mandag den 30. september 2013


It was clear whilst unfurling the nets that the garden wasn't going to be dripping with birds but with the winds in the east we remained optimistic!

Rune joined us for a morning of ringing which was relatively uneventful until a penultimate net round produced a Siberian sprite in the form of the autumns 3rd Yellow-browed Warbler that had found itself in the most north easterly net!

Yellow-browed Warbler, photo by Rael Butcher, another stunning addition to the days ringing list
Yellow-browed Warbler, photo Rael Butcher
We let Rune ring it before he departed and it was nice to end on a high note before he returns later on in October.

Rune with our 3rd Yellow-browed Warbler
We ringed just 51 bird that included:

Wren 3
Dunnock 3
Robin 16
Redstart 1
Song Thrush 1
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 10
Yellow-browed Warbler 1
Goldcrest 4
Blue Tit 2
Chaffinch 3
Brambling 1
Greenfinch 1
Siskin 3
Reed Bunting 1

Louis informed via text of a Great Grey Shrike trying to leave south to sea from the tip and numerous Rough-legged Buzzards that were heading over or in close proximity to the Fuglestation which we cant thank him for enough. Some were stunningly close!

Adult Male Rough-legged Buzzard photo by Louis Hansen.....phwoar!

Then the phone rang which could only mean one thing..........Louis had a RED-BREASTED GOOSE flying south in with a flock of around 45 Barnacle Goose!

We grabbed our scopes, lept out of the door in our socks and ran to the shore and scanned before picking up the flock which by this point was distant.

A shaky sift through the Barnacle Geese reveled the bird, but at this range was untickable given there is now way any of us would have been brave enough to Identify it had we not known it was within them.

Geese remained the running theme throughout the day with good numbers of Barnacle Geese, White-fronted Geese and the odd flock of Bean Geese heading south.

One of many flocks of European White-fronted Geese over the house, photo by Rael Butcher

Bird totals for in and around the garden consist of the following:

Dark-bellied Brent Geese 75
Bean Geese 8
European White-fronted Geese 438
Wigeon 12
Teal 8
Red-breasted Merganser 2
Goosander 1
Eider 140
Rough-legged Buzzard 8+
Sparrowhawk 2
White-tailed Eagle 1
Red Kite 1
Mistle Thrush 3
Crossbill 13
Siskin 67
Brambling 19+
Fringilla sp. 795
Goldfinch 16
Linnet 30
Tree Sparrow 12
Reed Bunting 2
Yellowhammer 7
Skylark 3
Meadow Pipit 26
White Wagtail

Non avian Highlights involved a 2nd Humming Bird Hawk-moth of the year at the tip!.....again too fast to photograph!

søndag den 29. september 2013

Gedser Fuglestation Open Day!

Rune arrived late last night in preparation for today's open day and after a somewhat restless night ;) we all awoke to conduct our standardised ringing session.

With very few birds in the garden due to easterly winds we opened quite a few nets. After ringing 51 birds guests began to arrive for the open day to experience bird ringing and bird migration first hand.

Gedser Fuglestation, Denmark, photo Jack Ashton-Booth

Barnacle Geese over Gedser Lighthouse, photo Jack Ashton-Booth
At least 100 people kindly attended and they all left with very happy faces and a new outlook on birds and what goes on with regards to bird conservation here at Gedser Fuglestation.
Rune giving one of many ringing demonstrations

Demonstrating the use of a mist net & extracting birds

Hans giving a ringing demo to guests

Rune educating future Danish ornithologists

Claus photographing Red Admirals

GEDSER FUGELSTATION would like to THANK Rune, Hans, the two Gerts, Claus, Rael, Jack, Thomas, Hugh, Brian, Maes and Louis for all their help and MOST IMPORTANTLY everyone who attended and for their very generous donations which sees the work we do continue!

Species that were caught, ringed and enjoyed by the public included Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting, Wren and Goldcrest.

After the event we all had a celebratory meal in the observatory to celebrate the days success and Hugh & Rune's achievements with their Masters.

Beer is not the Anser!
Good Times had by all, photo by Hugh Hanmer

 Bird news for today:

One of yesterdays Yellow-browed Warblers remains in the garden and was heard by staff members and seen by Claus.

Other notable birds in and around the garden included 2 Mistle Thrush, noticeably more Redpoll heading south, a single Firecrest, 1399 Chaffinch, 6+ Brambling, 60 Siskin, 3 Tree Pipits, 6 Meadow Pipits, 50 Linnet, 59 Swallows, 8 Rough-legged Buzzards, a Common Buzzard, 24 Tree Sparrows, 3 Common Crane and a single Rock Pipit south.

An afternoon seawatch between 15:40 - 17:30 produced:

Hugh, Rael, Rune and Jack Seawatching at the tip

Diver sp. 2
Black-throated Diver 1
Red-throated Diver 1
Great Crested Grebe 1
Dark-bellied Brent Geese 400
Barnacle Geese 162
European White-fronted Goose 5
Common Scoter 52
Velvet Scoter 11
Shoveler 5
Wigeon 1974

Migrating ducks, photo by Hugh Hanmer

Long-tailed Duck 1
Red-breasted Merganser 34
Pintail 118

Migrating mixed duck flock , photo by Hugh Hanmer

Teal 15
Tufted Duck 2
Greater Scaup 2
Eider 1453

Migrating Eider, photo by Hugh Hanmer

Arctic Skua 1
Sandwich Terns 8
Little Gulls 15
Black-headed Gulls 13
Sanderling 3
Dunlin 4
Calidrid sp. 5


lørdag den 28. september 2013

Gedser gets in on the Yellow-browed influx!

A great morning during our Standardised ringing with Rael getting the ball rolling with a Red-throated Pipit south. This was followed by a Red-breasted Flycatcher calling from in the garden and news from Raels nets that he had caught the years 1st Yellow-browed Warbler amidst a sudden wave of Chiffchaffs.

The 1st of 2 Yellow-browed Warblers caught Today, photo by Gert

abietinus type Chiffchaff, photo Hans

After standardised ringing we put a Yellow-browed Warbler tape lure on as we had heard at least 2 birds around the garden during net checks. It didn't take long for another to be caught which confirmed our suspicions.

The 2nd Yellow-browed Warbler of the day

With it being a weekend, the sun shining and a Steppe Eagle seen the day before it was not surprising that a few birders were at the tip. We put the news out that we had caught a second bird and within a few minutes we had an assembled crowd who went away very happy indeed having seen 6 grams of Siberian beauty!

Yellow-browed Warbler Twitch at Gedser Fuglestation

With migrant phylloscs and growing migrant tit flocks around the garden it didn't come as any real shock when Hugh extracted a Treecreper out of the high net. Another great addition to the autumn ringing list and a nice lesson in in-hand racial separation.

Treecreeper being closely scrutinised, photo by Rael Butcher

Plan view of Treecreeper
In total 102 birds were ringed during the day and the other 99 birds ringed away from the aforementioned individuals included:

Wren 4
Dunnock 2
Robin 15
Song Thrush 5
Garden Warbler 2
Blackcap 4
Chiffchaff 56
Goldcrest 2
Blue Tit 5
Tree Sparrow 1
Chaffinch 1
Brambling 1

Hans & Gert working on the Wood Shed
Hans, Gert and Jack worked around the garden in preparation for tomorrows open day and Hugh and Rael went to the tip and had a one and a half hour sea-watch. Their efforts produced:

Shoveler 34
Wigeon 387
Red-throated Diver 1
Tufted Duck 3
Long-tailed Skua 1 (juvenile)
Barnacle Goose 140
Eider 1273
Goosander 4 (with another over the garden midday)
Caspian Gull (yesterdays 1st Winter)
Harbour Porpoise 4

On a non-avian note Red Admirals are very evident at the moment in and around the fermenting fruit and berry bushes in the garden. Also a handful of ladies and the odd Comma ,Queen of Spain Fritillary and Silver Y are frequenting the garden.

many thanks

Jack, Hugh and Rael

fredag den 27. september 2013


A quieter day at the nets with only 54 birds ringed this morning with birds species consisting of Dunnock, Wren ,Blackcap, Song Thrush, Tree Sparrow, Siskin, lesser Redpoll, Robin and Goldcrest.

A highlight of the Standardised Ringing Session was the trapping of our autumns first Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, photo by Hugh Hanmer

After closing the nets for the morning Louis phoned in quite an excited manner alerting us to a immature STEPPE EAGLE that was flying low south.We grabbed our optics and ran for the highest ground which in this case is the entrance road to the obs. On getting there we scanned and scanned but there was no sign of any Aquila's whatsoever. The sinking feeling was soon exacerbated on receiving a second phone call form Louis saying that a group of them at the tip were watching the bird heading back low to the north and it was now very distant in their scopes. We had missed it............Gutted is an understatement! 

Downhearted we took down and moved the pipit net at the rear of the garden. On completing this we headed into Gedser for groceries before heading to the tip to join Louis for a few superb hours birding on a lovely warm and still evening.

Although birds were not piling south quality by far out shone quantity with Little Gulls feeding in evening sunlight close offshore, a very confiding 1st Winter Caspian Gull which fed on the Harbour Porpoise we pulled up the beach, a juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard at great height, a single White-tailed Eagle and a very showy pair of Black-throated divers that flew straight over our heads.

This was capped off by 2 Great Grey Shrikes that landed on the very southern bushes of the tip and started to sing and chatter to each other before flying out to sea........MAGIC!

Axillaries & underwing shots of  a 1st Winter Caspian Gull and a juvenile-1st winter Herring Gull for comparison, photo Hugh Hanmer
A very aggressive and dominant 1st Winter Caspian gull (top left) chasing off a juvenile argentatus Herring Gull with Adult argentatus doing its best to protect the porpoise, photo Hugh Hanmer
Submissive Adult argentatus Herring Gull and 1st winter Caspian Gull gorging itself on its rotting porpoise prize, photo Hugh Hanmer
Post breeding Black-throated Diver, photo by Hugh Hanmer
Adult Great Grey Shrike with the longest & sharpest culmen we have ever seen; a goldcrest killing machine!, photo by Jack Ashton-booth

Great Grey Shrike leaving out to sea! MAGIC
Sparrowhawk overlooking Gedser harbour, photo Jack Ashton-Booth
Thank-you for your continued support and following us, many thanks indeed Hugh, Rael and Jack

torsdag den 26. september 2013

26-09-2013 Gedser Fuglestation

Heavy rain in the early hours saw the GFU team have a their first lie in since they started as standardised ringing was unable to be conducted.

Once the adverse weather abated Hans text to say a group of school children were on their way to learn about Birds and Bird Ringing. With this in mind the nets were promptly opened and the 1st bird caught was a Sparrowhawk which is always a good start to the day!

This was followed by another 59 birds which included:

Wren 1
Dunnocks 3
Robin 17
Blackbird 1
Song Thrush 3
Blackcap 7
Chiffchaff 12
Goldcrest 6
Blue Tit 2
Chaffinch 3
Siskin 5

Hans and Benny did a fantastic job at educating the children and it was clear they were having a great time releasing the birds. It is nice to think they will remember this day for the rest of their lives and their experience may be the birth of future ornithologists!

Hans teaching the children about birds at Gedser Fuglestation, photo by Benny

Once the children had left we decided to venture to the tip given birds were visibly moving!

Spurred on by a text from Louis regarding a flock of 32 Common Cranes and a grounded Lapland bunting and Red-throated Pipit we were soon observing birds all over the place!

Highlights of another awesome day consisted of a minimum of 54 Common Cranes, 2 Hen Harriers (a 1st adult male & a juvenile ringtail), a couple of Great Grey Shrikes, a late Drake Garganey, a late Swift, a minimum of 8 Rough-legged Buzzards in amongst a trickle of Common Buzzards, 2 Peregrines, 2 White-tailed Eagles, good numbers of Little Gulls over land and sea that were at times hawking insects in with Black-headed Gulls, a handful of Red Kites, a couple of late Honey Buzzards and a steady trickle of Sparrowhawks. Also an albino Swallow brought us much joy as it hawked in amongst a huge flock of hirundines over the tip.
(All south off out to sea unless stated otherwise)
Non avian highlights included a Queen of Spain Fritillary (thanks to Matt Hobbs for its identity)

Queen of Spain Fritillary, a new one for the Brits! although Common in Denmark

STOP PRESS: A text from Stephen Menzie alerting us to the 1st Tengmalm's Owl of the autumn at Falsterbo was greatly appreciated and was a great excuse to get the tapes on and the nets open once the sun had set on another fine day here in Gedser.

Mixed Finch Flock, photo Rael Butcher

Finch Numbers Building around Gedser, photo by Rael Butcher

 Louis Hansen in his element!

Observers at the tip watching Geese

onsdag den 25. september 2013


Standardised ringing was a lot better than expected and produced a nice steady flow of Chiffchaffs with a supporting cast of Goldcrests, as well as the first small wave of Blue Tits.

The total of 145 birds ringed during the morning are as follows:

Wren 9
Dunnock 1
Robin 29
Song Thrush 5
Blackcap 7
Chiffchaff 74

Chiffchaff ready for release having been ringed, photo by Hugh Hanmer
Goldcrest ready for release having just been ringed, photo by Hugh Hanmer
Goldcrest 5
Blue Tit 13
Great Tit 1
Reed Bunting 1

During the rest of the day efforts were concentrated on improving the habitat around the garden and it was soon apparent that this may have been a bad decision with news of some nice birds reported from the tip of Gedser. Still we wont be saying that on catching a first for Denmark in one of our net rides!

Our passive birding efforts produced a Woodlark that flew north, a Greenshank that was heard flying over, and 17 White-fronted Geese north over the obs.

This is by no way a reflection of what went over the garden as birds are always moving through and over it. Bird migration is simply too overwhelming at times unless you assign yourself to taking notes during the whole day and there just isn't enough time in a day at Gedser Fuglestation!

tirsdag den 24. september 2013


A busy morning of standardised ringing was to be expected given the weather conditions (clear sky & north westerlies) and this did not dissapoint. The pre-dawn unfurling of mist nets after a text from Louis about a Nightjar on the approach road was greeted with a mixture of bird calls, most notably Bramblings, Goldcrests and Redwings. Migrants poured overhead throughout the five hours, in which the following 231 birds were trapped and ringed:

Wren 9
Dunnock 1
Robin 109
Song Thrush 5
Reed Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Common Whitethroat 1
Blackcap 16
Chiffchaff 49
Willow Warbler 4
Goldcrest 17
Blue Tit 5
House Sparrow 1 (a good bird to be ringed at Gedser believe it or not)
Tree Sparrow 1
Chaffinch 2
Brambling 5
Greenfinch 3
Reed Bunting 1

A quick lunch followed by watching streams of Eiders, Brent and Barnacle Geese migrating from the cottage window; 440 Eider in half an hour wasn't bad and had all three of us scrambling to the tip to witness an amazing and relentless passage of wildfowl in their thousands. Both Red-throated Pipit and Lapland Bunting were flushed from the stubble field which seperates Gedser Fuglestation from the tip of Baltic sea, and the following subsequent highlights were noted from there:

Record shot of 24 Common Cranes, photo by Hugh Hanmer
Spotted Eagle sp. 1
Osprey 1
Common Crane 24
Long-tailed Skua 1
Black-throated Diver 1
Red-necked Grebe 4

A pair of Teal in amongst Dark-bellied Brent Geese, photo Hugh Hanmer
Juvenile Merlin with alert White Wagtail, Photo by Gert
Migrating Eider, Photo by Hugh Hanmer
Record shot of a Lapland Bunting; a scarce Gedser bird, photo by Jack Ashton-Booth
Record shot Number 2 of a Lapland Bunting, photo by Jack Ashton-Booth
Rael observing sea passage of wildfowl, photo Jack Ashton-Booth

Migrating Flock of Barnacle Geese, photo by Rael Butcher

Dedicated Gedser birder Louis Hansen had counted over 6000 Dark-bellied Brent Geese at the time we all left to fulfill our computer based duties collecting two puffball mushrooms on our way which made for a nice free addition to our Bolognese!

Giant Puff Ball, a welcome addition to our pasta, photo Rael Butcher