A Siberian visitor

A Siberian visitor

Wednesday afternoon, I’m home after a day at the university. I turn on the computer, sat comfortably and open Facebook. First post: Black-throated thrush, 13th record in Denmark. Wait, what? Where???

After this moment of panick, I went to DOFbasen, the Danish bird sighting database, to see whether the bird had already been reported. It had, and it was near my place, some 15 minutes by bike! Alas, it was already dark, and I was forced to go to the university the day after, as we needed to finish a report.
This Thursday was a beautiful day, sunny and crisp. All day long, while working on the report, I saw the number of observations on DOFbasen grow: the bird was still there, and very easy to see. Imagine the frustration. I would have time to get there on Friday morning, but I was convinced it would be cloudy and depressing, and I was worried to see the thrush leave.

Friday morning. Sun! The report was finished, so I was supposed to sleep this morning. Meh, we’ll sleep when we are dead.
So I took my bike and rode. The sunrise over Utterslev Mose was delightful, the trees covered in frost. I got lost on the way, but managed to reach Tingskrivervej at 9.30. The first birder I met told me that the thrush had been seen 2 minutes ago, but had since then dropped to the ground, behind a wall. We waited.

Distribution of the Dark-throated thrush
Distribution of the Dark-throated thrush (source: xeno-canto)

The Dark-throated thrush (Turdus atrogularis) is a Siberian species: it nests behind the Ural mountains, and winters in the south of Asia, from Iran to Burma. It’s seen regularly in Western Europe, and the last Danish mention occurred one year ago. I missed the Hume’s leaf warbler and the Dusky warbler in the autumn, I didn’t want to miss this one.

I noticed a thrush drinking from the raingutter, high up. I saw it from behind, so I wasn’t sure it was the one we were looking for, but when it turned, no doubt was possible: a dark throat and a white belly, that was our visitor! As I tried to show it to the others, it flew down and landed in a tree nearby, where it started to clean its plumage for a few minutes.

Dark-throated thrush (Turdus atrogularis)
Dark-throated thrush (Turdus atrogularis)

Continue reading “A Siberian visitor”

Staunings Ø

Staunings Ø

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.

stauningsØ

stauningsØ-2

Continue reading “Staunings Ø”

Gulls of Helsinki

Gulls of Helsinki

This spring, while I was introducing friends of mine to birdwatching in Helsinki, I taught them the differences between the most common gull species we could observe there. Later on, I opened this blog and thought that it could be a good topic for an article, especially since gulls are generally not shy animals: they are easy to spot, and easy to shoot.

French-speaking readers: I have included French names; please make sure you don’t miss the footnote.

Common gull (Larus canus)

fr – Goéland cendré

gull2

Continue reading “Gulls of Helsinki”

Vestamager

Vestamager

Until the end of the year, I will have no class on Friday. Can there be a better occupation than birdwatching to start the week-end? (Homework? Nah, too mainstream…)

So yesterday I woke up at 11, and it was sunny. After Utterslev Mose, I decided to visit another birding place. Supported by the amazing website of DOF, the local bird conservation association, I settled on Vestamager. It’s a large green area located south of Copenhagen, next to the airport. Birds and planes to spot, the day promised to be good.

After an hour of biking through the city center, I reached a wide plains covered in grazing fields. In the distance, I could see a small wood, and behind it the dyke marking the end of the area.

I walked through the meadows. To my right, I observed a herd of cows followed by flocks of Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and Western yellow wagtails (Motacilla flava).

Common starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Western yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava)
Western yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava)

Continue reading “Vestamager”