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Slow but steady return passage

mandag 18. marts 2019
Out with the old, in with the new trees
af Tim Micallef

Here it goes, my first time posting...

Following a very warm welcome and induction at the station, plus a few mentions on previous posts (tak Bent!), I need not introduce myself at length. Well, Micallef certainly does not sound Scandinavian! It's one of the commonest surnames in the much smaller, and warmer, Maltese Islands. Nonetheless, a few summer/autumn seasons in Skåne have been invaluable for my birding and ringing experience. Rest assured that compared to my home country, an array of issues ranging from transport to conservation are better managed and prioritised here, amongst other customs and attitudes I personally appreciate. Skåne is precisely where I intially got to know of Blåvand Fuglestation, having met Bent at the international bird observatory conference in Falsterbo (IBOC 2014). After plenty of online correspondence and also completing some studies back home, I am finally spending a few weeks here!

Relentless winds and precipitation have hindered the bird ringing opportunities since my arrival at the start of the month. With spring on our doorstep, passerines such as Goldcrest (Fuglekonge), Blackbird (Solsort) and Starling (Stær) have begun reaching Denmark, the latter being the most evident today with a few flocks eagerly reaching the shore. We also recorded the first Song Thrush (Sangdrossel) and Chiffchaff (Gransanger) for Blåvand this year during rather limited ringing late last week. Both were healthy individuals with high fat scores, in good condition to venture even further north.

Unfortunately this morning was too windy and unsuitable for bird ringing, so I joined some ongoing work at the lighthouse garden. It was ideal with the fresh gusts blowing through while removing some dead trees and planting new (also heavy) saplings within the helgoland trap. Apart from the Starlings I mentioned, we also heard and observed some other species, namely Stock Dove (Huldue), Common Redpoll (Gråsisken) and some Chaffinches (Bogfinke).

Tomorrow should be great with no rain or strong winds forecasted, positive news for both the birds and our monitoring. Instead of heavy rain or wind, military exercises will keep awaking me tonight - at least two hours of gunfire and bomb blasts now, honestly nothing new for me (do look up 'Malta daytime fireworks' to see what I mean).

Finally, mange tak to the local volunteers and visitors who have made me feel at home! Looking forward to meeting more people, and hopefully birds!