Friday, 9 October 2015

Gedser Fuglestation - 9 October 2015

Today we caught the first ( and possibly only) Skovneppe / Woodcock of the year. These birds are so large and heavy that they often manage to escape the net if caught. I was very lucky to be just half a metre from the bird when I startled it from the foot of a hedge. There was a loud burst of wings and it hit the side of the net but did not fall into a pocket - and amazingly I actually caught hold of it!

It is no surprise that these birds are passing through Gedser at this time. We have been catching Fuglekonge / Goldcrest since the middle of September with some quite high numbers over the last week. Skovneppe / Woodcock migration is usually timed a little later than Fuglekonge / Goldcrest and there is a good deal of mythology in English folklore about these two species. It’s astonishing to think that something so tiny can manage to migrate from Scandinavia and Russia, as continental goldcrests do each winter. In fact, in the past, ornithologists found this so hard to believe that it was thought that goldcrests hitched a ride on the back of Woodcocks – and so they became known as ‘woodcock pilots’!Of course thanks to ringing studies, we know that Goldcrests can, and do, make this epic journey unaided. A truly impressive feat!

 Skovneppe / Woodcock first year

It was good to see more species on the record sheet today.

Totals: 210 (52)

Spurvehøg / Sparrowhawk - 1
Skovsneppe / Woodcock - 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren - 1 (1)
Jernspurv / Dunnock -5 (2)
Rødhals / Robin - 34 (21)
Solsort/ Blackbird - 13 (1)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush - 3
Vindrossel / Redwing -  2
Munk / Blackcap - 0 (2)
Gransanger / Chiffchaff - 6 (2)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest - 132 (23)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit - 1
Musvit / Great Tit - 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch - 1
Kvækerfinke / Brambling -1
Grønirisk / Greenfinch - 1
Grønsisken / Siskin - 6

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Gedser Fuglestation - 8 October 2015

Lots of rain on the radar this morning with no prospect of meeting requirements for standardised ringing. The wind was less strong than yesterday but there had also been a definite drop in temperature. We could see lots of Robins feeding in the garden and even a few Goldcrests and Blackbirds. It was a perfect morning to get some supplies in, and perhaps the chance of dropping some nets in the afternoon.

After getting the food shopping and feeling staggared at the prices of some items, particularly Lamb, chocolate and hair conditioner ( good thing I don't live in Denmark permanently), we had a look at Bøtø. There was nothing special going on today, unlike a few days ago when a White-tailed Eagle was seen to take a Barnacle Goose from the scrape, but we could hear cranes in the distance. Moving on we checked out some gulls and geese on the fields before returning to the ringing house. Just as we got out of the car, I again heard Cranes and with a quick dash to a more open area to see 500+ Cranes (Trane) migrate from the tip.

Migrating Cranes (Trane)

Later we dropped a few nets as there had been no rain for a few hours but were furling within 20 minutes as a smattering of raindrops quickly developed into a sustained heavy shower. 

It confirmed that many birds were stayers from the previous day and that we should have stuck with our first instinct that today was not a day for ringing.

Total: 12 (9)

Solsort / Blackbird - 1
Rødhals / Robin -    5 (6)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest -  6  (3)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Gedser Fuglestation - 7 October 2015

From looking at the weather forecast over the last few days there was every chance that a full standard session would not be possible today. As it was, the conditions were very windy but it appeared that the rain we were expecting was not due until much later than first predicted.

We opened fewer nets than usual and knew that much of the catch would be Robins (Rødhals) and Goldcrest (Fuglekonge). Ringing continued at a brisk pace all morning apart from time out to close nets when a few spots of rain threatened a heavier downpour. Nets were opened again half an hour later once the risk of a thorough soaking had passed.

There were a few more thrushes and Blackbirds.

 Adult male Blackbird (2k+ Solsort - han)

 First year male Blackbird (1k Solsort - han)

Apart from the Goldcrests (Fuglekonge), warblers were very few.

 First year male Blackcap (1k Munk- han)

Our only finch of the day was a first year male Brambling.

Brambling (Kvækerfinke)

There is an infection, believed to be fungal related that ringers are seeing in birds in Scandinavia. It has been most common in Robins but can occur in other species. When checking for fat white raised lumps are seen where feathers emerge from the breast. Some birds have a slight infection while others appear to be completely white. They do not seem to have particularly low weights or show signs of being sick. It is difficult to photograph but my best effort is shown below.

Infected Robin

We have not noticed this in birds at our regular sites in south-east England so far, but birds wintering in the UK and Europe, from Scandinavia, may be infected. We will be taking precautions to avoid the infection spreading, using antiseptic handwash after handling an infected bird and ensuring that bird bags are put aside to be washed before reuse.

Totals: 220 ( 51)

Rødhals / Robin - 101 (15)
Solsort/ Blackbird - 6 (2)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush - 6
Vindrossel / Redwing - 1
Munk / Blackcap - 1 (1)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest -  102 (33)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit - 1
Musvit / Great Tit - 1
Kvækerfinke / Brambling - 1

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Gedser Fuglestation - 6 October 2015

The weather is looking decidedly 'iffy' over the next few days. There are strong winds and rain in the mix and the change in the weather is bound to drive birds to get moving southwards.

It was windier than we'd expected first thing and some nets were too wind affected to be opened. Others seemed to collect nothing but leaves. Still, there were enough nets to ensure that birds in the garden would be caught, and it was just as well since we had a visiting group due at 9am.

There would certainly be Goldcrests (Fuglekonge) and Robin (Rødhals) for them to see but other recent species such as Wren (Gardesmutte) and Chiffchaff (Gransanger) were absent from the captures record. Luckily there were some Blackbird (Solsort) and a Redwing (Vindrossel) for them to look at.

Another Swedish ringed bird was trapped, this time a Goldcrest, TB6854. When the information comes through it will be interesting to see the originating location and the number of days elapsed between captures. 

Early on we caught a Brambling (Kvækerfinke),the first caught this season although they have been seen flying overhead and heard about the ringing site for more than a week now.

Brambling (Kvækerfinke)

During the morning there was a sustained movement of birds heading for the tip. This included many finch flocks, Mistle Thrushes, some Woodlark and several Red Kite that passed quite low over the observatory.

Once standard ringing was completed all nets were closed and we headed to the tip to see if this big day for migration was still in full swing. The flocks of passerines and raptors were no longer in evidence, but there was still a lot happening on the sea. In the couple of hours that we watched,until 3pm, there were well over a thousand Eider by, with several large flocks of Wigeon and Scoter, some Pintail and Mallard, circa 60 Little Gulls, Red-breasted Mergansers, Goosanders, three Grey Plover, five Velvet Scoter, five Black-throated Divers, one Arctic Skua and two Goldeneye. A flock of forty or so Cranes passed on the landward side of the building.

 Rough sea and strong winds at the tip.

A search of the arable fields around Gedser turned up a flock of Barnacle Geese with seven White-fronted Geese, a couple of Cranes, six Mistle Thrush and three Baltic Gulls mixed in with the regular gulls.

The numbers that passed the tip must have been phenomenal today. By 5pm large flocks could still be seen heading round the tip.

Totals: 131 (21)

Jernspurv / Dunnock - 0(1)
Rødhals / Robin - 55 (2)
Solsort/ Blackbird - 7 (3)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush 7
Vindrossel / Redwing - 1
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest - 60 (15)
Kvækerfinke / Brambling - 1

Monday, 5 October 2015

Gedser Fuglestation - 5 October 2015

There was more of the same types of species today but fewer in quantity and the garden quietened down quite early on.

 Chaffinch (Bogfinke)

In the afternoon we went to the beach to try for Rock Pipits (Skærpiber) and Gulls (Måger) and had no luck with either, but did see a Purple Sandpiper (Sortgrå Ryle) on the rocks. 

 Purple Sandpiper (Sortgrå Ryle)

This very confiding Brent Goose has stayed on to feed up while the flock that it arrived with moved on a few days ago.

 Brent Goose (Knortegås)

The only capure for all our efforts was a Wheatear (Stenpikker) that flew into the net set for the pipits.

 Wheatear (Stenpikker)

On the way back to the observatory, a Queen of Spain Frittillary (Storplettet perlemorsommerfugl) was seen again and eventually photographed. This butterfly occurs throughout the Palaearctic and is strngly migratory in Western Europe.
 Queen of Spain Frittillary (Storplettet perlemorsommerfugl)

Totals: 96 (29)

Gærdesmutte / Wren - 5 (1)
Jernspurv / Dunnock - 4
Rødhals / Robin - 39 (11)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush - 4 (1)
Solsort / Blackbird - 0 (1)
Munk / Blackcap -  0 (1)
Gransanger / Chiffchaff - 9
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest - 18 (12)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit - 8
Musvit / Great Tit - 6
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow - 0 (2)
Bogfinke / Chaffinch - 2

Gedser Odde
Stenpikker / Wheatear - 1

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Gedser Fuglestation - 4 October 2015

A busier day today as another wave of birds arrived. Captures were unremarkable, being mainly Robins (Rødhals), Goldcrest (Fuglekonge) and Dunnock (Jernsperv) although a Reed Warbler (Rørsanger) was fairly late. There were a few more Sparrowhawks (Spurvehøg) about and a Black Redstart (Husrødstjert) was seen briefly on the roof of the house.

One of the Robins carried a ring issued by the Swedish ringing scheme.

 Swedish controlled Robin (Rødhals) CU65279

 First year female Sparrowhawk (Spurvehøg -1k hun)

For the second day a Brimstone butterfly (Citronsommerfugl) frequented the area in front of the house.

Brimstone butterfly (Citronsommerfugl)

Totals: 199 (12)

Spurvehøg / Sparrowhawk - 1
Engpiber / Meadow Pipit - 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren - 7
Jernspurv / Dunnock - 8
Rødhals / Robin - 80 (11)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush 3
Rørsanger / Reed Warbler - 1
Munk / Blackcap - 7 (1)
Gransanger / Chiffchaff - 24
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest - 45
Blåmejse / Blue Tit - 12
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow - 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch - 5
Grønirisk / Greenfinch - 1
Grønsisken / Siskin - 3

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Gedser Fuglestation- 3 October 2015

Thick, swirling fog greeted us as we set out this morning to raise the nets. There was little sound from the garden and as we took the first couple of rounds we were certain that there had been no sudden influx of migrants. The morning passed very quietly with the only excitement being a call from the tip to say that Snow Buntings had been heard in flight but we never saw any and they did not manage to find any of our nets.

We have a visiting ringer with us for a while and some traps were set on the beach this afternoon but again nothing came close to setting them off and there were no extra captures.

 Song Thrush (Sangdrossel)

 First year Siskin (Grønsisken)

Many leaves are now looking most autumnal in the ringing garden. Some of the taller trees have already started to drop their leaves.

Total: 53 (10)

Engpiber / Meadow Pipit - 6
Hvid Vipstjert / White Wagtail - 3
Gærdesmutte / Wren -6
Jernspurv / Dunnock - 3 (1)
Rødhals / Robin - 8 (4)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush - 4
Solsort / Blackbird - 0 (1)
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff - 8 (1)
Løvsanger / Willow Warbler - 1
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest - 6 (2)
Musvit / Great Tit - 1 ( 1)
Grønsisken / Siskin - 6