Last week-end, I went to Hellebæk again, hoping to see more migrants. Alas, the day was foggy, both in Copenhagen and in the north of Sjælland, but I still expected to see interesting things. While I was biking in the mist along Utterslev Mose, on my way to the train station (this time I paid a ticket for my bike!), I noticed a lot of birds singing. When I arrived at the meeting point I was greeted by Vicky and her father, and they told me that, although the weather was bad, there was an important bird activity in the area. Good!
Like the week before, the day started with a walk in the forest. We were indeed surrounded by bird chatting, although it was hard to actually spot them, because of the fog (when looking into the binoculars, I felt like I had just woken up, rubbing my eyes to open them fully). Great and blue tits, nuthatches, crows, goldcrests, chiffchaff, all the usual suspects were there. We had a coffee break next to a peaceful pond. Elusive Long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus) cried in the foliage while Short-toed treecreepers (Certhia brachydactyla) hunted on tree trunks, not so far from us.
After crossing a humid forest, we reached some open fields and scared scores of Meadow pipits (Anthus pratensis). Finally some migrants! It was fun to see how they reacted to human presence: they were mostly hidden in the meadows, looking for food, so the only way to spot them was to see them fly away, which some promptly did when we approached them. However, if we stopped, we could see some fly away later, followed by a few, seconds later, then a score of them, then others joining their companions in the distance… alert as only migrating birds can be, they offered us a real ballet. When I left the area, I biked in the midst of a flight of dozens of these birds.
The fog highlighted all the spider webs hidden in high grass, and created a surreal atmosphere. In the forest, I saw the soil move. A mole was digging right under the surface, making worms flee its voracious hunger! I think I even saw its nose probing the earth it had just stirred.
Once we were back to the parking lot, an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) flew above us, triggering excited cries among the birders gathered in the area. Once it was gone, we decided to part ways, and I spent some time to shoot the Highland cattle grazing in the fields. Gorgeous beasts, maybe the most photogenic cows I’ve ever met. In this fog, it felt like they were in their natural habitat.
I spotted a pale Common buzzard (Buteo buteo), probably the same bird as the week before, and a sparrowhawk, darting along the road then swiftly chased by crows once it had been spotted. On the shore of a lake, herons hunted while Common pochards (Aythya ferina) rested. That was it for this chilly day!
Next week is a holiday week. I will go to Aarhus for a concert from Sólstafir, then to the south-west of Jylland, for bird watching. Expect a lot of pictures!