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woodpecker & eagle
Today started with a slightly later wake up call as we are approaching autumn and the days are getting shorter. Like the last few days, we set off ringing at Kabeltromlen but with one less. Frank was occupied leading a birding tour around Grenen.
At Kabeltromlen, the day was quiet with a minimum of a couple birds each round. The highlight came around 7 when a greater spotted woodpecker (Stor Flagspætte) was found in one of the northern side nets. The feisty and loud juvenile did not make the extracting easy, pecking viciously at the fingers. The rest of the birds were similar to previous ringing session with a majority of common whitethroats (tornsanger) but a surprising high number of chiffchaff (gransanger). Two blackbird (solsort) were also ringed which had been a while.
Meanwhile Frank looked at the results of the night’s moth trap, a lot a o common and already caught moth. Once the visitors arrived he set off along the tractor track popping in at Kabeltromlen to show them how ringing worked, and continued to the point and back down the beach to the observatory. He spotted a white-tailed eagle (havørn).
The afternoon was lounging and admin. Frank went out to Skagen to do a small shop, Esben caught up on his sleep and I finally made it up the lighthouse and a second swim. In the evening the lighthouse garden nets were opened with 2 great tits (musvit) so far.
Stor Flagspætte 1
Folk på stationen: Esben Hansen, Mathilde Ducroz, Frank Osterberg og Simon S Christiansen
Ringing and Sortterne
The same way we start most of our mornings, ringing had us down at Kabeltromlen at 4:20 opening the nets for the mornings catching. With the 19th being as successful and busy as it showed to be we had high hopes for today with the weather on our side again. However, although not as busy we still had a productive day with 31 birds. Our new guests were up and early also to join us for the ringing at around 7 so with not so many birds this morning it was good to have a few extra minutes showing the kids the birds properly and letting them release a few, hopefully sparking that new interest we need in the next generation and maybe some new volunteers in the future! Following the trend of the past week the majority and dominating species was common whitethroat (Tornsanger) most being this year’s young I also rung my first wren which are always a pleasure and a couple more common species out on Grenen mentioned bellow.
Simon also joined us for the ringing, partly the way through he went to the beach to do some observations and found a Caspian tern (Rovterne) and a black tern (Sortterne).
The rest of the day that followed then simply consisted of data entry from the morning and deciding what will be on the agenda for the following week. We also opened the nets in the courtyard as we did last night as something to fill our time for the slim chance of catching the house martins, but we didn’t catch anything. I will also put the moth trap out this evening, so we have some moths to show at the beginning of the tour in the morning.
People: Esben Hansen, Mathilde Ducroz, Simon S Christiansen
Simon var på stationen kl 10 hvor arbejdsdagen bød på møder med Lene og kommende frivillige. Han fik også indsendt rapporter til sjældenhedsudvalget fra foråret!
Dagen for os andre startede noget tidligere kl. 01:15, for vi prøvede at tage på natfangst, inden vi kl. 04:10 havde åbnet nettene ved Kabeltromlen. Natfangsten lykkedes desværre ikke, heldigvis skete der lidt i ringmærkningen. 15 fugle blev det til, før vi lukkede 0930. Vi fik besøg under ringmærkningen, så der blev fortalt om vores daglige arbejdet og om hvordan ringmærkningen foregår.
Vi fik sagt farvel til Ouafa og Peter efter vi havde spist frokost, og skyndte os derefter ind i seng for at få en lang lur.
Efter vi havde sovet, åbnede vi net i fyrhaven, hvor vi i skrivende stund har fanget 3 fugle indtil videre! En Husrødstjert, gråspurv og Tornsanger. Det er ikke så tit vi fanger gråspurve og husrødstjerter så de var et velkommen syn i nettene.
Folk på stationen: Mathilde Ducroz, Frank Osterberg, Esben Hansen og Simon S. Christiansen
Esben’s arrival yesterday meant that we were able to ring again today which is exactly what we did! Just before sunrise, we headed out to our Kabeltrommeln site and opened up our nets for the morning around 4:30. From the very first round, the birds were present with rounds of around 10 birds each time. At the end of the first round, we were joined by our station guests, Ouafa and Peter, which generously brought coffee and food that was very well received. A round later, we were joined by Bella and her boyfriend, who has studied birds extensively throughout her studies.
The results of our morning were an enormous amount of whitethroats, both common (tornsanger) and lesser (gærdesanger) making up more than half of the ringed birds today. Grenen really does seem to be a successful breeding place for them, as most of them were first year juveniles! Other notable birds include 2 siskins (grøsiskin), a tree pipit (skoupiber) and a beautiful crested tit (topmejse).
Here is the topmejse and grønsiskin from the last round.
As the nets were so full, we stayed out later than usual eventually making our way back to the station around 12:30, perfect timing for lunch. In the afternoon, we focused on admin and little tasks such as entering data, charging batteries and this blog.
We are now eagerly awaiting the diner being prepared by our guests, which form the living room smells delicious! Keep watch for tomorrow’s blog as we will be attempting an early morning seabird ringing session!
A reed bunting (rørspurv)
Folk på stationen: Mathilde Ducroz, Frank Osterberg, Esben Hensen, Ouafa og Peter.
Observation and Cormorants
We began the day with morning observations along the west side of Grenen with me and Mathilde, beginning at 05:00 until 08:00, with one Manx shearwater (Almindelig Skråpe) the usual auks (Alkefugle) and a lot more Gannets (Sule) this morning than previous mornings but overall a good count of most species which can be seen on DOFbasen. After the observations, we had the final cormorant colony session to complete looking at which nests are still active and which young have fledged successfully. On the journey to and from the colony, I couldn’t help but look for reptiles with plenty of sand lizards and some healthy female adders baking on the path.
We returned home and entered data from the morning updated the picture archive. During which we said goodbye to Jesper and Margit who have already requested another stay for next year which we love to see and glad they enjoyed their time with us and hope they will enjoy their stay just as much next summer. We then went into town to do the weekly shop and returned to greet our new but returning guests Ouafa, where we got to know each other a bit better over dinner with some interesting conversations. Espen also arrived this evening for a week as he just can't stay away for long.
Tomorrow we will go ringing at Kabletrommen so we prepared the stuff for the morning and hope that the birds give a good show!
People: Mathilde Ducroz, Esben Hensen
Nightjars and relaxing
The day started very well with three nice surprises: one female and two male nightjars (Natravn)! The two first checks of the night were the most successful with a recaptured female on the first followed by two males on the second. I was made very happy when asked to ring the older male nightjar (Natravn)! The rest of the evening was quieter as the fog settled in. I’m glad I was able to participate in the last of these nightjar ringing nights. These birds are truly very special! At 3.30, we made our way back to the station meeting a few roe deer on the way.Photographer: Søren Poulsen Photographer Søren Poulsen
After the long day and night, we all needed to catch up on some well-deserved sleep. The rest of the day was more focused on cleaning and admin. All the nets from the night were put up to dry, the lab was cleaned, the equipment tidied and the bird bags washed. Frank had fun pinning the moth collected from the previous moth trapping session while I made the most of the sun and went for a late afternoon swim.
Natravn (nightjar) 2
Natravn (nightjar) 1 recapture (aflæsinger)
Folk på stationen: Mathilde Ducroz, Frank Osterberg, Simon S. Christiansen, Lisa Vergin, Jesper og Margit, Lars Bo, Gitte og Jens Peder.
Observations and nightjars
Today started with a follow-up observations trip to Grenen along the shoreline, we sat atop one of the dunes at 04:45 am ready for the sunrise which was impressive as ever. I was joined by Mathilde and Timon who joined us for his last day here up in Skagen, determined to find some more birds for his tour list which I'm glad I got to assist with. Overall it was a good observation session, with some nice species, nice weather, and coffee! An increase in Auks (alkefugle) have begun their migration with some identifiable individuals as razorbills (Alk) and other guillemots (Lomvie) but the majority being too far to distinguish a species. 2 Manx shearwaters (Almindeig Skråpe) were seen along the horizon accompanied by an immature arctic skua (Almindeig Kjove), the usual flocks of common scoter (Sortand) with some velvet scoter (Fløjlsand) mixed in and red and black-throated divers (Rød-Sortstrubet Lom). The rest of our observations can be seen on DOFbasen for today’s records in the usual link below.
We returned to base and after some food and energy replenishment returned to bed for a nap. Timon packed and headed up to the lighthouse to see Skagen from above which we recommend to everyone to do at least once while you're here and he said goodbye and headed to town to catch his train. Simon arrived where we went over what needed to be done while he was away and a catch up on the weeks workload, and also prepped us for this evening where we will again be trying to catch nightjars at Sandmilen. We will be joined by a few guests to show the process and hopefully some nightjars the hand. We love bringing people to these experiences as its more important than ever to show the public and increase publicity and education in ornithology. Sadly, this will also be the last nightjar session of the season before they head back to Africa with some now sporting the ring of Denmark. The results of tonight’s ringing will be up on the blog post tomorrow.
People to mention: Mathilde Ducroz, Timon Sørensen, Simon Christiansen, Lisa Vergin, Jesper and Margit, Lars Bo, Gitte and jens peder
An exciting evening at Grenen
The day started out slowly with a very atmospheric fog coating the sea and dunes. However, this made observing birds a bit tricky but we managed to observe a cute common plover (Stor præstekrave) chick with its parent. On the way back to the station, I was delighted to be pointed out a marsh helleborine.
Back at the station, we looked at the results of the night’s moth trap. A few different species were found including garden tiger (Bjørnespinderne), poplar hawk moth (Poppelsværmer) and the little elephant hawk (Lille vinsværmer).
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Martina as she had to go back to Germany to prepare for her new job. All the best to you and hope you enjoy teaching! However, we were accompanied during the whole day by Timon, a very friendly and keen birder which was a nice surprise.
After the quiet morning, we tried to find some of the birds of Timon’s list in the afternoon. We started of with the Skagen port where there were many cormorants (Skarv) and a few common eider (Ederfugl).
The highlight of the day came at Grenen where wildlife seemed to show itself in many different forms. On the walk to the point, we came across a few yellowhammers (Gulspurv) and an adder (Huggorm). Where both seas met, we glimpsed two grey seals (Gråsæl) in the distance. From then on, a multitude of seabirds appeared as the people disappeared. Flocks of gulls and common tern (Fjordterne) rested on the beach with sanderling (Sandløber), dunlin (Almidelig ryle) and curlew sandpiper (Krumnæbbet ryle) scuttling around them. Out at sea, a large group of common scoter (Sortend) rested on the waves. As we were leaving, a fox made its way towards the resting gulls, for a attempt at a meal perhaps?
Folk på stationen: Mathilde Ducroz, Frank Osterberg, Martina Hillbrand, Timon Grove Sørensen, Simon S. Christiansen, Jesper og Margit.
Good-bye after too short a stay
Before I say my good-byes, I would like to congratulate Ottenby Bird Observatory to their 75th birthday! I wish you a lot of pretty birthday birds, like this one:
I have only been here for less than 3 weeks this summer and the days have flown by way too fast, as I knew they would. Unfortunately I cannot stay longer as I am starting a new teaching position in August and still need to prepare a bit. It would maybe have been smart to go on holidays before I start my new job and Skagen Bird Observatory definitely is not holidays but it is so much better! Of course, this time of the year, the hardcore birders don’t care to come here (or to go birding in Europe at all) but it has been a lot of fun seeing all the little baby birds starting to fledge, learning to fly and flying straight into our nets. It is good to see that the breeding success at least in the common birds seems to be good enough. And it is also great when you get to challenge yourself as a ringer sometimes, like when there are 20 tits in the net all at once.
We had a lot of new people here at the station who were eager to learn and I tried to divide my time between all of them which was not easy for sure. People tend to underestimate how hard it is to really learn bird ringing because it is so much more than just putting a ring about a bird’s leg. And even with twenty years of experience I can still leanr a lot myself too.
But then that’s what we are all here for, right? Learn from each other and learn from nature and just be grateful that we get to experience all of this and that we get to share just a tiny little bit of the bird’s long (or short) journey in this world. You feel connected to every bird you have ever caught and it is special when you hear that it was recaptured and it is still alive, maybe has even travelled a long distance. Like the bird we caught from Belgium.
As for today, you might have guessed from my babbling that I don’t have much to say. We went to Jennes Sø for the CES ringing and with the hot weather and all it was quite slow regarding birds although we had a nice variety of almost all common birds (see list below)
On the other hand, we had a large number of visitors, all bird lovers who just came to see what we were doing and we exchanged some tips on where to go birding and what to see. Mathilde also started ringing properly today and is learning extremely fast.
I got to ring a last blue tit (blåmejse) for this year, which is enough to make my happy.
After that we went to Skarvsøen for cormorant monitoring. Just like last time, most of the juveniles are independent and move around quite a bit. We saw a red-necked grebe on the nest, which was nice. Maybe some more little zebra-grebes will show up in the next few days.
Finally in the afternoon we met Simon again, who had been on “holidays”, ringing cooler birds than he would get here in Skagen. We are not jealous at all, of course, who would want to see baby phalaropes, really?!
After I am gone, I suppose it will get even quieter now. I wish all of you all the best. Catch some good birds and enjoy your time here at Skagen. I will be back in approximately a year from now. See you!
Ringmærkning (Jennes Sø):
Solsort (blackbird) 1
Munk (blackcap) 1
Tornsanger (common whitethroat) 1
Bogfinke (chaffinch) 1
Topmejse (crested tit) 1
Gransanger (chiffchaff) 3
Gærdesanger (lesser whitethroat) 2
Musvit (great tit) 1
Blåmejse (blue tit) 1
Rørsanger (reed warbler) 1
Dompap (bullfinch) 2
Folk på stationen: Mathilde Ducroz, Frank Osterberg, Martina Hillbrand, Simon S. Christiansen, Jesper og Margit.
People leaving – birds coming
The weather forecast had promised a cloudy day with little wind so I told everybody to get ready for a long ringing day with good numbers. Then the weather forecast in the morning, however, showed that the clouds were not real and it was going to be very sunny – and hot. So not so many birds expected after all. Which was good too, because Mathilde had a lot to learn and both Frederik and Taima were leaving this morning so having a bit more time to chill would have been nice.
Would have been, because the birds thought differently about that. No migration still but juvenile birds keep entering our nets as though this was the new trend sport for bird youth in Skagen. Just like yesterday we had more than 20 whitethroats (tornsanger). It really is good that we ring them otherwise we would never believe that it is really always different birds. There are sooo many of them! But that was not all for today. It was at 7, everything reasonably quiet, when I arrived at a net full of tits – great tits (musvit) and blue tits (blåmejse). I was alone only with Mathilde and there were at least 20 birds there so instead of putting them in bags I called everyone to come to these nets, take the rings and we just ringed them as we took them out of the nets. There were 13 juvenile great tits and 5 juvenile blue tits. We hope many of them will survive and we will see them again some time soon. And then we will also take the time to take the measurements, promised!
When we got back after our work at that net was finished (we were really quick working all together), there was a jay (Skovskade) waiting for me to ring it (because nobody else wanted to get bitten by it). What a pretty bird – and loud!
At around 9, Frederik and Taima left to go to Copenhagen. It was great to have both of them here. A bit sad that Frederik could not get us any exciting rarity this time but he promised to get one next year! And Taima will go ringing at Blåvand Bird Observatory for the next weeks, so hopefully she can use some of her new skills there. Mathilde in the meanwhile is learning very quickly and everybody at the station now has to change from spring to autumn plumage which makes the aging suddenly challenging again – just as we all had gotten a hang of it…
Next to having many birds today we also had a good variety, some birds we hadn’t caught in a while and mostly juveniles. We finally also had our first juvenile reed warbler (rørsanger) which we had been waiting for impatiently.
And a juvenile reed bunting (rørspurv).
After closing there was still some net fixing to be done and a lot of data entry. The rest of the day we just rested, went grocery shopping, had dinner and then go to bed early because tomorrow we have to go CES ringing again and we will go to see how the cormorants are doing.
Folk på stationen: Mathilde Ducroz, Frank Osterberg, Martina Hillbrand, Taïma Lorentzen, Frederik Johansen, Jesper og Margit.