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All good things come to an end...

søndag 10. september 2017
...it's time to say goodbye, Austria Over and Out!
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - SV (234); speed - 9m/s; cloud cover - 8/8; visibility - 18+ km

Today was not as windy as we expected, however, we still decided a new (at least to me) location, one of the German bunkers within the military area. While Henrik and Martin arrived there a little before sunrise, Jimmy and me arrived around 6:45. I was amazed by how good the light was and we had some very nice sights, including a close Merlin, close Guillemot and many good (although short) observations of Waders and Common Scoters. Especially compared to yesterday, migration was quite slow today, but as usual, the climate (meaning the people) was very nice, while the real climate could have ben better (but also a lot worse) :).

The reason for this slightly depressed title is, because unfortunately, it is my last full day in Blåvand today (the rest of this post is unrelated to today's sightings, just saying goodbye, so if you are not interested in these lines, just directly jump to the pictures please :) ). It has been an amazing time, but definitely ran by way too fast. I learned such an astonishing load of new, interesting stuff about migration, identification and phenology of seabirds and waders, and cannot wait to use this knowledge in the field in Austria (hoping to be more compfortable with waders, ducks and skuas at distance now). In the last 4 weeks, I have seen 141 species of bird (between Tipperne and Langli), three of which were completely new to me! Thank you very much for all your positive feedback about this blog, I really hope you like the following goodbye-pictures:

Today's View:
Unbenannt 1

Picture taken a few days ago, but a perfect goodbye picture, I guess :)

All the best for the future, Christian out :)

Phenomenal Day

lørdag 9. september 2017
..I guess, there is really nothing more to say!
af Christian Schano

In every way, this was a phenomenal day, in my opinion!
We had very good company today at the counts, Jimmy and Martin joined us from the beginning, and both of them helped a huge amount to make this day so special. While Jimmy found another Sabine's Gull (making him the finder of two of the three birds seen this autumn), Martin found a Sooty Shearwater, which was a lifer for me. I really enjoyed the views of it, the weather could not have been better that moment. Other nice observations included an uprising number (and variety) of waders and ducks (including more and more Pintails and one Northern Shoveler) and also an interesting Caspian Gull. Two Ospreys and a Northern Fulmar additionally sweetened the day! The guys also carried on with the migratory counts after the three hours were done and could estimate an astonishing 32.000 Common Scoters, definitely impressive to see!

I, in the meanwhile, went out and took some pictures, and as it has been a while, I hereby upload a picture of a Sanderling I really like (although not taken today but a few days ago):

CalidrisAlba DK 23 08 2017 0030

In the evening, Martin cooked a delicious dinner and we spend some good time talking about the Blavand Fuglestation and birds that have been missed and birds that have been seen!

Again, no ringing today!

Henrik vs. Rain

fredag 8. september 2017
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - S (192); speed - 11 m/s; cloud cover - 7/8; visibility - 15 km; temperature - 15.2°C

Due to the bad weatherforecast yesterday, I decided to stay in and catch up with some sleep today. Henrik on the other hand, motivated and eager as usual, fought alone against the upcoming storm, in hope to stay out for counting as long as he could. He didn't see any rarities, but had about 5.000 Common Scoters migrating aswell as a few Light- and Dark- breasted Brent Geese. He had over 150 Dunlins, which is still quite nice of course, especially on such a bad day. Passerine migration was very slow today too and around 8:45, the weather proofed it's power and sent Henrik back to the station (just in time before it was raining like crazy). 

The rest of the day was mostly stormy too, but there were a few hours of sunshine in between aswell, although it remained windy all day.
I worked myself through some picture-sorting, so I may be able to post some tomorrow!

All the best, Christian

The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind...

torsdag 7. september 2017
...and the answer is: nice birds!
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - NV (314); speed - 10 m/s; cloud cover - 4/8; visibility - 18+ km; temperature - 14.9°C

Well, the weather forecast did not look too good in the morning but being the eager observers we are, Henrik K, Henrik, Jimmy, Sven and me were looking for some birds on the shore again. For many species, migration was rather quiet, but on the other hand, we had some very nice observations again. We counted over 500 Gannets hunting just outside the reef again and Common Scoters were close to the shore (unfortunately in the military area, which was inaccessible by that time). A little more "exciting", was an adult Yellow-Legged Gull, which, of course, Henrik K spotted. Gulls in general were good yesterday, I counted the highest number of Herring Gulls since I am here (1.275 which is still not much for many of you probably, but for me, it's exciting as these numbers don't show up in Austria at all). Henrik K raised the stack with a subadult Little Gull passingby outside the reef. I also found a Guillimot in the morning (my first one here) and we also saw an Osprey,but yesterday, Jimmy hit the jackpot. He found another Sabine's Gull, an immature bird too. It passed by fastly but luckily, all the people at the counting station at that time, saw it.

We didn't ring any birds yesterday, the nets stayed closed.

ps: I am really sorry for those who read the blog late in the evening and may have realised, that I just didn't write it in the evening anymore. I just couldn'tmake it yesterday, which is why I upload it this morning, sorry for the trouble.

See you soon, Christian

Water everywhere and artificial thunder!

onsdag 6. september 2017
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - SV (219); speed - 3 m/s; cloud cover - 7/8; visibility - 15 km; temperature - 16.8 °C

Today, we unexpectedly had good weather for migration. The last 48 hours promised us heavy rain throughout the whole day, but luckily (maybe because we ate up so well yesterday evening), we head good weather until 11 o'clock. This meant, that Henrik K, David, Henrik, Jimmy and Sampsa from Finland checked the sea for migrating birds.Migration counts again, went down pretty slowly and the gulls were difficult to count today. A few Arctic Skuas were flying around and a Great Skua (possibly the one from the last few observations at the station) showed up after the count. 

Bent and me stayed at the station for ringing in both gardens, as usual. The first round was very silent, but at the end we managed to get 15 birds of 8 species ringed. Hoorayy! 
Ringmærkning: Wren (1), Dunnock (3), Song Thrush (1), Common Whitethroat (2), Garden Warbler (2), Blackcap (1), Chaffinch (1), Yellowhammer (4). 

At 11 o'clock, the promised bad weather appeared, which we used for some quality talks about raptor migration, the Batumi Raptor Count and population decreases in farmland birds in Europe. I personally fount these talks very interesting and love to share thoughts on complex topics like these. Jimmy, the two Henriks and me went out to the Kjelst Enge for about an hour when the weather cleared up again. The military is very active at the moment, so, although we didn't get real thunder, the military sure made it sound like there actually was thunder :).

See you tomorrow, 

Open nets...

tirsdag 5. september 2017
...but no big highlights!
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - SO (119); speed - 4 m/s; cloud cover - 6/8; visibility - 15 km; temperature - 13.3°C

Today, Henrik, Henrik and Jimmy went out for seabird migration while Bent and me stayed at the station and ringed birds. The "seawatch-trio" did not find any highlights, but had a nice day with a few species that have not been spotted everyday, for example two Peregrine Falcons, at least two Caspian Gulls and a Yellow Legged Gull (1cy). 

Ringing as well, may not have been a special day for most people, but I had my first juvenile Redpoll in the hand, which was a welcome surprise for me, when I took it out of the net (which is why I share a record shot of this bird with you today). We also caught a Goldcrest and a Robin, so Autumn is coming, but the most frequent species today was Garden Warbler. We had a little over 20 birds but I enjoyed ringing again very much and the species-variation was satisfying too :). 

Ringmærkning: Dunnock (3), Robin (1), Common Redstart (1), Song Thrush (2), Common Whitethroat (1), garden Warbler (6), Blackcap (1), Chiffchaff (1), Goldcrest (1), Pied Flycatcher (1), Redpoll (1), Bullfinch (2). In total: 21 birds of 12 species.


As the weather was not too good during the day, we spent most of our time inside (I started sorting my pictures, because the amount of work is getting bigger every day). In The evening, Henrik K, Jimmy and I were invited for a lovely, selfmade dinner from our new guest at the station (thx again), which gave us a nice opportunity to have a little chat about anything and everything. We hope the weather stays dry in the morning tomorrow, let's see,


mandag 4. september 2017
one in a race, one in steady pace!
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - 0 (74); speed - 3 m/s; cloud cover - 3/8; visibility - 18 km; temperature - 10.6°C

Jimmy and Henrik started out with counting today, but were later joined by David and me. We had a very quiet morning with the usual suspects. The military area was closed today (and, according to their schedule, will be till Friday), although most gulls still prefered the distant sandbanks. So, again, counting them was a challenge. This distance to the birds is also why I cannot offer a good picture from today, so I will save up my good ones from the previous days for the rainy days ahead of us. 
An early (timewise, not seasonwise) Merlin, some Arctic Skuas and two Ospreys (one during the count, the other a bit later) sweetened our morning, besides the great job, the (brilliant) weather did today. While one Osprey passed by rather normally, the other one was chased by an Arctic Skua which I found so impressive, that I created a silly name for today's blog entry.

The nets stayed closed for today, but we look forward to ring again :)

All the best, Christian

Distant waters...

søndag 3. september 2017
...both in the sky (luckily) and the sea (not so luckily)!
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - E; speed - 1 m/s; cloud cover - 3/8; visibility - 15 km; temperature - 10°C

Today was the first day I counted on my own (not that I have not attempted it before, but the two previous times were always ruined by a bad weather front). And I really have to say: I salute to Henrik on how easy he makes it look, I think it's rather difficult, although I enjoyed counting a lot today (it just feels different to just count with someone else or to be completely on your own and have all the responsibility). 
The weather was nice, although, due to the very low tide, sandbanks streched out very far today. When the first quarter started with rain, I expected it to be a bad day, but luckily the really bad clouds passed me and I only caught about 5 minutes of rain. However, it cleared up perfectly (even so much that the air started flickering, which made counting distant birds really hard). Waders were more frequent compared to the previous days and Oystercatchers, Sanderlings and Dunlins showed up again in small flocks. Again, Red-throated Divers passed by in a few small flocks and I really love them a little more every time I see them. Barn Swallows made it really difficult to count passerines, as they decided to hunt just above me (thus complicating my counts rather strongly). Besides, I saw the usual suspects like Dunnocks and pipits. So, nothing special at all today, maybe for the better, that would have probably made things even more difficult for me :D. As the water backed off so far, the gulls thought it would be nice to give me a hard time counting them and decided to perch on the sandbanks far away. Still, I took the challenge and managed to count them, although I did not see any scarse or rare species. 

In the evening, I visited the beach once more and took a few nice pictures, as the conditions were amazing this evening. Due to the way the gulls chalenged me today, I decided to post a picture in their honour. Thus, here is a picture of a Herring Gull, just passing by in a really nice lightsituation:


Tomorrow, Henrik, Jimmy (who is staying at the station at the moment) and Bent will be here again, so more eyes will probably see more birds tomorrow. Until then, stay tuned,

Autumn is coming--

lørdag 2. september 2017
...and the passerines too!
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - N(20); speed - 3 m/s; cloud cover - 4/8; visibility - 18+ km; temperature - 11.8°CVejr: direction - N(20); speed - 3 m/s; cloud cover - 4/8; visibility - 18+ km; temperature - 11.8°C

Today, I would like to start with a picture, sharing the weather Henrik and me had the chance to count at:

This is, what the weather was like today, we were very fortunate, the weather-gods must have stood in great sympathy with us today. Although a little cold, visibility was really nice and we could definitely see autumn coming in by the rising numbers of birds today. Common Scoters could be seen well, resting in the sea today. There were about 5.000 of them (the most I have seen so far), most of which rested south of us. As the water-levels were pretty low today, the gulls and terns were quite far away, so we didn't spend that much time on them, just enough to count them. There was very little migration of waders/shorebirds, but numbers of Red-throated Divers were higher than the previous days. Additionally, we saw the first little group of light-bellied Brent Geese for the season, really nice birds. The weather also brought some passerines and beside nice numbers of swallows we also had quite a few Tree, Meadow Pipits and Yellowhammers, but also a few Reed Buntings and a Grey Wagtail.

As Henrik and Bent cannot be here tomorrow, we will see how I keep up with the raising numbers of songbirds, le'ts see if I get totally overchallenged or if I still manage to post a nice picture tomorrow aswell. :)

Stay tuned, Christian

What a day...

fredag 1. september 2017
....finally, there is something else to talk about than the weather!
af Christian Schano

Vejr: direction - NV (307); speed - 5 m/s; cloud cover - 4/8; visibility - 18+ km; temperature - 14.6°C

SO, today!! Today, we have some really nice stories to tell. While Henrik went to the beach (and was later joined by David and Sven), Bent and I stayed at the station for ringing. They had a young Peregrine Falcon and three Caspian Gulls, while the rest of the migration went slow again, but today, that was okay. Today's highlight definitely was a JUVENILE SABINE'S GULL. In this case, especially from my perspective, this birds deserves capital letters, it was a lifer for me and I could even get a nice comparison shot with a young Black-headed Gull during the net-rounds. But this bird was also special to the station, as it was the first one spotted here for four years.


Ringing as well went extremely well in my opinion. my definite highlight there was the Firecrest, which is even more amazing when seen at such close range (which is why I also added a picture of this fascinating little fellow). We unfortunately missed a Female Sparrowhawk that I saw flying into the net, but unfortunately it was out faster than I was running the distance of only 3 meters between us. So, to our anger, dissapointment, the Sparrowhawk left nothing more than a football-sized hole in one of our nets. 

Ringmærkning: Dunnock (5), Robin (3), Reed Warbler (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Common Whitethroat (1), Garden Warbler (2), Blackcap (4), Willow Warbler (4), Firecrest (1), Spotted Flycatcher (1), Pied Flycatcher (3), Coal Tit (2), Yellowhammer (1). In total: 29 Birds of 13 species.


After the migration counts, Henrik managed to also find the first Grasshopper Warbler near the swamp for this season.
Tomorrow, we try to take up with this brilliant day today, check for yourself if we manage to do it,



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