mandag den 30. september 2013

Third times a charm, Olive-backed Pipit!

Another weekend on Mandø. This time as a part of PGW 3 with approximately 30 other birders. We stayed at Æ Towt (link here) again which is recommendable as it is affordable, nice and with rarities in the garden. The team was the same as last weekend with former Aarhusbirder Rune Sø Neergaard (RSN), half-Swede Simon Sigaard (SSC) and Runes father Mogens (MoN). Henrik Læssøe (HLæ) partly joined us on Saturday and Sunday.
To avoid the masses SSC and I decided to check the bushes along the central dike on the island. We started in the south and worked our way north. This was our game plan both Saturday and Sunday. Good numbers of migrating and resting birds were seen on Saturday with good numbers of Meadow Pipits, finches and Reed Buntings going south. Mixed in with the more common stuff was Lapland Bunting 6, Grey Wagtail 6, Hawfinch (new island tick for me), at least 20 Rock Pipits and latish Reed Warbler 2 and a single Whinchat. Song Thrushes, Robins and Dunnocks were the most common birds in the bushes with smaller numbers of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Redwings. Best birds were three Yellow-browed Warblers discovered in a fairly small area of willow near Halevej (a total of at least 12 YBW on the island on Saturday).

27/9 Yellow-browed Warbler. Such attractive warblers.

After lunch we twitched a Little Bunting found by Henrik Kristensen (HKr) – my third in Denmark and my third on Mandø. The rest of the day we checked Mandø Town but ending up sucking other peoples cherries seeing an already found Yellow-browed Warbler and a Red-breasted Flycatcher. As the sun set we gathered for a beer in our garden. A new YBW started calling and we got fairly good views – a fitting end to a very nice day in the field. In the evening we had dinner with the rest of the birders at the old Mandø-center.

28/9 Listening to YBW and having a well-earned Beer, from left SSC, HLæ, Mon, RDN. Photo RSN

Sunday started as Saturday ended. Just outside our house the YBW from the day before started calling, very nice. The walk along the dike produced fewer birds than the day before with nothing really noteworthy seen. Two of the three YBW from the day before were present at Halevej and we found a new 1cy Red-breasted Flycatcher in a small area of willow on the northern part of the island.

28/9, Merlin. 3-4 birds seen during the weekend.
28/9, Lapwings - my Master Thesis bird.
28/9 Red-breasted Flycatcher. Three birds on the island. We found this one.
28/9 Red-breasted Flycatcher. Attractive little birds.
28/9, Red-breasted Flycatcher. 2013 has been a very good year for this species in DK.

We were both hungry after this and decided to head back for lunch checking ditches and bushes on the way. Almost at home we flushed a pipit which instantly called with an aberrant Tree Pipit call. Nobody said anything as the bird flew up and landed on the roof of a barn. I quickly started taking pictures while SSC looked at the bird. The bird was then flushed twice by some farmers before settling down in the garden next to our house. I asked Simon what he saw and he said that the face didn't look like an Olive-backed Pipit. Just to make sure I checked the bird on the screen of the camera and saw something quite promising. Even an un-striped, quite dark back. The bird actually looked quite good. We agreed on getting a second opinion from RSN. He thought it looked promising and the bird was called out to the birders on the island as a probable. We joined the search for 20 minutes but then decided to download the pictures to a computer. It looked very good and shortly after Kristoffer Hansen (KrHa) rediscovered the bird quite close to the place where we found it. The bird was seen and heard the rest of the day though often only in flight. SSC got his long-awaited first rarity bird although he did his best to bury it in the ground.

28/9, the 7th Olive-backed Pipit in Denmark. Last year RSN found the 6th also on Mandø.
28/9, OBP. Bird sat on the barn for 10-15 seconds before being flushed by farmers on a 4X4.
28/9, OBP's are probably overlooked in DK given their inconspicuous nature and superficial resemblance to Tree Pipits. 
28/9, time to go back into the ditch. 
29/9, SSC and myself pointing at the crime scene. Photo RSN.

On the way back we made a brief stop east of Hedensted to see a Glossy Ibis found the previous day. A nice end to a birding weekend better than most.

29/9, Glossy Ibis. The worst picture on our blog? Photo RSN.

lørdag den 21. september 2013

Mandø 21/9

Another weekend on Mandø this time with former Aarhusbirder Rune Sø Neergaard (RSN), almost swede Simon Sigaard (SSC) and Runes father Mogens (MoN). Started out on the southern point with good migration of pipits though nothing really good passed during the first hours of the day. Lapland Bunting, Grey Wagtail and two Ospreys were the only highlights. Around 10:00 Tim Hesselballe Hansen (THH) called with news of a possible Greenish Warbler in Mandø "town". The bird was foraging in the southeasternmost garden in town and was positively identified when we arrived. The bird called and was very active during the 30 minutes we saw it. My first autumn bird in Denmark.
21/9 Greenish Warbler, Mandø.
21/9 Greenish Warbler, Mandø.
21/9 Greenish Warbler, Mandø.
21/9 Greenish Warbler, Mandø.
21/9 Greenish Warbler, Mandø.
21/9 Greenish Warbler, Mandø.

After enjoying the Greenish we had a quick lunch at our temporary home on "Æ Towt" before splitting up over the island. Best bird in the afternoon was an adult Black Brant with Light- and Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Other goodies included a yarrellii White Wagtail, Short-eared Owl, two Lapland Buntings, three Merlins, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Whinchat.

21/9 Black Brant. My first self found bird.
21/9 Black Brant with bernicla's
21/9 Short-eared Owl with Esbjerg in the background.
21/9 Male Pied Wagtail, Mandø town. Photo by Rune Sø(d) Neergaard.

fredag den 20. september 2013

Mandø 13 -14/9

Stephan and I finally managed to get a few days off for birding. We decided to go to the magical island of Mandø in the Wadden Sea. The island is the smallest of the three islands in the Danish part of the Wadden Sea that can be visited fairly easy. We arrived before sunrise friday morning and decided to use the first hours on visible migration on the southern tip of the island. Upon arrival we noted that mist nets had been put up in the bushes along the central dike on the island. Local birder Jens Hjerrild Hansen (JHH) was ringing. 
When JHH went for his first net round I told him to bring back the Barred Warbler as Stephan needed the species for his Danish list. Stephan was off chasing a Hen Harrier at this point. 30 minutes later JHH returned with a nice 1. year Barred Warbler. A perfect start to a very nice day.
Acceptable numbers of pipits, swallows and some raptors passed south during the morning. A German couple had spend the night in an auto camper on the small parking lot near the southern end and decided to come for a short chat as they got up. I tried my best in gebrocken German and Stephan held the fort birding wise. After five minutes I discovered a reddish ringtail Harrier in the distance. Upon first glance the jizz clearly felt as Pallid. During the next hour we chased the harrier around the southern part of the island and managed to get some acceptable shots of the bird for documentation. How Stephan managed to miss the bird still baffles me (he needs it for his self-found list...). A nice migrating Red-throated Pipit called just once but caused reaction and immediate outbursts from both of us. Other good species during the morning included Merlin, Osprey and Hen Harrier 2.     

13/9 1. cal. year Barred Warbler, Mandø. A nice sylvia! We relocated the warbler in the evening.
13/9 JHH with Barred Warbler on a nice morning on Mandø. JHH has ten mist nets on Mandø.
13/9 Yours truly enjoying Mandø.
13/9 1. cal. year Pallid Harrier, Mandø.
13/9 1. cal. year Pallid Harrier, Mandø. Probably a female as the eyes seem dark.
The rest of the day we checked bushes and fields for passerines. Good numbers of Wheatears (100+), Redstarts (50+) and still some flycatchers were present, though we failed finding anything really interesting. A Lapland Bunting, various raptors (the pallid hanging around for most of the day) and the Barred Warbler. 
Saturday it was raining, alot. The birding was slow and we went back to the mainland to check fields for plovers. We didnt find anything really good, best birds being Black-tailed Godwit ssp. islandica (4), Merlins, and an adult Med Gull.

14/9 Adult Med Gull at Fovrfeld Bækkens runout. A regular spot for the species.