onsdag den 15. oktober 2014

Lusk på Helgenæs

Efter et par weekender på Mandø skulle der luskes i det Østjyske. Forventningerne var i top, der måtte være bryn på Helgenæs. Sletterhages placering lugter langt væk af hit og der er pænt med gode krat i området. Meeen, som så mange gange før blev det til pænt med fugle, men ingen rare ting. Det er sgu bare pissesvært at finde hits i Østjylland.
12/10 Spurvehøg trækkende Sletterhage. Selvom jeg mest luskede, så blev det da til lidt trækkende fugle.
12/10 Spurvehøg, Sletterhage. Looking good in the morning light.
12/10 Misteldrossel, Sletterhage.
12/10 Ringduer, Sletterhage. Over 5000 trækkende i løbet af morgenen.
12/10 Sortbynk, Helgenæs. Et ynglepar på halvøen af denne fåtallige ynglefugl i det Østjyske.
12/10 Træløber, Sletterhage.

torsdag den 9. oktober 2014

Mandø 4-5/10 2014

The old aarhusbirder-team was reunited for one last weekend of birding on the magical island of Mandø, well maybe not quite... Expectations were high with Shetland having megas from far east and the west. This time we were forced to stay in a cabin at the camp site as our usual housing were all booked. Not sure that overnight-tourist-plan-thingy is a good thing for us birders.

Saturday morning was a bit windy which meant that all migrating passerines were passing quite low. Stephan and I decided to check the town and then move north while Rune went to the southern point. Good numbers of common migrants were present but during the first hours of the day we failed in finding anything good until a Little Bunting (RC-bird in DK) decided to land on the dike in front of Rune. He managed to fire 5 record shots before it flew of north never to be seen again. This represents the fourth record for Mandø. In the north best birds were Stonechat, Woodlark and a pipit that could have been something good. At lunch we decided to try some small bushes west of town in a chainlike manner to see if we could flush something. Before the flushing we twitched an incredibly approachable Long-eared Owl in the eastern part of the island.

4/10 Long-eared Owl, Mandø. Daytime roost in a small willow bush. Photo SSL
We did flush quite a lot of birds, mainly reed buntings but about halfway a nice Wryneck (late record) flew up and we just managed to fire away some record shots. The rest of the day was pretty quiet with no more good birds found. In the evening we celebrated Runes bunting with a local Mandø beer – quite tasty!

4/10 Wryneck, Mandø. Only the 5th record from October in DOFBasen.
4/10 European Whitefronts leaving the magical island. Photo SSL
The weather forecast for Sunday had changed from fantastic to really bad so many times during the week so when we woke up to a grey sky and relatively calm winds we knew that new birds must have arrived. We decided on the same strategy as the day before. A Yellow-browed Warbler in town was the first good bird and it was evident that new birds had arrived with goldcrests and wrens zipping in numbers. Coming back from the northernmost bushes I discovered a Golden Oriole flying over a small farm and quickly got Stephan who managed to see the bird fly away. Golden orioles are rare from September and onwards and this could represent the latest Danish record. The bird was subsequently seen shortly by Sigrid and Tim in a garden a bit further east. Shortly after a nice Honey Buzzard went south and was also seen by Rune in the south and an European Rosefinch passed south with crap views but at least uttering its call several times. Stephan and I then decided to give Halevej and the eastern most bushes another go. We didn't find anything good and decided to split up for the long return walk to cover more ground. As I returned past the willows on Halevej I found a group of Goldcrests but quickly turned my attention towards a distinctive call, a one-toned hyyiit. A nice Siberian Chiffchaff appeared and I managed to get some ok shots. I called it out to Stephan but he was to tired/far away to come look at the bird. It was harrassed constantly by a common chiffchaff. After five minutes I lost the bird as it was on another escape flight. After two hours of very good birding it was time for lunch

5/10 Golden Oriole, Mandø. Latest record ever from Denmark?
5/10 Golden Oriole, Mandø. Truely record shots.
5/10 Honey Buzzard, Mandø. The strong south-easterlies have brought more birds than usual to the western part of DK
5/10 Siberian Chiffchaff, Mandø. Found on call in the willows on Halevej. Strong super, greenish tinge to the wing, pale
 underparts, brown ear coverts, tendency to wingbar, black legs and dark bill
5/10 Siberian Chiffchaff, Mandø. The bird was chased away by three "normal" Chiffchaffs.
We had lunch outside with two Yellow-browed Warblers (a total of 7 on the island this day), a Firecrest and a White-tailed Eagle overhead, very nice. After lunch we packed our stuff and cleaned the small cabin. Stephan gave the town another go and I went with Rune to look for the siberian chiffchaff at Halevej. I went to the bushes where I saw the bird the last time but instead of the SCC I heard a chattering call that I could not place. I soon located the bird in a willow and to my surprise it was Lesser White-throat, a very sandy brown looking one. I shouted for Rune, who thought that I had relocated the SCC but soon got on the bird. The next 30 minutes the bird was silent but giving some kind of views most of the time. We phoned the others and just as they arrived the bird started calling several times and gave quite good views. Rune did several recordings with his Iphone, they can be heard here and here. Links to the ssp. halimodendri (verified from DNA results) seen at Grønningen in 2011 can be found here and here.

6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø. White outer tail feather (T6).
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø.
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø.
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø. Brown back onto nape and crown.
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø.Very sandy-colored back, short primary projection and brownish hue continuing onto the nape and crown of the bird. 
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø. Short primary projection and white visible on T5.
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø.White in tail extends onto T5 and T4.
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø.
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø. Moult limit in the greater coverts. 
6/10 "Eastern" Lesser Whitethroat, Mandø. Looking cute - compare with this one.

mandag den 6. oktober 2014

Thule Airbase 2014

During late August I had the pleasure of doing a Narwhal-survey in Melville Bay in North-west Greenland. Mainly based out of Thule Airbase I had several opportunities to bird this quite big military base. Several small ponds and a bay with good mud flats during low tide makes this a very good birding area. Many different species of wader breed in the area. 
The permanents at the base called the summer of 2014 the worst ever. I actually got the meaning of "Mud Season" by the end of our stay. With rain, wind and temperatures close to 0 degrees it was not at all as I remembered it from my three previous trips in 2012. Due to the crappy weather we had several down days (not flying) which gave me some spare time for birding.  

28/8 American Herring Gull, Thule Airbase. Sorry for the poor quality but had to keep my eyes out for Polar Bears.
28/8 American Herring Gull Thule Airbase. 
28/8 Cackling Goose ssp. hutchinsii, Thule Airbase. 
28/8 Cackling Goose ssp. hutchinsii, Thule Airbase. 
Also got to see good numbers of the more common birds of the area. A white Gyrfalcon was seen almost daily and Ringed Plover, Red Knot, Turnstone and Sanderling were all fairly numerous. Passerines like Arctic Redpoll ssp. hornemanni, Lapland Bunting, Greenlandic Wheatear and Snow Bunting were all still common.

26/8 Arctic Redpoll at its roost, Thule Airbase. Not as many seen as on my last visits.
28/8 Purple Sandpiper, Thule Airbase. Local breeding bird but not seen during my last visit.
28/8 Greenlandic Gyr. One of the best raptors around
28/8 Greenlandic Gyr. Flew down to inspect me
28/8 Greenlandic Gyr trying to catch gulls. 
26/8 Arctic Hare. Very confiding at Thule.

fredag den 3. oktober 2014

Mandø 19/9-20/9

Stephan and I had planned a weekend on Mandø. Last year was really good with Pallid Harrier, Red-throated Pipit and Barred Warbler so expectations were high. Friday morning we tried with some visual migration but failed in finding anything good. Good numbers of Meadow Pipits (>10.000 during the day), Barn Swallows and a still some Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits. A good selection of raptors with White-tailed Eagle 2, Honey Buzzard 3, Hobby, Merlin 3, Sparrowhawk 14. Good numbers of Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Redstart were present but we failed miserably in our quest to find a rarity. The best bird was probably a late Icterine Warbler causing some headache as it was only seen at some distance and in the beginning only in short sequences. Other nice birds included Spotted Flycatcher 6, Pied Flycatcher 4 and Hawfinch 2.   

19/9 Icterine Warbler. Bird seen at a distance of 30 meters and moving all the time. Why wasnt it another Hippo..
19/9 Icterine Warbler. Thank God for digital photography! Only short views in the beginning. 
20/9 Wheatear in typical Mandø scenery. Photo SSL
We decided to drop the visual migration on saturday morning and just focus on checking gardens. Still good numbers of birds around with some new arrivals as well. Stephan found a nice Wryneck west of town before lunch but the best bird of the day was a 1. year Red-breasted Flycatcher in the "greenish warbler"- Garden just east of the church. It was quite elusive but in the end most birders on the island got some kind of views. Before we left the island we both got a new island tick as we twitched 13 Egyptian Geese found by THH.  

20/9 Merlin. Five birds seen
20/9 Spotted Fly. Around 5 birds both days.
20/9 RBFly. Flighty so only crappy record shots.
20/9 Tree Pipit. Be careful!
20/9 Wryneck playing hard to get. Photo SSL
20/9 Wryneck. Photo SSL
20/9 Tufted Duck. Artistic stuff from Mr. Lund. Photo SSL

torsdag den 2. oktober 2014

Tågetræk 1/10

Et par timer omkring middag på Nordhavnen gav godt med fugle. Det bedste ande/gåse-træk jeg nogensinde har set i Aarhus Bugt. Det var tåget med en svag sydøsten vind. Valgte Nordhavnen, da vinden lagde sig ift morgenens vind, som ellers gav pænt med fugle i Gallohaven. Der var konstant fouragerende suler i Bugten, men sigten begrænsede nok desværre udbyttet. Dagens bedste fugl blev en adult Mellemkjove trækkende sydvest ind over Aarhus By.

1/10 Pibeænder. Måske over 2000 fugle trækkende denne dag. Må være en af de bedste nogensinde i Aarhus Bugten?
1/10 Bramgæs. Godt over 1000 fugle trak i løbet af dagen. 
1/10 Knortegæs. Over 2500 fugle i løbet af dagen. 
1/10 Mellemkjove adult Aarhus Nordhavn.
1/10 Mellemkjove adult Aarhus Nordhavn. Fuglen skruede sig op og røg direkte sydvest ind over byen.