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Spring is here!

lørdag 17. februar 2024
af James Wareing

Saturday may have been sandwiched between two days of rain and wind, but I am optimistically declaring the start of spring. Birds were signing, I saw my first bee, and there was even a small flock of 20 Mistle Thrushes (Misteldrossel) flying south. 

sunrise

drossel

biene

It was a day of Skagen at its best with its beautiful renowned light and blue skies a constant accompaniment as I spent nearly the entire day outside. I began with a Fulmar survey walking 10km along the beach from the lighthouse to Gammel Skagen. I had the pleasure of being joined by Alfred (he who brought us the waxwings). Alfred had very kindly made me a memento from this day (which you can compare (favourably) to my artwork below). Thank you, Alfred. 

art

Alfred's english was very impressive but at times communication was a slight hurdle. It was reassuring though to know that in most languages it seems that 'ah' and a finger point is well-understood as 'there is an exciting bird in that direction.' Occasionally though even finger pointing did not work so, inspired by my trip to Skagen Art Museum last week, I decided to draw on the sand to show Alfred where a Snow Bunting (Snespurv) was. Alfred took one look at my 'artwork', look even more confused and just found the bird himself.

art2

The walk was for me a 'half-success'; we did not find any Fulmars (Mallemuk) but did instead find 4 Common Guillemots (Lomvie). We also found a right shoe in Simon Christiansen's size so the hunt is now on for the left one. For Alfred the day was an unqualified success with two new birds for him. If there is something more satisfying than finding a new bird yourself it may well be finding one for somebody else. We added to Alfred's already very impressive list with Black-legged Kittiwake (Ride) and Brant Goose (Knortegås). 

youngandold

Birders young and old

In the afternoon, I took advantage of the lovely weather for another leisurely walk. There were not too many birds about, but I did see some Bullfinches (Dompap) rather close and there were 106 Greater White-fronted Geese (Blisgås) flying over.

gimpel2

Bulllfinch (Dompap)

swan

Mute Swan (Knopsvane)

Just as I was nearing home I heard the squealing of a baby pig. Instinct told me that reedbeds were not the habitat of farmyard animals and that could only mean one thing, Water Rails (Vandrikse). This sound is as comical as they are hard to find, so I enjoyed 20 minutes scanning the reeds to catch a glimpse of them. In my excitement at a movement from a reed I inched forward a step too far and the water crept into both my walking boots. Despite me declaring it spring, the water has not warmed since my swim last weekend, but birding is not about glamour but the glory of finding exciting birds. Unfortunately, I left without either glamour or glory....

leuchturm

Whether returning back with glamour, glory or neither, it does not matter when you can call here home

Link to today's observations from observers in the area

People: James Wareing, Alfred Godsk Geckler and Michael Anker

Michael Anker also continued his ringing efforts with the results below:

Ringing (Jennes Sø):

Lille Gråsisken (Lesser Redpoll) - 1

Nordlig Gråsisken (Common Redpoll) - 12

Ringing (Nordstjernevej):

Nordlig Gråsisken (Common Redpoll) - 15

Grønirisk (Greenfinch) - 3

Kvækerfinke (Brambling) - 1

Total: 32