Black Sun. Starling Migration

Black Sun. Starling Migration

Black Sun - Starlings in Denmark

Black Sun - Starlings in Denmark

Black Sun in the marshes near Ribe in Denmark

Black Sun in the marshes near Ribe

Black Sun. Denmark

Black Sun. Denmark

Starling, Denmark

Starling, Denmark

Sheep and starlings forage

Sheep and starlings forage

Buy Black Sun postcards at the hostel

Buy Black Sun postcards at the hostel

Bird-watching, Ribe, Denmark

Bird-watching, Ribe, Denmark

Sandpipers in fantastic formations

Sandpipers in fantastic formations

Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis). Wadden Sea

Barnacle Geese. Wadden Sea

Sandpipers, Common Shelducks and Oystercatchers

Sandpiper, Shelduck and Oystercatcher

Geese and swans at wintertime

Geese and swans at wintertime

Pied avocet and chick

Pied avocet and chick

Black Sun

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Black Sun - Starlings in Denmark. Also see the towers of Ribe Cathedral on the photo

Happening right now. Earth Hour 2014.

Earth Hour 2014 at Danhostel Ribe. March 29 at 8.30pm - 9.30pm - Welcome.
Read more: Earth Hour 2014 in Ribe

Black Sun - Thousands of Starlings in the Sky

In Spring and Autumn huge numbers of migration starlings land in the marshes at the Wadden Sea. They are looking for daddy long legs and garden chafer grubs in the wet meadows. At such time you can observe a fascinating panorama called “Black Sun” (Sort Sol).

Hundreds of thousands of starlings turn the sky black when they are circling around creating fascinating formations in the air before they land at dusk in an area covered with reeds. Several starlings descend on the same reed – the uppermost in danger of being caught by a bird of prey, while the lower ones might end with their feet in water.

Some evenings the starlings are especially active “air dancing”  - making rapid changes of direction and flying around the air before they decide where to settle for the night. This is due to birds of prey nearby – goshawks, falcons or common buzzards. The birds of prey do usually catch many starlings during the air show and the starlings will all start to fly together, trying to come above the birds of prey to make a counter attack with vomit and bird droppings which make the birds' feathers sticky so that they can't fly.
Other evenings no birds of prey are nearby. Then the starlings make no “air dances” but descend directly in the reeds.
Often the starlings will change their sleeping locations, as they try to trick the birds of prey. Besides the reeds often break because of the heavy weight of the amount of birds. You can’t quite be sure where the starlings choose to stay for the night.

Here you can see a little of the video "Black Sun Ribe"  filmed by Danhostel Ribe 1 km from the hostel.

What time of the year is Black Sun?

In general, the spring migration occurs from February to mid-April, and autumn migration begins in August and can last all the way to December. The largest black sun experiences will usually be in late March and early April and again in September and the beginning of October. In recent years there has still been impressive Black Sun around  the1st of November in Ribe
The Black Sun period in the spring is shorter than in autumn.

Where to see Black Sun Starlings in Ribe

Many evenings you can watch the starlings dance from the bird watchtower at Ribelund (around 1 km. from Danhostel Ribe). Take an evening stroll through the park of Ribelund and watch all the animals (deer, kangaroos, goats, horses, donkeys etc. From the watchtower you may then enjoy the beautiful view of Ribe Østerå and the marshes of Ribe. Enjoy the tranquillity and the sunset above Ribe Cathedral. Please don’t disturb the birds by photographing with flash, though.

Other evenings the most magnificent sights have been near Tangeskoven or Kammerslusen. You may spend the day at the Wadden Sea with a visit to the Ribe Dyke and to the Wadden Sea island Mandø.


Black Sun - Starlings in Denmark - with Ribe Cathedral in the background

Black Sun Guided Tours 2014

Often you can join “Black Sun” excursions with experienced guides from the Wadden Sea Centre. These tours do fill up quickly, so please book your tickets in good time. Register: Call + 45 75446161 or email info@vadehavscentret.dk
The guided tours take place around sunset
 

Guided tours in  Ribe.  Spring 2014 :

  • March 2014: 
    26th, 28th and 29th.
  • April 2014:
    2nd, 4th and 5th

Guided tours in Ribe.  Autumn 2014

  • September 2014:
    3., 4., 5., 6., 10., 11., 12., 13., 17., 18., 19., 20., 24., 25., 26. and 27.
  • October 2014:
    1., 2., 3., 4., 5., 8., 9., 10., 11., 12., 15., 16., 17., 18., 22., 23., 24., 25., 29., 30. and 31.

Black Sun accommodation

Black Sun is usually not far from Danhostel Ribe - most of the days no longer than you can either walk or cycle - but we are usually very busy in the Black Sun season - especially in the fall - so remember to book your room. See: Accommodation.
Also take a look at  "Offers"  first, we might have a special offer for you at the time you want to stay in Ribe.


Go bird-watching in the Wadden Sea National Park on bike. You can rent it at the hostel

Also other migration birds are a breathtaking sight

Take a look of the photo of the sandpipers (right)  giving a fantastic flying display - and the geese too.  With 10 to12 million migratory birds spring and autumn in the Wadden Sea National Park, it is a top bird-watching location in Denmark
Most birds are to be seen in the Wadden Sea National Park during migration in spring and autumn. But during winter it is also possible to see big flocks of geese and swans

An option is a visit to the Wadden Sea Centre (Vadehavscentret) near Ribe, where you can learn more about the marsh and the Wadden Sea as a rich nutritional reservoir for the migratory birds.
At the Centre you may also see the Black Sun video. See: Museum and Activity Centres

Here you can read about : The Wadden Sea - The tidal wetlands along the North Sea

Here you can read about : Storm surges in Ribe, Denmark


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