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The Northern Norwegian Seas

Southern North Sea Southern Norwegian sector North Sea Main page


Seabirds Wildfowl Waders Gulls, Skuas, Terns and Auks Passerines

This site covers Draugen, Åsgard, Kristin, Njord, Aasta Hansteen and, above all, Ormen Lange along with areas in the vicinity including Solsikke and Trænedjupet. Ormen Lange is one of the most recent development in the area and will supply the U.K with a staggering 20% of its gas requirment from 2007. For pictures of some of the offshore installations in this area click here. Tyrihans is another recently developed field.

Red-breasted Flycatcher
Red-breasted Flycatcher (Dvergfluesnapper), Ormen Lange
17 September 2006

Trip report December 2006
Trip report September 2006 (587 kb)

West Navigator
Drilling vessel West Navigator at Ormen Lange on a VERY calm day
Many of the bird observations at Ormen Lange have come from this vessel

The following is based on my observations during periods of work at these locations. I have worked on a variety of vessels working for Statoil and Hydro during the development of these fields. The timing of visits and birding opportunities has been irregular and erratic (for example no visits to the area at all during 1995 and 1996, only two days in 1997). Thanks to Bjørn Linnehol (BL) from the West Navigator who has supplied some additional observations.

Åsgard, Draugen and Ormen Lange and surrounding areas

Ormen Lange, Åsgard and surrounding areas (map from Norwegian Petroleum Directorate)

Vessels working in this area of the Norwegian sector usually mobilise in Kristinasund, although they tend to use the offshore bases more than the town centre. As with so much of the Norwegian coast the views of the mountains and offshore islands as one sails to and from the worksites are spectacular - whatever the season.







Sailing into Kristansund from Ormen Lange....

Sailing into Kristansund from Ormen Lange....

Overview of areas

 

Seabirds

Generally much more abundant than further south in the Norwegian sector, for example the Troll field.

Great Northern Diver (Islom)

One observed on autumn migration  at Draugen 17.10.93, one on spring passage at Ormen Lange 30.5.98 - being chased by two Great skua (Storjo).

Northern Fulmar (Havhest)

Flocks of up to 400+  resting on the sea around the vessel quite normal at Ormen Lange. Amongst these full "blue" phase and intermediate phase very regular (usually 5-10 full blue phase in a flock of 400). At times larger numbers (up to 1000) observed at Ormen Lange as happened late August / early September 2004.

Northern Fulmar

Northern Fulmar / Havhest

Sooty Shearwater (Grålire)

Very regular in small numbers (up to 6), especially at Ormen Lange, in September and October. Latest date recorded is 26 November  2006 (Bjørn Linnehol).

Leach’s Petrel (Stormsvale)

One found dying on deck at Draugen after bad westerly storm 20.10.93. Another observed flying around a survey vessel during darkness in August 2006.

Storm Petrel (Havsvale)
One from West Navigator at Ormwen Lange 03.06.08 (BL)

Northern Gannet (Havsule)

Regular in all areas, at all times of year, though never in large numbers (always less than 15).

Northern Gannet

Great Cormorant (Storskarv)

Two seen from West Navigator 01.05.2006 (Bjørn Linnehol), one 19-20.10.2006  (Bjørn Linnehol).

European Shag (Toppskarv)

One seen from West Navigator 20.10.2006 (Bjørn Linnehol).

Grey Heron (Gråhegre)

A first year bird spent the afternoon and evening of 16 September 2006 on the back deck of a survey vessel. The weather was clear and sunny but with a freshening southerly wind. This bird no doubt attempted a crossing to the U.K. but ran into difficulties.

Grey Heron (first year), Ormen Lange

Grey Heron / Gråhegre

Raptors

Sparrowhawk (Spurvehauk)

One seen at Ormen Lange 01.10.2008 (BL)

Merlin (Dvergfalk)

One seen at Ormen Lange 01.10.2008 (BL).

Common Kestrel (Tårnfalk)

One first year bird at Ormen Lange 17.09.2006. Shared the main crane boom with above Grey Heron! A female was observed onboard West Navigator at Ormen Lange 04.06.2008 (BL). Two birds at the same place 01.10.2008 (BL).

Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel / Tårnfalk

Wildfowl

Greylag Goose (Grågås)

5 on spring migration at Draugen 29.4.94

Tufted Duck (Toppand)

Ormen Lange, 5 on  18.05.01

Eider Duck (Ærfugl)

Draugen, singles on 16.10.93 and 21.10.93. One at Ormen Lange 06.04.2007 (B. Linnehol).

Long-tailed Duck (Havelle)

Draugen, a single on 16.10.93 and 10 7.5.94. Another individual was seen on 24.01.2007 feeding around the legs of the Draugen Loading buoy, totally unconcerned about the activities of a supply boat and an ROV support vessel.


Ocean Sky repairing the connection on the hose at the Draugen Loading buoy

Supply vessel "Ocean Sky" at Draugen Loading buoy

Common Scoter (Svartand)

Draugen, single 4.10.93

Waders

Eurasian Oystercatcher (Tjeld)

Seen at Draugen on a number of occasions in 1993 and 1994, both in spring and autumn. Two at Ormen Lange 21.05.2007 (BL)

Ringed Plover (Sandlo)

Regular migrant through the area inboth spring and autumn. For example one at Ormen Lange 28.08.04, another there 02.09.2006 and four 01.06.2009. Three birds (at least two of which died) at Aasta Hansteen during the first few days of September 2015

Ringed Plover
One of a party of four Ringed Plover onboard, Ormen Lange, 01 June 2009

Ringed Plover, Aasta Hansteen, September 2015
Ringed Plover, Aasta Hansteen, September 2015

European Golden Plover (Heilo)

Noted in small numbers in both spring and autumn at Ormen Lange.

Grey Plover (Tundralo)

Quite a rarity offshore. One resting on a helideck at Ormen Lange 25.07.2004

Red Knot (Tundrasnipe)

Quite a rairity offshore. Only record is one together with Grey Plover mentioned above at Ormen Lange

Purple Sandpiper (Fjæreplytt)

One tame individual onboard 18.09.06

Purple Sandpiper on the helideck
Purple Sandpiper / Fjæreplytt on the helideck

Dunlin (Myrsnipe)

Seen on both spring and autumn passage, autumn records being in September and early October.

Dunlin

Dunlin / myrsnipe, Ormen Lange 01 June 2009


Sanderling (sandløper)

Occasional autumn migrant. Two migrating birds at Aasta Hansteen 04 September 2015

Ruff (Brusfugl)

One at Ormen Lange, 28.08.2006 is the only time I have seen this species offshore.

Whimbrel (Småspove)

Seen migrating at Ormen Lange in small numbers late April - late May

Eurasian Curlew (Storpove)

Ormen Lange 8.6.98

Ruddy Turnstone (Steinvender)

Åsgard, single 16.8.97, Aasta Hansteen single 03.09.15


Gulls, skuas, terns and auks

Great Skua (Storjo)

Very regular between end of April and early October, up to 6 at a time not uncommon.

Great Skua

Great Skua / Storjo

Pomarine Skua (Polarjo)

One autumn record from Draugen 15.10.93, spring records: single at Draugen 7.5.94, two at Ormen Lange 2.5.98. During mid-May 2001 good numbers were seen heading NE together with Long-tailed Skua with up to 13 in  an hour. Ome at Ormen Lange 21.05.2007 (BL).

Arctic Skua (Tyvjo)

Seems to be commoner in spring (early May-early June) than in autumn.

Long-tailed Skua (Fjelljo)

Åsgard, singles (probably same bird) 15-16.8.97. Between  17 - 19 May 2001 a fantastic passage of this species was observed at Ormen Lange with 63 logged heading NE in one hour on 18.05.01; this passage was well within the sight of land

Long-tailed Skua

Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas regularly pass in large numbers well off the Møre coastline.

Sabine's Gull

One from West Navigator, spring 2006 (Bjørn Linnehol) and two from the same rig at Ormen Lange 05.10.2008 (BL).

Black-headed Gull (Hettemåke)

Recorded in small numbers during the spring. Draugen, single 25.4.93, Ormen Lange single 7.6.98

Common Gull (Fiskemåke)

A few spring records from end April to early June and isolated records from summer and autumn (until October).

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Sildemåke)

Regular in spring and autumn with up to 100 per day in late May/early June at Ormen Lange, generally  less than 10 seen.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Herring Gull (Gråmåke)

Common

Great Black-backed Gull (Svartbak)

Common

Glaucous Gull (Polarmåke)

Very regular winter visitor, with up to 30 together at Åsgard 06.03.01. 

Adult Glaucous Gull, Ormen Lange 12 December 2008

Adult Glaucous Gull, Ormen Lange, 12 December  2008

Iceland Gull (Grønlandsmåke).  Link to pictures here

Rare. One at Åsgard 06.03.01.  Two second year birds at  Ormen  Lange  07.01.07  (Bjørn Linnehol)

Black-legged Kittiwake (Krykkje)

Regular throughout the year, generally in smaller numbers than Herring and Great Black backed. Some indication of higher numbers in spring (100+).

Black-legged Kittiwake

Arctic Tern (Rødnebbterne)

Most records are of singles on spring passage. However, in May 2001  20-50 seen heading NE

Common Tern (Makrellterne)

Åsgard, single 16.8.97

Common Guillemot (Lomvi)

Regular in small numbers, but possibly only during migration periods.

Common Guillemot

Common Guillemot, Kristin, April 2007

Razorbill (Alke)

Less numerous than above sp.

Little Auk (Alkekonge)

Three observed from West Navigator at Ormen Lange 19.10.2006, one at Draugen 24.01.2007

 

Passerines

Common Crossbill
Common Crossbills, Ormen Lange, 26 June 2009
Click on the picture above for more details and pictures of desparate Crossbills trying to find something edible onboard...

Common Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (31.05.08, BL), European Turtle Dove (Ormen Lange 25.08.1999), Hoopoe (spring 2006 - Bjørn Linnehol), Skylark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Bohemian Waxwing (Ormen Lange 10.01.07), Meadow Pipit, European Robin, Northern Wheatear (one of the most regular passerines), Common Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Lesser Whitethroat (Draugen 5.5.94), Blackcap, Garden Warbler (25.08.2006), Willow Warbler, Goldcres, Spotted Flycatcher (2 ind Ormen Lange 04.06.2008(BL)) , Red-breasted Flycatcher (Draugen 04.05.1994 and Ormen Lange 17.09.2006, Ormen Lange 04.06.2008(BL)), Pied Flycatcher, Hooded Crow (Ormen Lange, 14.05.2007, BL), Common Starling, Chaffinch, Brambling (all early October), Common Crossbill, Reed Bunting (06.05.2006) and Snow Bunting (regular between mid-late September- early October).

Northern Wheatear, Ormen Lange

Northern Wheatear (Steinskvett) sheltering under ROV, 10 September 2006


"Good" Phylloscopus Warbler
Good phylloscopus warbler....answers on a postcard please.....
Ormen Lange, 18 September 2006

Other wildlife
It is not just birds that can be seen in this area. Various whales and dolphins can be seen too.

Pilot Whales, Aasta Hansteen, September 2015
Pilot Whales, Aasta Hansteen, September 2015

Minke Whale, Aasta Hansteen, September 2015
Minke Whale, Aasta Hansteen, September 2015




2.1474860012147E+19visits to this side since November 15, 2005.

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