Saturday 7 October 2023

The plan was not to use the slow ferry but the fast catamaran, only that one was cancelled due to the expected bad weather and high swell some days ahead. So we embarked in the rain on the trusted MS Helgoland. Already outside the harbour we saw many Razorbills and Guillemots of which a wreck (starving birds close shore looking for fish) is taking place this autumn.


After 3,5 hours scanning the sea only a Leach Storm-petrel and a handful Little Gulls was worth all the cold and drenched hours. It was raining still when we arrived so we first headed to our accommodation (Haus Nordlicht) to drop our luggage and put on some dry clothes. We checked Mittelland, in this crater we were at least out of the wind that was blowing from the north. Result was a flyby of Lapland Bunting, some Shore Larks, couple of Short-eared Owls and a Merlin

Sunday 8 October 2023

The weather was calmer with no rain and the wind had subsided. After intense debating, we decided to start at Dune before all the tourist arrived as a Short-toed Lark was present for a couple of days already. More birds on the move because of the change in the weather so our spirits were high.


On arrival at Dune we quickly had some more Shore Larks flying by and a Ring Ouzel. On the south beach a common seal didn't survived the night and his mate was looking at us with tear dropping eyes.


Hart less as we are we neglected it's cries and hoped for a Greater Black-backed Gull or Skua to show up but probably that was asked too much. Maybe on our way back we thought but the carcass was already taken away because people might not like the sight of a dead seal...

Meanwhile some Northern Wheatears again drawn our attention and we again couldn't resist taking some photos.


The Short-toed Lark was in the pocket but not so cooperative. Hans wanted to spend more time to try his luck whilst I made another walk around the island hoping to find some goodies that resulted in three Little Buntings but all on the move. We had our traditional "kaffee und kuchen" at the airport. 


Reports came in of a Pied Wheatear at Kringel (the place where I wanted to start this morning) so we headed to the ferry back to the Helgoland. We just arrived at the dock when the report of a Eye-browed Thrush came through at Mittelland, yes we could have been there too, so stress stress stress, who's das verdammt bott!!! 

Run, run, run up the hill, we climbed over the German birders who were sweating out all the October fest beers to get to the site the bird has been seen. Hours went by, hundreds of Redwings flew by but no sign of the eyebrow ....  From the hill we spotted the Pied Wheatear on the blocks below and 3 Red Kites and 6 Short-eared Owls tried to cheer us up but we had missed our lifer.

Monday 9 October

The first goody of the day started with another Little Bunting overhead followed by a Siberian Chiffchaff at the NO harbour. We continued our way heading to the north beach where a lot of birds were present. A late Yellow Wagtail was present among the numerous Meadow Pipits and a cooperative Rock Pipit.

With the report of a Red-flanked Bluetail and the Pied Wheatear still present we moved to the south side of the island with a first stop at Kringel to check the Pied Wheatear which had been caught the day before and banded with red ring and logger on it's back.

The conditions got more challenging with a lot of spray over the blocks, not the best for your equipment. So we went to the south harbour to check the Red-flanked Bluetail. Whilst looking for the bird we found an immature Turlte Dove. 

- Stejnegers Robotap