lørdag den 15. november 2014

Last Day of Fall 2014

Our last official banding day here at Gedser turned out to be a bit of a flop. The winds have been strong all day, and have continued to pick up. We were able to open up the sparrowhawk nets and managed to catch one! A first year male, was our last bird of the year! As far as last birds go, that is not too bad at all.

Young Male Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nisus

Overall, this season has been more than a success. Gedser has banded 13,119 birds for the fall season, the third busiest year of all time! Many species have broken records here at Gedser this year, including songthrush (sangdrossel), robin (rødhals), chiffchaff (gransanger), wren (gærdesmutte), long-tailed tit (halemejse), and redstart.(rødst jert). However, it was a lower than average year for bluetits (blåmejse). It has been a huge year for goldcrests (fuglekonge), with 4,087 in fall alone, and the highest totals in November, at 715 birds. Treecreeper (træløber) totals also broke a record, with 81 in total, and 73 in fall alone. Sparrowhawk (spurvhøg) totals were also high, with 124 in total, close to beating Gedser's record. Numbers of long-eared owls (skovhornugle) have increased, with 11 this year.  

As far as our time here, we could not have asked for a better season. The warm weather has been wonderful, and we have seen and banded more birds then we ever expected! We would like to thank everyone who has come through Gedser, for making this experience the best it could be. We will be sad to leave here, but hopefully we can return again! We will miss Danish food before too long, so I imagine we will be back in no time.

Abbi & Joe

fredag den 14. november 2014

Our penultimate day with a puffball

Given yesterday's birdy-ness and the fact that the weather was still quite calm we decided to exercise a bit of caution this morning and only opened around a third of the nets. As expected as the morning progressed there were plenty of birds every net round and we were kept quite busy all morning. Todays total though not as high as yesterday was a pretty respectable 100 birds exactly!

Species wise things were pretty similar to yesterday with goldcrests (fuglekonge) making up most of the catch, but also a few bullfinch (dompap) and robins (rødhals). Some pretty significant migration going overhead today as well. A large flock of about 200 blackbirds (solsort) skimmed over the garden at around midmorning which almost hit the top of one of the high nets.

As an aside from the bird news; yesterday we noticed a rather large mushroom in the garden not far from the apple trees. After doing some research we established that it was a giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea) and as you can see it was as big as my head. This species is edible while they're still young and not producing spores so we decided to incorporate it into this evenings meal! While it didn't have an incredibly strong flavour the texture was fantastic.

Giant puffball mushroom (Calvatia gigantea)

Things aren't looking too promising for the last day of the season with strong winds forecast. With any luck though the goldcrests will stick around and we'll be able to find a few nets out of the wind to open.


torsdag den 13. november 2014

Fistfuls of Fugles

The wind was quite strong yesterday, and we weren't able to open the nets for standard. It calmed down in the late afternoon, and we set up the owl nets hoping we would get another chance to catch a Tengmalm's. But alas, we caught nothing. However, we did see a Tengmalm's and a long-eared flying around, so there is hope yet.

When we woke up this morning, the wind was calm and it seemed rather quiet. So, over-enthusiastically we set up all the nets we could. On our first round we were surprised to find the nets filled with gold-crests (fuglekonge)! All morning the gold-crests rained from the skies into our nets. Joe and I wondered, where do they all keep coming from?! By the end of standard we had banded 295 goldcrests (fuglekonge), out of a total of 318 birds. Phew!

The few other birds that landed in the nets included the usual suspects, robins (rødhals), wrens (gærdesmutte) and bluetits (blåmejse). However, Joe and I also caught our first fieldfare (sjagger)!

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris  
Although today was exciting, and made up for our lack of birds yesterday, we hope tomorrow is a little more calm. Personally, I am a little fugled-out. 


tirsdag den 11. november 2014


A thick fog descended over Gedser this morning and the birds didn't seem to like it! With little wind and a couple of dozen birds on the first couple of net rounds we thought we were in for a busy morning, however when the fog rolled in at around 9 bird activity stopped all together.

Nothing out of the ordinary today birdwise, a few goldcrests (fuglekonge), a siskin (grønsiskin), greenfinch (grønirisk), chaffinch (bogfinke) and blackbirds (solsort).

We were expecting a dull day spent inside but Gert came to the rescue and took us on a trip to Lolland! We went to Maribo nature reserve and saw White-tailed Sea-eagles, Great Egrets, and many species of duck including a bunch of Smew a bird that we both very much wanted to see!
Maribo Nature Reserve

After we were treated to dinner and ice cream and a chance to see many many moths! Thanks Gert!


mandag den 10. november 2014

And then there were two...

There was a bit more activity in the garden this morning compared with the last two days, the wind wasn't too strong and we were able to open most of the nets again.

We beat yesterdays total on the first two net round alone were we extracted over twenty goldcrests (fuglekonge)! However this trend didn't last and things started to slow down at around 9 o'clock. We continued to catch goldcrests, however they were all already caught today!

While it seems the robins have left us, with only one ringed bird in the nets today, we had quite a nice variety of birds this morning. Quite a few bullfinch (dompap), a treecreeper (træløber), a chaffinch (bogfinke), a brambling (kvækefinke), a few redpoll (gråsiskin) and what was probably the last chiffchaff (gransanger) of the season. All up a total of 63 birds, pretty good considering the low numbers of the past couple of days.

The end of standard ringing was also the end of Johan's time here at Gedser as he set out on a long drive home to Jutland. We're defiantly going to miss him and his passion for birding. Hopefully some of his good luck for catching unusual birds stays with us until the end of the season!


søndag den 9. november 2014

November og kragefugle

Dagen i dag startede lovende, da vi stod op for at sætte net op. Vinden var løjet noget af siden i går og kom nu fra en sydøstlig retning og lå på cirka 5-6 m/s. Det lykkedes os få sat næsten alle net. Den nu aftagende måne var fremme, så det var ikke svært at se hvor man befandt sig i det grå daggry.

Efter et par håbefulde runder stod det dog klart, at det ikke ville blive en af de store dage rent talmæssigt. Måske glemmer man at vi jo er kommet et godt stykke ind i november allerede. Man kommer næsten allerede helt til at savne de store fuglekongedage vi har haft så mange af i oktober. I alt blev det til 21 fugle, hvor størsteparten blev fanget i løbet af de tre første timer. Temaet var siskener med 4 grønsiskener (Carduelis spinus), 2 gråsiskener (Carduelis caberet) og til slut 4 grønirisker (Carduelis chloris). Derudover en lille rest af de foregående dages mange fuglekonger (Regulus regulus).

Ved cirka 9 tiden spottede jeg ud af øjenkrogen noget sort og forholdsvist stort hænge i et af spurvehøgenettene. Meget mærkeligt! Efter nogle hurtige skridt hen mod nettet, stod det snart klart at vi havde fanget en råge (Corvus frugilegus). Efter lidt søgen i databasen kunne der ikke herske tvivl: vi stod med den første råge fanget på Gedser Fuglestation! Dermed er efteråret 2014 en periode hvor kragefuglene har holdt deres indtog på odden med stationens første ringmærkede Gråkrage og nu altså også første ringmærkede Råge.

Råge, første ringmærkede for Gedser Fuglestation.
Foto: Johan H. F. Castenschiold

Så er det også dagen i morgen, hvor jeg takker af for denne gang efter næsten fire uger på Danmarks sydligste spids. Det har været en fornøjelse at være med, og som altid på Gedser fuglestation har der været hyggeligt samvær og ikke mindst masser af fugle, både i nettene og på himlen, når der ellers blev tid til at se op i løbet af dagen.


Her til aften prøver vi lykken igen med uglenet oppe, til trods for en frisk vind og en måne der gemmer sig bag skyerne. Det skal dog ikke holde os tilbage og klokken 19:15 kunne vi pille årets første Perleugle (Aegolius funereus) ud af bundfaget på et af hejsenettene! Jo, så er aftenen ligesom skudt i gang!

Årets første perleugle på Gedser Fuglestation og forhåbentligt ikke den sidste!
Foto: Johan H. F. Castenschiold

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Johan Henrik Funder Castenschiold