This morning I woke early doors and decided I’d set the nets well before first light. It was 6 am when I’d finished putting nets up and during my time in the garden I’d heard many Redwing and Song thrush. I knew it would be a decent morning! I went back to the house and waited for the first round. We took it early due to a very heavy rain shower and ended up closing 12 nets due to the weather. 8 Remained open as we knew we could handle this many should rain return. The first round yielded no birds then.
The shower passed and we took a further round, still not many birds. Jesper took a round on his own and I stayed in with Anders to watch over proceedings. Jesper returned immediately with a handful of birds asking for more bags. I opened the door to see what was happening and the floor was white with hail. A very heavy shower had brought maybe 1000 birds into the garden! Just for 10 minutes the garden was alive. We only took 35 birds in the round but this is all from one net really. But I counted 200 Redwing, 250 Fieldfare, 20 Linnet, c350 Chafflings, 20 Skylark, 40 Mipits, 10 Sparrowhawks, 6 Rough-legged Buzzards and one Common Buzzard. I was actually busy with ringing as we were running out of bags and I wanted to keep all measurements going.
Next thing I was appreciating a stunning female Brambling, I released her on her way and slam, from no where a Sparrowhawk grabbed her and flipped away over the hedge. A sad end for such a stunning bird but it’s nature.
The birds disappear as soon as they came and left the garden silent once more. Myself and Hans stayed and the others went twitching a Red-eyed Vireo (Successfully as they later informed us; a 1st for Denmark.)
We then received a phone call about a tired Barnacle Goose which we could possibly catch on the cliff top. I was there within minutes with a hand net at the ready. Never before have I sprinted towards a cliff edge but today I did and I caught the Juvenile Goose without much fuss.
(1st Calendar year – Barnacle Goose. Branta Leucopsis)
We brought it home and ringed it - Rested it for a while and intended on releasing it when it had it’s strength back, however it was not to be and unfortunately this little one died. Closer inspection afterwards showed the bird had 0 muscle on the sternum, in fact the bone was sharp!
We continued ringing all day and visitors came and went. In total just over 50 birds were caught today but some quality amongst them.
Highlights for me then. 5 Sparrowhawks, 2 Northern Bullfinch, 1 0 Brambling, 3 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Barnacle Goose (briefly), 2 Linnet and NO BLUE TITS.
1st Calendar year Male Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nicus)
Interestingly all the Sparrowhawks were males, young and old birds. The reason we were so successful with the Sprawks is due to some special nets here at Gedser with large mess, these nets are almost invisible too and I’ve walked into them a few times. The Sparrowhawks hit the same net in the same place time and time again. 2 Other Sprawks flipped out of our standard nets and one left me half of ringed Robin.
Another Goose was seen on the cliff this afternoon and for a moment I thought I would get this one too, but it was just playing with me and took off no problem when man with net came running! It’s rough conditions today so I may nip to the beach this evening and try my hand at Dazzling, though the last 4 nights have been shite with only 1 Grey Plover heard (not even seen).
Hopefully the wind ebbs over the weekend so I can catch some Owls in the garden!
Sightings wise highlights included much of the same as previous days. Rough-legged Buzzards, Sandwich Terns, 10 Swallows (getting late now) 2 Common Scoter close in on sea, 125 Barnacle goose and a Crossbill that chipped onwards to Germany.