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Back in the 90s I was in a Very Famous TV Show...

torsdag 13. juni 2024
af Isis Khalil


Redwing (Vindrossel).



-02.30 alarm goes off.

-03.00 leave for Kabeltromlen.

-03.15 arrive at Kabeltromlen.

-03.45 nets at Kabeltromlen: open.

-04.54 recapture Redwing (Vindrossel).

-05.38 unusually small Willow Warbler (Løvsanger).

-08.30 nets at Kabeltromlen: closed.


Ringing (Kabeltromlekrattet)

Reed Warbler (Rørsanger) - 2

Eurasian Blackcap (Munk) - 7

Lesser Whitethroat (Gærdesanger) - 1

Marsh Warbler (Kærsanger) - 4

Willow Warbler (Løvsanger) - 1

Total: 15


-09.45 lunch.


-10.15 leave to ring Little Owls (Kirkeugle).


-12.00 Little Owl (Kirkeugle) chicks ringed (location classified) 

-13.00 Eurasian Kestrel (Tårnfalk) chicks ringed (location still classified) 


Ringing (Classified Location)

Little Owl (Kirkeugle) - 4

Eurasian Kestrel (Tårnfalk) - 5

Total: 9


-15.43 Visit Black-Winged Stilts (Stylteløber) and Golden Eagles (Kongeørn) at Biersted Mosevej.


-17.30 buy groceries

-18.00 return to station.

-19.30 dinner.

-20.30 bed (ideally).


The End.




Just kidding… here’s the real blog for today:


Thursday the 13th, one day off from having been a day of “bad luck” (Friday the 13th)… and yet not a trace of bad luck could be found. At 03.15 Simon (Jr) and I were prancing around the boggy waters of Kabeltromlen so that we could have the nets open on time. Naturally (and thanks to our passion for ringing) this was done very easily. It was windy, which meant there were fewer mosquitoes… but there was a new obstacle in our way: the cold. Frozen fingers and small wriggly birds make a tough pair, but sometimes you have to pick your poison. 


Anyway, the variety of species was unremarkable today, but a couple highlights include a European Badger (Grævling) meeting us on the Sandormen track, a recapture Redwing (Vindrossel) and a Willow Warbler (Løvsanger) with a wing length of only 61mm! This is the smallest we’d seen so far, but Simon (Jr) and I checked it repeatedly and could not get a higher wing length. All other features fit perfectly for a Willow Warbler (Løvsanger), so very peculiar!


An unusually small Willow Warbler (Løvsanger).


The cold, lack of birds, and excitement for our trip later in the day, meant that we closed the nets a little bit earlier than anticipated (we were closed by 08.30 rather than by 08.45, but I doubt it would cause the end of the world). 


While this was happening, Seán braved World’s End 1, cold and even more unfruitful than the rining. He had to leave early so that he could go to the pharmacy to treat a cut on his finger.


Magnus enjoyed a morning of counting sheep. One… Two… Thre– *zzzz*


After a brief rest and some food, Simon (Sr) was ready to kidnap us (and take us somewhere far far South). Søren also kindly brought the rest of the SKAF team and Mette, we had originally planned to go South to visit the Black-Winged Stilts (Stylteløber). The car ride was long, but the views were beautiful (at least in the moments when my eyelids were not too heavy to keep open). 


Arriving at our destination was no disappointment, we met with Lars Bo, several TV crew members from Aarhus University, and the land owners. The land was absolutely stunning, green pastures bathed in warm June sunlight stretched across the horizon, as far as the eye could see. Immediately, the TV Crew got to work, Simon S. Christiansen, Lars Bo, and the Little Owl (Kirkeugle) chicks (pulli) being the stars of the show. The chicks were ringed, filmed, and then held and assisted by the Skagen Fuglestation team. As quickly as they were out to be ringed, being cute and doing the things a small owl does, they were back in the nest again. In his time working with Little Owls (Kirkeugle), Lars Bo has ringed around 600 of the ones in Denmark!


Simon S. Christiansen and Lars Bo ringing Little Owl (Kirkeugle) chicks (pulli) in front of the camera crew.


Skagen Fuglestation volunteers demonstrating the Little Owl (Kirkeugle) chicks (pulli) with our new friend: Sweet Lars Bo!


Little Owl (Kirkeugle) chicks (pulli).



 Triplets. Photo by: Søren Leth-Nissen


Luckily, this was not the only surprise in store for us this afternoon… rumour had it there were also Eurasian Kestrel (Tårnfalk) chicks (pulli) in a birdbox in the side of the shed, and the best part? We could ring them! These little ones were a lot less calm than the Little Owls (Kirkeugle), but they cooperated nonetheless, becoming all blinged up with a new shiny ring.


Seán holding a Eurasian Kestrel (Tårnfalk) chick (pull).


Isis holding a Eurasian Kestrel (Tårnfalk) chick (pull).



Lars Bo holding a Eurasian Kestrel (Tårnfalk) chick (pull). Photo by: Søren Leth-Nissen


After we had finished working with the birds, the landowners kindly invited us into their home for cake, coffee, and tea. Their garden was beautiful, the cake was absolutely delicious, and the company made the experience one of most cherishable value. Mange tak!


Once we were on the road again, we had a new objective: Black-Winged Stilts (Stylteløber) and maybe some Golden Eagles (Kongeørn). So we set the GPS for Biersted and off we were. Once we got there, Mette quickly spotted the Black-Winged Stilts (Stylteløber) and we all got a perfect view (and many pictures) of them. That was fun! Then we met up with a local birder, Morten, and he took us to see the Golden Eagles (Kongeørn). Simon (Jr) cleverly spotted one perching, and again, we all got a great look at the bird.


Biersted Mosevej.


What a successful day!


On the car ride back to the station there was a lot of debate, should we get fast food? Should we do groceries? What will we do for dinner! In the end, we agreed upon a quick round of groceries, and Simon (Jr) whipped up a super speedy, super delicious, and super filling dinner followed up by some tiramisu for dessert. 

I was told not to say “skifte” anymore, so…






Today’s observations in Dofbasen from observers in the area.

Sum of the raptors in the area based on observations typed into Dofbasen the same day.


People: Seán Walsh, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen, Søren Leth-Nissen, Lars Bo, Mette

When does summer start?

onsdag 12. juni 2024
af Simon Kiesé

At this point of the SPRING season, there is one question we have to dicuss out of the birders point of view. When does the summer start?

After having many very warm days in May, the last days were a bit chilled. This is very typical for June, but is it already summer in anyway?
Weatherwise I would say, that summer starts, when it gets warm after this weather period. But birdwise we can define it different. Therefore we should look at the birds from this morning.


Ringing today still brought some new birds, but the big surprises were missing. We ended up ringing a bit over 20 birds. Even slower days in the ringing are nice, because you have more time to examine the moult of the birds and discuss every single bird. Magnus ringed a lot today and gets better in the ringing process from bird to bird. His measurements are really good!
We also caught and recaught some first calenderyear Chiffchaffs (Gransanger). Young birds, is that a sign of spring?

Seán was counting today. Some Fulmars (Mallemuk) were migrating, otherwise it was really slow. The highlight was a singing Golden Oriole (Pirol), we could also hear from Kabeltromlen. Slow counts - is that a sign of summer?
One Greenshank (Hvidklire) was migrating today, this is the first sign of autumn migration. If autumn has started, springs must have stopped, right?

So is it summer now? I think so!

While we slept, ate and entered data, the bord members of the Bird Observatory had a meeting. It was nice to see them again and Simon Sr's boss Jacob stays with us for one night. He was already a guest in autumn in the apartment and it is really nice to talk to him again.

Ringing (Kabeltromlekrattet):

Blackcap   Munk 10  RI                
 Marsh Warbler Kærsanger 2 RI                  
 Reed Warbler Rørsanger 2 RI                  
 Garden Warbler  Havesanger 1 RI                  
 Chiffchaff Gransanger 3 RI       1K          
 Lesser Whitethroat  Gærdesanger 1 RI                  
 Robin Rødhals 1 RI                  
 Icterine Warbler Gulbug 1 RI                  
 Wren Gærdesmutte 1 RI

Total: 22

A link to today's observations from volunteers and local observers.

Sum of observations of raptors on DOFbasen from today.

Seán Walsh, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen and Søren Leth-Nissen, Jacob Jensen.

Bird-decorated nets, rare orchids and butterflies makes the day

tirsdag 11. juni 2024
af Magnus Houen Lauritsen

Hi and welcome to the Blog in a day, that should turn out to be a bit more unusual than the former weeks. For the first time in weeks, we barely had any wind, and barely any clouds in the sky. It should turn out to be the recipe of the most busy count for maybe a month.

But we will start back at the lighthouse, where I did data-checking, raptor summary and checked raptor summaries for five hours yesterday evening, before heading for bed at around 00.00. My alarm rang at 03.15. The reason for the unusually early alarm was our suspicion of it being a good day for Fulmars (mallemuk). The reason why our suspicion was because of the slow winds, which - after periods of stronger westerly winds - usually means the fulmar migrate out of Kattegat towards Skagerak (NV).

Unlike earlier days, we turned out to be terribly wrong. It was just as slow as the average days the last few weeks. Corn Bunting turned out to be the best bird for four hours of counting

The count were quite a contrast compared to the ringing. A total of 54 birds were ringed today. That’s approximately 30-35 birds more than the daily catches the last few weeks. For that reason, we ringed for six hours, before closing. The best bird was a Brambling (kvækerfinke), which were late, compared to when they usually turns up.


Isis ringing. Søren takes notes. Photo: SSC.

We headed back to the station and had some lunch. Some had a nap, but I was called by a friend of mine, who informed me that Anders and Dorte were back in Skagen, after a trip by bike all around the Danish coastline, visiting plenty of the unique lighthouses Denmark has. I joined my friend at the driveway to the grey lighthouse, where we welcomed Anders and Dorte, and congratulated them with their performance with champagne.


Anders and Dorte climbed the stairs to the tip of the lighthouse, to shoot the last lighthouse-selfie of their trip. Photo: Anders Østerby.

Their lighthouse trip has the goal to inspire to explore the country in a green way and recommend followers to support some of the places they visitied. Skagen Bird Observatory has MobilePay number: 39357 in case you would like to support the work we do here.

My friend and I headed for the non-lethal beetle traps shortly after, to check if the extremely rare (maybe extinct) Calosoma auropunctatum was caught. To our big disappointment, none had gone into the traps, and only an area nearby with rare butterflies were able to lift the mood. We counted around 12 of the rare Marsh Fritillary - hedepletvinge (Euphydryas aurinia), 1 Amandus’ Blue - isblåfugl (Polyommatus amandus), and 3 Purple-edged copper - violetrandet ildfugl (Lycaena hippothoe).


Marsh Fritillary - hedepletvinge (Euphydryas aurinia). Photo: Simon Kiesé.


Purple-edged copper - violetrandet ildfugl (Lycaena hippothoe), Male. Photo: Magnus Houen Lauritsen

Also great numbers of orchids were to find as well. Hundreds - maybe thousands of Heath Spotted Orchid - plettet gøgeurt (Dactylorhiza maculataf), a few hundreds of the northern marsh orchid - purpur-gøgeurt (Dactylorhiza purpurella), and a few handfuls of lesser butterfly-orchid - bakke-gøgelilje (Platanthera bifolia).

We stopped on our way back, to check the industry area for rare birds, but without luck. We were back at the station at 17.30, having an evening meeting until 18.30. I started cooking risotto shortly after. Dinner was at around 19.45 and we finished cleaning the dishes at around 21.00. At that point, I’ve had three hours of sleep in the last 30 hours.

But my daily tasks weren't done yet. I began writing the Blog for the day, but ended up falling asleep at around 23.30. I found myself on the couch the next morning at 02.30 ready to head out to open the nets.

Therefore are the last few lines of this Blog written after six hours of sleep and 46 hours of being active.

Maybe I should’ve done one more raptor summary? Probably.


Ringing (Kabeltromlekrattet):

Reed Warbler
Rørsanger 7  RI
 Blackcap Munk 24 RI    
Chaffinch Bogfinke 2 RI    
 Common Whiterhroat Tornsanger 4 RI    
 Marsh Warbler Kærsanger 6 RI
Wren Gærdesmutte 2 RI
Robin Rødhals 1 RI
Sedge Warbler Sivsanger 1 RI
Chiffchaff Gransanger 4 RI
Garden Warbler Havesanger 2 RI
Brambling Kvækerfinke 1 RI

Total: 54

A link to today's observations from volunteers and local observers.

Sum of observations of raptors on DOFbasen from today.

Seán Walsh, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen and Søren Leth-Nissen,

A good June day

mandag 10. juni 2024
af Seán Walsh

It was my task this morning to wake up in time for ringing and check the weather to see if it was feasible. It was not. Despite the forecast sayong otherwise, the wind was actually worse than yesterday's, so I did not wake the others up for ringing and instead I embarked outside to do the morning observations alone. Even though it was dry, the cold wind felt like it was cutting my skin as I arrived to Verdens Ende 1. I was also there alone at sunrise. For the first time since last autumn, I saw Grenen completely devoid of birders (except Rolf, after half an hour).  As the first hour and a bit passed, I felt glad that I had not woken the others up because the weather was so windy and cold, and migration and species diversity was low.  The hours passed by slowly, but the morning turned out to be one of the best seawatching days of the month. Within 16 minutes, three rare summer birds visited us at sea.

It began with a large diver that came from the Kattegat, an Islom (Great Northern Diver). This species, rare at all times of the year in Skagen, should have finished visiting for the spring in late May, so it was an exceptional and surprising species to find in the morning count today. Next, Rolf and I observed a small, heavy looking auk flying around in the Skagerrak. After a while we managed to solidly ID it as Lunde (Puffin)! I had predicted earlier in the morning that today would be the best day this summer to see one. This species is exceptionally rare in June in Skagen, and it's not seen annually in this month. A few minutes later came Almindelig Skråpe (Manx Shearwater), the third of the year in Skagen and unusually seen flying east towards the Kattegat instead of from it. This species is more often seen leaving the Kattegat after a storm rather than being blown into it as a vagrant, which is unique. Even though these species were rare to see in Skagen, I find it a little funny that are coloured 'green' on DOFbasen, and require some sort of description, because these are species that I often see in their hundreds to thousands near home in Ireland. Identifying them is like second nature to me, but here I have to explain the identification process. It's interesting for me to see how everyday birds at home come to be so intriguing at Skagen.

I came back to the station after only counting for three hours, since there would be rain in the fourth hour after sunrise and migration had dropped dramatically after we saw the cooler species of the day. Simon Kiesé was only very mildly jealous of the Lunde that I saw, but he was satisfied with having seen the species last autumn. Magnus on the other hand, looked a bit surprised that I had seen one, and sad that he did not get up in time for the morning observations so that he could see it, a lifer for him.

But after that, Simon and Magnus did not wait all that long for the wind to die a bit before going out for their own birding session in the slight hopes of seeing a Lunde. They were unsuccessful, but did get some nice wader species such as Dværgryle (Little Stint) and Islandsk Ryle (Red Knot) roosting on the beach. After their hour count, Magnus disappeared for a while to Troldkær to check up on the insect traps we put put on Friday.

While he did that, the other volunteers and Simon (Christiansen) checked out our new traps which could be used to catch various passerines during the breeding season, or more specifically, Snespurv (Snow Bunting) in the winter.


Simon observed playing with his new toys (not a toy).

A little after, we helped Jens Fick with the broken Danish flag that he could not take down because of a broken rope and tight knot. We had to lower down the entire pole in order to take the flag off and replace the rope which attached the flag.


The pole was eventually layed completely horizontal.

Simon, Isis, Søren and I then embarked on a side-quest to taste various Danish jams (on nice bread from the bakery), spondered by Søren. My view on Danish foods have once again been expanded, and I feel like Danish food has become an important part of my time here. A table with rankings can be found here for your knowledge:

Jam IK SW SK SLN Total Score Average Rating
Jordbær-Rabarber 8 9 8 2 27 6,75
Fig Apple 6 7 8 4 25 6,25
Appelsin 5 5 4 10 24 6
Pear Vanilla 4 6,5 6,5 4 21 5,25
Aprikos 7 5 4,5 3 19,5 4,88
Cherry 4 6 7 2 19 4,75
Apple Ginger 2 5 1 9 17 4,25
Average rating 5,14 6,21 5,57 4,86 21,79 5,45

A link to today's observations from volunteers and local observers.

Sum of observations of raptors on DOFbasen from today.


Seán Walsh, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen, Karen-Marie and Søren Leth-Nissen,

Bird migration to Copenhagen

søndag 9. juni 2024
af Seán Walsh

 There was no chance for ringing again today, and after getting up to find Simon preparring for the morning observations, we decided that I did not need to go out because I have seen all the cool seabird species that could possibly be seen from Grenen today. So, I went back to bed for a little while. He returned drenched and tired not long after I woke up again, and we entered his data over breakfast. He wasn't long leaving the station again in an attempt to get good pictures of the Buskrørsanger (Blyth's Reed Warbler) singing since a few days ago at Guldmajssøen. He went with Søren and Karen-Marie to look for the bird. They were greeted by Knud Pedersen, who was videoing the bird, who also pointed the bird out to them. 


They were eventually treated to insanely close views, and Simon at some point was even able to get headshots, which is unithinkable for an ellusive passerine warbler such as this one, especially as it is rare here. He also got this sound recording:

Karen-Marie took it upon herself to clear the nets of excess vegetation in the lighthouse garden, which was very kind of her to us volunteers. Isis and I were looking for the electric hedgecutter to cut the vegetation, and she returned within a minute with the saw saying she had done it already! But to be kind to ourselves and SSC, we decided it would be best to cut a new pathway to one of the nets, which is behind mostly overgrow vegetation.  There was an old path we could model after, but it was heavily overgrown and even had a fallen tree blocking the way. After an hour's work, we managed to make it through, making a much nicer pathway between the nets.


Later in the afternoon, Karen-Marie had to be dropped to Aalborg Airport to go home to Copenhagen (as lucky Søren gets to stay behind here in Skagen). The two of them and I thought it would be nice to make a trip of it, so we went together and took a detour to Troldkær, where the Prærietrane (Sandhill Crane) has been seen the last two days. We saw it yesterday, but today we were hoping for better pictures, which we were succesful with! The area is really nice and rich with nature, so the third visit in a row did not bother us.



Søren gave a goodbye to Karen-Marie at the airport, and we returned to rest then at the bird observatory and doing various odd tasks.

Todays observations from observers in the area.

Sum of observations of raptors on DOFbasen from today.

Seán Walsh, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen, Karen-Marie and Søren Leth-Nissen,

Hayley Migrates West, Guillemot Frenzy!

lørdag 8. juni 2024
af Isis Khalil

This morning was a grey one, rainy, cold, and all our hearts felt the dark rift of Hayley’s departure. We shared one last group hug before Karen-Marie and Søren took Hayley to the train station. From bog witches, to toothbrush parties, to building weevil kingdoms, we have made many beautiful memories during Hayley’s stay here, and we all wish her the best of luck in Wales (and some good rest at home for the next 3 weeks). So to Hayley: hej hej and vi ses from SKAF, may our paths cross again some day!



Team SKAF Spring 2024! Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Isis Khalil, Hayley Land, Seán Walsh, Simon Kiesé.


Fortunately, our routine was abruptly interrupted by today’s plans to visit Hirsholm, we had a nice amount of rest, some breakfast, and then we were off, with Seán joining Karen-Marie and Søren, and Simon and I joining Lars and his wife. Once we got to Frederikshavn, we were immediately greeted by Common Eiders (Ederfugl) and breeding Common Terns (Fjordterne), that was a good start!



Common Eider (Ederfugl).


Then we got introduced to our beautiful and valiant steed: SeaDog! SeaDog carried us through the Kattegat with ease, weaving through the waves and giving us all an exciting (and sick-free!) trip. Upon nearing the island of Hirsholm we had the most incredible sight, the early morning sun shone down on the few yellow homes that populate the island, and the lighthouse, while thousands of seabirds took to the skies to make their presence known. The number of Black Guillemots (Tejst) was absolutely crazy, they were sitting on every stone, their bright red feet peaking out from beneath their stunning black-and-white plumage. Many words filled my head, but now that I sit to write about the experience, none seem quite adequate enough to communicate the feeling that view gave us. Cinematic in every way.



Black Guillemot (Tejst). Photo by: Simon Kiesé.


Once off the boat, we barely made it a few steps onto the harbour before we had to stop to spend time watching and photographing the Black Guillemots (Tejst). I could have stayed in just that spot forever, there was simply so much to see! But we made an effort to explore the rest of the island nonetheless, with such a beautiful start, we knew there was much more excitement in store for us. As we walked through the preset paths, between the old homes, and around the gardens, we were greeted by many Common Gulls (Stormmåge) and their chicks (Pulli) running around, several Black-Headed Gulls (Hættemåge) and their chicks (Pulli) also running around, and quite a few clumsy Red-Breasted Mergansers (Toppet Skallesluger) crash landing into the grass or sea.



Black Guillemot (Tejst).



Common Gull (Stormmåge). 



Gull (Måge) chicks (pulli). 


Eventually, we found ourselves perched atop an old bunker, scopes pointed North towards Græsholm, scanning for any special birds. As expected, and thanks to a tip from Morten, Simon spotted a European Shag (Topskarv) sitting on top of a rock in a flock of Great Cormorants (Skarv), that was cool! Seán also saw a Rock Pipit (Skærpiber) fly by, but no one else got to see that one (not to worry, though, we all saw a few later on in the day). As we were eating some snacks and scanning the North, we noticed a White-Tailed Eagle (Havørn) flying in, causing hundreds of Great Black-Backed Gulls (Svartbag) and Herring Gulls (Sølvmåge) to jump up from their roost, screaming in a wild frenzy. It was an incredible sight. 



European Shag (Topskarv). Photo by: Simon Kiesé.



Eurasian Oystercatcher (Strandskade).


We made our way back South along the coast of the island, seeing many fun plant, insect, and bird species. Eventually we passed through some woods where we heard a few Great Tits (Musvit) calling. Then we were back at the harbour, this time we continued in the opposite direction, coming across the Black-Headed Gull (Hættemåge) breeding colony, and getting to see lots of Sandwich Terns (Splitterne) perching and fishing. Unfortunately, it also started to really rain during this, so we had to finish exploring the island soggy and cold. Damp, shivering, and hungry, but satisfied in most every way. 



Black-Headed Gull (Hættemåge).



Cool jellyfish! 



Sandwich Tern (Splitterne).


Thankfully, there wasn’t too much time left before SeaDog came to rescue us, sporting a surprisingly comfortable interior (with a Seal head mounted, watching over us). We were sloshed around rather violently by the sea, but it was the source of many laughs. A free rollercoaster ride, so to say. At one point the SeaDog crew told us it was safe to go outside on the boat again, so naturally we took the opportunity to bounce around in the waves, feeling the spray of the sea on our faces, and pretending we were vikings on a quest to spread the glory of herring on rye bread. Arghh! Onwards!



Simon and I braving the storm.


Though it was plenty of fun being out in the waves, it resulted in us being drenched by the time we reached Frederikshavn. The warmth of our cars was a comfort unlike any other, and soon we were on the road again, but not towards the station yet… news of a Sandhill Crane (Prærietrane) reached us through Zello, and conveniently, it was right on the way back for us! Ironically enough, the Sandhill Crane (Prærietrane) was in one of the fields where we had been putting up beetle traps yesterday, near Råbjerg Kirke. Lucky us! We all got an incredible view, snapping pictures of it side-by-side with Common Cranes (Trane), the difference is very evident!



Sandhill Crane (Prærietrane) surrounded by Common Cranes (Trane).


Finally, our adventure came to reach its conclusion. The feeling of being home, warm, clean, and with a full stomach, was heavenly. Immediately we all got to work processing the data and pictures of the day, for here the work is never truly over. 


While we were in Hirsholm, Simon (Sr) was hard at work at Kabeltromlen. Though ringing was interrupted by rain, Simon (Sr) and Henrik still managed to ring a few birds. They even caught a Common Whitethroat (Tornsanger) that was ringed in 2019. Then Simon (Sr) joined us at the station for our evening meeting, some planning, and to set up/fix some nets in the old lighthouse garden with Seán and I.  



Simon S. Christiansen shows off a recapture Common Whitethroat (Tornsanger) from 2019. 


In the meanwhile, Magnus braved the harsh weather to do the migration count. Then he migrated further south to spend time with his “naturalist friend”. 


At long last, the beautiful day came to its end. Simon (Jr) prepared a wonderful curry for us, Karen-Marie and Søren took care of drinks and chips (and naan), and we all shared one last meal together before Karen-Marie departs back to Copenhagen tomorrow. 


Soon after dinner our beds were calling our names, and our eyelids fell heavy over our eyes. Tomorrow looks quite uncomfortable, there may not be an opportunity to go ringing, but there will be plenty of work to do regardless.


Thank you everyone for such a great day and incredible experience at Hirsholm!


Ringing (Kabeltromlekrattet)

Reed Warbler
Rørsanger 2  RI                
 Blackcap Munk 7 RI                  
 Icterine Warbler Gulbug 1 RI                  
 Common Whiterhroat Tornsanger 1 RI                  
 Marsh Warbler Kærsanger 1 RI

Total: 12


Today’s observations in Dofbasen from observers in the area.

Sum of the raptors in the area based on observations typed into Dofbasen the same day.


People: Seán Walsh, Hayley Land, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen, Karen-Marie and Søren Leth-Nissen, Lars Yttte & Sussi, Morten Christensen, Henrik Knudsen, Laila Neerman.

The best last day in Skagen

fredag 7. juni 2024
af Simon Kiesé

Daily the marmot greets (z.dt.: täglich grüßt das Murmeltier) and we were out before sunrise at Grenen. It was really cold today, mostly caused by some wind, rain in the night and the leck of sun. There were still Fulmars (Mallemuk) flying out of Kattegat, but with 70 birds during the morning the numbers lowered from the previous days. Nearly 7000 Scoters (Sortand) got klicked by Magnus and me on their daily movement from the Kattegat to the Skagerrak. When I was watching a Sanderling (Sandløber) roosting at the beach, two small balls of fluff caught my eyes. Those two cute creatures were running over the beach looking for food and then quickly back to their parents to get warmed under their plumage. I called Hayley at Kabeltromlen, if someone can come and bring the ringing equipment for those and a few minutes later Karen-Marie came and we approached the young Common Ringed Plover (Stor Præstekrave) family.

07062024 blog SK 5

Now there were four chicks (pulli), we could quickly ring and then release them together to their waiting parents. As soon as we left, the parents came back and continued their job as heat pads. That was nice!

 07062024 blog SK 6

In the meanwhile (every time I write this I have the song by Spacehog in my mind), the tough ringers including Hayley, Isis and Seán were enjoying many Blackcaps (Munk) at Kabeltromlen. The number of birds was okay, but the highlight for Hayleys last day here (enter sad emoji) was still missing. This had to be changed! The second Red-backed Shrike (Rødrygget Tornskade) in the ringing this year should change this, because it was not just a rarely caught bird but also the first male for us. Look at this super cool bird!

 07062024 blog SK 2Red-backed Shrike (Rødrygget Tornskade) - picture by Isis Khalil

The closing round brought another ”big” surprise – a Jay (Skovskade)! This was a fitting surprise before Hayley migrates back to the UK tomorrow (a weird direction for June, is’nt it?).

In the noon, a Sandhill Crane (Prærietrane) was found, but lost quickly due to the upcoming rain. This is a crazy record, because it is already the second one this year in Skagen and just the third ever here. The species is really rare in entire Europe and most of the birds turn up to be refound over several years at different places. Now it looks like there are two birds around. The last one migrated to Sweden and recently there was one in the Netherlands, so maybe it came up now? In anyway a great find, congrats to the finders.

One of the four Blyth's Reed Warblers (Buskrørsangere) found yesterday was still present today at Guldmajssøen. Knud got some some very nice close up pictures while it was performing it's remarkable song.

buskrors lmp 7juni2024Buskrørsanger (Blyth's Reed Warbler), Guldmajssøen. Foto: Knud Pedersen

What could be worse than losing a volunteer and good friend at the Bird Observatory? Nothing. That’s why we try very hard to enjoy all the last minutes together with Hayley. We took this as a reason to spend a nice afternoon together with our guests and Simon Sr., who invited us to Skagen Bryghus for lunch. We sat outside but than the rain started. Luckily big umbrellas protected us from getting wet, but it got a bit cold so we got some blankets. The food was really good.

07062024 blog SK 1

Afterwards we continued to Råbjerg Kirke to put out some beedle traps for a pupperøvere together with Magnus. This was a great opportunity to look at some plants and insects of the area. Unfortunately, the weather was too bad to get many insects, but some orchidees got our attention. I did not expect to say that, but it was really fun!

 07062024 blog SK 3Magnus infected us with his passion for plants aswell.

At one place there were three Corn Buntings singing. We got some nice views of them, which is great, since it was a new species for Hayley. Get some nice views on a roosting Hayley:

07062024 blog SK 7 

To end the fun day, we went to Aalbæk into the Belgium Beer House (Det Bette Ølhus) in Ålbæk. Since a quarter of Isis’s blood is from Belgium, I trusted her advice for a good beer. What should I say – I did not get dissapointed. I think all of us enjoyed the place and it was nice to spending some time together, drinking, eating and chatting.

07062024 blog SK 8

 Ringing (Kabeltromlekrattet):

 Blackbird Solsort 1 RI                  
 Garden Warbler Havesanger 1 RI                  
 Chaffinch Bogfinke 1 RI                  
 Blackcap Munk 24 RI                  
 Redwing Vindrossel 1 RI                
 Red-backed Shrike Rødrygget Tornskade 1 RI                  
 Jay Skovskade 1 RI                  
 Lesser Whitethroat Gærdesanger 2 RI                  
 Icterine Warbler Gulbug 3 RI                  
 Reed Warbler Rørsanger 5 RI                  
 Marsh Warbler Kærsanger 2 RI  

Total: 42

Ringing (Grenen):

Common Ringed Plover (Stor Præstekrave) - 4

Total: 4

A link to today's observations from volunteers and local observers.

Sum of observations of raptors on DOFbasen from today.

People: Hayley Land, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Seán Walsh, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen, Henrik Knudsen, Karen-Marie and Søren Leth-Nissen, Knud Pedersen.

Double take

torsdag 6. juni 2024
af Seán Walsh

 As yet another CES session loomed on us volunteers, it was once again Skarvsøen vs. Kabeltromlen. Teams: IK, SK, HL, KLN (Karen-Marie Leth Nissen) vs. SSC, SW and HKN (Henrik Knudsen). The catch numbers in the last split day were equally as poor in both sites, but Skarvsøen took the trophy home with a Buskrørsanger (Blyth's Reed Warbler), 3rd for Skagen Fuglestation. 

ssc tent 06 06 2024Rare image of SSC in waders (foto: Hans Rytter)

As the sole net-opener for Kabeltromlen, I was the first out of the observatory this morning. I began opening nets at 02:50, and had all nets open an hour later. I was joined by Simon and Henrik for the first round to begin ringing. Kabeltromlen got off to a good start with 8 birds in the initial net check, followed by a whopping 19 in the second (plus two Bogfinker (Chaffinches) ill with avian papilloma virus which we do not ring). The next couple rounds were done in rapid succession because the weather wasn't the best. During one of these hectic rounds, I came back with a Buskrørsanger, 4th for the Observatory and the first time more than one had been caught by us in one year. This one was especially surprising for Simon because him and Henrik could still hear a totally different Buskrørsanger, that they found singing close by short time before. Unfortunately, we weren't succesful in catching the other individual. It would've been too good to be true. In the end, there were a total of 38 ringed and recaptured birds (excluding sick birds).

But more Buskrørsangere (Blyth's Reed Warblers) was observed in the area during this day bringing the total up to at least 4 individuals (including birds found at Butterstien and Guldmajssøen) - a new record day for this species in Skagen! You can listen to them on recordings oploadet to Dofbasen.

hkn ssc busk 06 06 2024Henrik Knudsen, Simon (Senior) a Blyth's Reed Warbler (Buskrørsanger) and some cool caps from Zeiss. Foto: Hans Rytter

Buskrorsanger Skagen 06.06.24KP.IMG 2803Buskrørsanger (Blyth's Reed Warbler). Foto: Knud Pedersen

While us at Kabeltromlen were kept busy in the first hours of the morning, Skarvsøen struggled to catch as many birds. But they caught a 'weird looking Chiffchaff' - it was a Sibirisk Gransanger (Siberian Chiffchaff)! also an incredibly cool bird (but not a full species, so Kabeltromlen still got the cooler bird of the day). The CES session finished off with 15 ringed and recaptured birds. It's worth noting 6 of these were recpatures, which is a far higher rate of recaptured birds than at Kabeltromlen, which focusses on migratory birds.

tristis profile 06 06 2024

trsitis 06 06 2024Sibirisk Gransanger (Siberian Chiffchaff)

In observations news, there was a Brilleand (Surf Scoter) and a Amrikansk Sortand (Black Scoter) seen in the Skagerrak from Grenen today. There were very many Sortand (Common Scoter) in the Skagerrak too, with estimates by midday reaching minimums of 10,000 birds, more than twice the usual amount for the time of year.

Ringing (Kabeltromlen):

Redwing (Vindrossel) - 1

Reed Warbler (Rørsanger) - 2

Marsh Warbler (Kærsanger) - 3

Blyth's Reed Warbler (Buskrørsanger) - 1

Icterine Warbler (Gulbug) - 1

Chiffchaff (Gransanger) - 1

Blackcap (Munk) - 18

Garden Warbler (Havesanger) - 3

Chaffinch (Bogfinke) - 3

Total: 33


Ringing (Skarvsøen):

Chiffchaff (Gransanger) - 1

Siberian Chiffchaff, ssp. tristis (Sibirisk Gransanger) - 1

Reed Warbler (Rørsanger) - 2

Lesser Whitethroat (Gærdesager) - 1

Blackcap (Munk) - 3

Total: 8


Ringing (Fyrhaven):

Common Whitethroat (Tornsanger) - 1

Lesser Whitethroat (Gærdesanger) - 1

Total: 2

A link to today's observations from volunteers and local observers.

Sum of observations of raptors on DOFbasen from today.

People: Seán Walsh, Hayley Land, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen, Henrik Knudsen, Karen-Marie and Søren Leth-Nissen, Hans Rytter, Tommy Kaae

Common Ringed Plovers

onsdag 5. juni 2024
af Hayley Land

Magnus was the number one birder at World’s End 1 this morning, the only person to brave the wet and windy weather out there! Although it was generally very quiet with birds, he did see two Manx Shearwaters (Almindelig Skråpe), a new life species of him.

A bit later in the morning, when the rain had stopped, Søren kindly gave Simon Jr, Isis, Karen-Marie and I a lift to Gammel Skagen where we started the 10km Fulmar (Mallemuk) survey along the beach all the way back to Det Grå Fyr. We were looking for dead Fulmars (Mallemuk) to collect for Aarhus University where the stomachs will be analysed for their plastic content.

05.06.24 Fulmar team

Fulmar survey team. Photo by Søren Leth-Nissen

Unfortunately, we didn’t find any Fulmars (Mallemuk) this time but we did find some onions which were great for a spontaneous game of football on the beach!

05.06.24 Onion football

The walk was very wild and windy with bright sunshine and a very dramatic sea. We saw several pairs of Common Ringed Plovers (Stor Præstekrave); these are the only wader species breeding along the beach here and we were lucky enough to see three cute little chicks running around near the dunes.

Later in the afternoon we returned to Nordstrand with steel rings and ringing equipment and walked back along the beach to where we had seen the chicks. We found them again within ten metres of where they had been in the morning and the three cute little balls of fluff each got themselves a shiny new ring.

Common Ringed Plover chick Soren Leth Nissen

Common Ringed Plover (Stor Præstekrave) chick. Photo by Søren Leth-Nissen.

The adults remained close by and watched as we quickly and carefully ringed the chicks. It was interesting to watch their behaviour and how they try to distract potential threats away from their chicks.

Simon Jr also found a Common Ringed Plover (Stor Præstekrave) nest. You can see how well camouflaged the eggs are in the photo below.

05.06.24 Common Ringed Plover nest

Common Ringed Plover (Stor Præstekrave) nest

On our way back to the lighthouse we were treated to an absolutely amazing view of the Steppe Eagle (Steppeørn) flying right over our heads. It was so close that we had to duck! Søren got some incredible photos as it passed over us.

Steppe Eagle Soren Leth Nissen

Steppe Eagle (Steppeørn). Photo by Søren Leth-Nissen.

We returned to the station just in time to celebrate Constitution Day with Magnus and his family. They brought delicious bread and cake and we had a great time celebrating altogether in the garden.

05.06.24 Constitution day

Søren and Karen-Marie are now cooking our dinner; it already smells delicious!

Ringing (Nordstrand):

Common Ringed Plover (Stor Præstekrave) – 3

Total: 3

Today’s observations in Dofbasen from observers in the area.

Sum of the raptors in the area based on observations typed into Dofbasen the same day.

People: Seán Walsh, Hayley Land, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen, Karen-Marie and Søren Leth-Nissen.

Fulmars and the last Harrier migration

tirsdag 4. juni 2024
af Magnus Houen Lauritsen

Simon and I woke up by 03.30. Sunrise these days are around 04.20. And due to the lack of bikes, I have to leave 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the volunteers to make it in time for sunrise. We headed for WE1, where three birders had already arrived. The amount of mosquitoes has lowered significantly to a more tolerable level.

The migration of Canada Goose is at it’s highest right now. We usually have a few hundreds during the day. Today was an exception, though. We only had four individuals. And they even headed in the wrong direction! But not even the direction was strange. One of the individuals was as well. It was clearly smaller than the rest. Approximately only ¾ the size of a normal Canada Goose. So maybe a subspecies or a escaped Cackling Goose.

What might be the last Montagus harrier of spring showed up as well. Otherwise, it is clear to everyone, that spring-migration already has passed by, and autumn migration kind of already has begun.


Isis with a Væver/Weaver Beetle (Lamia textor). Photo: Isis Khalil

It was rather slow in the ringing as well. A late redwing were among the birds. A total of 16 birds were ringed. Half of them black caps.


Red wing. Photo: Isis Khalil


One of the many black caps. Photo: Isis Khalil

Ringing (Kabeltromlekrattet):

Wren Gærdesmutte 1
Red Wing Vindrossel 1
Reed Warbler Rørsanger 2
Bullfinch Dompap 1
Common Whitethroat Tornsanger 2
Garden Warbler Havesanger 2
Blackcap Munk 8

Total: 17

Today’s observations in Dofbasen from observers in the area.

Sum of the raptors in the area based on observations typed into Dofbasen the same day.

People: Hayley Land, Isis Khalil, Magnus Houen Lauritsen, Seán Walsh, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen, Henrik Knudsen, Karen-Marie and Søren Leth-Nissen, Knud Pedersen.

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