Her på Blåvand's blog bringes korte nyheder i dagbogsformat om livet og hændelser på fuglestationen.

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Red Sky in the Morning...

lørdag 20. april 2024
af James Wareing

With the unproductive birding weather of the month, we have been consoling ourselves that it is quality and not quantity that is important. Today we had neither. We were greeted at dawn by a magnificent red sunrise reflecting resplendently on the low tidal pools. I had the expression ‘red sky in the morning, shepherds’ warning’ in mind, but I had never realised that the true meaning was advice for a shepherd’s birdwatching duties. We are joined at the moment by ten members of the Danish Rare Birds Committee, but even the added fire-power we could not flush out too much to report.  

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Ringing numbers were low, but we did at least have three Little Gulls and a Black-throated Diver on the seawatch. Consolation has been provided though by contact with Skagen Bird Observatory, who are also reporting low numbers of birds for this time of year. If Skagen cannot uncover many birds, then what chance do we have!

We are hoping at the moment that the birds are stuck in a migratory blocked pipe somewhere south of here. Any day now, we are expecting/praying for that metaphorical pipe to burst and a veritable Garden of Eden to burst our way. Any day now…

Lisa and I were keen to add a bit of extra work to the committee’s list and so, with the seawatch complete, cycled to Skallingen to see what we could find. The highlight was a Bluethroat, which is the first one recorded by the observatory this year. Otherwise, it was still relatively quiet and I cannot blame the birds with temperatures starting the day around two degrees and rain hitting us at intermittent intervals, which were as unpredictable as they were unwelcome.

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With birding war stories not readily available for dinner time conversation, we turned to philosophy instead. With an international mix, you could perhaps have expected the relative merits of Spinoza, Kierkegaard, Hobbes and Heidegger to be compared and contrasted. Once again, we birders demonstrated our broad range of interests and we digressed instead to what truly does make a bird sighting and the value (or lack of) of list-making. That the bird discussions have digressed onto the theoretical, perhaps shows were our minds are at now...

People at the Station: Maxim, James, Morten, David, Henrik and Lisa.

Gulls, gusts and a particular grin

fredag 19. april 2024
af Lisa Hein

Today at Blåvand Fuglestation was in many ways, in accordance with our familiar vernacular as birders, a variegated day. With the latest weather forecast of a rainy and windy morning in mind, many of us were gone to bed looking forward to sleep in today. However, there was no drumming of rain on the roof but a slight drizzle. Nevertheless, I was delighted by a few more minutes under the warm covers. Most birds decided for a late start as well, as there was not much movement to be seen during the sea watch routine. Only the Red-throated Divers seemed to have missed the call for a day off. They were seen flying high, perhaps in search of some sun above the clouds.

Despite several layers of clothing, I was struggling to keep up both, body temperature and excitement towards the end of the sea watch. Luckily, James had just the right recipe for restoring my spirits. He came running with that special look on his face that could only mean an exceptional bird sighting. For those of you who want to find it yourself, here is the view through his scope this morning:

Glaucous Gull

For those of you who are similarly skilful to me in identifying gulls and appreciate a little help, below you can see the second-largest of all gulls, a Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus):

Glaucous Gull Pfeil

Today, it was not only us adjusting our working schedule due to weather conditions. Our neighbours at the military area must have called it a day as well. Their red balloons were lowered early for the weekend. As no more ringing would be possible today, Morten was happy to venture safely through the military training grounds. He came back with that familiar birder grin, telling us about a pair of White-tailed Eagles he had seen resting on the dunes nearby.

By and large, fighting the gusts was rewarded today and I am looking forward to uncover tomorrow’s feathered curiosities.

Ringed birds today:  Robin, Wren, Lesser Whitethroat, Greenfinch

At the observatory: Morten, Maxim, James and Lisa

Udflugt til Værnengene

torsdag 18. april 2024
af Morten Jenrich Hansen

En relativ kølig morgen med 6 graders varme og vindretning fra nordvest gav os ikke mange forventninger til ringmærkningen.
Vindstyrken var dog løjet nok af i løbet af natten til, at Maxim og jeg kunne arbejde med alle net i både Fyrhaven og Stationshaven i de 5 standardtimer.

Det endte med en ok dag, hvor vi fik sat ring på 24 fugle, hvoraf 2 Stillidser var første gang i år, at den art er fløjet i vores net.
Blandt dagens genfangster var der en pæn andel af gamle fugle.
En Jernspurv mærket i marts 2022, en Gærdesanger mærket i maj 2023 og en alderspræsident af en Skovspurv mærket i september 2019.

Under netrunder kunne vi jævnligt høre Vendehals fra træerne på den anden side af vejen ved Vesterled og fra nabogrunden Posthaven.
Desværre holdt den sig ude af fuglestationens have i dag, så Maxim fik ikke sin nye yndlingsfugl i hånden i dag.
Til gengæld kunne jeg ved middagstid glæde Lisa, da jeg stod med den femte ringmærkede Ringdue i år.
Lisa var kommet tilbage fra morgenobsen og kom straks ud i ringmærkningsrummet, da jeg meldte ”due i hånden”..

Morgenobsen fra Sydhukket stod Lisa, James og Anders for, hvor de bl.a. fik en gylden time med 6 stk Almindelig Kjove.
Ellers var det en morgen uden det store ternetræk, men dog lidt flere rastende Splitterner og Dværgterner inde på sandbankerne ved Hukket end i de foregående dage.
2 Havørne sammen over Mosen og rastende i klitterne nord derfor var bedste fugle over land.

Anders var over middag så flink, at inviterer os på en tur til Værnengene.
Jeg blev godt nok hjemme på fuglestationen i håb om flere fugle i nettene, men burde være taget med til oplevelserne med de store flokke af Bramgæs og Hjejler deroppe.
Nettene i haven fik jeg ikke meget ud af, da der overraskende kom regnbyger ind over Hukket allerede fra kl 14:30.

De andre kom hjem fra Værnengene i godt humør, med obs af bl.a. Skestorke, Havørn, Brushøns, Gul Vipstjerter o.s.v.
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I morgen må vi se, hvad vejret tillader her ved Hukket.
Natten skulle give en del regn og nogle vejrprognoser har regnen til at fortsætte lagt ind i morgentimerne, hvilket så vil udelukke åbning af net i standartiden.

Rariteter kommer vi dog nok til at støde på de næste par dage – fuglestationen bliver fyldt op over weekenden af SU-medlemmer, der har booket sig ind til et af deres møder med behandling af sjældenhedsrapporter.

Dagens ringmærkning:
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Folk på stationen: Anders, Lisa, James, Maxim og Morten

Just a normal Blåvand day

onsdag 17. april 2024
af James Wareing

If yesterday was an exciting day, then today is now just another standard Blåvand day. We had our daily Wryneck to ring, this one was actually ringed by the station before on 21st July 2022. Despite Maxim’s best attempts, when it was released it refused to perch photogenically on a branch for me to photograph, but fled far away. I will not try and better Maxim’s eulogy to his new love the wryneck, but what I can say is that the novelty of this bird has not worn off on us. Otherwise northerly winds proved to be the known nemesis of the birder. The ringing was quiet, with just 10 birds ringed and 5 birds captured again (including a Linnet and Lesser Whitethroat from last year), and the seabird observation left little to report.

After an uneventful seawatch, Lisa and I went on a little road trip to Skallingen. This was a great chance to see some waders, which are not so frequently (and closely) seen from our observation point here. After a couple of rather desperate hours of unproductive searching we finally were rewarded with some magnificent views of Spoonbills. I was also happy to see Greenshanks and Pied Avocets, which on another quieter day would get a more generous write-up.  

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Two more contrasting birds than wrynecks and spoonbills would be difficult to find. That they have evolved from one common avian ancestor speaks to the marvellous variety of nature. Whether they would recognise each other as birds, we will never know, but in my nerdier birder moments, I do like to imagine a hypothetical bird conversation between the two sharing contrasting life stories.

With Maxim’s blasphemous dismissal on yesterday’s blog as to the excitement of birding, we have devised a road trip for him. Being involved solely in ringing since he arrived, I think he has been afforded too much luxury in seeing all of his birds in his hand. This perhaps makes it quite understandable then that seeing birds from more than 5 metres away is just a little boring. We shall report back tomorrow as to if we have any luck.

In any event, we are very much looking forward to the new Blåvand normal of Wrynecks, Spoonbills and the next exciting bird to be reported on tomorrow’s blog.

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Just For Laughs

tirsdag 16. april 2024
af Maxim Lisi

With 21 ringed birds and 4 recaptures one would think today was not an overly exciting day in the life of a ringer, but you would be wrong!

This might be a bit controversial for birders to hear, but I can't say I have a strong passion for seeing a new species for the first time. I can appreciate the beauty or the unique demeanor a bird can have while handling them, but like all my interests I love the overall idea of ??something, but never a specific part of it. Sure, I have my affinity for passerines and raptors, and on the other hand I have had little interest in shore birds thus far. I much rather have one bird in hand, than a thousand in sight (through a lens). But today I might have found my niche when it comes to birds. I was so surprised by this species that I burst into laughter while observing its bizarre behaviour. It has truly stolen my heart with its "weirdness" and the sense of humor I found in it.

The species I'm talking about is the Wryneck. Before getting it out of the net, I asked Morten what species it is and all he said was: "It's a good one". I can't imagine hearing Morten make a bigger understatement ever again. When I started getting the Wryneck out of the net "it" started immediately, its namesake, while loosening its feet the bird started wiggling its head from left to right in a butter smooth motion. The sight of this bird partially entangled in the net and wiggling its head was the funniest thing to me, I couldn't stop laughing about it. So, there you have it, I love birds that make me laugh! 

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The one and only Wryneck

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Lisa (and the other volunteers) seemed to have the same affinity for the Wryneck and its beautifully weird head dance.

 

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Another notable catch today was this lovely pair of Redpolls

The morning observations were not equally as exciting for Lisa and James. Most of the counting was done during their first hour or so, with Terns showing up in the biggest numbers. After all the birding was done we enjoyed the sunny weather, cleaned up the observatory and patched up some of the bikes for our next outings. 

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To end today's post here is a Tree Pipit James spotted while enjoying the sunny weather this afternoon.

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People at the station: Lisa, James, Morten and Maxim 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s topic: Majestic birds

mandag 15. april 2024
af Lisa Hein

Good afternoon my fellow feather-fanatics! Let's start off with Maxim's optimistic forecast from yesterday's blog post. He was certainly right in that we would open the mist nets and Morten gave it his full determination in the morning. It would be overestimation to call it a quiet morning. The one bird that graced us with its presence managed to slip out of the net before we could get our desperate fingers on it (mind you, it all got our running out of the house). Fear not, Morten restored his pride in the end with the capture of the first White Wagtail of the season.

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Meanwhile, James and I braved the elements during the morning sea watch, battling against the winds and increasingly numb limbs. As bird sightings were as rare as hen's teeth (really, English people use some strange phrases), prompting us to take turns behind the scope. The luck was not with James as he had just gone inside to cure himself with a steaming cup of tea, when a White-tailed Eagle sore past. What a reward for all of us who endured outside!

The rest of the day unfolded quietly at the observatory. While some of my fellow bird enthusiasts sneaked off for an afternoon nap, I used the lull in activity to dive into the fascinating world of pigeons and doves. Did you know that these under-rated birds are secretly geniuses? They can recognise themselves in the mirror, putting them on par with the great apes, oceanic manta rays and even your average two-year-old toddler! And because I know you all share my excitement, I will give you a clue as to why you never see a fluffy baby pigeon: turns out, they're just cosying up in the nest for up to five weeks until they are almost a replica of their adult parents before they feel they are ready to face the outside world.

I am sure the pigeon-lovers among you loyal readers appreciated this little escape into the world of pigeons and doves. And for those of you who did not so much, I am sure your new knowledge will still come in handy at the next dinner party, when conversation is going a little slow. Until then, happy birding!

Today's ringed birds: White Wagtail, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest (recapture)

People at the station: James, Morten, Maxim and Lisa

Some Dance, Some Soar and Others Slither

søndag 14. april 2024
af Maxim Lisi

This morning, we all took our chance to say goodbye to Bianca one last time before she left for home. It is nice to know that Bianca will be in good company on her way home with Maria, Thea and William. The positivity and excitement she brought to the station will be greatly missed!

Due to the strong winds today all nets in the gardens stayed closed in the morning, which gave Morten the opportunity to do the observations together with Lisa and James. There was no great number of birds counted today but the three observers did spot three different species of terns: Common tern (Fjordterne), Little tern (Dværgterne) and Sandwich tern (Splitterne) and they got a good look at some Gannets (Sule) close to shore.

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Gannet on the coast

While the rest were contributing to the productivity of the bird station I on the other hand went for a long morning walk through the dunes and along the coastline. The strong winds made the tall grass dance beautifully with a silvery hue in the light of the morning sun, and outside of the usual fanfare I spotted a Common kestrel which I had not seen here before in Blåvand. It’s always a joy to see them elegantly soar in the wind, even on a day like today.

James on the other hand found some interesting critters on his walk in the afternoon. A (deceased) Common lizard, or more intricately known and astutely named as the Viviparous lizard (firben). A lizard that lives farther north than any other (non-marine) reptile. Even more excitingly, James found an adder (hugorm)! And while photographing the snake James got a little too close for its liking which made the slithering critter make a small defensive charge towards the camera (which is quite imposing when looking through a zoomed in lens).

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Viviparous lizard.

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Adder

Later in the afternoon the wind settled a little, so of course Morten took this chance to open a view nets in the station garden for a short while. This resulted in one ringed chiffchaff and the recapture of two Goldcrests.

For tomorrow it looks like there will be some rain after sunrise and later in the afternoon more rain will come, but there should be a possibility to open the nets in the morning and to do some observations!

Ekstrem tidlig ankomst af Tornsanger

lørdag 13. april 2024
af Morten Jenrich Hansen

Bianca, Maxim og jeg kunne nyde, at vindstyrken var nede under 10m/s fra sydvest og det holdt sig til tørvejr helt frem til kl 17, hvor dagens første regnbyger ramte.
Altså blev det til en masse runder ved nettene i dag.
De første 5 standardtimer med alle net åbne i de to haver, hvorefter vi lukkede ned for Fyrhaven og jeg fortsatte i Stationshaven lige frem til regnen kom kl 17.

I standardtiden blev det til 21 mærkede fugle og lidt genfangster, mens de ekstra timer over middag gav yderligere 8 mærkede fugle.
Vi fik flere gode oplevelser blandt de fangne fugle i dag.
Den ene af genfangsterne var en Løvsanger ringmærket her d. 27. april sidste år:
Det er altid en fornøjelse, at stå med en fugl igen året efter og vide, at den har fundet retur til samme have efter en vinter syd for Sahara.

Blandt de ringmærkede fugle kom der tidligt på morgenen en ny årsart herude, da vi fangede en Gærdesanger.
Det havde jeg egentlig forventet ville ske, efter at vi både har haft flere Rødstjerte og Løvsangere de seneste dage, men hvad der skete en time senere, på endnu en netrunde havde jeg ikke set komme.
I et net hang en Tornsanger og den art burde altså først ankomme hertil om 14 dage.
Absolut tidligste fund af arten ved Blåvandshuk og en af de tidligste nogensinde, der er dokumenteret fra Danmark.
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Gærdesangeren var en af de ventede nye arter for året her midt i april

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Tornsangere var til gengæld slet ikke ventet på dette tidspunkt i april!

James og Lisa tog sig imens af obsen fra klitten ved Sydhukket og havde også en god morgen.
De Rødstrubede Lommer trak nord med lidt over 100 eksemplarer, men bedst af alt var der årets første større dag med træk af Splitterner, hvor lidt over 200 stk trak nord i de første timer, hvorefter trækket af terner døde ud.
Lisa havde indimellem tid til at se sig over skulderen og ind over klitterne bag Vesterled, hvor hun fik øje på en Ringdrossel, der kom flyvende og satte sig i træerne ved Vesterled.
Stor fornøjelse for både James og Lisa, der begge har håbet meget på den art herude og nu lykkedes det for dem.

Midt på dagen kom Maria, Thea og William for at tilbringe et lille døgn på fuglestationen inden de hjælper Bianca med hjemrejsen i morgen.
De fik set lidt Gransangere og en Løvsanger i hånden og det gjorde vist et godt indtryk.

Karin og Sven mødte også op til en hyggelig snak i stuen, men måtte tage hjemad uden at få set Løvsanger i hånden, da det kun blev til fangst af en Gransanger mens de var her.

Lige nu er vi alle på stationen helt mætte og fyldte i maverne, da Biancas sidste aftensmåltid i denne omgang bød på både Marias store jordskokkesuppegryde og dessert med frugt og råcreme.
Yderligere sødt til min tand kom på bordet, da Bianca takkede mig for dagene med oplæring i ringmærkning ved at komme med en stor æske chokolader.
Hun kender nok min svaghed for chokolade ud fra sin egen erfaring.
Lisa´s note ved sin første blog for fuglestationen et par dage tilbage, indførte begrebet ”chokolaholic” og jeg har budet på jeg selv og Bianca som passende i den kasse.

Morgendagen ser blæsende ud, så det bliver nok ikke til at åbne net, men dermed får jeg tid til at sige farvel til Bianca, der tager herfra omkring kl 6 i morgen tidlig.
Derefter må klitten og havobsen tager over for ringmærkningen for en dag.

Dagens ringmærkning:
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Folk på stationen: Maria, Thea, William, Bianca, Lisa, James, Maxim og Morten

Quality not Quantity

fredag 12. april 2024
af James Wareing

The day started with unfounded optimism that only birders can muster in the face of a rather depressing forecast. Despite knowing very well what was to come, we all woke at 5:30 to hope that we could somehow defy the weather. Morten was optimistic as always that the weather may even be in his favour, as he hopefully mused that perhaps the mist would bring the birds into our nets. It certainly brings a new meaning to mist nets.

English phrases are very much in vogue here, and it was quality not quantity that would best sum up the results. A redstart, black redstart and blackbird (which was first ringed here in 2019), were the highlights of our morning. Some more birds would have been nice but, as the Danes would say, Man kan ikke både blæse og have mel i munden – You cannot both blow and have flour in your mouth.

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I say our morning, but actually Lisa and I were busy seawatching at this point. The waves had small crests, the drizzle was blowing in from the south and mist made visibility extend only halfway to the horizon. Oh and birds? There were none. After an hour, the weather forced us back inside.

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This gave us time to engage in all our other hobbies, because naturally as birders we are not at all narrow minded and are definitely fun at parties with all of our varied interests. So we decided to talk about gulls, in particular considering some of our favourite gulls around the world. I will remember that topic whenever conversation dries up in the future.

The merits of Ross’ Gull vs Mediterranean Gull duly weighed up in sufficient detail, I moved onto insects. I had photographed some insects in the last few days and now took to identifying them. Of note was a ‘cool’ (depending on who you ask) bug that goes by the catchy name of Dimorphopterus spinolae. This has only been recorded in Denmark less than ten times so was a reasonably interesting find.  

By mid-afternoon and with the rain and wind beginning to abate, cabin fever had very much set in. So we all burst outdoors for some exercise and free-time. To passers-by, the front garden must have seemed like a prison yard, with the prisoners getting their hour of exercise time as a variety of stretches and contortions were displayed. Our routines were slightly (and most gratefully) interrupted by Morten showing us a Firecrest that had been ringed (the sixth of the year).

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So ends another (un)eventful day at the bird observatory. Tomorrow the forecast is assuredly more optimistic, as are we!


Folk på stationen: James, Lisa, Bianca, Maxim og Morten

Regn og blæst afløst af sol og blæst

torsdag 11. april 2024
af Morten Jenrich Hansen

Hård vind fra sydvest på 13m/s ledsaget af regn frem til kl 08:40 holdt os fra ringmærkning i morgentimerne og selv obsen fra klitten blev opgivet med regnen lige i hovedet.
Jeg prøvede et desperat forsøg ved at gå op til ringmærkningsrummet i Fyrhaven, men regnen slog også mod vinduet deroppe, så det var ikke engang til at lave obs derfra, da det ikke var til at se ud.

Regnen stoppede dog før kl 9, så jeg endte med at åbne de net i stationshaven, der stod mest i læ. Vinden holdt sig frisk fra sydvest hele dagen og det blev som forventet ikke til det store antal ringmærkninger under de forhold.
5 stk mærket og genfangst af en af de faste hunner af Bogfinker i haven blev dagens resultat.

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Suler var der derude over oprørt hav, men talt blev de ikke i dag, da regnen slog ind i klitten og optiken i morgentimerne med 13m/s fra sydvest, så dagens træktælling måtte opgives.

I mangel på fuglobs fik Bianca gennemført sine interviews med os, så hun på søndag kan tage hjem herfra med nogle cases til sin bachelor opgave.

Da regnen stoppede, tog Kristoffer videre til Rømø på sin tælleopgave af ynglende Viber i Vadehavs området, mens James tog cyklen i blæsten og nåede lidt rundt i klitplantagen, inden han på vej hjem rundede Blåvand for indkøb, da han er dagens mand i køkkenet og står for vores aftensmad.

Vi håber på mere fra felten i morgen, hvor der skulle være mindre regn fra morgenstunden, men stadig en del blæst fra sydvest.

Dagens ringmærkning  (mærket/genfangst):

Munk                                            2
Gransanger                                  1
Skovspurv                                    1
Bogfinke                                      1 (1)

Folk på stationen: James, Lisa, Bianca, Maxim og Morten


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