Her på Blåvand's blog bringes korte nyheder i dagbogsformat om livet og hændelser på fuglestationen.
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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
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.
People at the station: Bello, Menno, Sven, Bent
dofbasen link here
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
First for the season
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.
Marsh warbler (1/0)
Icterine warbler (1/0)
Garden warbler (1/0)
Willow warbler (1/0)
Spotted flycatcher (2/0)
Great tit (0/1)
Common chaffinch (1/0)
High hopes bring a bit of disappoitment
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.
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)
Lesser redpoll (1/0)
People at the station: Bello, Bent and Menno
Quiet before the storm
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!
Hopefully the last day with bad weather
Today was a very windy day, because of that I couldn't open the nets. After I could not open I took my time to have some nice breakfast. When I was done eating and cleaning I went to do a bit of a seawatch. After two hours, and two great northern divers and a black throated diver I was done doing the seawatch and went to the fence for the little terns. One was already breading! Good to see that the fence works. The rest of the little terns were a bit flying around, hopefully they start breeding soon as well.
When I came back to the station, some swallows were flying low over the vegetation. Since the wind dropped, I decided to open some nets in the hope to catch them. Unfortunately, after I opened they decided to fly somewhere else. Besides two chiffchaffs and one icterine warbler nothing flew in. When the windspeed increased after lunch I closed again. Luckily I could use my afternoon off to work a bit on my internship.
Tomorrow it seems that the weather will finally improve, lets hope that it will result in some birds in the nets.
Icterine warbler (1/0)
Another wet day
Today it was another day with bad weather. In the night, over the whole migration axis there has been rain. This resulted in almost no arrival of migrants to Blavand. That is also the reason why today was a rather slow day. It was funny that we caught a complete nest of greenfinches, although that is what I presume. Next to that, we also caught a juvenile linnet. We also caught another wood pigeon! I could feel that it gets easier to ring them, although this one was way more calm then the other one. This time Mikkel released it. After releasing it, it went preening in a nearby tree. A good sign that the ringing has almost no impact on the birds, when done correctly. We got also a nice recapture back, today we caught a common whitethroat back that was ringed in spring 2020. That are three returns to tropical Africa!
Mikkel with his new love – Photo by Menno
The rest of the weekend, the weather does not look very good. So Mikkel can go with an eased mind to a wedding.
Song thrush 0/1
Lesser whitethroat 1/0
Common whitethroat 2/1
Willow warbler 2/0
Spotted flycatcher 3/0
Wood pigeon 1/0
Fog followed by rain
Today was maybe the worst day of the season. The nets could be opened at the start of the day, but did only six! new birds flew in…. Fog in the morning and rain in the afternoon are not the best combination for a good day. Because of the fog, the morning observations did not take place.
The only nice thing about today is that we caught our first juvenile bird. It is really funny to see this juvenile song thrush. It was also nice to see how it was still growing its primaries and tail. In song thrush this happens outside the nest, so they are less vulnerable for predators.
Picture of the juvenile song thrush – Picture by Menno
Song thrush (1/0)
Icterine warbler (1/1)
Lesser whitethroat (1/1)
Common whitethroat (1/0)
Great tit (0/2)
A great surprise
Today we had a nice visitor. The sea was okay a few terns migrating, and at some point Menno wrote me if i saw the buzzard over sea, i quickly find it and hmm it looks maybe like a honey buzzard? it is struggling but reaches land and disappear behind some dunes but yes it was a honey buzzard, i take my phone to write back to menno when it suddenly pop up from behind the dune where i am sitting and is max 3 meters from me, a beautiful male i was so surprised that i didn't get good pictures but here is a butt shot.
Hvepsevåge. Photo by Mikkel Bello
The rest of the day was rather chill, not much happening.
People at the station: Bello, Menno