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The Walrus

tirsdag 27. februar 2024
af James Wareing

On Sunday, I took another day-trip outside of Skagen to the Råbjerg Mile, which is the largest moving dune in Northern Europe. Each year it moves by around 15m, gradually making its way towards Kattegat. It is quite a spectacle and most unexpected to find something akin to a desert. They used to be more common in the area and quite prohibitive to efficient agriculture given how much they can move, but the Danish government stepped in to control them. Råbjerg Mile was left and given conservation status to act as a demonstration of this natural phenomenon and I was grateful for it.



This week has also seen the return of Knud Pedersen from his short migration north to Norway. Knud holidays there every year, so his return is a reliable indicator of spring coming. The weather though disagreed and has remained stubbornly cold (around 2 degrees first thing in the morning). It was a pleasure to have my birding partner back and we have been out for three hours each morning this week.


Yesterday, we had just been talking about Walruses (Hvalros) and how rare a sighting they were here, when I spotted one on the horizon. Knud has this remarkable ability to talk about something and then see it. This was no ordinary Walrus though, but in fact a Dutch walrus-class submarine. This was as unexpected as it was exciting to find. Flying proudly above the submarine was a flag with red, white and blue colours. It is important to correctly establish the orders of these colours, as they are the difference between retreating hastily for the bunkers and casually watching on. Fortunately, they were Dutch (could have been Luxembourg, but instinct told me that landlocked countries probably do not have navies) and it happily cruised along the horizon with two men sitting on the top. They must have been undoubtedly cold but I imagine fresh air is at a premium for submariners and I like to imagine them as birdwatchers.


In terms of sightings of the avian variety, the most notable have been Shag (Topskarv), Black-throated Diver (Sortstrubet lom), Glaucous Gull (Gråmåge) and White-tailed Eagle (Havørn) - the last two unfortunately seen by Knud alone.

Today marks the last day that I will be alone at the lighthouse before the spring season volunteers join us. It therefore means the end of all those habits that one can get away with when living alone but they will of course be welcomed! I am of course looking forward to the luck that each new birder brings on their first trip out.

Link to today's observations from observers in the area

People: James Wareing, Knud Pedersen, Michael Anker

Michael Anker has been busy ringing in the last three days, with the results below:


25th February

Ringing (Jennes Sø):

Nordlig Gråsisken (Common Redpoll) - 20

Musvit (Great Tit) - 1

Ringing (Nordstjernevej):

Nordlig Gråsisken (Common Redpoll) - 28

Gulspurv (Yellowhammer) - 3

Blåmejse (Blue Tit) - 2

Grønirisk (Greenfinch) - 4

Total: 58


26th February

Ringing (Jennes Sø):

Nordlig Gråsisken (Common Redpoll) - 3

Gærdesmutte (Wren) - 1

Ringing (Nordstjernevej):

Nordlig Gråsisken (Common Redpoll) - 26

Grønirisk (Greenfinch) - 2

Musvit (Great Tit) - 3

Blåmejse (Blue Tit) - 3

Rødhals (Robin) - 1

Total: 39


27th February

Ringing (Jennes Sø):

Nordlig Gråsisken (Common Redpoll) - 2

Blåmejse (Blue Tit) - 5

Ringing (Nordstjernevej):

Nordlig Gråsisken (Common Redpoll) - 33

Lille Gråsisken (Lesser Redpoll) - 1

Musvit (Great Tit) - 1

Total: 41