Her på Skagen Fuglestations blog bringes korte nyheder i dagbogsformat om hændelser på fuglestationen.
It was another cold day with snow still settled on the ground from the previous two days. Although there was no new snow, a cool northernly breeze dominated and temperatures were forced to stay in the low single digits. With the sun shining in the afternoon, it was pleasant in the sheltered spots, and provided some very nice snowy scenes.
Mathilde, Simon Jr, and I awoke for our last migration count of the year. The walk to Worlds End 3 was, as always, very nice and it was nice to see lots of gulls roosting near the tip, avoiding the snowy spots. Northernly winds are not ideal to be sat in for too long, but we managed two hours before calling it quits. The first hour was slow but included a Purple Sandpiper [Sortgrå ryle], a Little Auk [Søkonge] and roughly 125 Redpoll [Gråsisken] amongst a good mix of other species. Second hour was tough but was nice to see a super close Lapland Bunting [Lapverling], over 150 Redpoll [Gråsisken] and the Knot [Island Ryle] that has been hanging around for a couple of weeks now. We soon left Worlds End 3 and quickly found 2 Purple Sandpipers [Sortgrå ryle] roosting near the bunker as well as many Rock Pipits [Skæpiper]. This included a colour ringed Norwegian ringed bird near the lighthouse which Simon Jr got some photos of. Unfortunately, due to technical issues he currently cannot use his phone and can barely use his camera but that should be sorted soon.
The higher-than-normal abundance of Rock Pipit [Skæpiper] led us to put out the traps whilst we had lunch. No luck with the traps but they were super close at times. We also opened the old lighthouse garden net and put a Redpoll [Gråsisken] tape lure to attract any passing migrants. This net was the most sheltered and with frequent checks every fifteen to twenty minutes ensured the welfare of the birds was maintained. In the meantime, we checked net lengths and sorted the nets into boxes for next year. The net opening was successful in catching a few birds (see ringing totals below) including a small flock of Common Redpoll [Stor Gråsisken] and an Arctic Redpoll [Hvidsisken]. Simon S.C was super impressed we had caught a Hvidsisken, as he had been talking all day about this species and it was a beauty of a bird. In fact, the chairman of Birdlife Denmark arrived just in time to see the bird before it was released, his first ever which was super exciting and what a view to have. A super snowball in a super snowy environment.
Figure 1: Arctic Redpoll [Hvidsisken] profile.
Figure 2: The old greater coverts in the wing confirming the age.
Figure 3: Arctic Redpoll [Hvidsisken] rump.
Figure 4: Comparison between Common Redpoll [Stor Gråsisken and Hvidsisken]
Figure 5: Arctic Redpoll [Hvidsisken] standalone.
Look at this little stunner! This bird was easily identifiable from the net and was even more distinctive when compared to the Common Redpoll [Stor Gråsisken] in the net too. The moult limit within the greater coverts (the inner four being old in the picture compared to the outer six), the old tertials and the pointy tail feathers led to the bird being aged as a juvenile (EURING age 3/Danish Age 1k). The amount of red on the rump was enough to sex this bird as a male, they are more restrictive than their Common Redpoll [Stor Gråsisken] counterparts.
After sorting nets, the sun set just after 3pm today, the equivalent to 2pm for our British readers. This meant we had a nice evening with me completing the blog, Mathilde helping to input Michael A’s ringing data and Simon Jr cooking a really nice Tofu meal with an additional couple of bottles of wines on the side to congratulate the completion of the migration counts. Thank you to Mathilde and Simon for inputting the ringing data this evening, and for making this evening really nice with good music, favourable wine, a rendition of Kesha's Tik Tok!
Have a great evening everyone!
People: Egon Østergaard, Thomas Weston, Mathilde Ducroz, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen.
Thomas looks out of the window and everything is white. Mathilde and I join him immediatley and yes: everything is now covered in snow!
More snow and less wind made the migration count today more enjoy able than the one yesterday. The amount of birds, which are migrating, is now pretty low, but even in this cold day around 300 Redpolls (Gråsisken) flew towards the sea at World's End 3. Luckily, they decided to turn around and don't risk the long fly over the dangerous water in these conditions. A Great Nothern Diver (Islom) passed by. The danish and german name of it (Eistaucher) fit now well to the weather, since there is now Ice on all small ponds in the area. Since the sea was very flat, I cunted the roosting ducks. I counted 446 Common Scoters (Sortand), which were more than I would have expacted. A Scaup (Bjergand) was feeding with some Scoters. Maybe the best bird of the morning was a young Lesser Black-backed Gull (Sildemåge). At this time of the year there should be realistic chances for the northeastern subspecies fuscus. Espacially in this plumage they can look very similar to intermedius, so the identification of the subspecies by plumage is not possible. If you know from where the bird is, you can concluse the subspecies often from its breeding range. Unfortunately, our bird was not ringed. So it stays just a late LBBG.
In the afternoon, Mathilde, Thomas and I walked to the supermarket to buy in loads of stuff. On the way we enjoyed the snow and took more nice pictures. In Batteriskoven we flushed a Woodcock (Skovsnepe). The way back was tough, since we had headwind and it started snowing again.
Tomorrow is our last migration count. The conditions will be rough again, but we are looking forward to count there one last time this year.
People: Mathilde Ducroz, Thomas Weston, Simon Kiesé.
Snow in Skagen
I woke up an hour later this morning and realised as me and Simon were heading out that it was snowing. Thomas tried to warn us but his phone died before he could send the message so to migration count we went. Strong northernly winds, snow and negative temperatures did not make this the most comfortable count. We were happy to see that Thomas was still alive and not frozen to death when we made it to world end’s 3. When it came to bird activity, there was not much to observe. A nice flock of 7 Goldeneye (Hvinand) flew over as me and Simon set up and 2 Goosanders (Stor Skallesluger) flew over just before we started packing up. The main highlights of the counts was the snow blizzard though. Because of the cold and barely no bird activity, we communally decided on stopping after two hours and headed back to the station.
Once back at the station, Simon and Thomas opened a net in the old lighthouse garden and we took turns checking on them every 15 to 20 minutes. On opening it looked good with a Fieldfare (Sjagger) feeding on the apples, some resting Great tits (Musvit) and Redpolls (Gråsisken). Sadly, none of them ended up in the nets, we only caught a recapture Robin (Rødhals).
Otherwise, we each did some personal admin and smaller tasks for stations, including updating the picture archive and entering data. After lunch and closing the nets, we headed to the attic to sort through some nets and check whether they were still usable. Thomas went on a short walk to enjoy the lightly covered snow landscape. Me and Simon went out night-catching but only saw one Woodcock (Skovsneppe) which quickly flew off before we got anywhere near it.
People: Thomas Weston, Mathilde Ducroz, Simon Kiesé.
Mallard Migration! A Blog Supporting These Underappreicated Ducks ;)
Today started off with a breezy NE wind forcing temperature below 0’c. The morning was cloudy, and many areas of freshwater were frozen, including Jennes Sø lake which was pretty impressive to see. With plenty of jobs left to do before the winter close, it was a rather busy morning.
Mathilde, Simon Jr and I awoke to Simon Sr making coffee in the kitchen. The plan was for the two Simons to collect snails for a university project whilst Mathilde and I completed migration count. Migration count was not massively busy, but within the first hour flocks of Red-throated divers [Rødstrubet Lom], a few flocks of Eider [Ederfugl] and my personal highlight, the Mallards [Gråand], were nice to see. In total we saw 18 Mallards [Gråand] in the three hours and I find it impressive how this species is mostly known for feeding on bread and coming super close in town parks and ponds, but never normally known for migrating and resting on the open sea! The second and third hour of the migration count were very slow with few birds seen moving. In the meantime, the two Simons successfully collected the required number of snails*, mussels, and water for the project. Simon Sr beat Simon Jr by numbers, but we don’t talk about that! Anyway, a great achievement after our many failed attempts recently due to the tides, low pressure, and high winds. Hopefully the university will find some interesting results regarding pollution and toxins in the water. *All specimens were collected with ethical approval and permissions.
Pic 1: Trying to catch Skærpiber. Photo by Simon Jr
After some lunch, we opened the old lighthouse garden net for some passerines and the potter trap to try and catch some Rock Pipit (Skærpiber). In between net rounds, Mathilde successfully repaired some of the bird bags which was much appreciated and both Simons completed some office-based jobs. I inputted the migration count data from this morning and helped checked nets which resulted in a few birds being caught.
Picture 2: Our regular Great Tit [Musvit] seeing us again! Pic by Mathilde
We caught a few birds which was nice, including a rather familiar Great Tit [Musvit] and a couple of new Redpoll [Nordlig Gråsisken /Lille Gråsisken] which were very nice to see after a few days of no ringing. However, the wind picked up after a couple of hours, the sun was quickly setting, and we decided to close for the day. Back inside in the warm, the evening meeting was completed once it got dark and Simon Sr and I inputted more of Michael’s ringing data. It’s looking like this year is going to be rather impressive on the numbers of birds ringed. Simon Jr cooked us a lovely meal and our evening plans so far are chilled.
Nordlig Gråsisken/Lille Gråsisken
People: Thomas Weston, Mathilde Ducroz, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen.
Great Nothern Sunshine
This morning we, the last the volunteers standing, went out to a World's End without wind or clouds. It was truely amazing! When the sun popped up over the horizon it shined greenish, which only can be seen under really good conditions and without pollution in the air. A bit later even a sun dog showed up, what a morning!
None of these phenomens, but in anyway a beautiful sunrise in this picture from today:
The Little Auks (Søkonge) decided, that they have already migrated enough yesterday. So instead of 27 yesterday we just had two heading northwest and two, which decided that eating some fish at Grenen is even better. In anyway, we enjoyed these cuties and appreciated every second we could see them. The day was also good for Great Nothern Divers (Islom). We had really good views on two birds, which decided to land on the water, too, and steel all the fish from the Little Auks. Just a joke - as both species specialise in different foods, they avoid competition. Evolution was clever, wasn't it?
Two Scaups (Bjergand), 5 roosting Black-throated Divers (Sortstrubes Lom) and even a unbelievable flock of 14 migrating (and landing) Mallards (Gråand) were other highlights. Erik came to say Hi, which was really nice.
We used the afternoon for various activities and we were very productive. Thomas and I enjoyed the Little Auks (Søkonge) at the harbour, which dived today much more than yesterday. Then we went shopping. When we came home it smelled super nice like cinnamon. Thanks Mathilde - it will be tasty!
Now we hope to see some Nothern Lights again. But we don't know yet, if we will able to see them today due to its changing activity and some more clouds. Just in case the weather is good - dear reader - go outside (where no lightpollution is) and have a look in the Sky in notherly direction. I wish you good luck! If there are no Nothern Lights today, it is maybe better to stay inside and enjoy those pictures from last night, I processed before I went to bed last night. Have a nice evening!
The lighthouse and aurora borealis. What a beautiful evening!
The moon made the Nothern Lights concurrence.
People: Thomas Weston, Mathilde Ducroz, Simon Kiesé.
A day of As: Auks, Adders and Auroras
The day started off to a bad start as Gustav left us but he stayed with us all day through spirit. We were all very touched by the message you left in the guest book, the station will feel very different without you.
For us still here, the day started off as usual with migration count for Simon Jr and Thomas. As Simon put it, the 30 first minutes were punishment, for what I’m not sure, but it was out to get them. I stayed back to cleaned for the first few hours and joined for the last part.The Kittiwake (Ride) migration slowed down today with only about 2,000 individuals which was nothing in comparison of yesterday’s 10,000 but still some nice views as some flew over the beach and observation point. Some nice views of Whooper swans (Sangsvane) and Greylags (Grågås) flying right near our observation point which is always a treat especially for goose master, Thomas. A big flock of Snow bunting (Snespurv) with two Lapland bunting (Lapværling). Hiding in between them kept flying around us as they were foraging. A Great northern diver (Islom) flew by to keep Simon Jr and Thomas happy through the cold wind. Jørgen and Igor popping in to check on Thomas and Simon Jr was also very appreciated. But the highlight of the migration were the amazing views of the Little auks (Søkonge) flying in close to the beach and in between some of the visitors of the tips unaware of rare little bird flying around them.
We came back to the lighthouse slightly early as the stuffed birds from the museum are going to another home until the lighthouse’s reopening in spring. Niels Eriksen arrived around 12:30 and brought us some apples.
In the afternoon, we headed to the harbour to try and find the earlier reported Little auks (Søkonge). We had a stop on the way when Simon Jr saw a small Adder on the cycling path. The snake was very small and very late in the season to be still active. Hopefully, it goes into hibernation soon and survives the winter. Simon Jr was very excited to hold the snake like Gustav had taught him, taking over the torch from him.
Once at the harbour, we looked out but saw not much apart from the roosting Cormorant (Skarv) (116, counted perfectly by Thomas) and a few bigger auks but not the wanted Little Auk (Søkonge)! We were heading back when we saw a man with a nice camera and stopped. Right decision! Three Little auks (Søkonge) were foraging right by the side of the seabreaker. Simon Jr went right down and got some very nice shots as you can see from the picture. A Razorbill (Alk) also wanted to see what was going on which allowed for some close up shots too. The sun setting sky colours also looked very pretty against the big bright moon.
Photo: Simon Kiese
And the day ended on a perfect evening looking at the Northern lights. Thank you to Simon Jr for showing me how photograph on my camera, which took a while to figure out but worth it!
People: Thomas Weston, Mathilde Ducroz, Gustav Nyberg, Simon Kiesé.
I dag drog vi alle af sted til træk-tælling ved Verdens Ende 3. Der var blevet lovet blæsende vejr fra V-NV, og det skal jeg da så sandelig også bekræfte, at det blev. 4 mand stærkt sad vi der på sandklitten og spejdede ud over havet. Jeg besluttede at tælle Sortænder, Rødstrubet Lommer og Rider. Jeg fik travlt. Da den første time begyndte så det ganske normalt ud på fuglefronten, men efter nogle minutter blev det tydeligt, at en art i dag vil blive dominerende. Riden. Den ene efter den anden Ride kom susende ud af Kattegat efter at være blæst derind de seneste par dage. Efter de 4 timer havde vi alt i alt talt 5516 Rider, hvilket var helt vanvittigt at få lov til at være vidne til. Efter vi stoppede tællingen, kunne vi blive ved med at se den ene store gruppe Rider efter den anden kom susende ligesom de mange før dem.
Selvom det var blæsende og sandet kom ind alle vegne, brændte solen sig igennem og dagen i dag endte med at blive en helt vildt skøn sidste dag at have her ved Grenen. Jeg kommer helt sikkert til at savne, at have mine daglige gåture ud til Verdens Ende 3 eller Nordstrand, sætte mig ned sammen med Knud, Thomas eller Simon og tælle de mange fantastiske havfugle, der er derude.
Efter den begivenhedsrige morgen tog vi lidt frokost og så stod den ellers på nedtagning af ugle-net og justeringen af et andet i Fyrhaven. Der er forhåbninger om at ringmærkning vil kunne fortsætte i det små henover slutningen af november og starten af december. Efter det tastede jeg data ind i DOFbasen fra observationen i morges.
Resten af dagen hyggede vi og spillede spil. Særligt et spil har vi fundet særligt sjovt de sidste to dage. Shuffleball. Et spil stations Simon præsenterede os for, hvorefter han vandt over os alle.
Ellers fik jeg sagt farvel til de andre, og at jeg ønsker dem al held og lykke fremover. Jeg kommer jo nok herop på et lille besøg i Marts, hvor Simon og Hayley vil være at finde på stationen igen. Tak fordi I fulgte med her på bloggen, det var alt fra mig for denne gang. Ligesom alle de fugle jeg har talt trækkende ind og ud af Skagerrak og Kattegat, skal jeg nu trække sydpå i morgen. Det har været en fornøjelse at have været en del af helt fantastiske efterårshold, og jeg er blevet tusinde oplevelser og venner rigere.
After a change in the wind direction today to the SW, as well as gusts between 30-40mph, it was rather mild and felt like the warmest day we have experienced for a while. The morning was cloudy to start but soon broke up leading to a very sunny day. It was lush!
Figure: My makeshift tripod for today, thanks Simon Jr for the photo.
Since Kabletromlen closed on Tuesday, Simon and I decided we would undertake the migration count. We were very keen to get out this morning and hoped for a nice range of species. The walk to Worlds End 3 was, as always, relaxed and Kattegat was rather calm which was odd to see after so many days of East winds. Three quarters along the beach and that sinking feeling that you may have forgotten something came over me. It was in fact I had forgot to pick up a tripod for the scope! By this point I had committed too much to head on back. However, when we got to Worlds End 3, I was able to improvise and even though it was a little unorthodox (see pic above), I still counted the auks successfully throughout the morning and saw everything else too.
Figure 2: Glowing.
The first couple of hours of migration count saw a nice passage of Razorbill [Alk], Guillemot [Lomvie], and Auk spp [Alk/Lomvie]. We had frequent flocks of Kittiwake [Ride] and a couple of flocks of Little Gull [Dværgmåge] that were rather nice to see. Between the second and the third hour we had quite a nice ten minutes where Simon Jr picked out a Sooty Shearwater [Sodfarvet Skråpe], 2 Arctic Skuas [Alumindelig Kjove], 2 Great-northern Diver [Islom] and his current favourite, the young Glaucous Gull [Gråmåge] that has been hanging around. The sun came out and everything glowed for a while which was lush (see pic above). Gustav joined us soon after in the third hour, but numbers of species and numbers of individuals had dropped by this point, so we did not complete a fourth hour today. Also, we were becoming part of the sand dune again, so we decided to head back.
Once back at the observatory we had lunch and spent the next couple of hours inputting Michael’s ringing data and the migration count data from the morning. A brief break occurred whilst Michael popped round to see Simon SC, but soon after we were back to inputting again. Gustav was in relax mode as he is leaving us on Saturday and Simon Jr began to watch a talk about Climate Change and the effects to Watermelon sweetness. Mathilde and I decided to head off to the shops by bike as we had run out of food. Strong winds and cycling don’t always work when you cycle into the wind, especially when it catches you off guard and you end up crashing into the other bike before falling sideways! Just my luck, but hilarious all round :0. A few laughs later and we eventually got to the shops. As with most shopping trips recently, cake was quickly added to the menu after a few days’ absence and the cycle back was very quick. On our return, Simon Jr was still watching his talk and had finally got the answer to the original question that watermelons will get sweater with climate change. Woop Woop! Just means we should all be enjoying some watermelon sugar.
Figure 3: Gustav migration counting recently (not taken today).
This evening I will be undertaking my session talking about Winter Warblers and the ageing of Blackcaps [Munk] and Chiffchaff [Gransanger]. In the meantime, Simon SC is preparing a leaving meal for Gustav. I can only speak from myself, but we are all going to miss Gustav. We have enjoyed his company, his laughs, his extreme hand catching skills, his self-proclaimed viking ways, and the fact that he is just a cool kind of guy. In the last three months Gustav has completed over 270 hours of migration counts which is dedicated to the extreme. I find it funny how cheese on toast was the most British thing I have made him, and his famous anti-cake period at the start of the month that lasted for three days! Good luck with the rest of your studies and travels.
No ringing today.
People: Thomas Weston, Mathilde Ducroz, Gustav Nyberg, Simon Kiesé, Simon S. Christiansen and Michael Ancher.
the birds are back again
After a nice sleep until 8 Lasse prepared to head back to Germany. Simon Sr. picked him up and Thomas and I left now to join the migration count at World's End 3, which was already started at sunrise by Gustav. When we arrived, Gustav was happy to get some support, because in contrast to the last slow days there were super many birds. The strong wind out of southwesterly direction blew all the sand over us and the conditions were rather tricky. In anyway we managed to see many nice birds. After the count we had a total of several hundred Kittiwakes (Ride) and also many Razorbills (Alk) and a surprisingly high number of Guillemots (Lomvie). It was hard to pick out other species, because due to the cold air there was much noise over the sea. But after a short while a Little Auk (Søkonge) passed by. Then I found a young Glaucous Gull (Gråmåge) roosting with other gulls at the tip. What a beauty! It is probably the same bird, I have now seen twice before. But since I've never seen the species before, I am super happy about the several nice encounters with this fantastic species.
In the meanwhile, Mathilde was very productive. She labeled nets and checked sheets with Simon Sr. When we came back, we had a tasty lunch. Thomas made eggs and nice wraps!!!
Then we went to the aethic. Together we started cleaning everything, decunstructing the stuck net pole pieces (it was really a struggle and tried everything possible to finally suceed), throwing old and broke nets away and checking the waders for holes. This stormy day was perfect for a aethic day. After this tough work, we really earned us a releaxed evening in the warm apartment. But you - dear readers - you know how it is here - there is always something to do and we definitly have to find out who will win in "Turnstone" today!
People: Thomas Weston, Mathilde Ducroz, Gustav Nyberg, Simon Kiesé, Lasse Heckroth, Simon S. Christiansen.
Lukket og slukket
Simon og Lasse tog sig af de første 2 timer ved træk-tællingen, hvor de blandt andet så Gråmåge og Sangsvaner. Ellers savnede de lidt fugle, da der var langt mellem dem i dag. Da jeg ankom for at erstatte de to, kom der en lille gruppe Sangsvaner, altid et velkommen syn. Mine to timer blev også uden nogen særlige store mængder fugle, men jeg fandt dog en enkelt Søkonge. Fuglemæssigt er vi gået ind i nogle meget stille periode både over havet, men så sandelig også over land.
Thomas og Mathilde fik lukket og slukket ved Kabeltromlen. Her fik de pakket de sidste stænger og net ned og bragte det tilbage til stationen. Den sidste ringmærkede fugl ved Kabeltromlen blev en Dompap han.
Hjemme på stationen fik Thomas og Mathilde checket nogle ringmærkningspapir, mens Simon og Lasse var i gang med ringmærkning i Fyrhaven. Jeg talte de sidste par dages Sortænder sammen, der skal bruges i den årsrapport, der kommer senere år.
Lasse og Simon står for maden i dag, gad vide hvad sådan et par tyske gutter kan finde på at lave?
Det skal også lige nævnes, at Simon og Lasse igen igen fik fat på en Skovsneppe under nightcatching.
Rødhals - 1
Ringing (Jennes Sø):
Blåmejse - 1
People: Thomas Weston, Mathilde Ducroz, Gustav Nyberg, Simon Kiesé, Lasse Heckroth.