Her på Skagen Fuglestations blog bringes korte nyheder i dagbogsformat om hændelser på fuglestationen.
Wingspan and Elderflower Lemonade
Our first House martin in the nets
A golden opportunity
Today was a very special day, almost one that you would say one in which we were presented with a golden opportunity :) Leona, Hanelie, Alice and I woke up very early to catch the 5:20am train down to Skørping. From there, the wonderful Hans Christophersen picked us up from the station and we were on our way!
With hardly a cloud in the sky, we had an excellent day of spotting birds and wildlife. We were in the car for only about 10 minutes before we spotted a little owl (Kirkeuglen) sitting on the roof of a local farm. There was a second one in the window too. Hans said that this one of only a few pairs found in this part of Denmark. We felt very lucky to have seen them!
Picture of a little owl (Kirkeuglen)
After this, we continued our journey to Lille Vildmose area (link to their website here), we saw many birds and other wildlife throughout our time there. During one of our first stops, we saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Store flagspætte), as well as Red-backed shrikes (Rødrygget tornskade), tree pipits (Skovpiber), whinchats (Bynkefugl) and stonechats (Sortstrubet bynkefugl), just to name a few. We also heard grasshopper warblers (Græshoppesanger), although we did not have the fortune to see them. They like to hide in the reeds, making it difficult to spot them!
Picture of a Red-backed shrike - Photo credit: Leona Gottschalkson
In addition to these birds, we saw plenty of wild boars (Vildsvinet) with their young, red deer (Kronhjorten) and reintroduced bison (Bisoner). It was so great driving along with Hans and seeing all the various wildlife as we made our way throughout the reserve!
Picture of red deer, bison and wild boars - Photo credit: Leona Gottschalkson
At around 11am, we had a very special opportunity in the reserve! We met up with Anton Larsen and Jan Tøttrup Nielsen to see if we could ring a Golden Eagle (Kongeørnen) chick that had hatched roughly 5-6 weeks ago. We headed into the forest towards the nest and waited in anticipation as Jan expertly climbed the tree to check the nest. Luckily, there was the chick in the nest, with remains of a red deer that a parent had left for it! After gingerly lowering the chick to ground level, Jan was able to ring it using both silver and color rings. The color ring is green and red to indicate that the bird is a hatch year of 2022.
Pictures of the Golden Eagle chick - Photo credit: Leona Gottschalkson
Jan is also interested in studying diets of both white-tailed eagles (Havørnen) and golden eagles (Kongeørnen). After he returned the chick to its nest, he located remains of feathers and fur both in and around the nest. Jan has thus far notated at least 88 different prey species of golden eagles, whereas he has noted at least 52 different prey species of white tailed eagles! We were so amazed to see the Golden Eagle (Kongeørnen) up close in person and we are excited to touch base with Hans to find out when the bird eventually leaves the nest!
After seeing the Golden Eagle, we continued around the reserve, spotting more and more species! We checked out a white-tailed eagle's nest and saw that both parents were flying in the area. After this, we climbed an observation tower to continue birding while enjoying a great lunch that Hans's wife helped to prepare. Lastly, we traveled around Birkesø lake, where we saw a lot of wading birds, such as Eurasian Spoonbills (Skestorken), as well as the Black-headed gull (Hættemågen) colony! We spotted Lapwings (Vibe) as well flying about.
Photo of a Lapwing (Vibe) - Photo credit: Leona Gottschalkson
All in all, it was a fantastic day and we were so very fortunate to have Hans guiding us throughout Lille Vildmose. We were also super lucky to see Jan and Anton ring the Golden Eagle! Tomorrow, we are excited to go ringing with Olaf and to see what birds we will have at KAB. :)
As we finish out today's blog, we wanted to say hank you for reading and for all your support for Skagen Fuglestation! We are all wishing you a great rest of the week and a fabulous weekend ahead! Stay tuned for more happenings tomorrow :)
People: Simon S. Christiansen, Lisa Vergin, Hanelie Sidhu, Alice Scalzo, Leona Grottschallesoh, Megan Nepshinsky, our guests Trine and Aija.
Butterflies and cable car!
Let's start with a new report from a full day in Skagen (and surroundings)!
Alice and Megan took the Morning Obs at World's End 1 today. There wasn't much going on but a few more species than the last few mornings. They saw a larger group of Velvet Scoters "Fløjlsand" and also Red-breasted Mergensers "Toppet Skallesluger" migrating. Could this mean that the first birds are already coming out of the breeding grounds and we will see more soon? We are looking forward to that of course, more training for our clicker muscles ;-)
Leona slept longer, me too, and then left for breakfast with my mother. Funnily enough, she has rented a holiday home from Poul Jenne and so I finally had the opportunity to ask if I could try out his cool self-built ropeway at his cottage at Jennes Sø. This was actually planned for later in the morning, but then we moved up our butterfly excursion a bit with Jørgen and Jennes Sø had to wait. So we left at 10 am with Jørgen to check out some good butterfly areas south of Skagen and it was a very successful excursion as we saw many and very nice species!
Northern Brown Argus "Sortbrun blåfugl"
Purple-edged Copper "Violetrandet ildfugl"
Common Blue "Almindelig Blåfugl"
Black-veined White "Sortåret hvidvinge"
Many thanks to Jørgen for the great excursion, there is much more to see outside than cool birds!
While we were butterfly-watching Karin finally came to the station to bake us the promised super delicious rabarber cake. Thank you!
When we came back, not only the cake was waiting, but also our appointment with Poul Jenne, so Karin and I set off for Jennes Sø again while Leona and Megan did some shopping and Alice had a rest. At Paul's cottage we immediately tried out the cable car, Karin rode once and I climbed up the tree house four times, marveling at the building skills of Paul, his son and grandson and enjoying the ride down.
Then Poul invited us for drinks and we sat at Jennes Sø for a while and heard stories about a frozen Jennes Sø and looked at the pictures and marveled at how quickly the landscape changes here, you can already see that in pictures from not-so-long ago. Finally, we had to go back. We heard from Trine and Aija, that they visited the Teddybear Museum today.
Megan cooked a very good dinner and tomorrow we have to catch an early train for our trip with Hans Christophersen to Lille Vildmose. We are looking forward to it, see you then!
People at the station: Jørgen Kabel, Poul Jenne, Hanelie Sidhu, Alice Skalzo, Leona Gottschalkson, Megan Nephinsky, Karin, our gusts Trine and Aija
Today is Tuesday (I have no inspiration for titles sorry ;)
A day off
Today all of us had a day off. That means heading out of course and exploring other areas. Hanelie and Alice had planned another excursion to Hirsholm together with our former volunteer Marion and Hanelies Mother. This time more Common gulls had hatched, so they could see even more chicks.
Common gull chick, Photo by Alice Scalzo
Also they could watch the Tern and Black- headed gull colony again. Alice enjoyed using the stations camera because also this time they had more time on the island so she could really take her time to take some nice pictures. The way back from the island on the boat was very windy but they had fun with it and enjoyed it. Afterwards they made some groceries for todays dinner that Hanelies mum will be preparing.
Black Guillemots resting, Photo by Alice Scalzo
Alice and Marion in the wind, Photo by Hanelie Sidhu
Meanwhile Megan finally was able to check out the tip, trying to find some new Ringed plover chicks for us to ring. She then worked on a welcome package for volunteers and a birders club scavenger hunt to make it more appealing for tourists and children to go in there.
I took the train in the morning to have a city trip to Aalborg all by myself. I first went to Lindsholm Højen to a Vikings graveyard which was very cool because there were a lot of corvidae species around which really fitted the Vikings theme. There were Jackdaws, Rooks, Hooded Crows and Magpies. Due to that I could find a lot of black feathers all around the graveyard, I guess that they are breeding in the forest that is close by.
Vikinger Graveyard, Photo by me
After that I went to Aalborg to have a stroll through the city. I went to a street food place and after that I tried to get to the art museum. When I was already on the way I realized it’s Monday and that all museums are closed but I went anyway because in the streetfood place they also recommended me a graveyard which was close by. In the end I did neither because I found a bunker and then a slightly hidden path uphill were you had a beautiful panorama over the city. I could have spent even more time exploring this green city but it was time to head back to the station.
Abandoned Bunker, Photo by me
Our new Guests Trine and her daughter Aija checked out Skagen today. At the harbor in a cafe they were able to watch some gulls and later they went to the exhibition and up the lighthouse for a nice view.
Have a nice evening,
People at the station: Hanelie Sidhu, Alice Scalzo, Leona Gottschalkson, Megan Nepshinsky and our guests Trine and Aija
Good evening! We have a couple of fun things to share about our time at Skagen Fuglestation today :)!
Just before sunrise, Alice and Hanelie went on the first shift for laser tagging and raptor migration monitoring at Grenen. The weather was not for ringing. Therefore, we are focusing on other tasks, both at the station and elsewhere.
While Alice and Hanelie were on the first shift this morning, we were able to cut the grass around the nets to prepare for when we do ring again. Around 7:30am, Leona and I headed up there for the second shift, where we all immediately spotted two Arctic Skuas (Almindelig kjove) flying around the point! It was awesome to see them weaving around each other through the sky!
Photo: Alice, Hanelie and Leona observing the Arctic Skuas at Grenen
While we did not have any notable migration observations today, we did have something exciting happen! While we were waiting for the next transect, we heard over Zello that the recently spotted Bearded Vulture (Lammegribben) was observed circling over Skagen city center. After hearing this, we all set our scopes and binoculars towards that direction in hopes of catching a glimpse of the majestic raptor. Shortly after this announcement, we saw the Bearded Vulture (Lammegribben) itself, breaking through the clouds and flying over us at Grenen! It continued to fly higher until it circled back around and headed back in the south direction. It was truly a magnificent site to behold!
After this, we all returned to the station and grabbed a few essential ringing items before heading off to find Lapwing (Vibe) chicks! Leona had spotted protective parents just a few days prior and we had suspicions that there may chicks within this area. Just as suspected, we were able to locate a brood and we ringed one of the chicks before leaving it back to its parents. It was very exciting to be able to hold a Lapwing (Vibe) chick in the hand!
Photo: Lapwing (Vibe) chick!
In other events, Hanelie’s mother is in Skagen and came to visit us a few times so far at the station! After scoping out and clearing additional lanes for nets at KAB, Hanelie took her mother to see the cormorants nesting around the nearby lake. In addition, we said farewell to our guests Kristine and Jan! It was an absolute treasure having them with us during this week and we look forward to their return in the future.
Tomorrow, Alice and Hanelie are planning to meet up with Marion and Hanalie’s mother before heading on to Hirsholm. Meanwhile, Leona and I will be brainstorming and drafting up activities for the Birder’s Club space. If you’re around the Skagen area, please come check out our Birder’s Club space for yourself here at the station!
All in all, it was a very fun Sunday. We were super excited to see the Bearded Vulture (Lammegribben) up close and to ring the Lapwing (Vibe) chick! Thank you for reading about our adventures and please stay tuned for our next daily blog post!
Have a great start to the week!
Luck in the nets and luck in the sky
Leona and Megan left the bird station at three in the morning today to open the nets in Kabletromle. I went armed with the hedge cutter to Kabletromle, because after ringing the plan was to cut the remaining grass in Kabletomle. On the way, I met Simon, who was also on his way to the first round. And today we had many more vøgel in the nets than in the last few days. In the first round it was mainly Blackcaps “Munk” and today we also had two Spotted Flycatchers “Grå Fluesnapper”, three “Lille Gråsisken” and a Meadow Pipit “Engpiber” as well as a recaptured Rosefinch "Karmindompap". But all this was topped by the Barred Warbler "Høgesanger", which was in one of the nets on the south side. It is the eleventh spring record in Skagen.
Barred Warbler "Høgesanger", Foto: Erik Christophersen
I would have liked to look at the pretty guy a bit longer because this species was the first bird rarity I saw. That was last autumn in Blåvand and this time I appreciated the Barred Warbler “Høgesanger” even more. Even though we were very happy to have it in the net, I hope it will find its way back eventually, as it should be in the Breeding Grounds in the southeast of Sweden and not here in Skagen. Hopefully, it will work out next year with the breeding, maybe in Sweden.
But we couldn't look at it for long, because it was round time again. Alice, who wanted to sleep a bit longer and then do some læptop work, saw it too and ringed the Barred Warbler, we called her and she left the bird station immediately and was fast as lightning in Kabletromle. When the nets were closed after this eventful morning, the events continued, nothing with cutting grass, because the Bearded Vulture “Lammergrib” was announced on Zello. We left Kabletrommle but didn't leave immediately, Simon wanted to wait a little longer until we knew exactly which direction the Bearded Vulture “Lammergrib” was going. Back at the station, Simon showed Alice and me where to set up the nets for guided tours in the Lighthouse Garden in summer. And then the next Zello, it was finally time to go. We contacted Megan and Leona, who were in the house, and then we went. On the way, we saw Jan and Kristine on bikes with the scope. When we saw the bird, Simon threw us out of the car to get Jan and Kristine. They too had seen the bird satisfactorily and Simon drove us a little further to see it again. We were successful and saw it quite well but not close enough for us.
Bearded Vulture "Lammegrib", Foto: Erik Christophersen
But as Simon and Lisa are going to Aalborg today, he wanted to go back. But we hadn't had enough and - what luck - we saw Jørgen driving by. He took us a little further, but unfortunately, we didn't see the Bearded Vulture again. So after a while, we went back to the station, we ate lunch, entered Ringing Data sid the social media post, and now the blog. Today we have cleaning to do and Megan's burger and dessert for dinner to celebrate. My mother Karin will be coming too, she arrived in Skagen today, and will probably be more spoilt by the food than the pouring rain that greeted her when she arrived at the train station. Sounds like a nice evening, and then off to bed soon, so we'll be fit again tomorrow in the field!
See you then, Hanelie
Todays ringed birds at Kabletromle:
Grå Fluesnapper: 2
Lille Gråsisken: 3
People at the station: Simon S. Christiansen, Hanelie Sidhu, Alice Scalzo, Leona Gottschalkson, Megan Nepshinsky, our guests Jan Hjort Christensen, Kristine Kleffel and Karin
A bearded vulture and an angry lapwing
Hanelie and I were up and ready to open the nets early this morning. Megan and our guests joined us some time after. Megan really enjoyed seeing a Black bird (Solsort) from this close, and she is also very happy to be learning so much about ringing and the age determination via moult limits. The ringing went by quite slowly as we had one to two birds per round. Only on the last round we managed to get a decent number of birds. Sedge warbler (Sivsanger) and 1K Crested tit (Topmejse) were our ringing highlights of the day. Simon and our guests also saw a Little gull (Dværgmåge) and heard a Serin (Gulirisk).
Thinking about home
Today’s events have me thinking about the concept of home. This morning, Lisa, Leona and I went just before sunrise to open the nets and ring. While we had the nets open, we caught some wonderful birds, such as an 8 year old Common Whitethroat (Tornsanger) that was originally banded on July 30th, 2014 in the same area. According to Euring, this is one of the oldest Tornsangers ever documented, with the eldest being a 9 year old bird. Our bird very well may have been making Skagen its summer home for nearly the past decade!
Common Whitethroat(Tornsanger) – Photo Credit: Lisa Vergin
In addition to the exciting Tornsanger record, we also caught a young Crested Tit (Topmejsen) in the nets! During our evening meeting, Simon shared that fledged juvenile Crested Tits will migrate to search for their own territory away from their parents. Once they find that place, they will make that place home for the remainder of their lives. It was very cool to see the distinctive plumage of this bird and to learn about the unique life history!
Leona and Lisa with the Topmejsen ‘Crested Tit’ at the ringing area on June 9th
Furthermore, we had an amazing sightings of an Eurasian bittern (Rørdrum), Caspian Tern (Rovterne), Ring Ouzel (Ringdrossel), merlin (Dværgfalk) and an observation of 60 kittiwakes(Rissa) heading east as they migrated through Skagen.
Picture of Ring Ouzel (Ringdrossel) – Photo Credit: Simon S. Christiansen
Meanwhile, Hanelie, Alice and Robbe went to Aalborg yesterday to visit Marion, who was a volunteer here earlier in the spring. While they were there, they saw Bearded tits (Skægmejse), reed buntings (Rørspurven), and Penduline tits (Pungmejser) who had made their home in a nest close to Marion’s house. It was also their chance to say a final farewell to Robbe before he headed back towards his home in Belgium!
Back at Skagen Fuglestation, we had an interesting visitor. Our guest Kristine came over to acquire our help in catching a pigeon (Tamdue) on the lawn right outside the laboratory. The pigeon had a band along with a phone number seemingly belonging to its owner. After calling and talking to a few folks, we found the bird’s owner and it will be returning to its home very shortly!
Leona holding the pigeon (Tamdue) – Photo Credit: Kristine Kleffel
Tomorrow, we are looking forward to another day of ringing and of visiting the cormorant (Skarver) colony! The video technicians are planning to come tomorrow to fix the video camera on the colony as well. In the near future, we are looking forward to hopefully ringing some Nightjars (Natravne) in the area.
As we shared a lovely homemade meal concocted by our guests, we talked about our adventures and about Jørgen’s upcoming journey back to Copenhagen. We are so very grateful to have friendly bird watchers like Jørgen with us for the past couple of months. As they start to head back home towards the end of this spring season, we are hopeful for their return with the next migration and that they will always consider Skagen their home away from home!
Birds ringed at Kabletromle
People at the station: Simon S. Christiansen, Hanelie Sidhu, Alice Scalzo, Leona Gottschalkson, Megan Nepshinsky, Lisa Vergin, Jørgen Hulbæk, Jan Speiermann, our guests Jan Hjort Christensen and Kristine Kleffel