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This redpoll seems small and brown . .

torsdag 28. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

I put the tapes out to attract redwing (vindrossel) and opened the nets early morning. I didn’t catch any redwing, though as usual I had a surplus of redpolls. In amongst the many flammea redpolls I did catch one cabaret, so that was a nice change. I’ve now ringed around 70/80 redpolls this year and it’s getting easier to age and sex them, and the species differences are becoming more apparent the more I familiarise myself with a group that I haven’t ringed in numbers since April last year.

Throughout the time I was ringing there were plenty of jackdaw (allike) moving past the observatory, along with a few skylark (sanglærke). Having not had a great couple of nights sleep for various reasons, I had a brief nap after I closed nets, before starting on some net repair. I managed to get three nets done, bringing my total for nets fixed to 10 so far, with the same amount to go. It’s a good skill to have, though I am by no means adept at the process, with my large fingers.

The wind dropped by late afternoon so I took my daily bike ride up to Grenen. Not as productive as previous days, but a lovely evening to be out on the ridge there. Still looking forward to the time the bitterns move back in and I get to watch them travel from site to site, and days when you can’t move for birds of prey there! When I returned to the observatory I finished off the updated version of the birders club video. It’s still not as perfect as I want, but it’s hands down better than before.

Birds ringed

Stor gråsisken -31

Lille gråsisken - 1

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Some variety among the flammea redpolls (stor gråsisken) this cabaret (lille gråsisken)

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The carrion crow (sortkråge) is hanging out a lot at the observatory currently. 

Migration at last!

onsdag 27. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

It was a windy and slightly sleepless night, the lighthouse building makes the wind seem far more violent than it is. Despite that I was up and at Grenen by 7 and shortly joined by Knud. We had a very pleasant mornings birding, with a lot of movement, with whooper swans migrating, jackdaws attempting to, plenty of seaduck moving through, a group of 18 snow buntings feeding in front of us on the beach. A lone pink footed goose was heard only. Saw my first ravens and rook of the season also. We were joined later on by Jørgen Kable, who spotted a group of four buzzards attempting to migrate but chickening out before they reached the tip.

It was a pain to wrench myself back after three hours but it was cleaning day and we have new volunteers coming in at the weekend. The cleaning takes a while when it’s just one of you! The birds were still very active in the garden, but the wind had picked up so I couldn’t really open the nets. After seeing the activity on the beach today however I decide to head out tonight for some flashlighting. Before I went out I spent some time fixing a net, however it’s one of the trickier ones and I don’t finish it before dinner. The board came to the Observatory for a meeting in the birders club, but I missed them as I went out for a fruitless hour flashlighting in the wind. However it’s given me a good feel for what birds are present and what conditions may not be the best for going out in! Hey ho, I’ll be opening the nets tomorrow if the wind is as low as the forecast suggests.

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One flock of several hundred jackdaws that attempted crossing at Grenen today. 

Diver rescue . . or not

onsdag 27. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

Flemming and I set off about 10.00 this morning to the harbour to find the diver. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we couldn’t find it again and had to return. Flemming contacted the wildlife rescue people, so at least the appropriate authorities know. We’ll have another try if it turns up again.

On the way back the garden was full of redpolls, and amongst them was my first Danish tree sparrow for the year. I had other things to do today, including preparing another slideshow so I couldn’t take the time to wade through redpoll recaptures to process a tree sparrow. Perhaps another day. I continue doing computer work, as the presentation and the previous days diary took me a while.

I managed to head out to Grenen for the late afternoon, and despite seeming quiet, it was very active, with four stock dove, four shelduck, a crane, reed bunting and various other species I hadn’t caught up with yet this season. The fieldfare were putting on a nice display, I counted at least 250 this time, slightly down from the other day, but they were well spread out. I biked home via Ellekrattet and heard a water rail in the reeds which was nice and a crane was calling between Jennes Sø and North Strand.

When I got home, I got a message from Knud inviting me out seawatching the next morning at Grenen, so I got an early night so I could be at the tip at 7.

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Diver rescue equipment! . . . . that we didn’t need. . 

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Our recent garden visitor, the tree sparrow (Skovspurv)

An active day!

mandag 25. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

The weather was quite good this morning, and so I had the nets open for an hour or so. The majority of birds caught were redpoll but I did get another fresh great tit, which was nice. I’ve been hearing a lot about red kites being seen in Skagen that I haven’t seen yet, so I did a brief bit of raptor watching from the side of the ringing lab. Didn’t see any red kites, but an odd buzzard and a good movement of jackdaws. The fog then moved in rapidly putting an end to my raptor searching.

I then sat in the birders club continuing to fine tune the video, whilst also making myself available to questions from the few visitors coming in. A couple from Norway came in and told me that there was a small seal up at Grenen. My interest piqued, I had an enjoyable hour and a half birding up to Grenen and back, seeing a razorbill, and a few other species, but no live seal. There was a dead grey seal almost covered by sand, and that was interesting as I’d never been so close to one before. I also found an interesting feather on the beach, which may be from a woodcock, which would be a fantastic find!

After dinner I created a new photo archive folder for 2019 (not so easy as I had to spell Danish, which required copying it all down on paper before transferring to the computer). Whilst I was doing this I got a message from Flemming saying he’d found a red throated diver with some fishing line caught round it in the harbour. We resolved to try and catch it and cut the line off tomorrow.

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Interesting feather, probable woodcock (skovsneppe)

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A grey seal on the beach, fast becoming a part of the beach . .

Eagles Day!

søndag 24. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

I didn’t have time for ringing today as I was getting the birders club ready for the Eagles Day slideshow. It was attended by a few locals as well as a few new faces, Jørgen Kabel for one. It went quite well, considering the aptitude of the attendees, but for me the most interesting part was after I’d finished the talk and Jørgen and I looked at the differences between greater and lesser spotted eagles.

It was a pretty low key day after this, a bike ride into town, followed by some computer work. The mist came down so birding was non existent. I did however photograph two roe deer in the fog on the way back from town, clearly very confident due to the lack of people. I made some social media posts, and Simon did the same from Oman, which added a different flavour. I made a nice chilli in the evening, which should see me through the next couple of days, and free me up to do other things. I have another presentation coming up at the end of the week which I need to start working on.

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Me admitting to everyone I don’t know what an eagle is!

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Ghostly roe deer . . 

These fieldfare are rather small . .

lørdag 23. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

The weather was good and the wind low, so I got up early and put some fieldfare tape out in the garden. Gave it an hour and after getting one bird, swapped it over to the redpoll tape. Which was much more successful, with 28 birds being caught after that, and there would have been more if the speaker hadn’t run out of battery. It was a busy but fun morning, with my first non redpoll bird ringed since I got back, which was a 2nd year male great tit. There was also some movement of birds, with a greylag goose flock over the Obs and a kestrel feeding in the garden. Jurgen Cable came over for a chat, first time I’d seen him since I got back, which was nice.

After I finished, Flemming invited me in for a bit of cake, which was the perfect way to finish off a good morning. After a good cuppa and ‘cinnamon snail’ I was energised to go up and double check my eagle presentation for tomorrow, and inevitably to add to it. Once I was done with this, I had a bike ride over to Jennes Sø and back along the road (keeping active as best I can) and then a quick met fixing session got me another two nets done.

Last of the leftover stew for dinner before entering DofBasen and checking out another PowerPoint presentation I’ll have to make next week, before getting the diary our early! Looking forward to Eagle Day tomorrow, lets hope we see some rovfugle at least!


Great tit (musvit)

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Some of the redpoll (gråsisken) today were borderline between mealy and lesser.

Almost the weekend . .

lørdag 23. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

The wind was too strong to open the nets so I put the trap down for an hour, but as I expected I didn’t get much interest from the one bird I saw in the garden. I occupied myself with writing the previous days diaries and entering DofBasen records that I’d forgotten to enter the night before. Michael Ancher came round for a chat and we discussed the bird activity over the past few days as the temperature had dropped significantly. I took a walk around ElleKrattet and the beach, there wasn’t much around, the highlight being a male velvet scoter.

I made a trip into town for some needed shopping, (in the sleet) and then proceeded to wash some sheets, so that there’s enough bedding when the next volunteer arrives. Got to use the new tumble drier which was a luxury I wasn’t used to a bird observatory! After the centre closed, I took advantage of the quiet to hoover the stairs, so much sand gets tracked in during the week. 

I continued doing some computer work into the evening, before dinner. I’m going to try for some thrushes tomorrow morning, so I need to be up early.


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Male velvet scoter (fløjlsand) just off the shore from the observatory

A productive day

torsdag 21. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

It was raining this morning, so the trap wasn’t set nor the nets opened. This allowed me to continue getting ready for my presentation at the weekend, and catch up with diary updates. It’s also cleaning day (should have been yesterday, but with people in and out I made a decision to do it today). I took a brief walk along the beach, seeing my first Danish razorbill, rock pipit and red breasted merganser for the year. I also worked out the logistics for the presentation on Sunday. 

The Eagles day presentation was finished by midday, give or take some extra information I received later in the day, and the apartment was cleaned. I went for a trip to North Strand and managed to catch up with another group of snow bunting (there’s at least seven different individuals I’ve encountered, and I’m sure many more if I did a full walk from North Strand back to the Observatory via the beach). I also saw my first Danish Sparrowhawk of the year.

Once I returned I was back onto the net repairs. As usual I lost track of time whilst repairing some particularly big holes, and I didn’t finish until almost 8pm. I may try opening the nets tomorrow, as the rain might have brought some things in.


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Razorbill (Alk) one of three in Kattergat from the Obs today.

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Eider (Ederfugl), a nice comparison of an adult male and a subadult male. 

And then there was one . .again!

onsdag 20. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

A late start this morning, followed by a bit of computer work. The wind changed direction and dropped entirely so the garden was devoid of birds, frustrating my ideas of ringing this morning. That being said,  its very interesting to see such weather dependent movement. I caught up with a few bits and pieces, and then went back to net repair. Gustav went for a bit of a walk up to Ellekrattet and found a nuthatch there and a kittiwake from the beach.

Anine left about midday, and Gustav and I had a nice pancake lunch, after which I tried to find his nuthatch again to no avail. There’s a lot of change happening on the point, with a lot of woodland disappearing, so it’s quite noisy and not conducive to great birding, though I know it’s for a good reason. I did see a kestrel on my way back, which was my first for Denmark this year so it wasn’t a bad walk. Gustav left mid afternoon, and I went back to fixing nets, managing to get two out of the way today, so I’m starting to get into a rhythm. Once again it went on for longer than I thought, and I didn’t finish until it was dark outside.

Dinner was leftovers, and just going over my plans for the next day, cleaning the accommodation and cracking on with my various presentations, leaving enough time to go birding if I can. .

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Gustav and his glamorous assistant, celebrating another good magic show . . 

Day of the Magic Show

tirsdag 19. februar 2019
af Peter Denyer

Today was the day of the of the magic show. To that end, we were up and already finishing the preparations long before the first guests came. Whilst Gustav made his last minute preparations, I prepared the ringing lab, where he would bring the children after the show finished. So many redpolls still hanging around in the garden, so I wasn’t lacking for birds but the wind was strong so I just had the ground trap running. I needn’t have worried as I managed to get 7 birds from one round in the trap, there’s just that many redpolls around. Gustav brought a large group to the lab after the shows and he gave a good talk about what I was doing as I extracted and ringed the birds.

After the visitors left, Gustav and I continued to ring the last few redpolls and I was helping him to understand the techniques of ringing and the reasons behind them. Once the last bird was ringed, Gustav and Anine cleated up the magic show, whilst I got started with a slideshow presentation I’m due to give on Eagles Day on Sunday. Gustav and Anine went and did some much needed shopping in the afternoon and saw the four snow bunting on their way back from the town. The carrion crow was also hanging around the observatory during the afternoon, first time I’ve seen it since I’ve been back, but as it’s our common crow in Britain, I confess I didn’t look that hard for it! I had a brief bike ride in the evening, going over to look at the CES ringing site as I left last year before they did major tree clearing work there, and boy has it changed a lot! 

Tonight it was Gustav’s turn to make dinner, and after that the two of them made their way into town to get some treats for their last night here, and breakfast for tomorrow morning. I continued to work on the Eagles Day presentation and my pet project of fine tuning the Birders Club video.

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Gustav‘s Magic Show was very well received today. 

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The view from the boardwalk. When i was here last year, this was a view dominated by reeds and woodland.


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