Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Birds of Denmark, the sequel, September 17-28, 2014

Dunnock Prunella modularis
European Greenfinch Chloris chloris with deformed bill (or could it be dried berry gunk?)
Great Tit Parus major
Hooded Crow Corvus cornix
Busy fields at Ebeltoft
Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus in a mixed flock with sensor dust
'Northern x Southern' Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
European Golden Plovers Pluvialis apricaria
Danish list continued:
38. Eurasian Siskin (Guldbaek, September 17, 2014)
39. Yellowhammer (Guldbaek, September 17, 2014)
40. House Martin (Guldbaek, September 17, 2014)
41. Common Raven (Guldbaek, September 18, 2014)
42. Spotted Flycatcher (Guldbaek, September 18, 2014)
43. Meadow Pipit (Guldbaek, September 19, 2014)
44. Chaffinch (Guldbaek, September 19, 2014)
45. Dunnock (Guldbaek, September 19, 2014)
46. Northern Lapwing (Near Esbjerg, September 20, 2014)
47. Linnet (Esbjerg, September 22, 2014)
48. Collared Dove (Esbjerg, September 22, 2014)
49. European Golden Plover (Ebeltoft, September 25, 2014)
50. Common Gull (Ebeltoft, September 25, 2014)
51. Grey Partridge (Ebeltoft, September 25, 2014)
52. Mallard (Ebeltoft, September 25, 2014)
53. European Goldfinch (Ebeltoft, September 25, 2014)
54. Common Ringed Plover (Ebeltoft, September 25, 2014)
55. Great Grey Shrike (Ebeltoft, September 26, 2014)
56. Common Snipe (Ebeltoft, September 28, 2014)
57. Mute Swan (Ebeltoft, September 28, 2014)

Birding Denmark, the sequel, September 17-28, 2014

(Original image via Google)
Fanø Island, off Esbjerg
Dawn at Ebeltoft
Ebeltoft llamas
Randomness on the beach at Esbjerg
The beach at Esbjerg
Ebeltoft fields
Beach at Ebeltoft
Ebeltoft field
Small lake near Ebeltoft
That's how I roll
  The last two weeks have seen me leave the vineyard at Guldbaek (just south of Aalborg), spend several days on Denmark’s west coast at Esbjerg, then move to a llama farm (!) at Ebeltoft, which juts (!) eastward from the Jutland peninsula.
  At Guldbaek there were plenty of interesting woodland and countryside birds about, notable being good views of a normally skiddish Hooded Crow, a European Greenfinch with an apparently deformed bill, and several Dunnock posing on the tips of young spruce trees, just like they’re supposed to. I finally got a decent look at some Long-tailed Tits around Guldbaek, which appeared to be intermediate between the black-headed form found further south, and northern white-headed caudatus form.
  Most notable in the hilly fields around Ebeltoft have been large (100-300 of each species) mixed flocks of Northern Lapwing, Common Starling, and Black-headed Gull resting in the fields or flying overhead, with smaller numbers (30-80) of European Golden Plover sprinkled in. Also seen in and around Ebeltoft were: a single Northern Wheatear perching on a pile of haystacks, apparently on its way south; loose groups of Meadow Pipits and Linnets rippling overhead fairly regularly; six Grey Partridge flushing close to a road and landing nearby; a Great Grey Shrike keeping vigil from a dead tree next to the llama farm; and a Common Ringed Plover pacing the nearby beach.
  Next stop: Sønderborg, on the German border.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Birds of Denmark, September 7-16, 2014

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita - should it show so much yellow and such a strong supercilium?
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
Crested Tit Lophophanes cristatus
European Hare Lepus europaeus (not a bird, clearly)
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Fugle i Danmark:
1.     Western Jackdaw (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014) 
2.      Common Wood Pigeon (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014)
3.      Common Kestrel (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014)
4.      Black-headed Gull (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014)
5.      European Herring Gull (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014)
6.      Common Magpie (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014)
7.      Hooded Crow (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014)
8.      Barn Swallow (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014)
9.      Great Cormorant (Near Guldbaek, September 7, 2014)
10.   Eurasian Jay (Guldbaek, September 8, 2014)
11.   Carrion Crow (Guldbaek, September 8, 2014)
12.   Great Tit (Guldbaek, September 8, 2014)
13.   Eurasian Bullfinch (Guldbaek, September 8, 2014)
14.   Common Blackbird (Guldbaek, September 8, 2014)
15.   Blue Tit (Guldbaek, September 8, 2014)
16.   Willow Warbler (Guldbaek, September 8, 2014)
17.   House Sparrow (Guldbaek, September 9, 2014)
18.   Coal Tit (Guldbaek, September 9, 2014)
19.   Long-tailed Tit (Guldbaek, September 9, 2014)
20.   Eurasian Wren (Guldbaek, September 9, 2014)
21.   Goldcrest (Guldbaek, September 9, 2014)
22.   Common Buzzard (Guldbaek, September 10, 2014)
23.   Crested Tit (Guldbaek, September 10, 2014)
24.   Great Spotted Woodpecker (Guldbaek, September 10, 2014)
25.   Common Skylark (Guldbaek, September 10, 2014)
26.   White Wagtail (Guldbaek, September 10, 2014)
27.   Eurasian Nuthatch (Guldbaek, September 12, 2014)
28.   Eurasian Treecreeper (Guldbaek, September 12, 2014)
29.   Grey Heron September (Guldbaek, 12, 2014)
30.   Northern Wheatear (Lindholm Museum) September 13, 2014)
31.   Tree Sparrow (Lindholm, September 13, 2014)
32.   Common Pheasant (Guldbaek, September 13, 2014)
33.   European Greenfinch (Guldbaek, September 13, 2014)
34.   Common Starling (Guldbaek, September 15, 2014)
35.   Common Kingfisher (Guldbaek, September 16, 2014)
36.   European Robin (Guldbaek, September 16, 2014)
37. Common Chiffchaff (Guldbaek, September 16, 2014)

Birding Denmark, September 7-16, 2014

Foggy morning at the vineyard
The woods of Guldbaek
Urban habitat in Aalborg
Vines, and the stand of pines where I saw my very first Crested Tit
Viking burial stones at Lindholm Museum, favoured by Northern Wheatear
  I have been hanging out at a Danish vineyard for two weeks - I'd highly recommend it. Whenever possible, I've been sneaking off into the countryside to bird, as I do. It's been said that if you stand on a case of beer, you can see all of Denmark, and that's not too far off. It's a depressingly flat country, not blessed with a huge range of dramatic landscapes - you'd be hard-pressed to see something other than farms and small woods from the window of a cross-country train.
  In spite of being so topographically challenged, Denmark is in a geographically interesting spot, with an northern/eastern European flavour to some of the bird life. Denmark also lies in a strategically important spot as far as north-south migration is concerned - apparently this week there are 'dozens' of birders stacked up at Skagen, Denmark's northernmost tip. I ran into Skagen's frigid waters, where North Sea meets Baltic, in my underwear once. In February. But that will have to remain a story for another day.
  The woods here are pretty lively with tits and other birds one might expect to find in the European woods. The bird of the week has to be the Crested Tit. As I looked through my Collins for birds that I may have a chance at seeing in Denmark, the Crested Tit jumped out as my number one target bird, for better or worse. The very next day, as I was picking through a mixed group of tits, a Crested Tit landed perhaps four feet from my eyes, which threatened to pop out of my head and hit the bird. I spent an amazing three minutes watching it from close range, strongly wondering why I had left my camera behind. The few Crested Tits I've encountered seem to have an 'authority' about them, if that makes any bit of sense. The other tits clear off when a Crested Tit comes through, and it takes its time, moving around a lot less nervously than most birds of a similar size. Perhaps it's all in my head.
  Off to Esbjerg on the west coast next week, I'm hoping to get more of a taste of the fall migration, as well as meet up with Jens Thalund, a fine fellow whom I had the pleasure of birding with on Jeju in 2011.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Birds of Derbyshire, August 26-28, 2014

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
female Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata with Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
male Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
juvenile Common Blackbird Turdus merula
Common Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis in the heather
Mandarin Ducks Aix galericulata
European Robin Erithacus rubecula
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
juvenile Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
UK list continued:
79. Grey Partridge (Between Winchmore Hill and Penn, August 21, 2014)
(Tawny Owl – heard only, near Winchmore Hill, August 21, and Amerhsam near Tesco, wee hours of August 23, 2014)
(Water Rail – heard only, Shardeloes, August 21, 2014)
80. Common Redstart (Monyash, Derbyshire, August 26, 2014)
81. Twite (Monyash, Derbyshire, August 26, 2014)
82. White-throated Dipper (Near Monyash, Derbyshire, August 27, 2014)
83. Great Spotted Woodpecker (Burbage, Derbyshire, August 28, 2014)
84. Common Reed Bunting (Burbage, Derbyshire, August 28, 2014)
85. Whinchat (Burbage, Derbyshire, August 28, 2014)

Birding Derbyshire, August 26-28, 2014

A good place to undip a dipper...
Burbage - Whinchatteriffic
The perils of birding
  I spent a very pleasant and crisp (not freezing cold, as the locals claimed) few days in the Peaks District, in Derbyshire. It definitely felt like a halfway-point between Amersham and the Lake District - with fields of grain, rolling green hills, and more impressive rocky features covered in gorse and heather. There was some great bird action about in the hills!
  I was pleased to finally catch up with the elusive White-throated Dipper, and got long and satisfying, if distant views, as it sat there like a blob of chocolate-covered marshmallow. Dipper undipped, very nice. It was spotted on a very small section of faster-moving water on a long stretch of mostly stagnant river.
  Common Redstarts seemed to be ‘everywhere’, as I encountered at least five on a hike near Monyash. One female was following a Spotted Flycatcher around quite closely, to the seeming confusion of the latter.
  My bird of the trip was definitely the Whinchat. As I was making my way around the circular valley feature at Burbage, I kept looking at the habitat thinking ‘There have GOT to be Whinchats around!’ Several hundred metres before returning to the parking lot, I spotted a small brown bird perched on a rock, and it didn’t feel like another Meadow Pipit. I wish I could bottle the feeling that washes hot and cold over me when I get my first bino-view of a long-awaited lifer (and it looks just like it does in the book!) - if I could, I reckon I’d be rich.