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Red knot, wood warbler and trip to Hirtshals

onsdag 21. august 2019
af Christian Stolz

The last couple of days, some rain showers created some larger ponds on the beach at Grenen. Christina and Yehonatan went out there for night-catching and were successful! Just after midnight a juvenile red knot (islandsk ryle) was running towards their torch and got captured.

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Early before sunrise, I went to the beach to check for roosting sandwich terns (splitterne) but couldn’t find any. Instead the two juvenile shelducks (gravand) that we found on the beach the day before, were still present. Then I joined the team for ringing at Sardinkrattet. It was a slow morning with only 12 individuals caught in the nets. The clear highlight was a wood warbler (skovsanger), a species that is not ringed that often up here.

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While we were ringing, Knud was out at Worlds End 3 and counted migrating seabirds. He observed a shearwater (skråpe), which is always a welcome sight. He narrowed the species down to Balearic or Manx shearwater (balear/almindelig skråpe).

Later the day, the stations team went on a birding trip to Hirtshals, where Simon took a ferry to Norway as he will join our friends at Lista bird observatory for the remainder of the week. We stopped at the beaches in Tversted and Uggerby, but strong winds and little water on the beach made birding difficult. In Hirtshals however, the eastern beach was very wet and yielded a surprising number of different waders (vadefugler). Four bar-tailed godwits (lille kobbersneppe) of which one was colour-banded, three curlew sandpipers (krumnæbbet ryle), one temminck’s stint (temmincksryle) and one Mediterranean gull (sorthoved måge) were the highlights.

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beach

In the afternoon, Anders arrived back from his trip to Fynen. The first thing he did was going birding at Grenen of course! His highlights from sea-watching were 25 great skuas (storkjove) and 2 arctic skuas (almindelig kjove) migrating in half an hour.

Today was also the first full day of our new volunteer Joost. He is very happy to have “so many people with so much knowledge about birds” around him and is eager for the next days here at Skagen Fuglestation.

Ringing (Grenen – Sardinkrattet):

Lesser Whitethroat – Gærdesanger – 1

Common Whitethroat – Tornsanger – 1

Garden Warbler – Havesanger – 2

Wood Warbler – Skovsanger – 1

Willow Warbler – Løvsanger – 6

Yellowhammer – Gulspurv – 1

Total: 12

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Knud Pedersen, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Joost Van Duppen

Soundtrack while writing this blog entry: Agnes Obel: Citizen of Glass

New visitors

tirsdag 20. august 2019
af Christina Ninou

Before sunrise we were out to Worlds End III, for migration counts. It was a very busy morning, with many birds migrating or attempting to migrate while even more were resting and foraging in the sea or at the ponds on the beach. A passing harbour porpoise (Marsvin) appeared while scanning the horizon. Suddenly we realized a flock of even larger sea-mammals approaching from the vest. Clearly larger than a harbor porpoise, we saw large, dark dorsal fins of several individuals diving and at one point even jumping out of the water. Dolphins! But what species? A later ask for help for identification on our facebook-page lead to bottlenose dolphins (Øresvin) as the most fitting species. (watch the dolphin video here: https://www.facebook.com/Skagenfuglestation/videos/767326867019338/ )

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When we finished the counts, we decided to go and look closer to the huge flocks of gulls to read some ring numbers. While picking up our stuff and scopes, hundreds of house and barn swallows started swarming around us. We were wondering what they were trying to tell us, but in a few minutes, we found out. An extremely unexpected heavy rain started. We had no option than to sit and wait for it to stop. Fortunately, it was quite short, and the sun came out a bit so we could even dry a little. We approached the flocks of gulls from behind the sand dunes, to not disturb them and have a good view of their legs. That led us to one of the best spots for observing birds on the shore, especially when there are puddles on the beach.

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All the waders were there as well as terns and gulls. We also observed two beautiful juvenile Common shelducks (Gravand)!

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After scanning the pond, we also observed a beautiful whimbrel (Småspove). We realized that it was constantly looking at the sky as if it was waiting for something. After a while we heard a flock of 12 whimbrels calling and immediately he called back and joined them.

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In the meanwhile, Knud decided to check-out Skagen Klitplantage in the morning and found two two-barred crossbills (Hvidvinget Korsnæb). One adult in awesome red plumage was feeding a 1K bird and was quite approachable. Knud made some incredible pictures!

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Late at night, Joost arrived. He is originally from Brussels but came from Finland. He will be staying with us for three weeks. : )

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Gunnar Simonsen, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Joost Van Duppen, Knud Pedersen

Music playing while writting the blog: Morphine - Like swimming (Full Album)

Two Bavarian Junior Rangers visiting!

mandag 19. august 2019
af Selina Lagerbauer and Lea Krieger

It’s our first day in Denmark after our flight from Munich landed in Aalborg yesterday. This morning began at 6 am, we were getting ready for our trip to Skagen to visit the Bird Observatory. The team of the Station was up even earlier than us (which is way too early to be honest), counting the birds at the sea while sitting on some dunes. Unfortunately, it was too windy to catch and band or ring birds. So, after we arrived in Skagen we immediately joined the Team at World’s End Number 3. No, we didn’t see Jack Sparr- Captain! Captain Jack Sparrow.

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The coolest bird we saw at the Tip of Skagen was the Turnstone. He just kept turning those stones as if his life depended on it. Well, it really depends on turning stones, because he needs to find food.

Another fascinating thing were the Gannets diving headfirst into the stormy waves of the sea. After we finished counting birds for hours, we watched the gulls roosting on the beach, just living their life. We tried to read the numbers on the rings we discovered on some of their legs. We learned that great black-backed gull has ‘Leberkas’ colored legs. (‘Leberkas’ is a national dish in Bavaria. You must come to Bavaria and try it. Now.)

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While World’s End Number 4 arrived in form of a gigantic thunderstorm (Thanks Thor) and made us think that we would die – or at least that’s what we thought would happen – we entered the data from the count of the early morning into the computer. After we ate a much-needed lunch, we tried to open the nets in high hopes of catching one or two birds, but life decided to disappoint us and let it rain…again. Instead, we opened a magical freezer and looked at birds. They were dead. That is a weird thing to write, but it was interesting to look at birds so close without them flying right away or attacking us.

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After the rain shower, we decided to make a short bike tour to Jennes Sø. On the way there we kind of lost someone from the team. But it’s okay, he was happy in the bushes on his dangerous quest to take an epic picture of a Crested Tit. Very dangerous.

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It was a fantastic start for our two weeks in Denmark. Thank you very much for reading this. I suggest you read more of this blog whilst you still can, before I find you. Okay, that was a joke. But if you’re still interested in the work of the Bird Observatory you can click on more entries for more interesting Information.

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People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Knud Pedersen, Selina Lagerbauer, Lea Krieger.

Soundtrack while writing this blog entry: Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton: Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)

Fieldfare, penduline tits and wart-biter

søndag 18. august 2019
af Christian Stolz

Late yesterday night, Martin and I went out for night-catching. In the fuzzy light of the torch, we saw a lump laying on the beach at Grenen. A roosting gull? Careful to not make any sound, catching-net ready, we approached slowly. A little closer the presumed gull turned out to be a grey seal pup!

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Not far away, another pup with its mother were resting on the moonlit beach as well. Birds were not captured that night, despite the ponds on the beach looking good for waders, there was little activity. Therefore we will continue to go out for night-catching in the upcoming nights.

The day started with catching and ringing birds at Sardinkrattet with the full team. After the storm yesterday, we were happy to see that the wind had settled down and were hoping for some good catching numbers. The first round brought us a diverse catch of wren (gærdesmutte), redstart (rødstjert) and the first fieldfare (sjagger) of the month – maybe a sign of the approaching autumn?

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The next hours however brought mainly willow warblers (løvsanger), lesser (gærdesanger) and common whitethroats (tornsanger). The main highlight came in form of four 1K penduline tits (pungmejse), that were flying over our heads and landed shortly in a bush not far away, but unfortunately did not decide to end up in our nets. This is one of the largest flocks that has been recorded on Grenen in the last years.

Later Kurt, Martin and Yehonatan showed a group of tourists the nature restauration area close to the observatory on a LIFE-tour. Highlight of this tour was this wart-biter (vortebider):

vortebider

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In the meanwhile, a little conference of Danish bird-ringers was held in our facilities. This “league of extraordinary experienced ringers” were so kind to donate a nesting box to us! Simon and Knud had also presentations at the event. William left us after his participation at the conference – thanks for your stay!

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Ringing (Grenen – Sardinkrattet):

Eurasian Wren – Gærdesmutte – 1

Common Redstart – Rødstjert – 1

Fieldfare – Sjagger – 1

Eurasian Reed Warbler – Rørsanger – 4

Icterine Warbler – Gulbug – 2

Lesser Whitethroat – Gærdesanger – 6

Common Whitethroat – Tornsanger – 6

Garden Warbler – Havesanger – 1

Common Chiffchaff – Gransanger – 1

Willow Warbler – Løvsanger – 9

Eurasian Blue Tit – Blåmejse – 1

Great Tit – Musvit – 3

Lesser Redpoll – Lille Gråsisken – 1

Total: 37

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, William Aarrestrup, Kurt Rasmussen, Knud Pedersen.

Soundtrack while writing this blog entry: The Myrros: Arena Negra

Oil and chains

lørdag 17. august 2019
af Martin Georgiev

The new day found Christina, Christian, Yehonathan and me walking along Nordstrand trying to catch some waders using hand-nets and a torch. Our best attempt was a ringed plover which was already unsuccessful :(. Here I will quote the great Homer Simpson “Trying is the first step to failure” however we do believe that it is also the first step towards success :).

Expecting foul weather, the next morning we went to bed to properly recharge our batteries. In the morning most of us got up at a reasonable time except for Christina who was up as 7 as usual. In hindsight that is definitely the right time to get up however I feel like after getting up early for a while you always think that sleeping more will make things better however oversleeping also is not a great option - everything must hang in the balance.

As soon as I was up I headed straight for Kattegat for an invigorating swim only to find the waves full lion's mane AGAIN… well, you know what they say: If you can't beat 'em, join' em! When I was done jelly-dodging an awesome avocado-fueled breakfast I was ready for the tasks of the day.

Since it was the perfect day for some indoor work I decided to dedicate myself to the bicycles. Aaah, the bicycle. Such a glorious invention. So precise, elegant, practical, sturdy, eco-friendly and, if that's not enough, good for your heart! What more can you ask for in a mode of transportation?

Chains, chains, and chains again! In my opinion, the bike part which deserves the most attention and gives the biggest payoff when taken care of properly. A metal brush, some elbow grease, a lot of actual grease and three hours later and our four trusty metal stalls were fresh as cucumbers!

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In the meanwhile, Christian was sorting the never-ending photos in our photo archive. After that, the three of them set off to Grenen for an afternoon observation session where they saw the two surf scooters who seem to have made Denmark their new home! Howdy partners: D Other sightings included six great shoes and the usual variety of seabirds.

In the afternoon Simon kindly provided his car to help us in shopping for the next couple of days. Ok bikes are amazing but cars also have their uses haha. Anyway after a rich dinner prepared by my amazing gastronomically gifted stationmates Christian and I set off for nightcatching, updates tomorrow :)

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, William Aarrestrup.

'goo-ko'

fredag 16. august 2019
af Christina Ninou

Another full day for us, starting with the penultimate CES ringing. Although the weather conditions seemed to be perfect for catching birds, the day was slow for the first hours. Fortunately, the variety of species was relatively big than the other times. Highlight of the morning at the CES was one of the last birds we caught, the Cuckoo (Gøg)! A juvenile bird that most likely left its host nest some days ago. European cuckoos have a very interesting behavior when it comes to breeding. Before they are ready to lay an egg, they observe other species nests to find the best one to lay their egg in it. This is known as brood parasitism. Common cuckoos’ appearance is like a Eurasian sparrowhawks’ which is a predatory bird. This is one of the main advantages that the species has in order to make brood parasitism easier, while it helps them get access to the potential hosts. They can lay up to 20 eggs in one season, but they only lay one egg in each host nest.

Other species that were ringed were the pied (Broget Fluesnapper) and the spotted flycatcher (Grå Fluesnapper), a wren (Gærdesmutte), willow warblers (Løvsanger) and more!

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Martin, Chris and I, after coming back to the observatory, immediately got in touch with Kat, to go and replace the battery at the receiver where she installed a couple of weeks ago, since unfortunately there was a problem with the first one. This was exciting for us though, because we got to do some biology field work and felt good. So, we learnt how to use the system and read a little the program of the receiver. We now hope that the Norwegian tagged birds will come by Skagen and give some info.

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The other cool thing this day was the Harbor porpoises skull that Martin found on the North beach while he was walking in the evening. It is well preserved and when the whole process of cleaning is over there will be a new nice specimen for the lab of the observatory.

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In the evening one of Denmarks most experienced ringers William Aarrestrup arrived the Observatory to participate in a Conference for Danish Ringers that from back in time and still today has had a big influence on the history of ringing in Denmark. On Sunday these the participants will visit us here at the Observatory as a part of the event. When it got completely dark, we decided to go for a night catching to the north beach, hoping that the rain and wind would attract some waders. Unfortunately, we didn't capture anything but we will continue trying, since the weather is helping.

Ringing (Jennes Sø):

European cuckoo - Gøg - 1

Wren - Gærdesmutte -1

Common whitethroat – Tornsanger - 1

Blackcap - Munk - 1

Chiffchaff – Gransanger - 2

Willow warbler – Løvsanger - 7

Spotted flycatcher - Grå fluesnapper - 1

Pied flycatcher - Broget fluesnapper - 1

Great tit – Musvit -1

Total: 16

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Michael Ancher, William Aarrestrup.

 

First days in Skagen

torsdag 15. august 2019
af Yehonatan ben aroia

So after a long way  i arrived Skagen a couple days  ago and after getting some rest, going to sleep early for long day of bird ringing and watching.

so the day started at 4:30 when my alarm woke me up after a good sleep, and after a couple of minutes me, Christina and Martin were in our way to open up the nets in the Grenen ringing site.

at about 05:20 we opened up all of the nets, then me and Martin went looking for some Sandwich Terns-Splitterne so maybe we can ring some rings for our tern project.

yesterday we saw a flock of 30 tern roosting on the beach but this morning we only saw a few flying around hunting for fish but we did not see the flock from the other day.

but we still saw an amazing sunrise on beach and on our way back to ringing site we saw a Red throated loon-Rødstrubet Lom, which was new for me.

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When we arrived to the ringing site, Christina and Simon were already ringing the bird.

It was a nice first ringing in Skagen for me and I hope the weather will be nice for many more ringing while I am here.

On the way back the to lighthouse we had a nice view of a cute family of Yellowhammers-Gulspurv

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After the ringing we had back to eat some lunch at the station and have some rest.

In the after noon we went to the CES location to put up the nets for tomorrows morning ringing.

I already took a scope with me because I wanted to head to beach later to look for the Surf scooter (Brilleand) that’s hanging here for a while. After we had put up the nets for the CES I went to the beach and started looking for the Surf scooter in a flock of common scooter which was pretty annoying but after a few minutes I spotted in inside the flock and also got a record photo of it ( a very bad one ) and then headed back to have some sleep before me and Christina were going night catching later on.

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After a good after noon sleep, me and Christina went on a night catching on the beach which was pretty poor and had not many birds so we went looking for some wader in the little lake near the beach.

When we approached the lake we already seen a few waders flying around and then a Greenshank (Hvidklire) landed a few meters from us in the reeds, we were very close to catch but the bird ended up escaping while we looked for it and almost stepped on it.

On the way back we saw a very cute seal to say goodbye and maybe more luck some other time with the night catching.

Ringing (Sardinkrattet)

Marsh warbler - Kærsanger – 1

Reed warbler – Rørsanger - 5

Icterine warbler – Gulbug - 1

Common whitethroat – Tornsanger - 7

Willow warbler – Løvsanger - 16

Robin – Rødhals - 1

Great tit – Musvit -1

Chiffchaff – Gransanger -3

Lesser whitethroat – Gærdesanger -2

Garden warbler - Havesanger - 1

Total: 38

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan ben aroia

 

The great chase of V97

onsdag 14. august 2019
af Martin Georgiev

Following yesterday’s close encounter with a sandwich tern with a coloured ring which we were unable to read today, we had an important mission to accomplish: Read That Ring! It was also Yehonathan’s first morning at the station, so he was already eager for some action! Bear in mind he politely refused my suggestion of him having some rest after his long journey from Israel. More proof that the words volunteer and exhausted don’t work well in the same sentence. A flock of sandwich terns was spotted soon after the search began and lucky enough the tern with the coloured ring from yesterday was one of the flock members! We immediately set off to read the ring. The weather was very windy which gave us the opportunity to get close to the flock from downwind. We were happy to find out that two more terns in had metal rings on them – three out of twenty-seven is a great ratio. One by one we got on all fours and started slowly crawling towards the flock in order not to startle them. We were equipped with the trusty Swarovski telescope, a pair of bins and a field notebook. We took TERNS looking through the scope as the wind made it increasingly difficult as time passed. Two times the birds took off and gave us mini heart attacks thinking we wouldn’t get a chance this good again. Fate smiled on us both times as the terns peacefully descended after being started by a sudden strong gust of the wind.

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Our first success came when we read the coloured ringed – V97. One letter and two numbers that brought us so much joy. The next treat came when Yehonathan managed to take a high-res photo of the ring, always an amazing addition to any fieldwork! Our third treat was actually reading one of the metal rings which was on an adult tern. It took us a long time however we managed in the end.

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Upon return, we undertook the weekly cleaning.

In the evening Simon treated us all to a lovely dinner (and a beer of course) in town. It was a refreshing breath of the urban life that we have already forgotten. 

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 People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Yehonathan Ben Aroya

Heidi's last day...

tirsdag 13. august 2019
af Christina Ninou

After the successful night catching up with Simon and Martin we had some sleep and after 4 hours we got up to get ready for the next round. Martin and I prepared our scopes to go to the world's end for sightings and sandwich tern (splitter) ring readings. We got there when the sun had just begun to rise creating fascinating colorations on the little poodles on the beach. We quickly found a flock of sandwich terns and started trying to read some rings. It took us a while until we got something out of it since the birds, as if they knew, were flying away just when we started reading the first letters. . .

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Besides that, there were many birds flying around big flocks of Red knots, dunlins (ordinary ryle), sanderlines (sand runners) and some turnstones (rock faces) and ringed plovers (big clay collar) were making my day! We also spotted the young ringed plover we called a few weeks ago and made sure he was perfectly fine, practicing the art of flight. The usual suspects: gannets (great), great black-backed gulls (blackbags) and herring gulls (gulls) were foraging over the sea while Great schuas (stork jove) were hunting them down.

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When we came back we were happy to see that Andreas was here, who came by the station to say hi! We all sat together had a coffee and talked. Heidi was already preparing dinner since she was making home-made pizzas and she was making the dough.

The new ringing site near Grenen is being created while we started cutting the lines for the nets and we are really hoping that this site will bring various and many birds into the nets!

Unfortunately, today is the last day of Heidi here in Skagen and we are all really sad…. We had a great time with her these two weeks were she was around! Besides really cool ringing with her beeing the leading ringer we also had nice evenings, bbq, moult sessions, video creations, birdwatching, guided tours ... We will miss her as well as her cooking skills! We all felt much better after trying here amazing creations. Vegetarian pizzas and a super cheesecake. (See you in Copenhagen;))

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Late at night, we welcomed a new volunteer Yehonathan from Israel! Another birder in the house !! Looking forward to ringing and birdwatching with him.

 People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Heidi Vibe Frederiksen, Yehonathan Ben Aroya

Hollandsk visit

mandag 12. august 2019
af Heidi Vibe Frederiksen

Vejrudsigten lovede byger og godt med blæst, så alle var indstillet på, at denne morgen desværre ikke skulle startes ud med ringmærkning. Men det betyder ikke altid, at man kan sove længe, man må i stedet udnytte sådan en blæsende morgen og tage på morgenobs. Så det gjorde Anders, Christina og jeg! På yderste klitrække mødte vi to andre morgenfriske folk, Knud Pedersen og Anders Bojesen. 

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Efterårets vadefugletræk viste sig fra sin gode side med blandt andet stenvender, krumnæbbet ryle, islandsk ryle og næsten 50 hjejler. Desuden lå de to spektakulære brilleænder fint på havet foran os. Mens Christina og jeg nød de trækkende fugle, gik Anders en tur ned på stranden for at kigge nærmere på de rastende splitterner. Her fandt han en splitterne med farvering, som han formåede at få aflæst! Splitternen er mærket i Holland. 

Ole Friis Larsen har berettet på vores facebookside, at han for nyligt har mødt en tysk ringmærker i Blåvand, som var på udkig efter farvemærkede splitterner. Den tyske fyr er med i et tysk-hollandsk projekt, som mærker disse fugle. Gennem projektet har man fundet ud af, at splitternerne med farveringe bliver aflæst langt inde i Østersøen. Her i landet hersker der dog tvivl om, om fuglene trækker til Kattegat gennem Limfjorden eller kommer op forbi Skagen. Det kan være, at vi kan få aflæst nogle flere og være med til at løse et lille fuglemysterie! 

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Mens vi andre slappede af derhjemme efter morgenens tur ud i blæsten, tog Martin sig af turisterne omkring stationen. Han fik snakket med en masse turister og formidlet informationer om Skagen Fuglestation og de smukke omgivelser. 

Til aften tog Christina, Martin og Simon ud i den ruskende blæst for at fange fugle på stranden. Og heldigvis var der gevinst: en ung Svartbag! Mågen blev studeret og ringmærket, inden den igen blev sat fri i blæsten på stranden. 

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Folk: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Heidi Vibe Frederiksen, Knud Pedersen, Anders Bojesen.


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