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Danish trains

lørdag 31. august 2019
af Joost Van Duppen

Just before sunset I started my morning with a walk along the coast to one of our observation posts where Christian and Judith counted birds. Along the way I saw some seal cubs waking up, ready to move into the sea before the tourists come.


We have received a very nice photo of the sighting of Thom Kongerslev who saw a red-footed falcon (Aftenfalk) on the Storsig site, not far from the station.

© Thom Kongerslev

After the observations, Judith and Yehonatan maintain the nets at our new ring location (Kabeltrommelkrattet), to mow the grass short enough so that birds do not get wet when they fly into the nets.
Martin gave a tour of the station, in which many participants took part
As usual, to freshen up, almost all of us had a good, joyful swim in the sea. Upon returning home, Yehonatan made a delicious juice from the sea buckthorn berries, which he picked.
Christina stayed with us for almost two months and we made a collective trip to Skagen to say goodbye. We wish her a safe journey and good luck for her next bird watching adventures. Later we received the message that she had arrived well and that she was impressed by the size and quality of the bathroom on the Danish trains. 

Shortly after sunset I changed the audio recorders to check the data and discovered many batsounds in the spectrogram. Because the frequency of the bats is very high due to their echolocation, we cannot identify them with the current recording settings.
Raven Litebats

People: Martin Yordanov Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer

Red footed-falcons are coming!

fredag 30. august 2019
af Yehonatan ben aroia

So, like every morning we split to two groups, one goes to watch and count migration and the other goes to the ring birds. Both starts before the sunrise and takes a lot of experience, so it doesn’t matter you are going in the morning, you are going to learn a lot if its from the people that has more experience in ringing or watching. We, the volunteers try to teach each other as much as possible and share our knowledge about anything.

So I went with Christina, Christian and Simon to ring birds in the new site that we have been working on lately.

It was a nice morning with some nice birds.

At the end we had 24 birds. 



When Christina and Christian went to check the receiver on the late afternoon, they found a red-footed falcon (Aftenfalk) sitting on a tree along the way that flew off when they approached. They followed the bird to get some better pictures, but the falcon was quite elusive and was not seen again. The receiver was working as intended, so no further maintenance was needed.



Red-footed falcons are pretty are in Skagen and the in the last few days many people have been reporting about them and its not just here in Skagen! I many places in Northern Europe where the Red-footed falcons are pretty rare they have been seen a lot recently the last days as what we call "invasion". when a specie that isnt seen so oftenly is seen in many places and more often.

Ringmærkning (Kabeltrommelkrattet)

Musvit-Great tit -  1

Tornsanger-Whitethroat -  9

Munk-Blackcap -  1

Løvsanger-Willow warbler -  7

Grænsanger- Lesser whitethroat -  2

Gransanger-Chiffchaf -  1

Kærsanger-Marsh warbler – 1

Stenpikker-Northern wheatear -  1

Skovpiber-Tree pipit -  1

Total: 24

People: Martin Yordanov Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer, Simon S. Christiansen

First ringing in Kabeltrommelkrattet

torsdag 29. august 2019
af Christina Ninou

Kabeltrommelkrattet (cable drum thicket), turned out to be a very interesting site while even if we had to open and close the nets several times, we caught a big variety of birds. The activity is quite intense in this area with many migratory passerines flying around. During days with better conditions we might have some days with nets full of interesting species.

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While Simon, Martin, Yehonathan and I were ringing, Joost and Christian went for observations, which unfortunately were interrupted by the rain and they had to come back to the lighthouse. That was rather fortunate however as they spotted a juvenile red-footed falcon (Aftenfalk), sitting on the railing of the lighthouse.

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The nets at Kabeltrommelkrattet closed rather early due to the rain and wind, so we all ended up at the house working on different tasks. In the evening, a productive session on the moulting strategies of several different families of passerines took place at the station. We examined the four most common strategies birds follow during the year when replacing their feathers. With this knowledge we can differentiate between juvenile and adult individuals when we catch the birds in the field. By this, birds that are caught again several years later can be accurately aged. Furthermore, breeding success and juvenile survival rates can be estimated and compared.

moulting session1

After dinner, we gathered in our cozy living room for beers and shuffle ball! We played for quite a long time and had tons of fun!

shuffle ball1

Ringing (Kabeltrommelkrattet, Grenen):

Common Redstart - Rødstjert - 1

Wheatear - Stenpikker - 1

Reed Warbler - Rørsanger - 1

Lesser Whitethroat - Gærdesanger - 1

Common Whitethroat - Tornsanger - 8

Garden Warbler - Havesanger - 2

Common Chiffchaff - Gransanger - 1

Willow Warbler - Løvsanger - 4

Spotted Flycatcher - Grå Fluesnapper - 1

Yellowhammer - Gulspurv - 1

Total: 21

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Yordanov Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer

New ringing site finished and trip to Stensnæs

onsdag 28. august 2019
af Chris Stolz

The morning was dominated by ever-changing weather. Thunderstorms were roaming outside during the night and poor Joost woke up at 2am and couldn’t fall asleep anymore after. At 5am, Simon, Yehonatan, Joost and I were discussing the action plan for possible morning ringing. Thunderstorms/heavy rain was forecasted, but the weather radar looked ok. Therefore we decided to go outside – where it started raining. It was just a short shower though, and we continued to our ringing site and started to put up the first nets. Unfortunately it started to rain again and we hat to put the nets down again. We stayed during the rain shower in our little shelter tent at the ringing site. There was hardly any space for the three of us, but that space was enough for a million mosquitoes to join our downtime. Finally the raining ceased, Simon joined us and we were able to catch birds. See the list in the end of this post for more details on what ended up in our nets.

IMG 2489Waiting with a mosquito swarm inside our small tent for a weather change...

In the meanwhile, Christina was counting bird migration close by at World’s End. Migration was not very strong, so she had the time to find one of the surf scoters (brilleand), which is still in the area. At the same time, Martin went on a walk on the beach to collect interesting material for an upcoming tour. He found a dead seal pub and a dead harbour porpoise (marsvin).

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After ringing and observations, we put up the remaining nets at the new ringing site, Kabeltrommelkrattet (cable drum thicket) and cleared a path through the thicket to our new ringing table – the name giving cable drum. We are looking very much forward to go ringing there tomorrow.

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One of our brand new nets at Kabeltrommelkrattet

After coming home, our weekly Wednesday occupation commenced: Cleaning the house. With now so many people at the station as now, it was a fast and actual fun activity. Simon in the meanwhile collected yet another new volunteer from the train station: Judith arrived after a trip involving bus, ferry and train from Copenhagen.

In the evening, Simon took Yehonatan, Christina and me to the bird sanctuary Stensnæs – Lyngså south of Sæby. This area is known as a hotpot for waders (vadefugler) and we plan to use the shallow waters there for capture efforts. Today we went to check the movement of the birds and consider which places would most suitable for our nets. After Simon told us so many good stories about it, we were excited that he wasn’t exaggerating. We saw 17 different wader (vadefugl) species, among which red knots (islandsk ryle), oystercatchers (strandskade), dunlins (almindelig ryle), and curlews (storspove) were found in three-digit numbers.

IMG 2498

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We arrived almost at high tide and observed how the water level decreased during our stay. The birds moved accordingly from their roosting places to their foraging sites. The best places to put up nets seem to be however unreachable without waders or a boat. If time and weather allow it, we will have our first trapping efforts next week.

IMG 2500

IMG 2510Where should we put the nets?

DSC 9413Is it possible to cross here?

69005107 1110441312493459 6101022570344087552 nThunderstorms approaching before sunset

DSC 9350

Ringing (Grenen – Sardinkrattet):

Spotted Flycatcher – Grå Fluesnapper – 2
Common Whitethroat – Tornsanger – 1
Eurasian Blackcap – Munk – 3
Eurosian Reed Warbler - Rørsanger - 3
Willow Warbler – Løvsanger – 10
European Robin – Rødhals – 2

Total: 21

People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Yordanov Georgiev, Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer

Writing music: Major Parkinson – Black Box

In the footsteps of the red admiral

tirsdag 27. august 2019
af Martin Georgiev

Since we now officially have a full house here at the station – six volunteers – we are now able to split up into teams and work on several tasks at the same time. Today Joost, Anders and Christian formed the observation team while Christina, Yehonathan, Simon formed the ringing team.

The weather was hot from dawn therefore we both expected a very slow morning. Our prediction was painfully on point. The observations team witnessed hardly any migrating birds and even the usual sea birds were not in the usual numbers. The ringing team in the meanwhile was as slow as well with a total of 22 birds ringed and two recaptures. The most eventful moment was a tree sparrow (Skovspurv) which was a nice distraction.

20190827 080452

Upon return from fieldwork both teams had a quick lunch and split up into two new teams. This time Christian, Yehonathan and Christina set off to continue the work on the net lanes at our new site.

While the others were working Joost and I opened the nets in the garden. After this deed was done we used we started advertising the tour we put together in response to the large number of visitors in the lighthouse the past few days. On our first round we managed to catch a whitethroat (Tornsanger). As we were ringing a family from Slovenia walked in the lab asking for a tour. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. They were three kids and their parents, and they were all so keen to learn about nature, it was a real pleasure for us as guides. During the tonur we unfortunately didn’t manage to catch any more birds but we were blessed with plentiful lovely insects (including the blood sucking ones unfortunately). On our way back to the station one of the young ladies caught a red admiral in most professional way. They all knew so much it was an amazing tour.

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In the evening we celebrated the good weather with a lovely game of beach volleyball and a barbeque.

Ringing                        (Sardinkrattet)

Løvsanger                   11

Gærdesmutte               2

Rørsanger                    2      

Gulbug                         1                

Tornsanger                   1                

Munk                            4      

Skovspurv                    1

Ringing                        (Fyrhaven)

Tornsanger                  1

Total:                            23

People: Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Joost Van Duppen, Martin Yordanov Georgiev.

Nocturnal Skagen

mandag 26. august 2019
af Joost Van Duppen

Last night, after celebrating Christina's birthday, Christina and Martin decided to pack their sleeping bags and go stargazing. They made beautiful pictures of the moon.
Later in the morning they woke up in the wonderfull dunes with a wet sleeping bag because of the dew and could immediately start their observation while they lay.

IMG 2444x

This morning I’ve started my hike to look for my observator partners Christian & Anders, but I couldn’t find them and ended up on the beach.  I’ve walked along the shore to Nordstrand and  watched how waders run through the waving sea water. 

Later we ‘ve checked the receiver, which is a project from the University of Copenhagen running at the Skagen Fuglestation, where birds are tracked by geolocation.

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For dinner we went shopping and ate a tasty ice cream on a terrace in Skagen city.

Meanwhile the others were cooking, I’ve been out to install our first overnight recording, a new sound project that tracks nightcalls from migratory birds.

IMG 3697x

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

Hot and slow days

søndag 25. august 2019
af Yehonatan ben aroia

So we are having some very sunny couple of days Skagen and the next few will also be like that.Which is very good for outdoor activities like stuff that we did, cutting lanes for new nets, counting sea birds, swimming and many more…But these days are also very slow for Birds migration.Today I went to the CES site that we usually ring to help Michael which is also ringing there.The early morning was very foggy and wet, and after that it quickly became very sunny and hot and very slow for birds. We actually didn’t catch not even a single bird! but a nice Great cormorant (Skarv) that used the place that we ring to rest and dry his wings, made us nice company for the morning.



After the no-birds ringing I joined Christian, Christina and Joost and they told me they a very slow morning without a lot of bird activity on the beach. But still we had a great time enjoying the local sea birds and having a good time.After our nice morning we went back to the station and a little birthday party for our volunteer Christina! Which turned 27 today! we had a great cake and had a great time all of the volunteers together. Good times!


Razorbill (Alk)


In the evening, after a long day, me and Martin drove to pick up Simon from Hirtshals, after he had a great time in Lista bird observatory in Norway, and on the way I had a couple of minutes for some nice birdwatching and saw some Oystercatchers (Strandskade) and Bar-tailed godwit (Lille Kobbersneppe) at last sunlight.Both if the birds are not so common in Israel and its very nice for me to see then here!




CES over

lørdag 24. august 2019
af Christina Ninou & Martin Georgiev

Our last CES was today! It was quite slow but we had a variety of species. It was really nice to see a goshawk flying really close to us, as well as some waders migrating such as golden plovers and greenshanks.


While Martin was coming to Jennes so, he found a dead Common European Viper on the cycle path, but he did not have a plastic bag to collect it so he decided to come to the CES to find one. He rushed as ever before to make sure the snake was laid where it was found. Once a plastic bag had been acquired he made heist to the scene of the crime. The perpetrator was yet to be unmasked. Then he took the fresh carcass to the laboratory in order to start the dissection. Surprisingly, when he opened it he found 8 eggs with fully developed baby snakes, each was about 16 inches long. It is really sad that these snakes did not get the opportunity to see the light since they were 1 or 2 days away from it. We will keep them in the freezer as specimens.


We also checked out the receiver that Kat installed some weeks ago, to make sure everything is fine. It is a very interesting installation and we are hoping that we will get some data from the birds that will be tagged in Norway!

At 14:00, Martin was presenting to a group of anthropologists from the University of Copenhagen, the Skagen Bird Observatory and the activities of the volunteers as well as how much fun we are having here. 


After coming back from the CES, we entered the data and then went with Christian and Joost up to the lighthouse. The weather was great and it wasn't that windy so we stayed there for some time chilling and chatting.

We had an early dinner prepared by Christian since we were planning on going to the sand dune to watch the sunset. After having the amazing salty and sweet pancakes he made we got ready for our mini road trip to the other side. Unfortunately, we didn't catch the sun going down but we arrived just when it was behind the horizon so the colors in the sky were truly beautiful. We stayed there until it was completely dark listening to the geese, cranes and the wood sandpiper calling loudly. It was a very relaxing moment. Martin was very excited to observe the stars and the satellites.


Ringing (Jennes so): 

Willow Warbler - Song of Songs - 2

Common Chiffchaff - Gransanger - 8

Reed bunting - Tubing - 1

Great tit - Musvit - 3

Garden warbler - Garden singer - 3

Blue tit - Blue Tit - 1

Lesser whitethroat - Yeast singer - 1

Blackbird - Sun type - 3

Common whitethroat - Tornsanger - 5

Total: 27

People: Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Joost Van Duppen, Martin Y. Georgiev.

The new ringing site

fredag 23. august 2019
af Martin Georgiev

Observations were again the first task for team Skagen. No rare sightings were reported, birds seen included a large number of great skuas, gannets and a few razorbills. After observations Christian focused on the photo archive once again. Our two main quests for the day were cutting net lanes in our new-to-be ringing site and getting Jennes So ready for tomorrow’s CES ringing session. Christina and Christian headed off to town to pick up the electric bush trimmer from Jørgen Kabel! Thank you Jørgen!

Around noon all of us met in the station in order to distribute the tasks between everyone. In the end Joost, Christina and Anders headed for Jennes So while Christian, Yehonathan and I went to cut lanes in the new site. We equipped ourselves with two saws, two grass cutters, two branch cutters and one electric trimmer and set off. The horseflies were incredibly happy to see us however the marvel of human engineering we had with us this time made an immense difference.

A bit of planning, some labour diversification, sweat combined with elbow grease and a couple of hours later the new lanes were ready and awaiting their nets. In the meanwhile, Yoost was doing his best to find some rechargeable batteries in town however sadly without success. Those were required for his night recording equipment.

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In the afternoon we went shopping as I needed quite a few things to prepare Mexican fajitas, a favourite food of mine which I was yet to cook for myself. They actually turned out great and we all quite full by the end of it all! In the evening I focused on preparing my presentation for the Anthropology students visiting us tomorrow.

People: Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Knud Pedersen, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Joost Van Duppen, Martin Y. Georgiev, Jørgen Kabel.

Migration counts

torsdag 22. august 2019
af Christina Ninou

Today we had a very productive morning with many birds during our migration counts at World’s End I. The stars of migration were the Golden plovers (Hjelje) and the Tree sparrows (Skovspurv) which every now and then passed us flying in big flocks. We also saw Wheatears (Stenpikker) which were flying a lot around and sitting quite close to us on the bushes. About 70 Great skuas (Storkjove) migrating over the sea, some Arctic skuas (Almindelig Kjove) as well as Fulmars (Mallemuk) and Kittiwakes (Ride) gave us some nice views. After that we went to the beach to check on the waders and gulls.


When we came back to the observatory it had already started to rain so we did some indoor activities. Chris and I did a small moulting session, Joost working on his project and Martin was preparing his presentation for Saturday. He will be presenting to a group of anthropologists from the University of Copenhagen our main activities at the observatory and he will also talk about birds, of course!

In the afternoon Anders was out again in the rain this time at Grenen for some more observations and luckily it stopped after a while so he had a nice time on the hill.

People: Christina Ninou, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Knud Pedersen, Anders Odd Wulff Nielsen, Joost Van Duppen, Martin Y. Georgiev

Music playing while writting the blog: Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert


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