Saturday, October 25, 2014

Last of the Danish birds, October 2-18, 2014

Small remnant of Denmark's pre-agricultural moor landscape, at Stubbergaard Sø
Old boathouse at Stubbergaard Sø
Stubbegaard Sø
Stubbergaard Sø
My temporary backyard in Havnbjerg
Double rainbow all the wayyyyy!

First-year male Common Blackbird Turdus merula (note dark bill)
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Terrible record shot of my first Fieldfare Turdus pilaris (a long-awaited bird!)
Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis
A blur of Grey Partridges Perdix perdix
European Robin Erithacus rubecula - I suspect a victim of the local cat
male Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea at Tivoli amusement park - never overly nice to see captive birds, but interesting to see one so close
Distant record shot of a Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvcensis
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvcensis
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
  The Danish word for bird is 'fugle'. Pronounced by a Dane, the word sounds suspiciously like 'fool'. Consequently, on several occasions when I was birding in Denmark, Danes would point to me while grinning, and say 'Blah blah blah FOOL, blah blah FOOL FOOL, blah FOOL blah FOOLFOOL blahFOOL.' That didn't do much to soothe my latent persecution complex. Ah well, they may be onto something I suppose.
  During my last few days at Ebeltoft on Jutland's east coast, migration was in the air, with small flocks of Twite and White Wagtail on the beach, and daily skeins of Barnacle Geese winging west towards their wintering grounds in the low countries.
  Amazingly, a Barnacle Goose turned up in South Korea during this same period, probably East Asia's first record. It's amazing to think that that directionally-challenged individual and the ones that I was seeing most likely left from the same bit of northern Russia at around the same time. Insert slick computer-generated maps and graphics here, along with a stern British narrator.
  Also seen at Ebeltoft: a pair of Red Kites, three handsome Sandwich Terns dive-bombing close in to the beach, and a raft of six Common Eider
  At Havnbjerg, which is near Sønderborg (close to the German border), I finally saw my first Fieldfare. Unfortunately it wasn't dramatically dive-bombing any intruders with excrement - just my luck. Nevertheless, I was so pleased on seeing one (I've got a 'thing' for Turdus thrushes) that I did back-flips all the way home. Seriously.
  I spent a weekend visiting a friend in Holstebro, which is towards the northwest corner of Jutland, turning the map of my Denmark travels into a giant red spaghetti-squiggle. I whinged and moaned and cajoled him into taking me to Stubbergaard Sø, a lake surrounded by reeds, mixed forest, and apparently some of Denmark's last remaining old scrubby moor habitat. The rest of the country is literally one big grassy agricultural field. Boooo-ring. In spite of all this wonderful habitat, the place was deserted, bird-wise. In fact, I was struck by a tumbleweed filled with chirping crickets on the way out.
  All in all, I had a rip-roaringly good time in Denmark, llama spit aside. I managed to sneak off most days for a spot of good ol Vitamin B, and was able to soak up some excess Danish happiness. The Danes are a happy people (in spite of paying 60% taxes - whaaaaat?!), I'd say one degree short of being smug about it. It's a tiny little country that works well, and it's their little secret.
  Best Danish bird: Crested Tit, hands down.

  'Last of the Danish Birds' = Good name for a pretentious indie band featuring a smouldering expressionless red-headed lady with horn-rimmed glasses playing the xylophone?

Denmark list concluded, for what it's worth:

58. Barnacle Goose (Ebeltoft, October 2, 2014)
59. Twite (Ebeltoft, October 2, 2014)
60. Red Kite (Ebeltoft, October 2, 2014)
61. Sandwich Tern (Ebeltoft, October 2, 2014)
62. Common Eider (Ebeltoft, October 2, 2014)
63. Great Crested Grebe (Havnbjerg, October 4, 2014)
64. Goosander (Havnbjerg, October 8, 2014)
65. Eurasian Coot (Kolding, October 10, 2014)
66. Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Havnbjerg, October 12, 2014)
67. Fieldfare (Havnbjerg, October 14, 2014)
68. Canada Goose (Odense, October 17, 2014)
69. Greylag Goose (Odense, October 17, 2014)
71. Common Pochard (Copenhagen, October 17, 2014)
72. Common Moorhen (Copenhagen, October 18, 2014)

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