
Hellesøy can attract good numbers of migrants. It is also a
good place to scan the sea for seaduck, auks and divers - one can cover
both the east and west sides of the islands from here. Parking is
easy and the island is easy to cover on foot.
Rong / Oni
"shopping centre" in
down the road signposted "Rong kai" and following the road until it
ends leads to a good walk to "Ono". Here there are plenty of paths to
explore, they lead out to the coast where dramatic views of the islands
can be had. The sheltered bays should be checked for seaduck - good
numbers of both Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye can be found here
in addition to the usual selection of scoter, Long-tailed Duck and
Eider. Any of the small islands can hold waders in season. Keep an eye
on the clifftops and look out posts where raptors can be seen. Most of
the Øygarden specialities can be found here including
Tit, Grey-headed Woodpecker (in season) and others. Black Grouse
frequent the heaths in small numbers.
is a very
interesting looking area of reeds which will be worth checking anytime
from spring to autumn.
site is a good spot for seawatching,
species may be more distant than at Skogsøy it is a lot
to get to and a wide variety of species may be seen here. One of the
main advantages of this locality is that it is easy to change between
looking for passerines and seawatching should conditions change.
good site for Grey-headed Woopecker if they are around,
Snow Bunting are reasonably regular from late autumn to early spring
and it is one of the best places to see Black Guillemot.
|Snow Bunting /
Svellingen, November 2005
Hernar, May 2009
is situated on the east side of
and although little visited by birders it certainly has potential. In
late autumn and winter Woodcock and Water Rail may be seen here along
with a variety of other "woodland" species. Views of the fjord can be
obtained here and passage of auks, ducks or other species can be
observed - especially during strong south westerly winds which can push
seabirds into the fjords.
Whitethroat has been reasonably regular here in recent
superb site on the west side of Øygarden this site has
potential. It is nearer the offshore islands than Svellingen, the
lookout over the sea is higher and the views better. A 10 minute walk
through natural woodland brings one out to the coast. The woods are
full of Crested Tit, among other things.
The usual range of species can be seen here - it is a prime spot for
White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine and the usual selection of seaduck.
are often present on the islands. The woods and surrounding area look
good for a range of species and a "round trip" is recommended.
Finding the site is quite straightforward, although not immediately
obvious. Directions are given below:
past Hjelme church and park on the left immediately after the
the path that goes along the back of the graveyard, turn off to the
right almost immediately
pass this inlet on the way out to the coast....
Turøy is not
actually in Øygarden
immediately south of it. There used to be a bird observatory where
ringing was carried out on a regular basis. The results from
Turøy indicate the potential of the area for rarities.
locations worth a try
The following locations are
barely visited but look
promising for a variety of species.
Hernar - Link to Hernar page here
The island of Hernar can be
reached by passenger boat from
Hellesøy. The birding potential of this island is very good
indeed, there are plenty of gardens and small fields which undoubtedly
attract migrants. This locality is even more underwatched and
underexplored than the rest of Øygarden and deserves a lot
attention. During autumn 2008 a few visits turned up Yellow-browed
Warbler, Great Grey Shrike, Water Rail and plenty more....The first
visit of autumn 2009 produced a cracking Greenish Warbler, the next a
Red-backed Shrike and the next a Common Rosefinch proving that
this island has what it takes.
Warbler, Hernar, August 2009
Spring visits have been even fewer than autumn ones but have shown that
things like Icterine Warbler turn up.
The boat trip is very short and reasonably priced; unfortunately, as of
autumn 2008, the first bus from Bergen arrives at Hellesøy
minutes after the boat leaves for Hernar on weekdays.
As of summer 2008 there is no cafe or accomodation on the island,
although there is still a general store which is open regularly.
Link to boat timetable
on the above picture for the timetable Hellesøy to
over part of the settlement on Hernar
The lake at
Toftøy often holds the usual
gulls and ducks; it would probably give results if covered more
regularly. Also here (and just visible from the main road) is a reedbed
that looks very promising for warblers and Water Rail in season. Part
of the "Nordsjøløypa" trail goes through this
there a number of restored buildings here. The hill known as
Vikåsen looks excellent as a visible migration viewpoint.
leading to the reedbeds and "Nordsjøløypa"
reedbeds, June 2006
of the restored buildings along the coastal trail
One of the most promising
areas near Blomvåg is
an area of
marsh which looks as if it should attract a variety of waders.
Definitely worth keeping an eye on....
Skogsøy and Tjeldstø relative to Bergen. Pictures
first stop is Bergen, easily reached by air or by ferry from either
Denmark or Newcastle, England.
Once in Bergen city centre or at Flesland airport Øygarden
is easily reached either by car or by bus.
A car can be useful if one wishes to cover a number of localities in
one day, and is necessary if one wishes to make a very early start.
go from the city centre and also from Bergen (Flesland) airport. All
of the localities described on this page are easy to reach by bus,
being only a short walk from bus stops.
There is a variety
accomodation including camping sites, cabins and
hotels in Øygarden itself, or one can make it a day trip
you are staying in Bergen and have plans to visit other places in the
area. Hire Cars are available both in the city centre and at the