Her på Skagen Fuglestations blog bringes korte nyheder i dagbogsformat om hændelser på fuglestationen.
We wanted to go ringing today but after looking at the forecast and seeing that very strong winds are coming (up to 45 km per hour) so this morning we decides not to go ringing. So instead me Christian and Judith went to do some morning observations together with Knud Pederson at worlds end 3. we woke up at 05:30 and took some equipment with us and left it in our new ringing site (Kabeltrommelkrattot) so we can start working on a new net lane right after the observation. The morning was very cold with some strong winds, good for sea bird but cold for us! We had a nice observation of a Fulmar that was very close to the beach, some good kittiwake migration numbers (176) and just before we left we had a nice Hen harrier coming from the sea to finish the morning!
After comparing our numbers with Knud so we can be sure we all saw the same birds, we went to the ringing site to cut up a new net lane for net that was already in the field but in the few last ringing seasons that we had there we got the idea that this new isn’t really working so good… so after talking about a few spots to move the net, we went up there and cut a nice lane in a place that looks really nice! Now we only need to see how good it works on tomorrows ringing.
When we got back to the observatory we had nice lunch, Chris and Judith put in the data from the morning observation and we all had some rest before the evening.
Then we took the evening meeting, had a really nice dinner that Christian made and then some sleep before tomorrows ringing.
Common Crossbill in the net!
Today my morning started with observations at the dunes next to the sea. The weather was, apart from the wind, very good. I used the observation time to solidify all the knowledge I have already learnt here at the station by identifying the sea birds and repeating the english species names and the most important characteristics. Because it was raining yesterday evening there were some water paddles on the beach - unexpectedly nearly without waders. During the morning only a few Red Knots (Islandsk Ryle) and Ringed Plovers (Stor Præstekrave) showed up. In and above the sea the species were more numerous. Gannets (Sule) and Common Scoters (Sortand) could be find nearly everywhere. By taking a closer look behind the waves Redthroated Loons (Rødstrubet Lom) and a Redbreasted Merganser (Toppet skallesluger) appeared.
Furthermore, the first Longtailed Skua (Lille Kjove) in this year was seen in Grenen and the Barred Warbler (Høgesanger) from yesterday is still in the area.
Christian, Yehonatan and Simon went for ringing to Sardinkrattet. The first two rounds were really good and especially many Robins (Rødhals) and Dunnocks (Jernspurv) were caught. Unfortunately, in the next rounds were not many birds catched and they already thought about closing the nets a little bit earlier. However, the decision to go further with the ringing was worth it. In the last round only one bird was in the net, but this was a big highlight: a Common Crossbill (Lille Korsnæb). A beautiful species that we rarely catch even though there are flocks of them coming everyday on migraton attempts
(Picture: Yehonatan Ben Aroia)
Back in the observatory station we opened the fridge on search for some food for lunch and realized that we have to go shopping. So, Yehonatan and I took the bike and went to Skagen, of course with wind against us.
After Christian had a short nap, and I had checked the nets in the old lighthouse garden we went for a swim. The refreshing water helped us to feel awake again and so we were ready to do some computer work and put the ringing data into the database.
In the evening we had a delicious curry, prepared by Yehonatan.
Ringing (Sardinkrattet, Grenen):
Dunnock – Jernspurv: 5
Robin – Rødhals: 11
Common Redstart - Rødstjert: 4
Reed warbler – Rørsanger: 3
Eurasian Blackcap - Munk: 5
Common Chiffchaff - Gransanger: 2
Willow Warbler - Løvsanger: 3
Great tit - Musvit: 1
Common Crossbill - Lille Korsnæb: 1
People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Judith Kloibhofer, Anders & Agnete, Knud Pedersen, Jørgen Kabel, Igor.
Bluethroat in autumn is rare
This morning the team divided to cover both seawatching and ringing. While Knud and Yehonatan did observations from Worlds End 3, I joint Simon and Judith for ringing. It was rather windy, so we had to make sure that the nets were not entangled in the bushes and we were a little unsure if we would catch many birds. That was however nothing to worry about. We ringed 33 birds and among them several “not-everyday” species. The highlight was the male, first calendar year bluethroat (blåhals). Bluethroats are not captured every autumn and we suspect that the one we caught belongs to the Northern subspecies “svecica”.
A late marsh warbler (kærsanger) and an adult male reed bunting (rørspurv) in autumn plumage were also fine birds. The most caught species were robins (rødhals) followed by dunnocks (jernspurv). Judith ringed her first bird here at Skagen, which was also a robin (rødhals). Besides the ringing, a overflying grey wagtail (bjergvipstjert) and a red-backed shrike (rødrygget tornskade) gave us further notable birds.
Reed bunting (rørspurv)
The observation team (Knud + Yehonatan) had a rather slow morning with comparable little movement over the sea. However, a ruff (brushane) and a goldeneye (hvinand) were giving some needed distraction from the 680 great black-backed gulls (svartbag) and 400 gannets (sule).
Unnoticed from both teams, a smart barred warbler (høgesanger) was also seen at Grenen in the morning.
While we were out, Joost prepared his farewell. He worked on the picture archive and finished the protocols that we will use to continue his sound recordings.
Like every Wednesday, cleaning commenced on the afternoon. Warm from all the floor-scrubbing, Judith, Joost and I went for our daily swim. It had started to rain, and the Kattegat was really rough, but once in the water it wasn’t that cold anymore. This was also the last swim of Joost here, he left by train shortly after. Best of luck for your future endeavors in Brussels and Abisko, mate!
In the evening, Jens had a talk about Buthan. His talks are well-known: The birders club was full (we had to get extra chairs) and buzzed of excitement while waiting for his presentation. Of course he delivered. By not only focusing (as expected) on the many birds of the country, but also giving some insights on the Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. Maybe some guests are now considering a birding trip into this often-overlooked country!
Ringing (Kabeltrommelkrattet, Grenen):
Common Chiffchaff – Gransanger - 4
Willow Warbler - Løvsanger (Song of Songs) - 4
Common Reed Bunting – Rørspurv - 1
Whinchat - Bynkefugl - 1
Eurasian Blackcap – Munk - 3
Bluethroat – Blåhals - 1
Dunnock - Jernspurv - 5
European Robin - Rødhals - 6
Common Redstart - Rødstjert - 2
Eurasian Siskin - Grønsisken - 1
Lesser Redpoll - Lille Gråsisken - 1
Eurasian Reed Warbler - Rørsanger - 2
Marsh warbler – Kærsanger - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - Gærdesanger - 1
People: Simon S. Christiansen, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer, Knud Pedersen, Jens Kirkeby.
Music: Gregory Alan Isakov - That Sea, the Gambler
Last Rainy Day
Most of us woke up later than usual because the weather did not allow us to observe or go for ringing.
A perfect day to tidy up the attic, but also for the office, kitchen and repair bikes.
For my last day I prepared a short presentation about the soundscape ecology that took place in the evening.
Christian found some dry spots in between to do some observations, such as Wheatears, Meadow pipets and Whinchat. Simon had a few meetings with Knut and Lene. In the early evening he made a delicious dish!
Later I introduced the workflow about the nocturnal audio recordings that will be performed this season. It tracks the sounds of migratory birds that fly over at night. The recordings are made from sunset to sunrise and are analyzed by spectrograms that show the presence of different species. These spectrograms or sonograms are a visualization of sound frequencies over time. You can see the birdcalls that make it possible to analyze many recordings without listening to the entire file.
The data is recorded in a map system to support the preparation of the migration map of Europe.
Spectrogram or sonogram that visualizes the bird sounds: X axis shows the time and the Y axis presents the frequency. Most of the birds are located between 2kHz and 8kHz, higher up you can see some overtones that helps to identify species as well.
The Audiomoth is a mini computer that has a microphone on the right side down. It can be programmed to record certain periods of interests over several weeks.
Workflow on the computer
I m looking forward to the results of the project and how it will be continued the coming years.
I´ m very thankfully to Simon to gave me the opportunity to setup this project and had the nice time with all volunteers at the Fuglestation . As non- birder, it was a new, exceptional, instructive experience that will be continued.
Now I ll prepare my 16 hours train journey to Brussels.
Thank you Fuglestation team and hope to see you again!
People: Simon S. Christiansen, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Lene Kappelborg, Knud Pedersen, Anders & Agnethe.
The sound of the dunes
After a long weekend without ringing due to Simon stay in Copenhagen for a few days. we woke up early and opened the nets in our new ringing site. The first round seemed very promising with some nice birds, mainly Dunnocks – Jernspurv and some Robins – Rødhals but after the first round the bird activity went down for the rest of the time and it was really slow but we had some nice migration over head while ringing. A flock of 30 Common Crossbills, some flocks of geese was seen and a Merlin trying to hunt passerines.
We finished the ringing with total 18 birds.
People: Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer, Simon S. Christiansen.
Gærdesmutte – Wren 1
Jernspurv – Dunnock 6
Rødhals – Robin 3
Rødstjert – Redstart 1
Rørsanger – reed warbler 2
Havesanger – Garden warbler 1
Munk – Blackcap 1
Gransanger – Chiffchaf 2
Grå fluesnnaper – Spotted flycatcher 1
When we finished the ringing me and Judith joined for a few hours Christian that was counting migration all morning on the beach. Right when we arrived we had a very nice and close observation of a 23 Brent geese flying really low over beach and the Merlin that we saw earlier trying to hunt waders now, without any success. Also was nice to see a few Red-breasted merganser migrating close to us and also the First rock pipits to arrive. Nice migration days are coming!
In the evening, after having a nice dinner that Christian cooked for us we had a nice time listening to “The Choir of the dunes” that had a amazing concert in the lighthouse and many people came to hear them!
Landscape & Appel Strüdel
A morning without rain, beach pools are slowly getting smaller, waders are moving on, so Christian took his chance to get some observations. The Great Skua was bored, because there was nothing to chaze and rest on the beach.
The little stint wobbled around and a Bar Tail Gotwit enjoyed the rest.
Judith & Joost followed Christian's observations an hour later.
Around the noon Lars Mortensen was guiding us together with 15 visitors about the European Grenen Life project, that defines the landscape management.
Yehonathan was checking the nets after days of storm, to avoid damage.
Later in the afternoon arrived our new guests in the apartment, Anders & Agnethe, Welcome, we wish you a nice stay in the station.
Judith made a delicious apple strüdel that we could eat for the coming days.
After our daily swim she served us a nice dinner as well to close the day.
People: Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer, Lars Mortensen, Anders & Agnethe.
Seahorse vs stupid gull
Our morning started with observations. At 06:40 Judith and I were sitting at Grenen beach and counted migrating and roosting birds. The weather forecast showed some approaching rain, but we got lucky as two showers passed us on two sides while we remained dry in the middle. Rainbows were showing nicely as well several times during our stay and almost no rain fell during the entire time. The first non-ordinary bird was an oystercatcher (strandskade) that migrated towards South-East. A little later two brant geese (knortegås) followed. It was also cool to see the rising numbers of red-throated divers (rødstrubet lom) that roosted just off the beach – 9 individuals were resting while 2 migrated. The situation on the beach for waders (vadefugler) was still looking promising, but the bird numbers have declined in comparison with yesterday. Despite the ordinary species, the smart temminck’s stint (temmincksryle) showed again, a spotted sandpiper (sortklire) flew over, and the 2 redshanks (rødben) as well as 18 red knots (islandsk ryle) were still present.
While we were busy counting and observing, Joost did some more work on his sound-project and continued working on guidelines, so that we will be able to continue the night recordings after his departure. He went out to beach later as well and tried to record sounds and calls from waders, but the wind was strong which was bad for the quality of his recordings.
While Judith took a well-deserved nap, I helped Lene by explaining our work and showing our laboratory to a group of interested people. I was presenting in Norwegian and though Danish is very similar, some differences are peculiar, especially in bird names. For example, fulmars are called mallemuk (which comes from Dutch mal – stupid and mok – gull) in Danish, but havhest (seahorse) in Norwegian and the brant geese we observed earlier are knortegås (growling goose) in Danish but ringgås (ring goose) in Norwegian. You see, it was funny and a little guessing game when I was talking about certain bird species of which I haven't learnt the Danish name yet.
Later Knud visited the observatory with a group as well and showed them around in our facilities, while Yehonatan went for some observations in the neighborhood and recorded species such as sparrowhawk (spurvehøg) and whinchat (bynkefugl) and a tree full of red admiral butterflies (admiral).
Later in the evening, after our daily swim and tasty oven dish-dinner, Judith, Joost and I used the bird-radar to track the daily flight of the local gulls from Grenen beach to their overnight roosting site at Skagen harbor. Our guests Kirsten and Peder joint as well and tried to spot and identify the gulls that we see as red and yellow blobs on the radar screen. When we have strong winds, which is usually the case, the radar is receiving a lot of noise from the waves and it is very tricky to distinguish birds among the noise. But tonight, the wind calmed down and the radar signals of migrating birds were so strong that we even could identify individual gulls passing by.
Even later, Judith and Yehonatan went on the adventure that is night catching. I hope they manage to get something, although the night doesn’t look perfect with few clouds and little wind.
People: Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer, Lene Kappelborg, Knud Pedersen, Kirsten and Peder.
Writing music: Sigur Rós: Ágætis byrjun
The start of September
After being very sick, and almost a week the I stayed only in bed, I am starting to feel better and slowly getting back to the normal observatory routine. So, in the night between the 6-7 of September, after already feeling better I decided to try and go night catching with Christian. It was nice to feel some fresh air after almost a week in bed. We arrived the beach around 22:00 and started looking the beach for some waders. The beach was filled with water paddles that attract a lot of waders in these days. After looking a lot finding on some Common ringed plovers – (Stor Præstekrave) and some Sanderlings (Sandløber) we found a Bar-tailed godwit (Lille Kobbersneppe) and got very close to it but couldn’t get it ?. But we didn’t give up and after some time we got another Red knot – (Islandsk Ryle)
Photo: Yehonatan ben aroia
In the morning we wanted to go for observation but it rained very hard so instead we all some good sleep until the late morning had some breakfast and around 12:00 we went out Yehonatan, Christian and Joost for observation on the beach while Judith, stayed to get the new bicycles that arrived. We saw some nice birds but mostly the usual birds and nothing else special, but still some very cool birds!
Sanderling jumping around.
After the observation and some resting, we all went up to the supermarket to buy some groceries for the house and for dinner. Then we all came back Yehonatan started making dinner while the others went for a short swim.
We had some nice dinner and a nice day!
First week in Skagen
Wow I am already at the bird observatory for a week now! The time passes really fast while doing bird ringing and observing, enjoying the amazing landscape and sea, doing some indoor work (input data, housework), helping by tours or events or talking to the other volunteers. It is really fun to do all this things and get the opportunity to learn a lot from all the others – thanks for that!
Today Simon, Christian, Joost and I went up very early to go ringing at the new ringing site, called “Kabeltrommelkrattet”. Although, the weather forecast already showed some rain for the morning, we stayed optimistic and hoped for a bit of sun in the morning. Unfortunately, that didn´t happen and we had to close the nets after half an hour. Even though we still catched six birds.
After coming back to the station, we had to change the wet clothes and warm up with some tea and a breakfast. In a short meeting we discussed what we can do instead of the ringing and planned the rest of the day. Then it was already time to say goodbye to Martin, who stayed here for two months. It was very nice to meet you and we wish you a good journey and a great time in Copenhagen!
In the meanwhile, the weather changed and got warmer again. Christian, Silke and I immediately used this opportunity to go to the tip for doing some bird observations. Joost and Chris joined us later as well. We found many waders enjoying the rain puddles on the beach. It was really nice to watch them as they came very close to us. We even found one rather rare species: the Temminck´s Stint (Temmincksryle). Furthermore we saw two Little Stints (Dværgryle), seven Turnstones (Stenvender) and one Ruff (Brushane) among the waders. Yehonatan used the opportunity of the empty flat for doing some cleaning.
One Temminck´s Stint (Temmincksryle) next to Ringed Plovers (Stor Præstekrave)
In the afternoon I showed Silke and Chris the Lighthouse. It was my first time being on the top of the lighthouse and it was just amazing to see all over Grenen, the sea and Skagen! I definitely have to use this opportunity more often. Afterwards I had to say goodbye to Silke and Chris – thanks for visiting me and it was very nice to show you around in Grenen and spending some time together.
Simon and Joost had a meeting before our daily meeting to talk about the analysing of the night recordings.
As everyday Christian, Joost and I went swimming. Today the waves were not that strong but the water was still really cold. Christian is alreadz adapting to the water life and looks a bit like a fish (see the picture below). Afterwards all of us were really hungry and we enjoyed some delicious pasta. Christian and Yehonatan then prepared for going nightcatching – let´s see if they can catch something.
Jernspurv – Dunnock 1
Rødhals – Robin 2
Rødstjert – Common Redstart 1
Havesanger – Garden Warbler 1
Løvsanger – Fitis Warbler 1
People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Yordanov Georgiev, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer, Silke and Chris.
Goodbye, Skagen, until we meet again!
The time has arrived for me to write my last blog (for this season). I shall however start with the usual recap of our activities today.
The main quest today was organising and a game event for 170 pupils between 7th and 9th grade across 8 classes. They came to the station as a part of a Kulturcykeltur programme with the art gallery, the Skagen church & the Library and culture centre in Skagen. Each locality organised a unique event in a form of a competition with the grand prize being tickets for the cinema in town!
Simon devoted a considerable amount of time creating, planning and preparing the game carried out here in the Lighthouse: “Find my limb”. The goal was to find a limb, sound or projectile belonging to a specific animal and then match the object to an photo of the given animal in the garden. The final step of the game was a good old competition of rock, paper, scissors. However there was a spicy twist. The participants were knocked out in direct elimination however those who lost had to cheer for the person who had defeated them. The whole day was accompanied by cheering and laughter which is what any school outdoor event should be like!
While all of this commotion was happening Yehonathan and I had a bit of a trip to the doctor’s office in town to make sure he was fresh as a cucumber for the days to come.
Joost had the responsibility for writing a guideline for the audio recordings to ensure that all volunteers are able to carry out this type of data collection once he has left. He followed that up with a skype meeting which looked super important!
Judith and Christian helped Simon throughout the entire event enduring long hours of wind and rain. Judith then showed her friends Silke & Chris around the peninsula and she even managed to see 7 Gannets, 8 Sanderlings and 14 common Eiders.
Christian used today’s event to make a unique and creative video which he used as our daily Facebook post. The video lets everyone have a try at guessing which animal the objects belong to!
Simon was definitely the busiest member of the team today as he conducted the entire event. In the afternoon he also met with Kurt the bicycle man who brought back four new old bikes in mint condition which are a welcome addition to the station’s fleet!
My day was mainly focused on sorting and preparing my luggage for my departure tomorrow. I of course devoted time to some goodbyes. When people ask me, what was the best part of my stay here was I can without hesitation state it was the people. On this journey I have met some unique characters who I hope to stay in touch for the future. This place offers a unique opportunity to work and live with like-minded people from all over. Just yesterday Christian and I were discussing how special it is to be doing this with seven people all from different nationalities.
Before dinner everyone went in for the daily dip in Kattegat!
Thank you Skagen and I hope to see you again.
People: Simon S. Christiansen, Martin Yordanov Georgiev, Yehonatan Ben Aroia, Christian Stolz, Joost Van Duppen, Judith Kloibhofer.