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A short retrospect of the month May

tirsdag 31. maj 2022
af Menno den Uijl

Last month, May we were able to have the nets up for 28 days. On one of these days, we could not start at the standardized time because of the harsh weather conditions. On most of the days we continued catching up until late afternoon in the hope to get a rarity in the nets. In total we ringed 599 new birds and had over 150 recaptures.

The most numerous species were as you can expect the chiffchaff and willow warbler.  It was also nice to see that there has been some passage of trans Saharan migrants, with besides willow warbler but also around 20 records of pied flycatcher, Common whitethroat, Lesser whitethroat, Icterine warbler and common redstart. Highlight of the month were the red breasted flycatcher, house martin, barn swallows and nightingale.

Official Last Day

tirsdag 31. maj 2022
af Mikkel Bello

The count this morning was accompanied by Henrik and Morten. We had another Capsian Tern (rovterne) and 2 Arctic Skuas the rest was slow. A walk in the bog was not alarming either, a Marsh Warbler and a Sedge Warbler were the highlights.
Juvenile Yellowhammer. Photo by Menno

The ringing today was low on numbers but some highlights: Reedwarbler(1st this year), a Barnswallow was also a great one. 
Barnswallow. Photo by Menno

The spring season is from the 1st of Marts until the 31st of May, which means that today is my last day as a counter for Blåvand.
It has been a wonderful experience! I have found my new favorite location for several reasons! The atmosphere here is just amazing, you get a feeling that anything can happen, and it shows that it is indeed the case, mentioning the Moltoni´s Warbler.
Then the people around the station and the local birders are so friendly and caring! Also, the area is so beautiful and to have hundreds of Red Dears, Salamanders and other animal life in the area make it "almost" always interesting to walk around!
And for the spring I think especially the area is not so crowded with birders so you can walk around on your own a lot which I prefer from Skagen. The only downside is that there is very few raptors out here.
I will stay the week out and maybe a couple of days into the next one if the weather looks good and I will make the goodbye then! 
Reedwarbler. Photo by Menno

Dofbasen link
People at the station: Bent, Henrik, Menno, Mikkel, Morten


Ringing totals:

Barn swallow 1/0

Blackbird 1/0

Reed warbler 1/0

Icterine warbler 2/1

Lesser whitethroat 0/2

Common whitethroat 1/0

Chiffchaff 1/1

Spotted flycatcher 1/0

Crested tit 2/2

Tree sparrow 3/1

Chaffinch 3/1

Greenfinch 4/0

Linnet 3/2

Redpoll 2/0

Yellowhammer 1/0

Best day of the season?

mandag 30. maj 2022
af Menno den Uijl

After two rounds with almost empty nets, Bello saw two Caspian terns flying north. This triggered Morten and me to also a seawatch in between the ringing. Morten joined Bello, and I took my seat at the ringing hut. Bello gave a great skua through which I could see very nice. Shortly after that I saw a giant diver flying far north over the windmills. The size and the very obvious neckband despite the distance I was sure this must be another yellow billed diver! Unfortunately it was flying north and missed by Bello and Morten.

When the migration was slow I joined Bello to see an exhausted kittiwake, we thought it would wash up but after the high tide I didn’t find it on the water. The next round was very nice with a house martin and a stonechat, another highlight! Then I helped Morten ring some greenfinches since there were high numbers at the station. Around the same time Svend and Bent arrived with some treats from the backery. Thanks again for that! The afternoon was quite slow so I decided to mow some grass underneath the nets. While doing that, Bello went to the bog and found a Turtle dove. It is still a lifer for me, so I went to see it. When I arrived there I saw that Morten also arrived already. After a good look and a quick check that it was really a turtle dove and not a eastern turtle dove I resumed the mowing. At six, just before dinner another highlight made its appearance, two juvenile crested tits were in the nets. A species I would really have in hand, and Bello enjoined one up close as well.

This was another good day at Blåvand!

Ringing totals:

House martin 1/0

White wagtail 1/0

 Stonechat 2/0

Blackbird 1/1

Song thrush 1/0

Icterine warbler 3/0

Lesser whitethroat 1/1

Common whitethroat 0/1

Chiffchaff 6/0

Willow  warbler 1/0

Spotted flycatcher 0/1

Crested tit 2/0

Starling 1/0

Tree sparrow 0/3

Chaffinch 5/0

Greenfinch 5/1

Linnet 6/1

Redpoll 1/0


The pictures of this wonderful day. All pictures have been taken by Bello


Caspian tern


Crested tit


Turtle dove


Yellow-billed Diver!

søndag 29. maj 2022
af Morten Jenrich Hansen


With moderate wind from WNW in the morning, Menno and I managed to open half of the nets in both gardens – the rest of the nets was to exposed for the wind.
At least it was the first chance to open nets after 3 days of too windy conditions.
While we were doing the rounds in the two gardens, Bello and David took the morning observation from Sydhukket and later got company from Henrik and Sven.

The ringing was a bit slow with a total of 11 ringed birds and 7 recaptures in 7 hours, and we closed the nets again around 14 o´clock as the wind speed increased again.
Best bird in hand was a recapture of a Yellowhammer ringed here back in August 2019.
Todays seawatch gang. From left; Henrik, Mikkel Bello, David, Morten. Photo by Sven.

Much better was the bird of the day at the sea.
The observers reported a slow morning with few birds, but just one bird can be enough to get happy smiles on the faces (maybee not on my face, as I missed the bird with less than one minute, while I was walking to the observers at the sea between a netround :-) )
A stunning adult Yellow-billed Diver (Hvidnæbbet Lom) flew north over the sea at a range, where the view in telescopes was perfect and within reach of the lens of David camera.
Only the 8´th spring record of White-billed Divers at Blåvandshuk since the start of the Birdobservatory! Also an Egyptian Goose was spotted a bit later which is also the 8th spring record.

Yellow-billed Diver (Hvidnæbbet Lom)   Foto: David Manstrup

After the standard time of observation was done, Henrik went home and was exchanged with Bent, who arrived after we had a fine breakfast, as Sven had brought us bread from the baker.
Sven, Bent and Bello then went to beach to fix the fence at the tern colony after the wind and high tide had laid it down.
It went well for then, so they came back to the observatory in time to have some nice social talks and good histories before Sven, David and Bent went home.

Now Bello, Menno and I have a relaxing evening and prepare ourself for a fine day tomorrow with light wind conditions, so we can use all nets tomorrow.

Dofbasen link here

Ringing totals:

Starling (2/0)

Icterine warbler (0/2)

Lesser Whitethroat (2/0)

Chiffchaff (1/2)

Willow warbler (2/0)

Spotted flycatcher (1/0)

Lesser Redpoll (0/1)

Bullfinch (1/0)

Greenfinch (1/1)

Chaffinch (1/0)

Yellowhammer (0/1)

People at the station: Bello, Menno, Morten, David, Sven, Henrik and Bent


lørdag 28. maj 2022
af Menno den Uijl

Today we both started at the seawatch. Because of the northwestern winds we spent some time to find a good place in shelter. While looking for a good place we heard a bee-eater. A really good species and for both of us a new species for Denmark! We both saw it in southern Europe. During the rest of the seawatch it was slow. But the gannets offered us close looks and we were able to assign some types to some of them.

I went to the Sabine bunker, Menno didn't want to join, not so excited about shearwaters. It was an Exhausting walk there  but inside it was perfectly sheltered.
there was not much, some gannets close and far.
So when I spotted a long winged bird on the horizon I expected another gannet. I got freaked out a bit because it looked different! First impression was a dark bird with long wings, which is nothing special in itself but I noticed the size and angle of the hand which was slightly bent backwards and was rather short compared to a very long arm. It was flying in curves and disappeared behind the waves a lot. I noticed it had very straight and long wings with black  upperparts, I started to suspect Albatross and my heart rate was raising for sure!
At some point it flew together with an adult gannet and I was able to compare the two well. The gannet was noticeably smaller with a pointed tail where the other one was bigger and without the pointy impression. I remembered from earlier this year when the albatrosses were seen several places near Denmark, where I looked up characteristics of it and knew it should have white upper rump and dark tail. I was not able to see this on the bird and it is still bothering me. I am confident that I have seen something  that was not a Gannet, and strongly believe it must have been an albatross. Hmm.. I will however send it to the rarities-committee (SU)
About 45 minutes later I noticed a bird going in really high curves south. There have been some gulls but they look like they are blown more than they are flying but this one was almost just hanging out. I get the scope on it and see a very dark bird that looks blackish in contrast to the clouds. Common gull in size i think, with pointed wings and short tail, which it was spreading at some point. It flew very controlled and was not in a hurry as it was going south. A sooty Shearwater.  I wonder what makes such a difference in flight ability.
The seawatch was very successful though a bit bittersweet as the albatross hardly will be approved I think.

Today Morten joined us, and David gave us a visit. We had dinner together, we decided to get some pizza. So Bello can celebrate his Albatros, Bello and me can celebrate the bee-eater and Bello, David and me can celebrate the moltoni’s warbler.

5th spring record

fredag 27. maj 2022
Dvægternehegnet beskadiget af højvandet
af Mikkel Bello

Today I was not expecting company but Sven Dall showed up on a very slow morning. There were only gulls today and not even many of them. A few, very few sandwich terns, a couple of gannets, some Scoters but also very very few. Yeah I was ready to quit any time but then suddenly as I was standing up and looking inland the passerines in the area flew up alarmingly just like when a sparrow hawk comes, but it was not a sparrowhawk or a kestrel. No, it was a Red-Footed Falcon(aftenfalk). It rested shortly near the lighthouse. Sven took some shots of it so I walked closer to get some better photos, but it flew and I only got shitty ones not really useful. Then the last half hour and we had a dark fase arctic skua, then the rain came and we went inside. We checked Svens Photos but he had shot the wrong group of trees unfortunately.
Rødrygget Tornskade Photo by Bello

Bent came as i was posting the falcon on dofbasen, and we were chatting a bit menno didn't show before 10- 11 from some well deserved rest.
Dværgterne. Photo by Bello

Then sven and i took a walk to practice a bit of photography. He has been helping me with photographing, explaining the iso, auto focus, shutter speed and so on. We didn't see much as the wind and rain was making the birds hide but got a shot of a Red-Backed Shrike and the little terns and I'm starting to understand how it works! At the little tern fence we discovered that it was in a bad shape so Sven disconnected the electricity, I was too afraid to do it, and then we gave it a makeover. today 4 little terns were laying inside hopefully more will still follow.
Sølvmåge. Photo by Bello
At last Sven helped us shopping, my car is still at the mekanics so it was very convenient!
tomorrow David will join the sea count and Morten, who was here in marts, will come as well!

Da jeg var på stranden for at tjekke hegnet var 40 meter lagt ned, idet højvandet havde skyllet en stor planke ind i hegnet. Det lykkedes ret gennemblødt af de mange byger at få rejst hegnet nødtørftig, og så må vi få det etableret og renset igen, når vinden lægger sig lidt.

20220527 111540 

People at the station: Bello, Menno, Sven, Bent
dofbasen link here

Good morgning!

torsdag 26. maj 2022
af Mikkel Bello

Started count at 445 now and around 515 Henrik joined. He has been on a  vacation to California for some time and has had a great time there! He saw a lot of great birds there, but unfortunately he didn't bring them here. The count was slow but still better than the day before. An okay passage of lesser black backed gulls, a few Guillemots a Serin, and three black throated divers was making it a great morning already! At some point Menno joined us but hecmissed the Serin… actually he was a bit unlucky because Henrik found a horned lark migrating over sea, which was the bird of the day I would say! But it was hard to find and Menno didn't get it, a shame.
not to forget, we heard Quail throughout the morning but because we have had an icterine warbler imitating one the previous days we were not sure if it really was a Quail but we heard it very clearly in the end. A good morning!
Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls Migrating. Photo from different day, taken by Bello

Menno could open some nets later on but we didn't catch much.

People at the station: Bello, Menno, Henrik
dofbasen link

First for the season

onsdag 25. maj 2022
af Menno den Uijl

First of all, sorry for the delayed upload of the blog. We tried some night catching, so we priotized to sleep some.

We had another first for the season: a Marsh warbler found its way into the nets. Besides that, it was a very quiet day ringing wise. The migration count was also slow, except for the lesser black backed gulls which passed by in good numbers.

In the lighthouse garden, there is a icterine warbler that first got to us by imitating a quail, but today it got to me by imitating a Rosefinch. Rosefinches are breeding in the area and also caught each season. Up until now, we did not catch or hear one.

The nightcatching was not very successful, we had a flyby tern, three flying waders flying over the shoreline and a group of gulls resting on sea. We did not manage to catch any of those unfortunately. Because of the very windy weather the coming days, we might try again the coming nights. 

Ringing totals:

Robin (1/0)

Marsh warbler (1/0)

Icterine warbler (1/0)

Garden warbler (1/0)

Chiffchaff (2/1)

Willow warbler (1/0)

Spotted flycatcher (2/0)

Great tit (0/1)

Common chaffinch (1/0)

Linnet (3/0)

High hopes bring a bit of disappoitment

mandag 23. maj 2022
af Menno den Uijl

Today the weather allowed us to open all the nets again. With the southeastern winds we hoped for some nice birds and good amount of birds. Unfortunately, it did not deliver anything. The seawatch was also quite slow, maybe tomorrow can be more result in some nice species with the southwestern winds.

The fence on the beach is working really well, because Bent found a few nestlings of ringed plover and the second tern started breeding.

Today we ringed the 1500 bird this season. Hopefully in the last three weeks another 100 can be added. And maybe with some nice species like rosefinch and red backed shrike! To beat the best year ever, 2009, we need to catch another 1500 birds up until the 14th of June. I am afraid that we can not pull that off.

Ringing totals:

Dunnock (2/0)

Redstart (1/0)

Song thrush (1/1)

Icterine warbler (3/0)

Lesser whitethroat (0/1)

Common whitethroat (0/2)

Common chiffchaff (1/0)

Willow warbler (2/0)

Tree sparrow (1/0)

Chaffinch (1/0)

Greenfinch (2/0)

Linnet (1/0)

Lesser redpoll (1/0)

Bullfinch (2/0)

Yellowhammer (1/0)

People at the station: Bello, Bent and Menno

Quiet before the storm

søndag 22. maj 2022
For how long, we do not know
af Mikkel Bello

I came home from my cousins wedding last night so i slept a little longer this morning and rested a lot throughout the day. I went out shortly in the morning to see if there was any late migration, and shortly after i notice a tern that stands out similar size as sandwich tern but looked a bit bulkier and with more black wingtips, i saw it from behind mostly and was not close enogh to make pictures so i call it out in zello as possible gull-billed tern in hope someone else could find it and confirm or disconfrim if it was a gull-billed or not.
No one saw it i believe or it has just been a sandwich tern which i can see in the books has more black wingtips when worn a lot, still looked interesting tho.

Menno kept the nets open more than 15 hours today and caught a couple of siskens, a fox cup and an icterine warbler from last year! 

Male Sisken. Photo by Menno
we had some burgers for dinner and tomorrow will be hot at least the temperature so maybe we will see the first rosefinch or something else nice!

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