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Last Tuesday in Blue Water

tirsdag 10. maj 2022
af Maciej Wozniak
Waking up early in the morning does not get easier yet, even though we set our alarms for hours before sunrise for quite a long time already. Luckily, catching birds during first rounds always gives us a dose of optimism for the coming day. In the first hours of the day Mikkel was the busiest one of us, as migration seemed to be intense. As we did not have that much of ringing work, I could join him and help a little bit with counting Red-throated Divers. After short time it started raining however, so we had to make rounds every 15 minutes in order to extract possible birds quickly before they get wet in the nets. Therefore I left Mikkel and returned to the station to help Agata and Menno. Unfortunately, rain stopped birds from flying around the garden so we had many empty rounds. The most interesting bird that we caught today was a Starling, that was already ringed - that was probably the one that is feeding it's chicks in the nest box next to our window.
At 10 am, just after the end of standard ringing time, we closed all the nets. After a quick coffee, Bent took us on a trip south, to show us a bit more of the Wadden Sea. It allowed us to see some gorgeous birds indeed! The biggest highlights for me and Agata were surely the Spoonbills (which are very rare in Poland) and Dotterels (that was the first time that we saw them!), and Menno and Bello seemed to be most enthusiastic about Montagu's Harrier. Obviously, species like Dunlins, Grey and Golden Plovers or Bar-tailed Godwits were also fun to observe. If it wasn't for the weather I'm sure we could stand there for hours with telescopes.


After coming home and taking some rest me and Agata had to start packing our things as we are leaving Blåvand tomorrow. We felt here so good all the time and got used to living here that I think I still don't believe that this will be our last night here. We really hope that we will meet again with all the people that we met here very soon!
IMG20220510072543Starling's wing - they are so common, yet so gorgeous. Photo: Maciej Wozniak
IMG 20220510 203550
Documentary, digi-scoped picture of Spoonbills. Photo: Maciej Wozniak

People at the station: Agata, Menno, Mikkel, Maciej, Bent

Complete list of birds caught today (ringed / recaptured):

Gærdesmutte / Wren: 0/1
Gærdesanger / Lesser Whitethroat: 2/1
Tornsanger / Common Whitethroat: 0/1
Munk / Blackcap: 1/0
Gransanger / Chiffchaff: 5/0
Stær / Starling: 0/1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch: 1/0

Total: 9/4

The Knots Were Flying

mandag 9. maj 2022
af Mikkel Bello

Today we experienced something spectacular

The day started a quarter past 5 with counting. it was pretty calm not much of interest until i see a huge group of birds going really high i get the scope on them and i think golden plovers, so i try to count them althoght it is difficult as the group change alot but minimum 500 so i write that down. a bit later i see another group but this time it is so big i thought it must be geese. but no,same spiceies and the flok is enormous. i dont know how many there was so i write the minimum down at least 3500. another group comes even higher this time and it is a bit smaler than the first one but i note it as 500 also.

Bent and Svend Aage are visiting  us today and we sit outside in the sun. I then go for a walk in the area, sadly the military area is closed so i go around near the station. three wrynecks hang out behind the station.
Wryneck, Photo by Mikkel Bello

I walk to the ‘hole’ in front of the dunes south west of the parking lot where a wagtail with yellow head is flying up, it is calling a couple of times but it doesn't sound like a Citrine Wagtsil though it looks like one on my pictures, so i call it out as possible citrine.
I walked quickly back and Bent and the others agreed, it looked like a citrine.
Yellow Wagtail, Flavissima (Citrine Wagtail look alike) photo by Mikkel Bello

We walked back there and found it again this time it is flying around and is for sure not sounding right. Then it went down and now we see it clearly and the pictures I took confirmed it. A Yellow wagtail of the subspecies flavissima which is also called yellow headed yellow wagtail. It is also pretty rare and a good find!
Yellow Wagtail, Flavissima. Photo by Mikkel Bello

later bent textst me if i'm sure i saw 4500 golden plovers as it would be a new record for blåvand, the previous is 600 something, and the red knots should begin to migrate in big groups now. ok so to make it short. i start to doubt if it was really golden plovers and not red knots, and later we see a big group flying past the station so we go out to watch the migration in the evening. here we see some nice groups as well but for sure knots. so i correct myself and enjoy the nice migration. Apart from 2000 knots that evening we also saw good migration of scoters and velvet scoters. The last mentioned I was also very surprised to see in bigger numbers than 5-10 in floks! We had some groups with more than 60 and saw 392! The knots ended at 1907 plus the group we saw from the station at around 400.

Had I been more aware of this phenomena I would have spent the day out and tried to get a maximum count. Also I was a bit conservative in my counting so I believe 10k+ birds could have been seen but a total of 6815 is not bad at all! 

Dofbasen link here
People at the station: Mikkel, Agata, Menno, Maciej, Bent, Svend Aage

Birdringing and mammalwatching

søndag 8. maj 2022
af Maciej Wozniak
When we are spending a lot of time in the Station we experience not only super satisfying days with a lot of highlights, but also have to be ready to endure long periods with very few birds. In such days every bird caught in the net makes us happy, even if it is a recaptured Robin or a Chiffchaff. But we also feel that with every morning we hope more and more to see nets full of birds, or at least some extraordinary species. Luckily, ornithology teaches a lot of patience - it would be quite impossible to enjoy birding if we got annoyed every time when we don't see what we hoped for immediately. And this day was a perfect opportunity to train our patience. Thanks to that it was also a great day to rest, take care of other responsibilities and just use our time in this beautiful place. Between the rounds we took care of everyday duties: Menno vacuumed the floors, Mikkel took care of the dinner and Agata cleaned the bathroom. I was quite lucky (again) and I got putting in the data and writing the blog.
In the late afternoon me and Agata went on a little trip to the forest near Ho and to Skallingen. The latter was mostly an outstanding experience of cowwatching - there were A LOT of cows, standing next to and on the road that we were driving, so we got a chance to see them from a really small distance. Indeed 10/10 on a cuteness scale. We also saw there many Wheatears and singing Skylarks. Walk through the forest on the other hand was really successful in terms of watching deer. We saw numerous Red Deers and Fallow Deers, some of them were really calm and presented us their gorgeous antlers - although they are still growing and are quite far from reaching their final form, the ones that grew on heads of the most magnificent males were already stunning. We did not see too many birds however, but we had a chance to admire a White-tailed Eagle, as it flew from the tree just next to us.
Hopefully tomorrow we will be a bit more busy with ringing, although we are also ready for even less birds than today.
Close picture of Hawfinch's wing - these are one of the most peculiar flight feathers among all of European passerines. Photo: Maciej Wozniak

People at the station: Agata, Menno, Mikkel, Maciej, Bent

Complete list of birds caught today (ringed / recaptured):

Gærdesanger / Lesser Whitethroat: 0/2
Gransanger / Chiffchaff: 1/2
Løvsanger / Willow Warbler: 1/0
Musvit / Great Tit: 0/1
Stor Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll: 3/0
Kernebider / Hawfinch: 0/1

Total: 5/6

Finally green in garden!

lørdag 7. maj 2022
af Agata Balicka
Today we started the day by opening nets before 5 am. Every day the Sun wakes up earlier and earlier, making us more and more sleepy.
Like during last few days, in the morning we caught mostly phylloscopes, lesser whitethroats, blackcaps and some robins, but after 8 am Menno saw something bigger in the net. It was a Hawfinch, a first one ringed in Blåvand this year! What is even better, it was a really beautiful adult male. He was so calm and tried to bite our fingers only few times. After some hours it flew in the net again - maybe he wanted us to admire his gorgeous feathers and bill again, or thought that it would be nice to make scars on our hands that we will show our grandchildren telling the stories about the Mighty Hawfinch?
After 1pm only few birds got caught so we had some time for ourselves again. Me and Maciej were sitting in the garden, reading books and in the meantime observed 3 gulls flying above the station. We tried to convince them to get closer to us (so we can catch them with a net later) but they were too careful. Therefore this time we were not successful with gulls, maybe in next days we will manage to catch at least one?
Bird - Kernebider / Hawfinch. Photo: Agata Balicka

People at the station: Agata, Menno, Mikkel, Maciej

Complete list of birds caught today (ringed / recaptured):

Gærdesmutte / Wren: 0/1
Gærdesanger / Lesser Whitethroat: 4/0
Munk / Blackcap: 5/0
Gransanger / Chiffchaff: 9/2
Løvsanger / Willow Warbler: 4/2
Bogfinke / Chaffinch: 1/0
Stor Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll: 2/1
Kernebider / Hawfinch: 1/0

Total: 26/6

Finally South Western Winds

fredag 6. maj 2022
af Mikkel Bello

I was quite excited today as the forecast predicted winds from SW. 
It did start okay, with Grashopperwarbler singing at the parkinglot. I stared counting at 5:30 it was a bit quiet i thought but sometimes the birds have to wake up as well! 
I was joined by Henrik, but at the time he arrived the fog arrived too. We gave it a chance but after a bit of rain the fog increased until we couldn't tell apart beach from water if we could even see the water, so we quit. Henrik went home to pack for a trip to California and I took a day off kinda. 

The ringers was unfortunatly not as busy as we hope for though so birds today but nothing really of interest. Agata cooked a nice dinner for us and went to the Bunker Mules with Maceij after the following round of ringing.  

Comparison between Lesser and Common Whitethroat (Gærdesanger / Tornsanger) from yesterday – Picture by Maceij

Observations on Dofbasen

Ringing Totals   new/recaptures
Robin (7/0)

Redstart (2/0)

Blackbird (1/0)

Lesser whitethroat (4/1)

Blackcap (8/0)

Chiffchaff (9/1), one of them ssp. abenetius

Willow warbler (5/0)

Pied flycatcher (1/0)

Great tit (0/1)

Tree sparrow (1/1)

Lesser redpoll (1/0)



People at the station: Agata, Maciej, Bello, Bent and Menno

First for the country!

torsdag 5. maj 2022
The first common nightingale for Denmark this year
af Menno den Uijl

The day started really good with the first nightingale in Denmark this year, we all heard it sing. Besides the nightingale, the ringing only started properly after two almost empty rounds. But after those two rounds, the lesser whitethroats and the phylloscopen (Chiffchaff and Willow warbler) could be found in the nets. In one of the last rounds we found another wryneck, bringing the seasons total up to 10 which means that we reached the same amount of wrynecks during the record year. With the favorable southern winds this night and tomorrow I suspect that we can catch some more. After standardized time, we decided to use some playback to lure the nightingale into the nets. Within 20 minutes it flew into the nets.

Sydlig nattergal, Photo - Bello

Another highlight was the catch of the first common whitethroat. They arrived some days ago, and singing in the surroundings of the station. But up until today, they managed to keep outside of the nets.  


To end the day, we got a reply of the French Chiffchaff we controlled. It was ringed in October 2020 as a 1k, making it a 3k when we controlled it. You may wonder how many kilometers it already has travelled the last two years.


The place where the chiffchaff got its ring

Ringing list (new/recapture)

Wryneck (0/1)

Wren (1/1)

Dunnock (0/1)

Robin (3/1)

Nightingale (1/0)

Common redstart (2/0)

Blackbird (1/1)

Song thrust (1/0)

Lesser whitethroat (14/2)

Common whitethroat (1/0)

Blackcap (3/0)

Chiffchaff (7/1)

Willow warbler (8/0)

Pied flycatcher (1/0)

Great tit (0/1)

Chaffinch (0/1)

Linnet (1/0)

People at the station: Agata, Maciej, Bello and Menno

Patience pays

onsdag 4. maj 2022
af Maciej Wozniak

Doing the closing round at 10 p.m. sounded like a brilliant idea yesterday. However when alarm rang at 4.40 a.m. today we regretted it a bit, especially because there were no birds in nets after sunset. Getting up wasn't so difficult though, as we all are full of hope every morning that new day will finally bring us some bigger numbers of ringed birds. And even though we ringed only ... and some of the rounds were empty, we are not disappointed. For sure it is very helpful to try to take the best even from bad situation, and when we think longer about this passing day, we find more and more positive sides of it. First of all, we caught definitely more birds than yesterday, so it was already a success. Next little highlight was catching relatively many Lesser Whitethroats, so we had some more opportunities to practice ageing them. Moreover, we extracted also some Redpolls and a Chaffinch, so that are another species good for gaining experience. And what seems to be the most significant moment of the day: we caught a Barn Swallow! So now we are sure that keeping nets open until late evening is profitable, even if there will be days with empty closing rounds at 10 pm.
Besides ringing, the day passed really calmly today, so we could take a little nap during the day, I practiced some wood carving, Menno took care of his internship project, Mikkel (who had quite successful seawatch today, seeing a really nice migration of Gannets) had used time to train his martial arts, and after dinner and shopping me and Agata went on a lovely (birdwatching) walk to the dunes. Now we are quickly going to sleep, waiting what tomorrow will bring us.

 IMG 20220504 WA0003
Every species that is new for us obviously needs to be photographed. Photo: Mikkel Bello

Today's beauty - Barn Swallow. Photo: Maciej Wozniak


People at the station: Agata, Menno, Mikkel, Maciej

Complete list of birds caught today (ringed / recaptured):

Landsvale / Barn Swallow: 1/0
Gærdesmutte / Wren: 1/0
Jernspurv / Dunnock: 0/1
Rødhals / Robin: 1/1
Gærdesanger / Lesser Whitethroat: 10/1
Munk / Blackcap: 1/0
Gransanger / Chiffchaff: 3/1
Løvsanger / Willow Warbler: 3/1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch: 1/1
Grønirisk / Greenfinch: 0/1
Tornirisk / Linnet: 1/0
Stor Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll: 2/0

Total: 24/7

Slow day in Blåvand

tirsdag 3. maj 2022
af Agata Balicka
Day started with a very strong wind in the morning, so we were not able to open all of the nets - moreover, we even decided to close few of them after first rounds. Despite the weather was not pleasant for us, we expected that it would favour passerines migration and we would have nets full of birds. Eventually we caught only 5 individuals. In terms of collecting data this was not very successful day (although even no results are results themselves), but obviously we can not complain about having nothing to do. We used the free time between rounds to learn new things, such as latin names of birds (to gain polish ringing license I  need to pass an exam, during which I have to know scientific names of every species that have ever been observed in Poland), or just to observe nature and listen to birds' voices in peace. Listening these concerts is really easy in the station's garden, as it is quite loud here: we can hear singing Lesser Whitethroats and sometimes Yellowhammers, whose songs are very characteristic.
Today Mikkel observed migration over the sea with Henrik. Unfortunately it was not as big as we expected.

IMG 20220503 142131
Common Redstart - today's rarity. Photo: Agata Balicka 

Ringing (new / recapture)

Robin / Rødhals: 1/2

Common Redstart / Rødstjert: 1/0

Blackbird / Solsort: 0/1

Lesser Whitethroat / Gærdesanger: 0/1

Chiffchaff / Gransanger: 1/1

Total: 3/5

People at the station; Maciej, Agata, Bello, Bent, Menno

A Productive Day

mandag 2. maj 2022
Day of the terns
af Mikkel Bello

Today started for me at 4:30 with some stretching and breathwork and then off to the counting which is 5:30 now. Because of  the divers and the terns migrating at different heights I asked Menno to help me as it is difficult to cover both the sea and the sky at the same time. Agata and Maciej took care of the nets.
Despite yesterday's good diversity and numbers we had a rather slow day with just over 200 divers. The terns took the show with 700 Common(Fjord) / Arctic(Hav) Terns(Terner) and one Black Tern(Sortterne) which  isn’t common in spring.  No Skuas, and no surprises.

Little Terns. Photo by Mikkel Bello

Today was the day where we were putting up a fence for breeding little terns. So Bent, John and svend Aage came with pastry and buns before we started. We thought or i thought at least that it would take maybe a couple of hours but no it took 6 -7 hours before we were done but a good result it was. Menno was working on his internship and watching the nets as we were working.

Little Tern with green color ring. Photo by Mikkel Bello 

We located 3 Ringed Plover nests and were accompanied with 5 little terns. Around 100 sandelings and 130 Sandwich Terns were resting on the sandbanks while we were digging, measuring and whatever else was needed to prepare the fence. 
Ringed Plover(Stor Præstekrave) nesting. Photo by Mikkel Bello

Ringed Plover eggs. Photo by Mikkel Bello

Dofbasen Link, here

Ringing (new/recapture)
5/0 Robin (Rødhals)
1/0 Blackbird (Solsort)
5/0 Lesser Whitethroat (Gærdesanger)
1/0 Blackcap (Munk)
8/2 Chiffchaff (Gransanger)
8/0 Willow Warbler (Løvsanger)
2/0 Linnet (Tornirisk)
2/0 Lesser Redpoll (Lille Gråsisken)

People at the station: Bent, John Frikke, Svend Aage, Menno Maciej, Agata, Mikkel Bello

The seawatch beats the ringing

søndag 1. maj 2022
Serin, fulmar, pomarine skua and a possible Olive backed pipit

Today was finally good! My motivation has been pretty low due to the low or non migration that has been. Yesterday was a bit better, but today was above average! With 957 divers, a Black Throated Diver(Sortlom) as well, plenty Arctic/common terns, 5 arctic skuas(Almindelig Kjove), 1 Pomarine Skua(Mellem Kjove) which is the first in dk this season. We also had a serin, and good numbers of lesser black backed gull. And a possible citrin wagtail, Henrik has to look at the recording! 2 little gulls and a fulmar(Mallemuk) is also worth mentioning. So now the motivation is very good again, hopefully may will be a lot better m than April was! 
Edit: After a bit of research the possible Citrin Wagtial (Citron Vipstjeret) is now probably a Olive Backed Pipet (Tajgapiber) which is an even better (rarer) spicies. Lets see 

Pomarine Skua (Mellemkjove) Photo by Henrik Bøhmer 

Today we also had an open ringing day. It was quite nice to see how many people showed up. The first few rounds did not have any birds, so we were a bit spooked that we could not show any birds. Luckely, when it started, we had some birds in the nets. We could show a redpoll, a few chiffchaffs and willow warblers and some blackcaps. One blackcap had fat 7 and weighted over 23 grams, a very heavy bird that already has enough fat to reach her breeding grounds.

Ringing totals (new/recaptures)

Dunnock (0/1)

Robin (1/0)

Redstart (1/0)

Blackbird (0/1)

Lesser whitethroat (2/0)

Blackcap (4/0)

Chiffchaff (9/1)

Willow warbler (5/1)

Chaffinch (1/1)

Greenfinch (0/1)

Lesser redpoll (0/1)

People at the station: Some open day visitors, Bent, John, Leona, Bello, Maciej, Agata and Menno

Dof link: https://dofbasen.dk/search/result.php?design=table&soeg=soeg&periode=dato&dato=01-05-2022&omraade=stor&stor=607&obstype=observationer&species=alle&sortering=dato

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