Escaping Odense for a day…

Danish countryside – a patchwork of yellows.

At 5am the alarm gently woke me from my lovely sleep and I crept out of bed, trying not to wake the other half. It was me after all that had decided I was interested in birds, not really knowing that meant early starts and sleepless nights!

I jumped on the bike and left the confines of the city. I headed south west through Danish countryside and farmland to Tarup, a village about 10km from my home. Here on the site of old flooded quarry pits, I met Hans and we continued with his net rounds. Every year Hans sets up nets at this site to catch and ring birds. I recently attended a course on bird ringing and obtained a trainee license, which allows me to ring birds under the supervision of an experienced ringer.

The wonderfully calm garden warbler (havesanger)

One of the first birds we came across in the net was a garden warbler (havesanger). It’s described as a “featureless bird” with no strong or distinct markings, but despite this, it is very beautiful up close. Garden warblers are migrants and have just returned to Denmark in the last few weeks after spending the winter in south Africa. They are a pleasure to handle, very calm and collected and even a little reluctant to leave your hand!

A garden warbler (havesanger) is happy to stay on Hans arm after being ringed!

The nets were open for 6 hours and as the morning continued we caught a range of species in the nets. Our most exciting/noisy catches were two greater spotted woodpeckers (stor flagspætte). Two young boys (born last year, or 2k birds) were found in two separate nets, quite close together. We suspect they had been chasing each other, lost their minds slightly and landed in the nets! These birds are a little more tricky to handle, so I happily took a back seat and watched the master at work! Once out of the nets and ringed we got to have a closer look at this beautifully colored bird.

Greater spotted woodpecker (stor flagspætte)

They were smaller than I imagined, with very short legs. They have a complex marking pattern with black, white and red. The also have a very long tongue to probe with and collect food (insects like ants).

Greater spotted woodpecker (stor flagspætte)

As the day progressed we met some of the usual suspects in the nets including blue tit and great tit. The blue tit is most certainly the opposite of the garden warbler. It is constantly fighting, wriggling, struggling and trying to cause you trouble! For it’s size it certainly has a LOT of attitude.

Blue tit causing trouble!

Despite the feathered focus, I did manage to distract myself from the birds for a few minutes to appreciate a few of natures other wonders. I came across this large moth which resembled an old leaf. He was attached to a nettle. Any suggestions?

Mystery moth at Tarup -Poplar Hawk Moth – thanks Sharky!

After closing the nets shortly before lunch time I took some time to enjoy the peace and calm at the quarry. On the way home I stopped to delight my nose in the scent of lilac, which grows along the road sides in many residential areas. It reminds me of our first house, where it grew just outside by the road. I loved to pick some and bring it to school for the teacher – that says a little about my childhood!

Opium for my nose – Lilac


2 responses to “Escaping Odense for a day…”

  1. sharki says :

    Hi Jen.

    loving your site.

    The moth is a poplar hawk moth, I’ve yet to see one myself, so well done for spotting that one.

    By the way, I snuck onto some waste land in the centre of taunton on Sunday and came across a family of foxes playing in the long undergrowth.
    No photos as I couldn’t get a clear shot of them, so just stood and watched them for a while.


  2. avian101 says :

    Great post! Nice pictures too! 🙂

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