To the south!

I celebrated the arrival of spring by taking a week-end off to Gedser. The southernmost point of Denmark is at the tip of a peninsula pointing down to Germany, on the island of Falster, and it’s a place I visited back in December. I had slept in the bird station there, and seen plenty of water birds, including scoters, Smews (Mergellus albellus), Long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis) and the lifer Greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons).

I didn’t have much time to focus on photography this week-end, hence the low quality of most pictures. I hope you can forgive me that 😉
Here is a map of my week-end.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5, took an early train and reached Nykøbing F (F for Falster, because there are several Nykøbing in Denmark) at 9. There, I met Hans, my guide for the day. He had had the brilliant idea to wear his binoculars around the neck in the station, therefore I spotted him immediatly!

He took me by car to the south, along the coast facing the neighbouring island of Lolland. We hoped to see the flock of Lesser white-fronted geese (Anser erythropus) that were grazing in the meadows of Roden Fed, but we were way too far. Still, the strait produced scores of Eurasian wigeons (Anas penelope), and a few Brant geese (Branta bernicla), the first ones of the year for me. I also enjoyed a familiar sight: the ondulating, noisy flight of the White wagtail (Motacilla alba). They had been in Falster for three weeks, but I hadn’t seen any in Copenhagen before today, actually, so those were also my first wagtails of the year. I saw many more in Gedser.

White wagtail (Motacilla alba)

White wagtail (Motacilla alba)

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FOCUS: Red-necked grebe

The Focus series

Danish word of the day: lappedykker = grebe

Have you missed the “FOCUS” series?

What, you had forgotten about that too? 😀
Ok, that’s normal, it’s been a long time, I didn’t write such an article since July. The first one was about one the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen (no, I’m not exaggerating), the Horned grebe (Podiceps auritus).

Today, I’m writing about another grebe, one that’s not as gorgeous as the Horned grebe, but in my opinion, it comes really close.

vestamager-9

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Flyvestation VÌrløse

Flyvestation VĂŚrløse… I have already taken you to this place.
You don’t remember? OK, I can’t blame you. In the first place, the header doesn’t show a picture of the area (I was so focused on the birds, I don’t have anything else…). Then, last time I was there, the ground was covered by snow. Remember now?

This time, the weather was much better, so I went by bike. I got a bit lost, but shhhh…

On the way, I spotted a bird of prey perched on a tree, next to the road. I stopped to take a look, but I expected it to take-off quickly. It didn’t, so I grabbed my binoculars from my bag. Even with them, I wasn’t sure whether this was a Common buzzard (Buteo buteo) or its nordic counterpart and winter visitor, the Rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus). I had the feeling that it was the latter, but given how close these birds are and how little experience I have, I reserved judgment.

Rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus)

Rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus)

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Defecto @ High Voltage

After the shock CABAL, I was back to town for the great show of another rising band from Copenhagen. Defecto presented their first album to a sold-out High Voltage, and the least I can say is that this was a show full of energy. Surprisingly, it started with the broadcasting of two music videos (one never shown before, if my modest command of danish didn’t mislead me), and then the band took the stage.

defecto-2

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An evening by the sea

Kalveboderne is a body of water between the islands of Amager and SjĂŚlland, in the south of Copenhagen. I’d biked along a few times when coming back from Vestamager, but I wanted to visit the other side also. All winter, I saw reports of Little grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Smews (Mergellus albellus) in the area. The evening promised to be sunny, so I set sail in the late afternoon, with the sunset in mind. Here is the map of my peregrinations.

When I arrived on site, I was greeted by the Airbus A380 from Emirates leaving the airport on its way to Dubai. What a monster! I need to go planespotting again…

In the water, ducks and grebes teemed: Little grebes, Great crested grebes (Podiceps cristatus), Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), Wigeons (Anas penelope), Goosanders (Mergus merganser) were on a frantic search for food. Further away, there were also large flocks of Coots (Fulica atra), but no trace of the Smews.

Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

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One and a half lifer

Danish words of the day: venstre/højre = left/right

The last birding tour was a failure in terms of birds, but I had high hopes for this one. Set in Gilleleje, on the north coast of SjĂŚlland, our main targets were seabirds. In December, I had a great experience of seawatching in Gedser, and I was quite keen on a watch over the ocean. Furthermore, a young Iceland gull (Larus glaucoides) had elected to stay in the harbour this winter, and I hoped it would still be there.

Such promises encouraged me to wake up at 5, swallow a quick breakfast, and leave on an epic odyssey that would deliver me in the middle of nowhere, not far from the sea, after two and a half hour of transportation featuring three trains and two busses… err, what would I not do for birds? The shining sun lifted my mood, and I was dressed well enough to face the gusts of wind that threatened to turn us into ice. In the trees, Rooks (Corvus frugilegus) cackled. A new species to my portfolio!

Rook (Corvus frugilegus)

Rook (Corvus frugilegus)

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