I was traveling last week, birdwatching on the windy shores of the North Sea. Before that, I went to Staunings Ø (map) with a group of birders, for a stunning morning.
I arrived early on site, and was greeted by the rising sun. Playing with the clouds, it displayed all possible shades of orange. Needless to say that I was delighted; the early wake up was worth it.
Staunings Ø is a sandbar that separates a quiet lagoon, to the west, from the sea, to the east. It is a favoured staging area for waders in autumn. Most of the migrants were gone by the time we visited, but we were still offered a great show: European golden plovers (Pluvialis apricaria) and Northern lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) by the hundreds, Northern pintails (Anas acuta), at least six species of gulls, this day was golden. However, the most impressive sight was the passage of Barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis) above us, in southbound flight formations. Like cyclists, they form V-shaped flights to spare some energy: the leader fights it way against the wind, the others follow in its wake, with roles cyclically exchanged. You can read more on Wikipedia. Thousands of geese passed over Staunings Ø this morning, in a brilliant demonstration of nature’s ingeniosity.
The birdlife diversity of the area was remarkable: I counted 47 species, and made 4 ticks! That means I saw 4 species I had never seen before: a few Brant geese (Branta bernicla) were feeding in the area, with two Little gulls (Hydrocoloeus minutus) and a Caspian gull (Larus cachinnans), expertly detected by our guide, Mikkel. Twice, a flight of Bearded tits (Panurus biarmicus) took-off from the reeds, then swiftly returned to their safe haven.
Take a look at this (very bad) picture: seven species! Would you have recognized them all?
After the sunrise, clouds took over the sky, but as noon approched, the sun was dominant again. Engulfed in a biting gale for hours, we gladly greeted its warm embrace. On the wooden bridge, a curious but still cautious Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) posed for me.
Stay tuned for more adventures!