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A windy day

mandag 23. september 2019
af Laia Soler Iglesias

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Today we split the team of the bird observatory in order to cover both ringing and observations.

While Yehonatan, Judith and I were ringing at Sardinkrattet, Christian was at Vardens Ende 3 doing observations. The highlights of today´s observations were that the American Scoter (Amerikansk Sortand) was still out there. Also, there were Richard´s Pipit (Storpiber) in the area. And finally, the best bird of the morning was a Pomarine Skua (Mellemkjove).

The weather today was windy (SØ) and this didn´t help with the ringing and we had to close the nets early. We ringed only 10 birds this morning which you can find below.

It was nice to see the Goldcrest (Fuglekonge).KJMW0514

After lunch, Judith and Christian went for the daily swimming at the Kattegat Sea and I joined them as the previous days (but today just walking in the water).IMG 0588

Today arrived Koen and Michael to the station they joined us at lunch time. Afterwards we had a moult session where we studied the different moult strategies and we did a practical exercise with Eurasian Siskin (Grønsisken).IMG 3361

 Ringin (Sardinkrattet)

Fuglekonge - 1

Bogfinke - 2

Havesanger - 1

Munk - 2

Rødhals - 4

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Michael Fink, Koen Stork and Laia Soler Iglesias.

A hot day

søndag 22. september 2019
af Yehonatan ben aroia

The morning started in a very nice ringing with me, Judith, Laia and Morten. The morning was very foggy and almost no visibility which helped us in the ringing because the birds couldn’t see the nets very well as sometimes so the first round was busy with almost 20 birds and the other rounds where a bit slower but we still ended up with 34 bird. While we where out at Kabeltrommelkrattet, Michael Ancher was taking care of the ringing at Jennes Sø.


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here is a Chiffchaf (Gransanger) that liked Judith very much.

In this time Christian was doing observation in worlds end 3 where we usually sit. It was quite a slow morning for seabirds, much slower than the days before but still a few skuas here and there, but a nice flock of around 50 Brent geese were the highlight.

When we finished the ringing, our new volunteer Laia and Judith joind Knud for a tour about the life project that started in the observatory and then the area around it. Many people joined the tour and Knud made it very interesting with his knowledge about the area.

Skagen tour 22 09 2019 5

After all the morning activities we all had some rest in the apartment and had some lunch together (leftovers from yesterday as usual…) and then Laia, Chris and Judith went for shopping so we can a have a nice evening BBQ while I was doing some of the indoor and computer work in the station and when they came back they went for a swim.

Later in the evening we had a nice vegetarian BBQ for dinner and then some sleep.

Ringmærkning (Kabeltrommelkrattet + Jennes Sø)

Gærdesmutte – 5

Rødhals – 15

Rødstjert – 1

Jernspurv – 2

Gransanger – 12

Løvsanger – 1

Munk – 2

Rørspurv – 2

Rørsanger – 2

Musvit - 1

Blåmejse - 1

Lille Gråsisisken - 11

Total 53

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pederson, Michael Ancher, Morten Christensen

Trip to Råbjerg Mile

lørdag 21. september 2019
af Judith Kloibhofer

Today we were ringing in two places, Simon, Yehonatan, Christian, Laia and I went to Kabeltrommelkrattet and Michael Ancher did the ringing in Jennes Sø. With 43 species in Jennes Sø and 23 in Kabeltrommelkrattet it was a nice but not very stressful morning. In Kabeltrommelkrattet the caught birds slowed down after two hours, so we divided and Christian and Laia went for observations and joined Morten in Worlds End I. The highlights there were two shags (topskarv) and pendulin tits (Pungmejser). Afterwards they went for a walk to the beach to watch the seabirds closer.

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In the afternoon all of us went with Knud to the Dunelakes (Milesøerne) next to Råbjerg Mile. Our guests in the apartment (Lis & Erik) joined us and enjoyed their last day up here in northern jutland. You can read more about how they have experienced their stay up here in Skagen in one of the following blogs. Knud seems not only being a keen birdwatcher he is also a very good tour guide. We learnt many interesting things about this region and saw beautiful hidden places, far away from all the tourists. The landscape and all the plants in the heaths and on the dunes were very impressing. When we arrived at one of Knuds favourite birdwatching places in this area next to the Milesøerne we startet counting. Unfortunately we could not see many birds there. But we still had some highlights: two adult cranes (traner), one little grebe (lille lappedykker) and some pintails (spidsand).

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When we came back to the station we enjoyed the nice and calm weather while going swimming. This time Laia, the new volunteer, joined us. Let’s see if she will start participating in our challenge to go swimming every day till November. Not only swimming is very nice with sun and nearly no wind, also the radar is working well. So, we used the evening for observing birds flying over sea with the radar. In the meanwhile Yehonatan prepared some nice food and went to bed soon because all of us were really tired from that long day.

Ringing (Kabeltrommelkrattet & Jennes Sø):

Blåmejse – 5
Musvit – 1
Gransanger – 7
Gærdesmutte – 4
Rødhals – 7
Solot – 2
Lille Gråsisken – 27
Rørspurv – 6
Jernspurv – 5
Munk- 2

Total: 66

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pederson, Erik Brodersen & Lis Kragelund, Morten Christensen

Sorthovedet Måge

fredag 20. september 2019
af Chris Stolz

As the day before, the team of the bird observatory divided to cover both ringing and observations. I was out with Knud at Verdens Ende 3 and we observed the morning movement of gannets (sule), common scoters (sortand) and great skuas (storkjove) over Kattegat and Skagerrak. The wind came from the South, which meant that we were sitting protected behind the dune and had an awesome view towards the sea. In comparison with yesterday it was a relieve to sit leeward and get warmed by the morning sun. The birds were not as active as the day before, but around 400 gannets (sule) were fishing close to the beach - a real “gannet-bonanza” how Knud called it. On the tip were also 6 harbour seals (spætted sæl) resting together with gulls (måge) and sanderlings (sandløber).

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The best bird of the morning was a young Mediterranean gull (sorthovedet måge), that was resting on the beach, when we first spotted it. Knud was eager to try out his new camera that arrived 2 days earlier and went down to the shore to take some pictures:

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Simon, Judith, Yehonatan, Erik and Lis ringed at Kabeltrommelkrattet with the highlight being many chiffchaffs (gransanger) and one meadow pipit (engpiber), while Michael ringed at Jennes Sø and had 13 lesser repolls (lille gråsisken).

In the afternoon, Judith and I went swimming and today the sunny weather made is easier for us to get into the cold water. Many red algae have stranded at the beaches at the light house in the last couple of days.

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Later, I fixed some of our bicycles including the new one that Tage kindly donated and showed some tourists around the observatory, while Simon made dinner!

Ringing (Kabeltrommelkrattet + Jennes Sø):                                        

European Crested Tit – Topmejse – 1
Meadow Pipit – Engpiber – 1
Eurasian Blue Tit – Blåmejse – 2                
Eurasian Blackcap – Munk – 1
Great Tit – Musvit – 7
Common Chiffchaff – Gransanger – 19
Willow Warbler – Løvsanger (Song of songs) – 1
Goldcrest – Fuglekonge – 1         
Eurasian Wren – Gærdesmutte – 2
European Robin – Rødhals – 6
Common Reed Bunting – Rørspurv – 2                                   
Common Blackbird – Solsort – 1                
Eurasian Siskin – Grønsisken – 2                
Lesser Redpoll – Lille Gråsisken – 13

Total: 59

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pedersen, Erik Brodersen & Lis Kragelund, Michael Ancher, Tage (thank you!).

Busy day

torsdag 19. september 2019
af Yehonatan ben aroia

Today Simon was away on a nice tour about the trees and forst of Byfogebskovel led by Paul held Mortensen and joined him, our friendly neighbors Erik Brodersen & Lis Kragelund.

Meanwhile me Judith went to open up the nets in Sardinkrattet together with the help of Knud pederses. It was the first time that I am leading the ringing here in Skagen and it was very nice  and exiting for me. We had a nice ringing with bird coming every round so we closed the nets only around 11:30. The highlights for me was a flock of around 10 Yellowhammers (Gulspurv) but most of then escaped when we arrived to the net… but we still got some of them, and also a one of the first  Goldcrest (Kongefugle)  for the season.

The ringing ended up with 46 birds (2 recaptures)

Gærdesmutte   -   7    -  Wren

Rødhals     -      4       -  Robin

Rørsanger    -     5     - Reed warbler

Munk    -   4    -   Blackcap

Gransanger  - 9   -  Chiffchaf

Løvesanger   - 1  -   Willow warbler

Fuglekonge   -  1  - Goldcrest

Blåmejse    -   5  -   Blue tit

Bogfinke     -   1   - Chaffinch

Gulspurv   -   3    - Yellowhammer

Rørspurv   -  5   -  Reed bunting







Right after the ringing our new internship girl Stina came for her first time at the station, Simon showed her around the station and the exhibition and then me and Judith showed her around the CES site and how the ringing is working. She also had a chance to see a Common scoter (Sortand) that was brought to us while she was found on the beach. The scoter was just fine and probably was just a little tired.. we gave her a nice ring and let it back to water when it had some rest.





Right after we set the Scoter free we used the nice day that we had and went to beach t play volleyball!

We some very close and nice games and a nice afternoon for all of us.

Later on we came back, had some hot showers and a nice dinner made by Christian and a good night sleep that was very need after this long and busy day with a lot of activities.

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pedersen, Erik Brodersen & Lis Kragelund, Jens Kirkeby.

Enjoying the beach with a seal

onsdag 18. september 2019
af Judith Kloibhofer

Yesterday evening Christian and Yehonatan went out for nightcatching. They managed to catch a Dunlin (Almindelig ryle)! The bird was feeding on the tip of Grenen, while they discovered him.

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Early in the morning Christian, Knud and Lars went out for observations in worlds end III. The highlights were 2 european shags (topskarv), 1 pomarine skua (mellemkjove) and 68 brand geese (knortegås). So, the ending of the storm and the nice warm weather now is pretty good for doing observations, it is not that cold outside anymore and the birds are coming closer to the beach.

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There are also two rarities in the area around Grenen at the moment. The american scoter (amerikansk sortand) was seen yesterday and today, and a lapland bunting (lapværling) was discovered today.

In the meanwhile, Yehonatan, Simon and I went for ringing to Kabeltrommelkrattet. The first day after the stormy weather where it was calm enough to open the nets again. But contrary to our expectations the birds was not very active. In sum we caught 19 individuals in 3,5 hours. The dominant species were robins (rødhals) and wrens (gærdesmutte). While we were ringing one of our highlights, a song trush (sangdrossel), we heard a pheasant calling from the location of our mist nets. However, when we checked the nets it was not in there but keep going calling in the shrubs next to our nets. Another highlight, this time not related to birds, was a fox really close to our Kabeltrommel-tabel. She was watching us and did not mind when we came near to her. I guess she was hoping for some food, but that did not work.

We also had many visitors today while ringing: Our guests in the apartment Lis and Erik joined us and were really interested in our work. Furthermore, two german tourists were passing by, and two local birdwatchers was also talking to us for a while. As we already stopped the ringing at 10 o´clock because we had no more birds in the nets, I had time to join Christian and Knud doing their observation at the tip. It was very nice to watch the birds in this (for Denmark) warm temperatures.

When Christian and I came back to the station we went for a swim. We were looking forward to go in such a fine weather, but as soon as we touched the water we were not warm any longer – today the water was even colder than the last days. But we still managed to go into the sea and used the very calm water for a little longer swim. And not only we were enjoying the sun, also a young seal was lying next to us on the beach in the sun.

IMG 3167

Wednesday is cleaning day, so after cleaning the whole apartment, birders club and laboratory everything is now gleaming again. In between a bus tour from Sjælland arrived and Simon, Yehonatan and I showed them around and told them something about our work here and how we do the ringing of the birds.

While Yehonatan prepared some delicious pasta, Christian and I used the nearly windless courtyard to play volleyball. Let´s hope that the wind will still slow down the next days, so we can put up the net on the beach and play a volleyball game with the whole station team.

Ringing (Kabeltrommelkrattet, Grenen):

Chiffchaff – Gransanger - 1

Willow warbler – Løvsanger - 2

Blue Tit – Blåmejse - 2

Common Whitethroat – Tornsanger – 1

Reed Bunting – Rørspurv – 2

Robin – Rørhals – 5

Wren – Gærdesmutte – 3

Dunnock – Jernspurv – 2

Song Trush – Sangdrossel – 1

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pedersen, Erik Brodersen & Lis Kragelund, Jens Kirkeby.

Hits and misses

tirsdag 17. september 2019
af Chris Stolz

We still had strong north-western gales this morning – too strong to put our mist nets up. So instead Knut and I went out for observations from sunrise at Denmark’s northernmost observation point. Our hopes were high that the winds would bring some good numbers of common species and maybe one or two uncommon or rare birds. As soon as our telescopes were pointed towards the sea, we saw a constant stream of fulmars (mallemuk) passing to the northwest at the horizon. Gannets (sule) also showed in good numbers and the typical early morning movement of common scoters (sortand) and red-throated divers (rødstrubet lom) from Kattegat to Skagerrak was also visible. So a hit on numbers, but what about rarities? Well it was hit and miss this time. We got two smart migrating long-tailed skuas (lille kjove), but somehow managed to miss a Sabine’s gull (sabinemåge) that other observers found. Anyhood, we were happy with 2481 gannets (sule), 969 fulmars (mallemuk) and 120 red-throated divers (rødstrubet lom) migrating northwest in five hours, during which Yehonatan, Lis and Erik joined us for a short while, too.


countsCounts of migrating fulmar (mallemuk), gannet (sule) and great skua (storkjove) this morning.

During the same time, Judith collected some plants for the herbarium she plans to prepare during her stay at the observatory. It is now getting late for some of the flowering plants, so she wants to use her time in the rest of the week to focus on collecting cool plants. Judith uses the heavy books (“The Danish bird migration atlas”) from our library to compress the plants. Really good, that the books are finally put to good use! :-P

In the afternoon, Simon gave us a small tour around the observatory and had some tips and tricks regarding care of tourists coming to The Grey Lighthouse (Det Grå Fyr). Afterwards we had a seminar about subspecies identification of chiffchaffs (gransanger) and the pitfalls connected to that. A small session on aging chiffchaffs based on moulting strategies followed.


To refresh from the dry theoretical talk, Judith and I took our daily swim in Kattegat. There was a lot of red algae stuff in the water, which was a little disgusting. And Judith was so unlucky to hit a lion’s mane jellyfish (brandmand) and suffered the rest of the evening from that encounter.

Suddenly we heard through the grapevine, that an American scoter (amerikansk sortand) was found at the seal bunker, just a couple of hundred-meter north of the lighthouse. Yehonatan went out to find it and took some record shots. This individual might very well be the same bird that was seen for a couple of days at Nordstrand and Grenen in July (which in turn could be the one seen there as well in April). There cannot be too many birds of this American species around here…

amduckMale American scoter (amerikansk sortand) on the left; picture: Yehonatan Ben Aroia

Just after finishing this blog entry (dagbogen), Yehonatan and I will go out for night catching. Wish us luck to get something!

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pedersen, Lis Kragelund and Erik Brodersen

Music: The Dear Hunter – Migrant

First ringed cormorant for the station!

tirsdag 17. september 2019
af Yehonatan ben aroia

Still very windy days now, between 15-20 meters per second but a little slower than yesterday that was vert strong. So this morning we split, Christian and Judith went for observation together with Knud Pedersen on the tip and I was walking on the beach from the observatory going north by foot trying to find some passerines and taking some photos. After yesterday was kind of slow day for birds, today was a little better with some nice movement of Red throated diver and nice numbers of Fulmars.

red diver

While I was walking on the beach I didn’t find many birds but I did see some nice Rock pipits feeding on the beach together with some Golden and Grey plovers.

rock pipit





After we all finished the observations, we went to the ringing sites to check if the strong winds have done any damage to the nets and our equipment. We had one net that needed fixing in the new ringing site but other than that our nets standing still and ready for ringing when the winds will slow down!

Then in the afternoon we all had some very needed sleep after long morning field work, Chris and Judith went for the daily swim and I stayed for some indoor work. Later we went shopping had a nice dinner tnx to Christian and had our evening meeting with our lovely neighbors Erik brodersen and Lis Krag that decided to join us after the meeting for night catching on the beach.

Soon after the meeting we left ready for some walk on the beach looking for roosting birds.

Almost instantly me and Judith spotted something weird on the rocks. It was very weird looking and wasn’t really moving while the waves hit it. I climbed on the rock and got very close to the bird that didn’t really care from me and very first I caught the first Great cormorant for the station!

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We came back to station in less than 10 minutes with a bird! we took some measurements and ringed the bird that after some discussion we decided it’s a 3rd calendar female.

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After we finished with the bird we let it go back on the rocks and it flew to the same spot that we caught it.

The gannet`s day

søndag 15. september 2019
af Judith Kloibhofer

Christian and Yehonatan was already looking forward to going out to the tip for observations. But due to rain in the morning, they had to wait inside for a while. Despite the storm they started at 7 am. The highlight was a Black-throated Diver (Sortstrubet Lom) and a really high number of Red-throated Divers (Rødstrubet Lom), in total 81.

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In the meanwhile, I was sleeping a little bit longer to be fit for the ‘Gannets Day’. In this event Simon and I showed visitors the gannets at the tip and the guests got the opportunity to observe them with their binoculars and one scope. The tip in Grenen is one of the best places in Denmark to watch Gannets from such a short distance. They are seeking for fish in the turbulent sea where the two seas Kattegat and Skagerrak collide. Afterwards we showed a movie about plastic pollution and the risk of fishing nets for birds in general and especially for gannets. The event ended with a delicious ‘Gannet-Soup’ and a beer.

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At noon Chris and I used the sunshine to go swimming in the sea. Unfortunately, we could not really feel the warmth of the sun because the wind was really strong and cold. But at least we managed going during the day and not in the evening with lower temperatures and much more wind. Nevertheless, we needed some hot tea and a warm blanket to get warm afterwards.

In the afternoon the ongoing storm with the record speed of 72 kilometre per hour kept us in the house. So Chris and I checked all the ringing data to avoid mistakes in the database and Chris welcomed our new guests in the apartment and showed around. Yehonatan was reading a book about ringing and rested a little bit to be fit again for making a delicious dinner for all of us.

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pedersen, Pennille Roed, Athena V. Jensen, Lis Kragelund and Erik Brodersen

Good seawatching

lørdag 14. september 2019
af Chris Stolz

Before sunrise, Simon, Yehonatan and Judith went ringing in Kabeltrommelkrattet. It was a good morning with 34 birds, but only a few species (see list below) with dunnocks (jernspurv) being the no. 1 species today. The new net, that we installed yesterday, caught 5 birds – so it seems to be indeed at a good place.

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In the meanwhile, Knud and I were doing migration counts at the outermost dune row of Grenen. We had a little less wind than yesterday, but with 11m/s it was still quite strong. Opposed to yesterday, many different seabirds came by in good numbers and we managed to pick out some specialities as well: One first year Mediterranean gull (sorthodet måge) flew along the beach, one shag (toppskarv) migrated not far out on the sea to the northwest and two long-tailed skuas (lille kjove) followed suite. When looking at rough numbers, gannets (sule) were dominating with 626 migrating northwest followed by over 550 common scoters (sortand) in different directions. 262 kittiwakes (ride), 92 great skuas (storkjove) and 63 fulmars (mallemuk) kept us busy counting as well. Later, Judith and Yehonatan joined us for the last hour of observation after they had finished ringing.

During noon, Simon had a guided tour back at the observatory for a group of hairdressers. Too bad, that Simon already cut Yehonatans hair yesterday... (it looks good, though!)

In the afternoon, a German journalist came for a visit to the Grey Lighthouse on his journey from Ribe to Skagen. Judith and I were showing him around our exhibition, the birder’s club and went also up the lighthouse with him. Now we are curious what he will write about us, but the article won’t be published before next year.

In the meanwhile, Yehonatan did some office work and managed to keep the number of unsorted pictures in our ever growing picture archive low!

Our daily swim is now starting to cost us quite an effort. On days like today, when we have plenty of action going on, we only have time in the late afternoon, when the air temperature has already dropped. The Kattegat has also gotten noticeable cooler since the middle of August. Still, we are determined to swim and with some exercise like running on the beach, we manage to get warm enough to spent several minutes swimming among the waves.

Ringing (Kabeltrommelkrattet, Grenen):

Common Chiffchaff – Gransanger - 6
Willow Warbler - Løvsanger (Song of Songs) - 1
Common Reed Bunting – Rørspurv - 2
Common Whitethroat - Tornsanger - 2
Eurasian Blackcap – Munk - 3  
Eurasian Blue Tit – Blåmejse - 1
Dunnock - Jernspurv - 7
European Robin - Rødhals - 6 
Eurasian Reed Warbler - Rørsanger - 6

Total: 34

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pedersen, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Anders & Agnethe.

Music: Wovenhand - Mosaic

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