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Light bird-fall and heavy rainfall

mandag 22. juli 2024
af Rosa Hicks


You may have noticed a new name! I’ve recently joined the volunteer team until mid October and have been greeted by some incredible locals – crested tits (Topmejse), honey buzzards (Hvepsevåge), icterine warblers (Gulbug), and the other volunteers of course, and some less incredible locals – the mosquitos (myg!!).

Heavy rain was forecasted today so no standardized ringing was conducted, however Ragnar, Joe, and I managed to get a few hours of migration counts before the heavy rain came. Highlights included the first mediterranean gull (Stor Sorthovedet Måge) and tufted duck (Troldand) of the year for the Station, 9 curlew sandpipers (Krumnæbbet Ryle), 2 migrating little ringed plover (Lille Præstekrave), a golden eye (Hvinand ), and a parasitic sea jaeger (Almindelig Kjove). Once the rain had cleared, Ragnor headed out again, while the rest of us caught up with some admin. He spotted an additional 72 dunlin (Almindelig Ryle), 10 curlew sandpipers (Krumnæbbet Ryle), 1 curlew (Stor Regnspove), and 1 whimbrel (Småspove).

In the afternoon we all headed to Gyvel Markerne to look for wading birds. We saw a range of species including wood sandpiper (Tinksmed), great egret (Søvhejre), common ringed plover (Stor Præstekrave), shellduck (Gravand), honey buzzard (Hvepsevåge), and northern lapwing (Vibe), the last three all being new species for Joe!

You might have remembered from yesterday’s blog that we went to check on a local nightjar (Natravn) brood which were nowhere to be found. Well, the mystery is solved as Simon reviewed the nightjar footage, revealing the brood’s unfortunate end…

Watch the fate of the Nightjars (Natravn) here

Tomorrow’s weather looks less wet and so we’re hoping the nets will be back up for the standardized ringing, and the observers doing the migration counts stay dry too!



A visitor from Norway and a whale surprise

søndag 21. juli 2024
af Joe Zeno

Today Ragnar and I were up at sunrise conducting our morning observations from Worlds End 3 to scout for seabirds and migrating waders across the calm waters. We were happily surprised to see three Little Terns (Dværgterne) fly in from the southeast, a scarce species in Skagen. Ragnar spotted several marine mammals throughout the morning as well, including six harbor porpoises and a probable fin whale (Finhval). We also recorded four Curlew Sandpipers (Krumnæbbet Ryle), fifty-nine Red Knots (Islandsk Ryle), and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Spurvehøg). After observations were completed, we moved northwest on the beach to observe the nearby gull flock. In the gull flock there was an abundance of Herring Gulls (Sølvmåge), one with yellow legs. Ragnar and I observed this bird for a while as it possessed field marks of a Yellow-legged Gull (Middelhavsmåge) but it ramained as a Herring Gull in the end.

 Norweigan Reedwarb fullAdult Reed Warbler (Kærsanger) with ring from Norway

Today was the second day of standardized ringing this autumn season. The ringers: Asia, Rosa, and Simon, had a successful day with a total of 39 birds. A highlight for the ringers was a Reed Warbler with a ring from Norway but they also caught a Crested Tit.

kaers ad1kTwo Marsh Warbler (Kærsangere). Adult with worn plumage to the left and juvenile with fresh plumage to the right

Later in the day Simon, Asia, Rosa, and I headed out to Skagen Klitplantage to look for baby Eurasian Nightjars (Natravn) to ring them. We spent an hour searching for the young ones in a known nesting location only to discover that they were nowhere to be found anymore. We plan on checking the footage gathered from a webcam to discover what happened to them. There looks to be rain tomorrow so we will see what birds the rain will bring in.

Ringing (Kabeltromlen )

Common Chiffchaff (Gransanger) - 2 

Common Whitethroat (Lesser Whitethroat) - 5

Common Whitethroat (Tornsanger) - 5    

Blackcap (Munk) - 11

Marsh Warbler (Kærsanger) - 2

Crested Tit (Topmejse) - 1

Icterine Warbler (Gulbug) - 4

Lesser Redpoll (Lille Gråsisken) - 3 

Rørsanger (Reed Warbler) - 3

Blue Tit (Blåmejse) - 2     

Eurasian Blackbird (Solsort) - 1                                                                                     

Total: 39


People: Joe Zeno, Ragnar Smith, Simon S. Christiansen, Rosa Hicks, Asia Kane                                 

First day of standardised ringing - new arrivals, and departures

lørdag 20. juli 2024
af Ragnar Smith

Today was the first day of standardized ringing for the autumn season and coincidently the first day in some time with low winds and high temperatures, perfect conditions for ringing.

IMG 20240720 WA0005

Me and Joe, a new volunteer who is going to stay with us for a month went to Worlds End 1 to see if the low winds brought some passerines with it, while Asia, Lucas, Mette, Myrthe and Simon opened the nets, and with 30 birds ringed it was a good first day with one of the highlights being two Marsh Warblers (Kærsanger). While Kabeltromlen had their ringing session we tried counting the passerines and seabirds passing by, with highlights being the first Greater Spotted Woodpecker (Stor Flagspætte) and Spotted Flycatcher (Grå Fluesnapper) of the season, Caspian Tern (Rovterne) and a partially leucistic Lesser Whitethroat (Gærdesanger), but otherwise a quiet morning.

Marsh Warbler (Kærsanger)

Lesser Whitethroat (Gærdesanger)

But along with new arrivals of birds, we also had to say goodbye to two people: Myrthe, as she had her last day at SKAF. She is going back to Belgium before she going to continue abroad and work with more birds; SKAF wishes all the best luck in her future endeavours and hopefully she will return. Lucas is going to Copenhagen, but he will be returning in a few days, so we aren't letting him go yet!

Returning to the observatory, it being Saturday, we had some cleaning to do, got to keep the facilities in tip-top condition, no one wants to return from a tiring ringing or migration session to a dirty home. After cleaning and some shopping, we had another new arrival, though not a bird, but a new volunteer! Rosa Hick from the UK is going to help with ringing and is going to stay with us till 18/10. Tomorrow she is going to join the rest of the team out at Kabeltromlen, and hopefully some good birds are going to come our way, as the weather tomorrow looks interesting.

Ringing (Kabeltromle-krattet)

Great Tit (Musvit) - 6

Chiffchaff (Gransanger) - 6

Reed Warbler (Rørsanger) - 2

Marsh Warbler (Kærsanger) - 2

Icterine Warbler (Gulbug) - 2

Blackcap (Munk) - 7

Lesser Whitethroat (Gærdesanger) - 2

Common Whitethroat (Tornsanger) - 3

Total: 30

People: Ragnar Smith, Simon S. Christiansen, Rosa Hicks, Asia Kane, Joseph Zeno, Lucas Corneliussen, Mette M. Christensen and Myrthe V. Brempt.

Link to todays observations from observers in the area

Two shearwaters and a special guest

torsdag 18. juli 2024
af Asia Kane

Hello all!

This morning we were up bright and early for morning observations. Although we didn’t see much at first, we were eventually rewarded by distant views of an Almindelig Skråpe (Manx Shearwater) and a Sodfarvet Skråpe (Sooty Shearwater)! The Sooty Shearwater especially is an unusual record for Skagen, so we were especially pleased to see that. We managed to watch the birds for a few minutes before they disappeared. 

Soon after, Ragnar’s friend Nick arrived to spend the day with us. He had a great time birding the local area and picking up some lifers, including a Tejst (Black Guillemot) seen from the beach near the lighthouse. After that, he cycled to Sandmilen with Lucas and Ragnar to do some birding there. They reported that the trip out there was difficult due to the strong winds, but the way back was a breeze as the wind was behind them.

This evening, Myrthe made us a delicious curry for dinner and baked cookies. We all enjoyed the food, and then most of the group went out to spend the evening in town.

blog post 18th july

Not wanting to brave the wind again, they decided to walk rather than take the bikes. Benjamin and I stayed behind to finish up some tasks and spend some time relaxing. Tomorrow we plan to go seawatching again, and hopefully we will have some cool birds to write about in the blog afterwards!

Link to todays observations in Dofbasen from the Skagen area

People at the station: Myrthe Van Brempt, Benjamin Bech, Ragnar Smith, Lucas Corneliussen, Asia Kane, Nick, Jesper and Mette

Quality over quantity

onsdag 17. juli 2024
af Ragnar Smith

Quality over quantity was the operative word of the day. The morning started with a late migration watch, due to the weather, once the rain stopped me and Myrthe went out to do one hour of standardized counting on top of a dune just east of the Sandworm track (Sandormesvinget), even though there was a severe lack of migrating birds, we still managed to find a very nice Caspian Tern (Rovterne) that was foraging right in front of us before migrating northwest. But the highlight was definitely a Pied Avocet (Klyde) that we found while setting, after two minutes it disappeared without a trace. It was the first record in two years for Grenen, so definitely a hit. Other goodies were Black Guillemot, plenty of waders with Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper in summer plumage, which are always very nice and attractive birds to enjoy, especially when you get them at close range and in scope.


While everyone was recharging at the observatory and getting ready for the next days, I took a trip to Gyvelmarkerne and Kanalvej to look for any overstaying waders. Nothing of note was seen but a very nice High Brown Fritillary (Skovperlemorsommerfugl) posed for me for a bit. A very nice butterfly species that is quite rare and has a quite restricted range in Denmark.

 DSC4486 2

While I was out the rest of the team were organizing dinner and bowling, which resulted in a very nice and cozy evening at Skaw Grillen with Myrthe trying some “real” Danish food, in the shape of a fish burger made from freshly caught European plaice (Rødspætte). After that we enjoyed a very nice late evening at Skaw Bowling. Now we are getting ready for a few days of western winds blowing through and even though it might be sub-optimal for ringing, it might throw off some nice seabirds, we are especially crossing fingers for a Great Skua (Storkjove), since Benjamin still needs it on his list. So dear reader please cross your fingers for us.

DOFbase-Observations from Skagen

People: Myrthe Van Brempt, Benjamin Bech, Ragnar Smith, Lucas Corneliussen, Asia Kane, Nick, Jesper and Mette

Some special birds ringed at Kabeltromlen

tirsdag 16. juli 2024
af Asia Kane

Hello everyone!

This morning Myrthe, Lucas, Oluf, and I went ringing at Kabeltromlen. Myrthe and I had never ringed there before, so we did the first few rounds all together so that we could learn all the net locations. Our lovely guests Mette and Jesper arrived a little later to watch the ringing. We watched a beautiful sunrise and enjoyed good weather during the 4 hours we spent outside – and we also caught some exciting birds!

Among the highlights was a female Blåhals (Bluethroat). We were all very excited to see her, as this is not a common species in Skagen.

bluethroat july 16

This unfortunate bird managed to be recaptured twice more within a couple of hours, so appears to have learnt nothing about avoiding nets! We released her again and hope she will return next year.

Another highlight was a Topmejse (Crested Tit). Although small, these brave birds are like other members of the tit family in that they will not hesitate to bite a ringer’s fingers.

We also caught 2 juvenile Gulbug (Icterine Warblers). It was my first time seeing juveniles of this species, and I was surprised to find that they look very different to the adults. In sharp contrast to the bright yellow birds they will grow up to become, the juveniles were quite grey and faded in colour. Hopefully, this will help them avoid predators until they’re old enough to have gained some experience.

Other surprises included a juvenile Rødhals (Robin), which are not often caught here, and a solitary Jernspurv (Dunnock).

Meanwhile, Ragnar was observing seabirds at World’s End 3.

Benjamin went to the bakery in town and got us some delicious bread, which we were all very grateful for when we came back from ringing. Then we spent the rest of the day sleeping and relaxing after our very early morning!

 Link to todays observations in Dofbasen from the Skagen area

Ringing numbers (including recaptures):

Blåhals (Bluethroat): 1

Blåmejse (Blue Tit): 2

Gærdesanger (Lesser Whitethroat): 2

Grå Fluesnapper (Spotted Flycatcher): 1

Gransanger (Chiffchaff): 6

Gulbug (Icterine Warbler): 2

Jernspurv (Dunnock): 1

Lille Gråsiskin (Lesser Redpoll): 1

Munk (Blackcap): 4

Musvit (Great Tit): 1

Rødhals (Robin): 1

Rørsanger (Reed Warbler): 4

Solsort (Blackbird): 1

Topmejse (Crested Tit): 1

Tornsanger (Common Whitethroat): 4

Total: 32

People at the station: Myrthe Van Brempt, Benjamin Bech, Ragnar Smith, Lucas Corneliussen, Asia Kane, Oluf Lou, Jesper and Mette

A Good Result on the Ringing Tour

mandag 15. juli 2024
af Benjamin Bech

Hej alle sammen,

I dag var første dag i efterårssæsonen. Så vi skulle sådan set have været ude og observere, men det regnede hele morgenen, så vi valgte at lade være med at tage ud. I dag prøvede vi at holde en ringmærkningstur for gæsterne, som kommer fra krydstogtskibet, og i dag var der én, som kom med på turen. Michael Anker kom for ringmærke. Vi startede klokken 11, hvor den eneste og bedste gæst kom. Vi fortalte hende om, hvordan man ringmærker forskellige fugle, og vi viste hende, hvordan nettene virker og hvorfor vi fanger dem. Vi gik over for at lukke nettene, og efter et net blev jeg nødt til at gå tilbage, da der var hul i begge mine gummistøvler, og jeg stod i vand til anklerne.



Så da jeg er ved at hænge mine sokker til tørre, ringer Lucas og råber ind i telefonen, at de havde en Rødrygget Tornskade (Red-backed Shrike), så jeg skyndte mig at gøre klar til, at de kom tilbage. Vi fik taget en masse billeder, og lige pludselig gik vi fra at være 5 til 11. Men de er jo nogle bæster at ringmærke, så Lucas' fingre er lidt blodige efter i dag. En time efter vi havde ringmærket, kom Ragnar Smith, som skal være her til d. 7. december. Lucas viste ham rundt på stationen og viste ham, hvor han finder alle de praktiske ting. Lucas lavede en lækker aftensmad.


Ringing (Fyrhavn)

Rødrygget Tornskade (Red-backed Shrike) - 1


People at SKAF: Lucas Corneliussen, Asia Kane, Myrthe Van Brempt, Benjamin Bech, Ragnar Smith, Mette Møller Christensen, Michael Anker, Jesper & Mette

Link to todays observations in Skagen

Pullli Nightjars Have Arrived!

søndag 14. juli 2024
af Lucas Corneliussen

Today was started out quiet abrupt. After stay up far longer than I probably should have, given the poor weather forecast in the morning - the station was woken up at 08:00 by Simon with the announcement of a Terek Sandpiper (Terekklire) at Grenen. We immediately got on our bikes and practically flew out there as fast as we humanly could, but were unable to make it in time before the bird departed. Truly a shame. I suppose to pays to be out even in the worst weather conditions possible - a good find regardless for Skagen (the first for Skagen).

Although the disappointment of missing the Terek Sandpiper stung, we continued on with our day. Simon came to the station early in the morning to prepare a few things before his well deserved vacation and we planned to meet him at Sandmilen at 11:45 to check out the nightjars and try to ring them - THEY HATCHED (a day and a half before). Unfortunately, due to rain we were unable to leave until the mid afternoon. The volunteer crew joined by Malthe arrived about an hour early and detected an early Parrot Crossbill (Stor Korsnæb). When Simon arrived we were happy to find both chicks were doing well, but unfortunately they were still too small to ring. We will have to return to do it another day when Simon returns. Afterwards, Myrthe and I made a trip to Hulsig Hede to search for raptors (unsuccessfully). We would also like to thank our sponsors for the funding need to purchase new bicycles and a new scope! We are extremely grateful.



The remainder of the afternoon was fairly relaxed. Some of us went to the store to go grocery store to pick up much needed groceries and restock on our most mandatory item: Nutella. We also picked up some things for the Euros Final. Halla España!  Benjamin made a nice dinner and we spent the evening watching the game with our new guests! Wow what a game. Thank god Spain won!


Vi Ses!

People at SKAF: Lucas Corneliussen, Asia Kane, Myrthe Van Brempt, Simon S. Christiensen, Benjamin Bech, Malthe Delholm

Link to obserservations in Skagen today

Let's get rid of the beach in our living room

lørdag 13. juli 2024
af Myrthe Van Brempt

I woke up during the night because of strong wind moving the window and guess what: it was raining. Back to bed.

We all slept in and had delicious leftover pancakes for breakfast, thank you Mark & Co!!! Then we had a thorough cleaning session. We got rid of all the sand that found its way from the beach to our living room and kitchen. It is nice and clean in here now :)


In the late afternoon, everyone was taking it easy working on own projects. Asia made us spaghetti for dinner and then we made plans for the next coming week. Weather is not looking great but we will make the best out of it!

Tomorrow the new guests for the apartment arrive and in the evening we will watch UEFA Euro 2024 final. Who do you think will win; Spain or England?

People: Lucas Corneliussen, Benjamin Bech, Asia Kane, Myrthe Van Brempt, Mark Desholm & co 

Link to today's observations from observers in the area


The First Year Birds Have Arrived!

fredag 12. juli 2024
af Lucas Corneliussen

Waking up bright and early; Asia, Myrthe and I headed to Skarvsøen for CES ringing this morning. Benjamin decided that he was too tired and stayed home for the first few hours before joining us later in the morning. Arriving at the parking lot we were expecting the mosquitos to be quiet bad after many days of strong wind, but we were surprised to find they were surprisingly bearable! Simon arrived at 4:45 for the first round and we were delighted to find the first 1k Reed Buntings (Rørspurv) in the net! Something I personally have been waiting over a month for - I love Reed Buntings! The next several hours were quiet productive with close to 30 new birds in the net and around 10 recaptures. Oluf Lou also joined us and assisted in the ringing process! Thank you Oluf for coming. Highlights included Crested Tit (Topmejse), Reed Bunting (Røspurv), and a pair of Lesser Redpoll (Lille Gråsiskin).


After closing the nets at 10:15, we biked back to the station around 11 AM and made ourselves some well deserved lunch before taking a much needed nap in the afternoon to replenish ourselves for the rest of the day. In the afternoon, we caught up on some data entry from this morning and prepared ourselves for the meal with Mark & Co. had been preparing. Pancakes! Lovely. Simon and Lisa also came and joined us for dinner and of course, we had to play a few games outside to work off the calories and enjoy the nice weather before the projected massive rainstorms of the coming few days.Screenshot_2024-07-13_at_2.43.37PM.png


A few very intense james of Viking, latter ball and spikeball later we had drained ourselves of the last of our remaining energy for the day and headed upstairs to bid everyone goodnight. And so, another day at SKAF passes, what will tomorrow bring?

Vi Ses!


Ringing (Skarvsøen) - includes recaptures

Reed Warbler (Rørsanger) - 17

Common Blackbird (Solsort) - 1

Lesser Redpoll (Lille Gråsiskin) - 2

Crested Tit - 1

Lesser Whitethroat (Gærdesanger) - 4

Blackcap (Munk) - 2

Blue Tit (Blåmejse) - 2

Common Whitethroat (Tornsanger) - 2

Common Chaffinch (Bogfinke) - 1

People: Lucas Corneliussen, Benjamin Bech, Asia Kane, Myrthe Van Brempt, Simon S. Christiansen, Lisa Vergin, Oluf Lou, Mark Desholm & co 

Link to today's observations from observers in the area

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