Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Gedser, Denmark - 22nd to 31st October 2018

22nd October

The day started late due to rain that hadn’t quite stopped when it was time to drop nets.  We feared a third dull day although a Fieldfare that threw itself into the net in front of us was very welcome.

Juvenile Fieldfare, female

Our numbers really improved when we discovered a large flock of Blue Tits in the high net close to the Fuglehus. The flock not only kept us occupied but also provided a further two birds ringed under the Swedish scheme.

We hadn't expected to need the keeping boxes again!

Ringing Totals:  72 (14)

Spurvehøg / Sparrowhawk – 1
Rødhals / Robin –  3 (1)
Solsort / Blackbird – 3
Sjagger / Fieldfare 1
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 1
Vindrossel / Redwing – 2
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 2
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  13 (11)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 36 (2 controls, Sweden)
Musvit / Great Tit – 7
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow – 1
Grønsisken / Siskin - 1

23rd October

No ringing due to heavy rain and strong winds.

24th October

After a day of strong winds and persistent rain, yesterday, when ringing was not possible, this morning we were back in the routine of opening nets in the dark, clearing the nets regularly and hoping for something interesting for our efforts.

There had been quite a lot of thrushes about the previous day and some stayed on, Blackbirds being reflected particularly well in the records. 

Mealy Redpoll

Adult male Goldfinch

First year male Brambling

There were a few more finches than usual and a smattering of Robins, Goldcrests and tits. We knew that it may be worth walking the beaches, looking for birds tired out by the earlier bad weather but didn’t expect to find one in our very own pond. Chris went and got it, and not long after being ringed it was back out in the grass, grazing well.

Juvenile Barnacle Goose

We saw five Waxwing just as we were furling after standard, but despite using a tape they could not be tempted into a net.

Ringing Totals:  82 (25)

Bramgås / Barnacle Goose – 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren – 5 
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 2
Rødhals / Robin –  6 (9)
Solsort / Blackbird – 8 (4)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 2 (1)
Vindrossel / Redwing – 3
Munk / Blackcap – 0 (1)
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 1
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  10 (9)
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 1
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 21 (1)
Musvit / Great Tit – 4
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 5
 Kvækerfinke / Brambling – 3
Stilits / Goldfinch – 2
Grønsisken / Siskin – 4
Gråsisken /Mealy Redpoll - 1
Stor Dompap / Northern Bullfinch – 1
Dompap / Western Bullfinch – 2

25th October

It feels as though autumn is rapidly yielding to winter. Despite the windy conditions and menacingly grey clouds, we managed to complete the  standard compliant session this morning. The day brought a new influx of Goldcrests, most still with medium to high levels of fat and the heaviest weighing in at 6.9g. There were also some new Robins although they were carrying low fat levels and most need to feed up before the next part of their journey. The species spread dropped to just 9, although that is partly due to nets being wind affected, so more visible to the birds and less likely to hold any larger birds that are caught.

Ringing Totals:  85 (12)

Gærdesmutte / Wren – 3 
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 2
Rødhals / Robin –  20 (2)
Solsort / Blackbird – 3 (3)
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  48 (5)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 2
Musvit / Great Tit - 0 (2)
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 4

Kvækerfinke / Brambling – 2

26th October

First year, female, Firecrest

The wind and rain got the better of us this morning and nets were closed at 10:30am before squally showers and a strengthening wind set in. Birds had been flying back and forth all morning, with some large finch flocks deciding not to set out over the Baltic in the current conditions. Many took refuge in the hedges and shrubs about the site although relatively few found their way into our nets.
By the afternoon the garden was empty – although we very much doubt that they’ve forged ahead with their migration. An owl was seen, briefly, at around 10am – it’s a shame the nets are just too wind affected to try for owls tonight.

Ringing Totals:  51 (8)

Gærdesmutte / Wren – 7 (1)
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 1
Rødhals / Robin –  13 (4)
Solsort / Blackbird – 6 (1)
Vindrossel / Redwing - 1
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  8 (1)
Rødtoppet Fuglekonge / Firecrest – 1
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 3 (1)
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 7
Kvækerfinke / Brambling – 1
Lille Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll – 1

27th October

Another day when it was far too windy. Had there been a lot of Goldcrests we would have had to close as it was also quite cold. We had some Blackbirds and finches with a late flourish of Blue Tits to bring the totals up to a respectable level.

male Sparrowhawk

Northern Bullfinch

Blue Tit

Ringing Totals:  61 (22)

Spurvehøg / Sparrowhawk – 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren – 3
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 5 (2)
Rødhals / Robin –  4 (5)
Solsort / Blackbird – 10 (9)
Vindrossel / Redwing - 2
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  2 (5)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 17 (1)

Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow - 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 9

Grønsisken / Siskin - 1
Dompap / Western Bullfinch - 5

28th October

Another windy day, this time the wind coming from the North East and bitterly cold. After the clocks went back, we are again setting for 6:15am. Round one was low in numbers. Blackbirds and other thrushes were down, numbers of new Goldcrests and Robins were also low. Again our total was boosted by Blue Tits. Highlight was a Great Grey Shrike twinkled into one of our high nets by Chris. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, 'twinkling' means to cause a bird to move in a particular direction, for a specific purpose, by your own behaviour and movements. It's a rare skill!

Juvenile Great Grey Shrike showing retained greater coverts

One of today's Blue Tits, 1058 ringed at Gedser so far in 2018

Yellowhammer, first year

We again tried for owls in the evening but had to stop due to rain.

Ringing Totals:  56 (19)

Gærdesmutte / Wren – 5
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 1
Rødhals / Robin –  4 (7)
Solsort / Blackbird – 0 (3)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  4 (3)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 29 (3
Musvit / Great Tit – 4 (2)
Stor Tornskade / Great Grey Shrike - 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 2
Stor Dompap / Northern Bullfinch – 1
Dompap / Western Bullfinch – 4 (1)
Gulspurv / Yellowhammer - 1

29th October

No mist netting today in the wind of 13 m/s gusting to 20 m/s and intermittentant rain. We tried hand netting and spring traps at two points during the day, having no luck other than a Common Gull at the harbour that couldn't be ringed due to a large wound in its chest that had not been visible in the dark. There were a few birds seen around the site, but most birds seemed to prefer the shelter offered by Gedser town.

30th October

Nets in use were very much limited by the changed wind direction, now from the South East.It was a slow morning and the total reached just 33, even with extra time after standard netting and five Meadow Pipits again from non standard nets.

In the afternoon we decided to look at beaches, beaches that have been completely covered in water over the last couple of days due to terrible weather conditions that forced water from the Skagerrak Strait down into the Baltic. There is now a thick covering of weed in many areas making it harder to find waders at night, when out lamping. There was no sign of the 8 Sanderling that we've been seeing (but not catching) regularly. There were 40 or so Little Gull feeding just off shore.

The beach at Birkemose

First year Little Gull

On the way back to the fuglehus, a flock of 49 Whooper Swans were seen coming into a grassy field.

Grazing Whooper Swans

Ringing Totals: 33 (18)

Engpiber / Meadow Pipit - 5
Gærdesmutte / Wren – 0 (1)
Rødhals / Robin –  4 (5)
Solsort / Blackbird – 5 (4)

Sangdrossel / Song Thrush - 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff - 1
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  11 (2)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 1 (2)
Musvit / Great Tit – 0 (1)
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 0 (1)

Grønsisken / Siskin - 2
Lille Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll - 1
Stor Dompap / Northern Bullfinch – 1
Dompap / Western Bullfinch – 1 (1) 

31st October

The wind speed was too high for ringing this morning and a short session at the end of the day produced very little.
Since our arrival we have spent many, many evenings attempting to capture owls. This now runs into a great deal of net hours but despite our best efforts, and having seen one on site, we have still not managed to catch any. Other observatories also appear to be having low success with owls too. I think we can say with some certainty that there will be no October owls, this being the evening of the 31st although nets are still open.
So I shall just post the image of the jack o’ lantern that I made and still wish you all a Happy Owl’o’een and hope for better luck in November.

Ringing Totals: 1 (3)
Gærdesmutte / Wren - 0 (1)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest - 1 (2)

Monday, 22 October 2018

Gedser, Denmark - 19th to 21st October 2018

19th October

The first frost of the autumn, a change of wind direction and the possibility of a lot of birds in cool, damp conditions called for a cautious approach and we limited net metres to just 129, avoiding use of both high nets

Leading species was European Robin (138) followed by Goldcrest (87). Between the two of us it was quite a leisurely pace and we could have managed a couple of other nets, but it wasn’t worth the risk of many crests awaiting extraction in rather wet nets.

Highlight of the day was an adult Great Grey Shrike.

Great Grey Shrike, our second of the season

We also managed to catch a few Song Thrushes and Redwing.

1k Redwing

Totals:  292 (22)

Gærdesmutte / Wren –  12
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 1
Rødhals / Robin –  138 (4)
Solsort / Blackbird – 2 (1)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 11 (1)
Vindrossel / Redwing - 6
Munk / Blackcap – 4 (1)
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 10
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  87 (14 including a Swedish control )
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 5 (1)
Musvit / Great Tit –  3
Stor Tornskade / Great Grey Shrike - 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 1
Grønirisk  / Greenfinch – 2
Stilits / Goldfinch – 2
Grønrsisken / Siskin - 2
Lille Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll – 1
Stor Dompap / Northern Bullfinch - 1
Dompap / Western Bullfinch – 1
Rørspurv / Reed Bunting - 1

20th October

We had help over the weekend when, today, there wasn't even enough to keep two occupied. Numbers dropped considerably and the session was split by a 45 minute break due to rain accompanied by strong wind. It was impressive, not by the numbers present, but by the fact there was so little, with so many Robins the day before, that were still bouncing around the garden into the late afternoon, to find that they had all virtually gone overnight. Migration truly and very obviously in action. We would have finished after standard, there being very few new birds coming through, and a majority of birds ended up being re-captures, with Crests, trying to gain weight, that in view of the very few new birds present, there was little to be ringed anew post standard, maybe it was best to call it a day and leave the already ringed Goldcrests to the garden alone. Chris and I spent some time at the tip and searching the fields and beach around Gedser.  The nets, meanwhile were open until 5pm. There was some opposing thoughts over a bird from the standard session, extracted by me and assessed then as a Northern Treecreeper, but ringed as a Short-toed to become the third, in Gedser records for the year. Later some Long-tailed Tits were aged as 2K+ (aged 4 in the UK), which left us confused as both adult and juveniles do full moults, and are in theory cannot be aged after they have finished their full moult. in theory cannot be aged after they have finished their full moult.

Ringing Totals:  34 (41)

Gærdesmutte / Wren –  2
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 0 (1)
Rødhals / Robin –  4 (7)
Solsort / Blackbird – 1
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 2
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 2
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  12 (29)
Halemejse / Long-tailed Tit - 3
Nordlig Halemejse / Northern Long-tailed Tit – 4
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 1 (2 including a control from Sweden)
Musvit / Great Tit – 0 (2)
Træløber / Northern Treecreeper – 1
Grønirisk  / Greenfinch – 2

21st October

The second of two lack lustre when ringed new birds totalled less than 50 on each day. Re-trapped Goldcrests far outweighed new birds on both days although most Robins appeared to have moved on.  The species count at 13 was low and would have been lower still were it not for a small party of tits that dropped in and foraged through the shrubs and hedgerows.

 2K female Sparrowhawk - 8 separate wing measurements taken for full
wing formula of each Sparrowhawk. Maximum chord, plus distance from
tip of seven primaries to tip of longest primary.

Ringing Totals:  46 (35)

Spurvehøg / Sparrowhawk – 1
Engpiber / Meadow Pipit - 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren –  3 (1)
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 1
Rødhals / Robin –  4 (5)
Solsort / Blackbird – 1
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 1
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  20 (24)
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 5
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 3 (2)
Musvit / Great Tit – 4 (1)
Grønirisk  / Greenfinch – 2

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Gedser, Denmark - 15th to 18th October 2018

15th October

We have a helper, VL, for the next few days so were less inclined to close nets to limit the number of tits caught as they forage around the site. This morning they arrived an hour earlier than they have done the last couple of days and we took what can only be described as a 'tit hit' as several flocks came into the site throughout the morning. Chris ringed at the net, recording ages of all birds, I ensured that the other species vulnerable to being in close proximity to the tits were removed and taken for processing in the ringing lab. I also took wing measurements and weight of the new birds that I processed.

All this was going on while having a large group visit the ringing station.

We had the added bonus of three tits, one being ajuvenile, with Swedish rings. Thre's a chance that we'll have firm information of how long that bird has taken to reach Gedser from Sweden, probably Falsterbo, but we could be wrong. We now have 5 Swedish Blue Tit controls from this autumn.

Juvenile male Bullfinch

Total: 400 (17)

Gærdesmutte / Wren –  5
Jernspurv / Dunnock - 1 (1)
Rødhals / Robin –  6 (6)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 5
Vindrossel / Redwing - 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 15
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest– 43 (7)
Halemejse / Northern Long-tailed Tit 1
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 1
Blåmejse / Blue Tit –  282 (3 Swedish controls)
Musvit / Great Tit –  30
Træløber / Treecreeper – 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 3
Grønsisken / Eurasian Siskin - 2
Lille Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll - 2
Dompap / Eurasian Bullfinch – 2

16th October

After yesterday’s bumper crop of Blue Tits we had concerns that some that didn’t go may still be busying themselves about the garden. It wasn’t the Blue Tits themselves that were a bit of a worry, but that Goldcrests seem to be starting to move now and the last thing we need is Blue Tits and Goldcrests together in the nets.

The three of us took the first round, then Vagn and Chris settled down to ring while I stayed outside and monitored the birds, nets, weather, migration – everything worth monitoring, was monitored! There was also quite a bit of extracting to do too. Neither Blue Tits or Goldcrests are very early risers it seems, but they were in the garden in time for the 8’0’clock round. As we had suspected, there were Blue Tits but far less than yesterday and many Goldcrests.

Some birds were ringed at the net and we took yet another Swedish control Blue Tit. The final total exceeded that of the 15th and as I write I can see rather a lot of crests picking over scrubs around the fuglehus, so I think we can expect more Goldcrests tomorrow and plenty of recaptures.l

Female Goldcrest (taken in 2015 - I was a bit busy today!)

Totals:  441 (12)

Gærdesmutte / Wren –  17
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 2
Rødhals / Robin –  27 (7)
Solsort / Blackbird – 2
Vindrossel / Redwing - 1
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 4
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 24
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest– 249 (1)
Rødtoppet Fuglekonge / Firecrest – 1
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 1
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 91 (3 including 2 controls from Sweden and Denmark)
Musvit / Great Tit –  9
Gråspurv / House Sparrow - 1
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow –  4
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 1
Kvækerfinke / Brambling – 1
Grønirisk  / Greenfinch – 2
Stilits / Goldfinch – 1
Grønsisken / Siskin - 2

17th October

The day began with a heavy mist hanging over the area. There was a lot of condensation on the nets and birds were slow to start moving about due to the conditions. There was no ringing at the net today and Goldcrests were carried back in bags rather boxes to help the ones that had absorbed moisture from the net to dry off better.

There was no sudden influx of birds, just a constant flow that took us to over 250 birds. Another control, this time a Goldcrest, was processed in the later part of the morning.

Totals:  257 (27)

Gærdesmutte / Wren –  13
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 1 (1)
Rødhals / Robin –  103 (9)
Solsort / Blackbird – 5 (1)
Vindrossel / Redwing - 2
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 3
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 5
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  112 (16 including a control  with a Swedish ring)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 2
Musvit / Great Tit –  3
Træløber / Treecreeper – 1
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow –  1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 1
Grønirisk  / Greenfinch – 2
Lille Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll – 1
Dompap / Eurasian Bullfinch – 1
Stor Dompap / Northern Bullfinch - 1

18th October

We prepared for a busy day as the radar predictor showed much night and day migration for the date. In the morning we had fine mist, something that often happens at Gedser when none has been forecast, due at the moment to the high afternoon temperatures and much colder temperature at night. It was a slow start. We weren't certain whether birds might move later when the mist had cleared or if there may be birds yet to reach Gedser, building up for a mass arrival when the conditions are right. A few more birds began travelling through in the late morning.

After three busier days it seemed as though it was very quiet, although we  made it into three figures. No rarities again, no controls and no way of knowing if there will soon be many Goldcrests, and even Robins as their migration didn't really amount to much in September and yet there were over 100 yesterday.

Northern Bullfinch female, first year
Wing 92m Weight 27.5g

The wind is due to turn North Westerly tomorrow so that might make for an interesting situation.

Ringing totals: 105 (35) 

Spurvehøg / Sparrowhawk - 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren –  7
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 3
Rødhals / Robin –  23 (5)
Solsort / Blackbird – 2 (2)
Vindrossel / Redwing - 1
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 6
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 5
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  36 (22)
Halemejse / Long-tailed Tit - 2
Nordlig Halemejse / Northern Long-tailed Tit - 1
Sortmejse /Coal Tit - 1
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 4 (4)
Musvit / Great Tit –  4 (1)
Træløber / Treecreeper – 1 (1)
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow –  1
Grønirisk  / Greenfinch – 1
Grønsisken / Siskin - 4
Stor Dompap / Northern Bullfinch - 1

Monday, 15 October 2018

Gedser, Denmark - 12th to 14th October 2018

12th October

The first round was a disappointment. Not even enough to take us into double figures as very little seemed to have roosted in the garden overnight.  The second round was a little better, with the Goldcrests making an effort early on but not enough to make up for a low showing from new Chiffchaffs, Wrens, Dunnocks and Robins. We were expecting another low total day.

Anders dropped by at around 9am to update the ringing data base – and after that there was a definite improvement with flocks of Long-tailed Tit foraging about the site. There were also small parties of Blue Tits, and some Song Thrushes dropped in too.

Long-tailed Tit

Birds were kept and released together as a flock

A Nutcracker was seen in the tall trees above the garden, but would not come down to net level. It was a fair day for migration overhead and several Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, Buzzard and Rough-legged Buzzards were watched from the garden.

We continued ringing until 13:30hrs and later went out to see what was happening on the sea.

Eiders on migration

Several Rough-legged Buzzards decided against making the crossing today and were seen to alight on nearby fields.

Rough-legged Buzzard

Totals:  90 (21)

Spurvehøg/ Sparrowhawk – 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren –  1
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 0 (1)
Rødhals / Robin –  8 (10)
Rødstjert / Common Redstart - 1
Solsort / Blackbird – 2
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 8
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 2
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  13 (6)
Halemejse / Long-tailed Tit – 22
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 2
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 20 (1)
Musvit / Great Tit – 3 (3)
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow – 2
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 2
Grønirisk / Greenfinch – 2
Lille Gråsisken / Lesser Redpoll - 1

13th October

Benny and Gert arrived early for their group, due at 8am to see the station, hear all about ringing and see some birds in the hand. After having a few days that weren’t very exciting, we were glad to have a nice range of species for them to see. The first round had been rather low in numbers but the second included Firecrest, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and Blackbird.

Although we’d started together Chris completed the 8:00am round alone as I had gone back to the ringing office to ring birds ready for the presentation. It was quite a treat, picking and choosing from the nets as I made my way, lifting a Sparrowhawk from one net and a Coat Tit from another knowing that Chris would be along shortly to clear the nets.

Gert took some birds for the group, then came back to say that Hans had seen a net full of Blue Tits. As I came out to check I could see a large flock dropping into the site, skimming over one of the double height nets, so I swiftly lowered that as it was empty and went to the net I expected to have caught the birds – only ten or so, not too bad so they were extracted and, now joined by Chris we returned to the ringing room.

We’d cleared the birds, with the exception of the Sparrowhawk, before 9:00am and set out for another check of the nets. There was one 12m net with 60 or so tits in it. I began extracting them, non tits first, then birds in reach of another, then the rest while Chris checked around the other nets and brought what we needed to ring at the net. He had another net holding tits but not as many as the first. The group were still being shown around and realising that we had our hands full, Gert and Benny extracted a few birds and left them bagged in the ringing room after doing their ‘show and tell’ presentations.

We closed slightly after standard having done some interesting species that included a first for Chris. He had never ringed Great Grey Shrike before.

Juvenile Great Grey Shrike

Great Spotted Woodpecker female

Totals: 215 (21)

Spurvehøg/ Sparrowhawk – 1
Stor Flagspætte / Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren –  5
Rødhals / Robin –  10 (12)
Solsort / Blackbird – 2 (1)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 2
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 14
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest– 25
Rødtoppet Fuglekonge / Firecrest - 1 
Halemejse / Long-tailed Tit 0 (4)
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 2
Blåmejse / Blue Tit –  124
Musvit / Great Tit –  19
Stor Tornskade / Great Grey Shrike - 1
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow – 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 4
Grønirisk / Greenfinch – 1
Rørspurv / Reed Bunting - 1

14th October

More visitors to the station today although fewer birds of fewer species. The total crept up just above the three figure mark and one of the Blue Tits had been ringed in Sweden. The Sparrowhawks were both large females and unusually neither were first years.

We are trying for owls again tonight, not really expecting any greater success than every other night that we’ve tried for them, now 7 or 8 times.


Totals:  110 (20)

Spurvehøg/ Sparrowhawk – 2
Gærdesmutte / Wren –  4
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 3 (1)
Rødhals / Robin –  5 (9)
Solsort / Blackbird – 0 (1)
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 21 (1)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest– 20 (6)
Rødtoppet Fuglekonge / Firecrest – 0 (1)
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 2
Blåmejse / Blue Tit –  45 (1 control Sweden)
Musvit / Great Tit –  8

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Gedser, Denmark 9th to 11th October 2018

9th October

Not so many birds in the garden today and the session would have been really quiet without the arrival of a large flock of Blue, Great and Coal Tits at around 10am. Leading species today was Blue Tit with 27 ringed.

We received news of the Norwegian Dunnock that we captured just three days go. It was ringed in its first year on the 14th of September last year at Dividalen FS, Målselv, Troms.

There was also a report of some dead Mute Swans on the beach. Chris and Ole went to investigate, finding that the birds were extremely emaciated and weighing well below their normal body weight.  Other birds present showed no indication of sickness.  It is believed that the birds may have been migrating, and unable to feed successfully in the windy weather that we have had of late. Much of the seagrass in the shallower water has been torn up and washed onto the beaches while coastal waters are very stirred up and unclear. One of the dead swans had been ringed under the Gdansk, Poland scheme bearing ring number AH9082. 

People are advised not to approach or touch any dead or sick birds that may be on the beach as there have been concerns of bird flu being present in the area although no signs of the contagion were observed today. The appropriate authorities have been notified.

Mute Swan recovery

Totals:  61 (12)

Spurvehøg/ Sparrowhawk – 1
Jernspurv / Dunnock - 1
Rødhals / Robin –  6 (9)
Sangdrossel / SongThrush – 2
Munk / Blackcap – 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 5
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  0 (1)
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 2 (1)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit - 27
Musvit / Great Tit – 16 (1)

19th October

An extremely still start to the day, that was very much in contrast to the last few days that have been windy, often increasing into the afternoon. Catching was slow and the reasonable number of new birds only achieved because of the tit party that came into the garden from around 10am onwards. This seems to be becoming a regular occurance. Best birds have to be the two Eurasian Bullfinches, a Coal Tit, a rather nice young male Blackbird and some Siskins.

Eurasian Bullfinch female

Coal Tit

Juvenile Blackbird

Adult male Siskin

Totals:  76 (31)

Engpiber / Meadow Pipit – 2
Gærdesmutte / Wren –  4
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 1 (1)
Rødhals / Robin –  4 (25)
Sangdrossel / SongThrush – 0 (2)
Solsort / Blackbird - 1
Munk / Blackcap – 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 11
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  6
Sortmejse / Coal Tit – 1
Blåmejse / Blue Tit - 15
Musvit / Great Tit – 12 (2)
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow – 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 2
Grønirisk / Greenfinch – 2
Grønsisken / Siskin – 11
Dompap / Bullfinch - 2

11th October

Another change in wind direction and we hoped there would be more birds on the first round. The result was just twelve and more leaves than anything else. There was a minor flurry of Wrens and of the very few new Robins, quite a lot were adults. We've noticed before how experienced birds sometimes anticipate good conditions a day or two ahead of a larger cohort of prodominantly young birds. Still, we've had no reason to use the communial collecting bags or boxes so far so will wait to see what the next few days brings. With southerly winds forecast, we don't anticipate any improvement in migration through the ringing site for at least a week. We always live in hope of birds to make us busy.

Wren 1k

Common Redstart

Goldcrests outnumbered Robins today and a single Redstart was a bonus.

Totals:  62 (19)

Engpiber / Meadow Pipit – 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren –  10
Jernspurv / Dunnock – 0 (1)
Rødhals / Robin –  15 (12)
Rødstjert / Common Redstart - 1
Solsort / Blackbird – 2 (1)
Sangdrossel / Song Thrush – 4
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 3
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest–  16 (2)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit – 1 (2)
Musvit / Great Tit – 3 (1)
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow – 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 2
Kværkefinke / Brambling - 1
Grønirisk / Greenfinch – 2

In the afternoon we spent some time locally at the beach where migration on the sea continued until late afternoon.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Gedser, Denmark 6th to 8th October 2018

6th October

The forecast looked good and we expected a rise in the number of birds caught. We started with a modest round of twenty or so birds. The second round was better and gave a real impression that birds were on the move, travelling through the garden together, with a small flock of 11 Greenfinch in one net and 7 Great Tits in another. Chris also had some Great Tit, a few Blue Tits and a single Coal Tit. Was this just the vanguard to an advancing horde of Blue Tits? There were a few new Robins and Dunnocks too. As the morning drew on, it was clear that there would be no high numbers of Blue Tits today.

It was one of those rare days with a lot of different birds migrating overhead but less happening at ground level on the ringing site, so there was a chance to watch Red-throated Diver, Curlew and Dunlin pass overhead with the more often noticed Sparrowhawks.  The best bird of the day was not captured, but spent some time in the tall trees around the ringing site. The Nutcracker was also seen by those watching at the tip before flying up, gradually gaining altitude until finally out of sight.
Four Firecrests were caught throughout the morning, the last of these being late enough that everyone on the migration counting course were able to see the bird, in the hand, while back at the observatory for lunchtime.

Male Firecrest 

E666324, ringed under the Norwegian scheme

Another highlight of the day was a Dunnock bearing ring E666324 issued under the Norwegian ringing scheme.

Totals:  76 (38)

Gærdesmutte / Wren – 5 (1)
Jernsperv / Dunnock –  6 (2 and 1 control from Norway)
Rødhals / Robin – 6 (29)
Solsort / Common Blackbird – 0 (1)
Sangdrossel / SongThrush – 1 
Munk / Blackcap – 1
Gransanger / Chiffchaff - 12
Røtoppet Fuglekonge / Firecrest – 4
Sortmejse / Coal Tit - 1
Blåmejse / Blue Tit –  6 (1)
Musvit / Great Tit – 19 (2)
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow - 1
Træløber / Northern Treecreeper – 0 (1)
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 2
Grønirisk / Greenfinch – 10
Grønsisken / Siskin - 2

7th October

A much better day for ringing following overnight rain that appeared to have forced  a lot of birds down during the night. Many of the Chiffchaff and Robins were carrying considerable amounts of fat and would probably have flown straight on had the night remained dry.
Many of our longer stayers appear to have moved on before the rain as there were so few retraps today compared to the last few days. We continued to catch into the early afternoon, one round included a mixed group of House Sparrows and Tree Sparrows, all 13 in one of the high nets. The House Sparrows were definitely passing through and carrying a lot of fat,  while the Tree Sparrows had virtually none.  The capture of all birds together certainly indicates that there was some form of interaction while they were sharing the garden.

Tree Sparrow 1k+

It seems that this year Blue Tits are very much a consideration due to this being an irruption year and again there were just a few including an adult bird carrying a ring from the Riksmuseum, Stockholm scheme.

Swedish control

 We were pleased to capture a second Ring Ouzel.

Our second Ring Ouzel, an adult male

Totals:  223 (11)

Gærdesmutte / Wren –  2
Jernsperv / Dunnock –  18
Rødhals / Robin –  96 (7)
Solsort / Common Blackbird – 1
Ringdrossel / Ring Ouzel - 1
Sangdrossel / SongThrush – 10 (1)
Vindrossel / Redwing - 2 
Munk / Blackcap – 3 (1)
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 35 (1)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest– 18
Blåmejse / Blue Tit –  9   ( 1 control from Sweden)
Musvit / Great Tit – 5
Gråspurv / House Sparrow - 6
Skovspurv / Tree Sparrow - 7
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 8
Grønirisk / Greenfinch –  1
Grønsisken / Siskin – 1

8th October

A change in wind direction and strength and what a difference a day makes. We couldn't open the high nets or those along the outer edge of the east side of the garden. Birds were keeping a low profile and each round produced less than a handful of birds.
Chris went off for a couple of hours seawatching at the tip and I was most surprised to find a Barred Warbler during the 10'o'clock round. It was too windy to continue ringing past standard time and after putting in the records, making Chicken Chasseur and an apple crumble for dinner, it's now time for the blog - just ours today, not the official fuglestation blog.

Juvenile Barred Warbler 
(A late record as they usually migrate through Gedser in August)

Totals:  33 (10)

Gærdesmutte / Wren –  2
Rødhals / Robin –  13 (7)
Solsort / Common Blackbird – 1 (1)
Sangdrossel / SongThrush – 3
Høgesanger / Barred Warbler
Munk / Blackcap – 0 (1)
Gransanger / Chiffchaff – 5
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest– 1
Musvit / Great Tit – 2 (1)
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 4
Kvækerfinke / Brambling - 1

Friday, 5 October 2018

Gedser, Denmark 3rd October to 5th October 2018

3rd October 2018

We awoke to find the wind less fierce than we expected, partly due to a change in wind direction that left fewer nets wind affected than the previous day. We had thought, with the wind forecast to be 16m/s, that netting would be impossible, but we found nets that could be opened and with a total of 138m operational hoped for the best.

The catch was poor again, only 41 new birds including Meadow Pipit (just the second of the year for the station), European Siskin and five Redwing.


House Sparrow with partial white plumage

Male Siskin adult

Totals: 41 (22)

Engpiber / Meadow Pipit - 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren - 2
Jernsperv / Dunnock - 6
Rødhals / Robin - 11 (15)
Sangdrossel / SongThrush - 2
Vindrossel / Redwing - 5
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Gransanger / Eurasian Chiffchaff - 2 (1)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest - 1 (3)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit - 1 (3)
Gråspurv /House Sparrow - 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch - 6
Grønsisken / Siskin - 1

4th October 2018

The weather forecast looked better for today, lower wind and no rain. the first round was an improvement on the last few days as was the second. It wasn't long before the wind began to increase and fine rain began to drift in from the sea. Gedser has its own microclimate and this morning was a perfect example of the weather not running true to what was predicted. The rain came and went for the latter part of the morning. However, bird numbers were up with our first Tree Sparrow and Goldfinch. There were more Redwing, three male Sparrowhawks, some new Robins and Dunnocks.

Fully grown Tree Sparrow 1k+

Adult Yellowhammer 2k+

Totals: 128 (15) 

Spurvehøg/ Sparrowhawk - 3
Gærdesmutte / Wren - 8
Jernsperv / Dunnock - 21
Rødhals / Robin - 23 (12)
Sangdrossel / SongThrush - 18 (1)
Vindrossel / Redwing - 8
Munk / Blackcap - 1
Gransanger / Eurasian Chiffchaff - 13
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest - 2 (1)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit - 16
Musvit / Great Tit - 3 (1)
Skovspurv /Tree Sparrow - 1
Stilits / Goldfinch - 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch - 8
Kværkefinke / Brambling - 1
Gulspurv / Yellowhammer - 1

5th October 2018

I will also be writing entries for the Gedser Fuglestation blog from time to time. Here is today's entry.

Passing by, brief stop or longer stay
However long the garden is needed, it’s there for the birds
On a good migration day we are often frustrated by the sheer number of flocks that scud over the garden making for the tip, before heading out to sea. They are ready to go, merely passing over the observatory on their way south. For these birds, Gedser Observatory garden offers cover and food if it is needed. There is shelter from a sudden shower and protection from predators with places to forage or roost.  It’s there for them if they need it.

The observatory garden

 Other birds just drop in for a brief rest. Yesterday we caught some Dunnocks that had plenty of fat to fuel the flight across the Baltic. These birds appeared to have fed so well before reaching Gedser that there was no desperate need to put on a great deal of weight before making the hop over to Germany. They had dropped in and roosted for the night. We don’t expect to recapture any of these heavy Dunnocks this autumn as they are sure to leave as soon as weather conditions are favourable.

Juvenile Dunnock

There are other birds that we see fairly often while they feed up on the berries and insects that the garden can provide. 9CN9376, A European Robin was first captured, and subsequently ringed, in the observatory garden on September 28th.  This bird, in its first year, was netted early in the day weighing in at 13.5g with no fat reserves visible. This weight is less than ideal for the bird to embark on the Baltic crossing and the bird must feed up and improve physical condition before continuing its migration south. Two days later on the 30th, there was an even greater shortfall to make up as the weight had dropped to 12.9g. A drop in weigh could be for a variety of reasons ranging from harsh weather conditions, illness, fatigue or inability to find enough food. Happily, 9CN9376 appeared to be rallying and had gained weight by October 2nd, then at 13.2g. Most of the Robins that we catch once, and don’t see again are fit for continuing migration with a weight around 17 grams or above. We haven’t seen 9CN9376 for a few days now. Most likely the bird has been in the garden long enough now to know where we have our nets and we will never know exactly when it will decide to leave or what weight it will be when the onward journey is resumed.

European Robin

However the birds use the observatory garden, it is an important ‘last chance oasis’ before setting off, out to sea, on the southwards migration.

Today’s ringing started off slowly and there weren’t many birds in the first few rounds.  Then more birds began to move about when the clouds cleared, allowing the sun to warm the garden. The highlight of our morning was an adult Ring Ouzel.

Adult male Ring Ouzel

Totals: 42 (33)

Spurvehøg/ Sparrowhawk – 1
Gærdesmutte / Wren – 1 (1)
Jernsperv / Dunnock –  3
Rødhals / Robin – 14 (24)
Ringdrossel / Ring Ouzel – 1
Solsort / Common Blackbird – 2 (2)
Sangdrossel / SongThrush – 7 (1)
Vindrossel / Redwing – 1
Munk / Blackcap – 1 (1)
Fuglekonge / Goldcrest – 0 (2)
Blåmejse / Blue Tit –  5 (2)
Træløber / Northern Treecreeper - 1
Bogfinke / Chaffinch – 2
Grønirisk / Greenfinch – 1
Grønsisken / Siskin - 1
Tornirisk / Linnet - 1