Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Wagbachniederung:

Purple HeronFrankfurt Airport (FRA) is the gateway to continental Europe. Many airlines use the Airport as a hub for connecting flights all over the world. If you are coming from Frankfurt Airport and heading down to the south for e.g. Munich or Stuttgart or the Black Forest, you might consider to squeeze in a morning of birding you might have a look at the wagbachniederung. Here you can walk, enjoy some fresh air and enjoy birding for typical european birds.

One of these sites is the best riparin woods 110 km south of Frankfurt, called The “Wagbachniederung” . This location is situated on the right bank of the Rhine at Waghaeusel southeast of Speyer between Mannheim and Karlsruhe. The Wagbachniederung was formerly a loop of the Rhine, which was separated from the main Continue reading Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Wagbachniederung:

Canon EOS 1 Mark IV, ein Erfahrungsbericht

EOS-1D Mark IVAls (nach 25 Jahren) unzufriedener Nikon-Fotograf hatte ich Gelegenheit ein völlig neues fotografisches System zu suchen. Da ich mich weiter in Richtung Vogelfotografie entwickeln wollte und die neuen Kameras bei Nikon aus den o.a. Gründen nicht zu Verfügung standen, habe ich verschiedene Alternativen bei Canon gesucht. Als Vogelfotograf habe ich mich auf das Ablichten möglichst vieler Vogelarten für wissenschaftliche Zwecke spezialisiert. Zuerst habe ich meine Bedürfnisse genau geprüft. Ich laufe viel in den unterschiedlichsten Gegenden, im Gebirge auf 2.500m NN oder im Regenwald.

Das Gewicht der Gesamtkombination spielt also eine große Rolle. Zur Disposition stand eine gebrauchte Canon 1D Mark III, die Canon EOS 7D oder die Canon EOS 5D Mark II oder eben das damalige Top-Modell, die Canon EOS 1D Mark IV. Die EOS 1D Mark III schied aus, weil die Berichte u.a. in Dforum über die Autofokus-Probleme zu eindeutig gegen diese Kamera sprachen und auch die Canon EOS 7 D wurde in den Foren m.E. zu negativ bzgl. des verwendbaren ISO-Spielraums diskutiert. Blieb also noch die Canon EOS 5D Mark II als Alternative. Um meine Wahl abzusichern, nahm ich die Gelegenheit wahr, mir über GM-Foto in Frankfurt eine Canon EOS 1D Mark IV zusammen mit einem Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM auszuleihen und ein Wochenende zu testen. Eine Canon EOS 5D Mark II konnte ich von einem Freund ausleihen. Der Vergleich ergab, Continue reading Canon EOS 1 Mark IV, ein Erfahrungsbericht

Greater Spotted Eagle over Germany

Greater Spotted EagleAlready nine times, a Greater Spotted Eagle, Aquila clanga, with the beautiful name “Toenn” flew undetected across Germany. Now it was the moment for the first time that the eagle could be observed and even photographed. On 5 April the bird crossed the Swiss-German border in Waldshut-Tiengen and spent the following night in Tuttlingen on the Danube. From there it was the next day on a north facing route up to Reutlingen and then some 200 kilometers to the northeast to Erlangen. Going over Franconia his track led him on the 8th of April in direction to the Vogtland. In the Bavaria the birdwatcher Carsten Rohde became aware of a large eagle that moved further away to the northeast. Through the spotting scope he could see a transmitter on the back of the eagle. So quickly the idea came up that it must involve Toenn, especially since this eagle went on the same route last year.

After an overnight stay in the Vogtland the journey continued through Saxony. On 10 April, five days after his “entry”, he crossed the border into Poland. Last year the egle flew over the Baltic to Scandinavia, where he spent the summer months in Sweden and Norway. What is his destination in this year can be pursued under birdmap.5dvision.ee

Great Grey Owl, Strix nebulosa, in Finland

Great Grey Owl low over snowDuring a workshop near the northern part of the Baltic sea in Finland from 5th – 8th of April 2013 these excellent images of a hunting Great Grey Owl were shot.

Wow, what an excellent bird. Just imagine, like this bird is sitting in a tall tree or on a barn roof concentrating to hunt on a vole on the floor which is 100 – 300 meters distant under 20 – 30 cm thick, insulating snow. This in spite of all kinds of ambient noise in the surroundings.

The Great Grey Owl, which we – the participants of the workshop – were able so observe and photograph on several mornings. This would by no means apply to all owls in that area. I guess we have been lucky now in early April. Most of other workshops run by Finnature – a tour operator from Oulu – take place in January/February for a period of 2 – 4 days. Since these owls do not accept feeding with dead mice, you are dependent on the mercy of the right places / times.

Not at least for aesthetic reasons photographing the hunting of voles in the winter landscape with a mix of forest and meadows is the best. Nevertheless, there is no guarantee of photographic results. The most important is, to locate the right place (and the right owl), then to find the owl in the landscape, then to be a patient person who can stand it – sometimes for 1 hour – at -10 ° Celsius to stand in the snow and hope that this bird is hungry enough for hunting. There is no time to waste, Great Grey Owls are nomadic Continue reading Great Grey Owl, Strix nebulosa, in Finland

Kumlien’s Gull (Larus glaucoides kumlieni) on Varanger, Norway

Kumlien's Gull (Larus glaucoides kumlieni)Kumlien's Gull (Larus glaucoides kumlieni)

During observations to the northern part of Norway from February 28th – 3rd of march 2013 I shot images of a very pale gull, what I thought at that time was a regular adult Iceland gull. But I showed the image – more by accident – in the BirdForum and one of the experts asked for more pics of that bird to verify if the seemingly dark grey outer webs of P9-10 are real or just a light effect. I send the images and now they think it is a Kumlien’s Gull (Larus glaucoides kumlieni).

Kumlien’s Gull is a large gull which breeds in the Arctic regions far west of Varanger. The main breeding sites are in Canada. But Kumlien’s Gull is migratory, wintering from Labrador west across the Great Lakes and south to New England There are some observations outside that range. Thus the bird is quite a regular vagrant in small numbers to Scandinavia, Great Britain,  Ireland and the Atlantic islands. So there was one observation in January 2012 near Trondheim, Norway or in February 2009 on Madeira. According to http://madeira.seawatching.net/articles/Kumliens_2009_Madeira.pdf there has been an unprecedented influx of Kumliens Gulls into Southern Europe in the early part of 2009. Numbers involved are difficult to gauge but as many as ten could have been recorded in Spain where previously only two birds had been recorded before. Others were recorded in Belgium and Portugal, with a single adult also seen on the Azores.

The reason for this influx is Continue reading Kumlien’s Gull (Larus glaucoides kumlieni) on Varanger, Norway

Steller’s Eider female on Baltic Sea of Germany

Steller's Eider in snowstormToday a female Steller’s Eider, Polysticta stelleri, has been recorded north of the Holnisspitze, which is a peninsula north-east of a town in Schleswig-Holstein named Gluecksburg. After a run in the last days to the one individual of a male King Eider, Somateria spectabilis, at Kalkhorst at the shores of the Baltic Sea, this is the second mega duck in a short time, which can be seen at the shores of the Baltic Sea in Germany. The female Steller’s Eider was observed the first time by Katrin Habenicht and photographed with some nice shots (including a nice starting/ flying shot). The Eider can be seen in the northern extension of the Holnisser ferry road (Faehrstraße). The duck swims between other ducks (Eurasian Wigeon and Common Eider) present in the same area.

The Holnis peninsula, which is a nature reserve is approx. 15km distance east of Flensburg, which is connected to the rest of the world via Highway (Autobahn) 7. Holnis peninsula marks the northernmost point of the German mainland. The area extends for a distance of 6 km into a fjord – the so-called Flensburger Foerde – and is a reknown pastime area of Gluecksburg. On the peninsula there is a cliff and a salt marsh with a major nesting colony of seabirds.

This female Steller’s Eider is obviously only Continue reading Steller’s Eider female on Baltic Sea of Germany