Gedser Fuglestation Blog
Her på Gedser Fuglestations blog bringes korte nyheder i dagbogsformat om hændelser på fuglestationen.
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News from France!
Today it was pretty cold when we opened nets, but not as much as yesterday. Again, really good weather for ringing, with a few more clouds it would have been perfect, but I do not think it would have made a difference. We have only ringed 12 birds today and had 8 recaptures. We think that the weather is too good for the birds to stop here and they keep flying south, this combined with the low temperatures equals no birds in the garden. But no one can say that we do not try: 277 of 284 possible net meters and after standard we played sound from 13:00 to 16:00 and did not catch a single bird (although we only had 48 net meters after 13:00).
Last night we also tried but failed, we had some nets opened and two speakers working until 01:00 am but did not catch any owl… and at the moment we keep on trying.
After closing the nets, we fixed one of the broken ones and set it up in a strategic place in the garden to try and catch owls there.
We are pretty knackered with all the extra effort of ringing in the morning and trying for owls at night, so probably we will not stay up so late tonight.
The highlight from today came when Hans told us that a Rødhals ringed by me has been found in West France! Pretty cool! And first time for me!! Good job Rødhals!!
We will keep you updated.
The data of today, and as you can see, Anders Zuschlag keeps on upgrading the database!! Thanks a lot!!
Winter is coming
Today was a day for thermal underwear. We woke up to a clear sky, crisp frosty grass and a definite bite to the air. We opened the nets not really knowing what to expect, but soon realised that we weren’t going to be ringing many birds – the garden was almost completely devoid of birds! Over the course of the morning we managed to catch a good handful of solsort (blackbirds), skovspurv (tree sparrows) and stillits (goldfinches), and it was nice to have time to study together the birds that we had.
After standard time finished we played krognæb (pine grosbeak) and gråsisken (redpoll) songs on the speakers, with zero success...but if you don’t try…! We know that krognæb have been seen elsewhere in southern Sweden and northern Denmark over the last few days, so we are desperately hoping that they will make their way here!
We decided to call it a day around 2.40pm, giving us time for some net maintenance and other odd jobs. Now we are enjoying the woodburning stove in between rounds of the very chilly garden as our quest for owls continues. Tonight we are playing perleugle (Tengmalm’s owl) calls in the hope of luring some into the nets.
Data below as always!
Well, owl-lo there!
Last night after checking the weather, we decided to send a message to Hans saying that we would be very happy if he could visit us at 08:00 am because the weather was looking very good for catching hundreds of birds and sincerely, we were a bit scared that we could not handle them alone. We left absolutely everything ready and also, we started the first round 10 minutes before schedule because we could see already a few birds on the nets. So, one box each in the hand, we started the first round. However, disappointingly, after al our prepararations in the whole day, we only caught 54 new birds.
But we had a bird species that has only been ringed twice in the history of Gedser… we caught a Mosehornugle, Asio flammeus (Short-eared owl)!!
The only time that has ringed before was exactly two years ago, 29/10/2019 by Anton Liebermann, and not in the nets but by night catching, so we were extremely happy and not disappointed that we did not have more birds in the nets. To catch the owl was a team effort, while I was extracting a Gærdesmutte, Gail went ahead on the round and called me very loudly, which she never does, so I ran very quickly to her. She was holding the net to stop the Mosehornugle escaping and she let me extract it! Gail is a hero!!
Some other people came to visit us, but mainly just to see owl, we are not so cool.
Gail and me have not much experience on owls, but after checking the books and studying more a bit later on, we confirmed that our first impressions were correct and decided that it was a beautiful juvenile female.
The rest of the day was surprisingly slow in terms of birds, so after standard time we started playing Krognæb, Pinicola enucleator (Pine grosbeak), a bird species that has been seen in North Denmark and that will make Gert very very happy, so we want to get it so he (and us, of course) can see it!
After closing the nets we went for a lovely run in the great afternoon weather and did some yoga. Life is good! No complaints!
As always, the data from today.
PS: the title of the blog was suggested by our most british person of the station...
It's raining wren (hallelujah...)
It’s a good thing that Ramón and I love wrens, because today they far outnumbered robins in the nets. They are these amazing little pellets of energy, zooming around the garden on tiny wings, and we get a lot of joy out of their jizz! It was a very good day in general – the wind finally dropped enough for us to open more nets, and is no longer coming from such an unhelpful direction – meaning that we got a lot of birds (138 new rings), and a very good diversity of species (18 in total). A definite highlight for me was a juvenile female yellowhammer, a species that I have never seen up close and personal, and thus was a new species for me to ring!
We also found a family of long-tailed tits in one of the high nets, and carefully collected up the whole group and then released them together after ringing them. It’s important to release them together as they may not find one another again otherwise.
We managed to catch a couple more sparrowhawks, both male, one first year and the other second year. Two more escaped from the nets before we could get to them, including a very large female who had been carrying her lunch and left it behind in the net – a decapitated redwing. Gruesome!
It has been a very enjoyable day, and exciting to be getting more than just the usual species. We are still holding out for a rarity though!
You can find our species list for today below.
A windy and sparrowhawky day!
When we opened the nets today at 06:30 am due to the time change, we could not believe how little wind there was, so we got a bit excited and opened a lot of nets, but in the first round we closed almost everything and left only 65 meters of nets opened because there was a lot of wind. A lot.
We have had a lovely day at the station! We ringed three male sparrowhawks, two of them 1K and one 2K, which it was very nice for comparison. The rest of the birds ringed were the usuals ones, but they are always nice to see.
In the picture you can see the wing of a 2K sparrowhawk with some juveniles feathers that have been retained.
We found some time to fix some of the paths at the station, so we are ready and we will have no slides when the big days come and we are running to extract the birds from the nets.
Gail collecting the wood chips to put on top of the muddy places around the garden.
We have had no luck yet at catching owls, but we will keep you updated. Tonight we will not try because the weather shows periods of rain and it is still very windy.
The data of today:
I hope you had a good day!
Today was incredibly windy! As a result we weren’t able to open any net until the afternoon, save for the two sparrowhawk nets which we opened around 8.30am. Even with the nets open we caught very few birds – it was just far too windy for anything to be flying around! We did, however, catch a very handsome adult male sparrowhawk. It was nice to see the clear distinction in breast patterning, eye colour, and overall appearance in relation to the juvenile sparrowhawks that we have so far had in the hand. Later in the afternoon we caught a redwing and a number of goldcrests and robins, but in very low numbers, and many of them recaptures from the last few days.
That left us with time for yoga, writing, and making epic quantities of apple compote from the windfalls around the garden.
Tomorrow is looking similarly windy so we have low expectations, but you never know!
Wind, new ringing species for Gail and Ramón and a special Wren!
Today we have had a very windy day, which was a shame because we have seen a lot of chaffinches flying over the station! And it was a shame because due to the heavy wind, we could not open the high nets… The good thing was that despite the heavy winds, we were able to open 132 meters of sheltered and safe nets for catching some birds.
Last night Gail and I left everything absolutely ready in the lab (ringing vests included) and talked about how would we act depending on the amount of birds and weather, because we are alone at the station now so we have to be even more prepared than usual. Due to the wind and intermittent drizzle, we were checking the weather radar frequently. In the end we had a lovely day of ringing the usual species plus two surprises: a Wren coming from a Punk party and also, Gail and I got our first Bullfinches! Neither Gail or I have ringed one before - we were very happy when we found them in the nets! Although they are chunky birds, I have learnt from other ringers that they must be treated with extreme care and processed quite fast, and so we did.
In the two pictures above you can see a Wren with assymetrical leucistic feathers in the primaries and in the primary coverts.
Please note that we are not holding the legs of the bird, this young male sat for a few seconds before flying happily away!
In the last two rounds we got less than 3 new birds and we were recapturing the same goldcrests, and plus that the wind was increasing, so we decided to call it for the day and closed nets at 13:40. That left us plenty of time for doing other things like cleaning the house, entering data very early (which is always nice), and time for running and yoga.
As every night we are trying to catch owls, but we suck… so probably another night of futile efforts, but as always, a lovely day in Gedser Fuglestation!
We will keep you updated!
The data of today below:
Back to work
Ramón and I returned from a week in sunny Spain (on wedding business (not ours!)) in time for a busy day at the station. It was a classic autumn day – misty and damp, with leaves periodically clogging up the nets, but beautifully atmospheric. We startled an owl as we opened the nets, renewing our determination to catch one… We’ll keep you posted!
I was worried that a week off would leave me rusty, but I got straight back into the flow as we collected a steady stream of birds from the nets. It felt good to be back at work! We caught at lot of the usual suspects – robins, chiffchaffs, and goldcrests, as well as other common visitors – dunnocks, wrens, blackbirds, and song thrushes. We also caught a stunning male siskin, and a more notable highlight – two fieldfares! Considering that only around 200 have been caught in the history of Gedser, and generally only a couple each year, they are an exciting find in the nets.
Alex and Esben have now left to seek their fortunes in the real world, so Ramón and I are back at the helm for the rest of the season. The house is unusually quiet!
All the best,
The forecast was neither good nor bad, so we open around 200 meters just in case. As expected, a fairly busy first round followed by slow rounds. 67 birds in total.
We started cleaning the fridge as we are leaving tomorrow, and we are right now fully concentrated for catching owls. Hopefully we will get a final nice surprise!
Esben getting ready for owls
See you tomorrow,
Esben og Alex
Today started way more calmed than expected. Odds were that it would be a big day again, but the wind stopped us from dreaming. A first good round was followed by several not-so-good ones (few birds here and there).
However, we kept the nets opened during the whole day, and then surprises started to arrive. The first surprise was a group of siskins (adults and juveniles, males and females), that were good for practicing our id skills. The same round, at the last net, a group of 11 long-tailed tits was waiting to be ringed.
After this, we kept the nets open for a couple of hours, and decided to close at around 17.00. Great surprise! 2 birds in the last round, one of them a Great Grey Shrike (Stor Tornskade). One new species for the list! :D
Right now we are about to go to bed after yesterday we stayed up until 01.30 looking for owls. Esben made an amazing lasagna, and my brain is starting to feel sleepy (sorry for not writing in Danish). We will see you tomorrow!
Alex & Esben