After the snow came the sun. Often, it’s rain and warm temperatures that come and take the white cover away, but this day was to offer temperatures below zero from sunrise to sunset. That was the perfect opportunity to go out birdwatching, see the sun rise over the horizon and take pictures. Equipped with my winter jacket and my ski trousers, I was ready to brave the cold. Camera at the ready, I reached Staunings Ø minutes before sunrise, in this very special hour where everything is blue, everything but the horizon, which slowly turns orange.
Given the temperature, the ground was covered in something closer to ice than snow, and it was tricky to walk without falling. In some places, flood had occurred then frozen, offering the adventurer nothing but a path of ice to reach his destination, the sandbar separating the lagoon from the sea.
Once there, the view was breathtaking: a low fog floated above the water, reflecting the sun light and hiding gulls and ducks from view.
In the dunes, flocks of Eurasian greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) and Twites (Carduelis flavirostris) fed, but, ever cautious, it was hard to close on them. Still, there were few walkers in the area, so I could admire them as much as I wished: I was especially delighted by the ballet of the Twites, which I had seen in Vestamager two weeks before, but from afar. This time, I saw their yellow beak!
Walking to the south like the first time, I enjoyed the tranquility of the area. Ducks were restless over the lagoon, crows foraged everywhere, and in the distance, I sighted a White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). How to spot this big guy? Easy! When geese, ducks, waders and swan take off at the same time, in a distraught cacophony, look for the raptor that scared them all. Later that day, I saw a Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) in the same situation.
I wanted to go to the southernmost tip of Staunings Ø, but the path was flooded, with liquid water this time! No way for me there, so I went back, following the beach. I was disappointed, but an unexpected encounter brightened my mood again. Between algae and snow, a pair of Horned larks (Eremophila alpestris) was feeding on the sand. I followed them for some time, but shy they were! Walking parallel to the shoreline, they never let me close enough to get a great shot. I still managed reasonable ones, to prove that these birds were there. At some point, a flock of Twites flew overhead; the larks were scared and took off, flying away in different directions. I lost them forever.
I worked a bit more on Greenfinch pictures, but I wasn’t satisfied enough to go back home. I took the direction of Ølsemagle Revle, but that’s a story for another day…