White-tailed Lapwing in Nature Reserve near Frankfurt / Main

WeißschwanzkiebitzThe bird with the scientific name Vanellus leucurus is a big attraction right now in Nature Reserve Mittlere Horloffaue near the small town of Hungen. On an area called „Kuhweide“ an adult White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus)  could be (and still can be) observed on April 27th, 2014 just 40 km from the city center of Frankfurt / Main.

Several ornithologists had already been at the Horloffaue to observe the very rare species. This of course was a big sensation for the birders of the Rhine -Main region. When we arrived around 1:30 pm, the White-tailed Lapwing could not Continue reading White-tailed Lapwing in Nature Reserve near Frankfurt / Main

Weißschwanzkiebitz auf der Kuhweide in der Wetterau

White-tailed LapwingSeit mindestens Samstag, den 26. April 2013, hält sich inmitten des NSG Mittlere Horloffaue, auf der Kuhweide bei Hungen ein adulter Weißschwanzkiebitz (Vanellus leucurus) auf.

Auch am folgenden Sonntag hielt sich diese Ausnahmeerscheinung zwischen anderen Limikolen und Enten in den Gräben und vor allem zwischen den Seggen entlang der Gräben auf. Sie konnte heute kurz um die Mittagszeit, dann gegen 18:00 etwas ausführlicher mitten auf der kurzrasigen Weide laufend und im Flug gesehen werden. Die meiste Zeit des Tages hielt sich der Vogel versteckt Continue reading Weißschwanzkiebitz auf der Kuhweide in der Wetterau

Hazel Grouse: the results

Haselhuhn, MännchenIn total we visited 5 different locations where the local guides had encountered several individuals of the Hasezl Grouse the last weeks or even years. The last encounter sometimes was only 3 days before. 4 of the locations were locations like a lek – where you could hear the mating song and the mating Continue reading Hazel Grouse: the results

Hazel Grouse: the hide

Tarnzelt in HaselhuhnhabitatAdditionally finding Hazel Grouse means knowing the behavior of the Hazel Grouse. E.g. the Hazel Grouse is – although a shy bird – quite responsive or even aggressive during the mating season which has a first peak in September and then again in March/ April. In this time you can hear the mating call or mating song of the male. Best is the time in the early morning, but actually they are calling/ singing the whole day – in the right mood in the right environment.

The search for direct and indirect references to the Hazel grouse is difficult due to its hidden and secret life.

The classic approach: visual observations. Many people Continue reading Hazel Grouse: the hide

Hazel Grouse: the habitat

HaselhuhnhabitatFinding Hazel Grouse is equivalent of knowing the habits of the Hazel Grouse which means also knowing and recognizing the habitat of the Hazel Grouse. The search for the right habitat is not eased by the fact, that the Hazel Grouse has at least 3 different habitat requirements during the year in the different seasons. In general the Grouse prefers the following habitat structures. Young forest stages with pioneer forest character. A high percentage of soft wood species like Continue reading Hazel Grouse: the habitat

Finding Hazel Grouse in the Carpathians

HaselhuhnHazel Grouses (Bonasa bonasia) are certainly one of the most thought-after bird species for naturalist and bird photographers in western Palearctic. This is in parts due to the fact, that this bird is one of the few autochthon representatives of the Phasianidae family in Middle Europe. And: actually it is a very beautiful bird. Unfortunately – or maybe fortunately for the keen photographer – it is a difficult bird to observe or even photograph. In so far, not too many images are available, especially photos of the Continue reading Finding Hazel Grouse in the Carpathians

Caspian Seashore & Volga delta in May

Squacco HeronBird richness on the northern shore of the Caspian Sea is amazing. Caspian Sea is counted the largest inland body of water in the world. More than 100 rivers provide inflow to the Caspian, with the Volga River being the largest. Pristine floodplain forests, flooded grasslands to the horizon, eagles on almost every tree. A trip to the lowlands south of Astrakhan in southern Russia is not easy due to the distances and border formalities. But the only alternative is a trip to the Danube delta. To ease preparation, it was decided to participate in a guided trip in the first half of May 1998 to Volga delta. After that, the trip continued to the hill – lakes region and the feather grass steppe and the semi-desert north-west of Astrakhan.

In the Volga delta we stayed in Damtschik Continue reading Caspian Seashore & Volga delta in May

Zwergtrappenfotografie in der Estremadura

Zwergtrappe in der BalzDie Sonne steht noch hoch am Himmel, obgleich es fast 18:00 Uhr ist. Soweit das Auge reicht: Steppe, unterbrochen hin und wieder von erodierten Felsen. Über dem Boden flimmert die Luft. Im Auto herrscht unbeschreibliche Hitze. Nachdem letztes Jahr die Winterniederschläge der Estremadura ausgeblieben sind, wirkt alles vertrocknet. Und doch wimmelt es von Bodeninsekten, vornehmlich Heuschrecken, die die Fahrwege in einem grünen Dunkelgrau erscheinen lassen. Immer wieder müssen die ins Wageninnere eingedrungenen Insekten entfernt werden. Doch das Fenster muß offenbleiben. Nicht wegen der Hitze, sondern wegen eines eigenartigen Vogels. Schließlich wollen wir ihn hören. Jetzt muß man ruhig sitzen bleiben. Keine allzu hektischen Bewegungen mache. Auch nicht, wenn allzu lästige Mücken um den Kopf schwirren.

Die Steppen von Caceres und Trujillo sind berühmt für ihre Continue reading Zwergtrappenfotografie in der Estremadura

Alpine Accentor on migration on top of the Grosser Feldberg near Frankfurt / Main

AlpenbraunelleNo less than 3 Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris) could be observed on April 11th, 2014 at the Grosser Feldberg just 20 km from the city center of Frankfurt / Main. After Ingo Roessler had found the species in searching for Ring Ouzel, Turdus torquatus, around the little town of Schmitten, several ornithologists had already been on the top of the mountain (approx. 800m asl) , to observe the very rare species. First, there was talk of a bird , then they were supposedly away and then there were but a total of three individuals which were staying near the radio tower at the Great Feldberg. This of course was a big sensation for the birders of the Rhine -Main region. When we arrived around 4:30 pm, the Alpine Accentor could be seen feeding in the western courtyard by the large telecommunications tower. From time to time they flew to the gutters of the radio tower and returned to the yard. Until at least 5:20 pm, 3 individuals of the Alpine Accentor could be observed in the small courtyard Continue reading Alpine Accentor on migration on top of the Grosser Feldberg near Frankfurt / Main

Alpenbraunelle (Prunella collaris) am Großen Feldberg bei Frankfurt / Main

AlpenbraunelleSage und schreibe 3 Alpenbraunellen waren 11. April 2014 am Großen Feldberg gerade mal 20 km entfernt von der Innenstadt von Frankfurt / Main zu beobachten. Nachdem Ingo Rössler die Art bei der Suche nach Ringdrosseln, Turdus torquatus, entdeckt hatte, waren schon mehrere Ornithologen auf dem über 800m NN hohen Gipfel gewesen, um die hier sehr seltene Art zu beobachten. Zuerst war die Rede von einem Vogel, dann waren sie angeblich weg und dann waren es doch insgesamt 3 Individuen,  die sich auf dem Großen Feldberg dem höchsten Berg des im Südwesten Hessens gelegenen Mittelgebirges und des gesamten Rheinischen Schiefergebirges aufhielten. Das war natürlich eine Riesensensation für die Rhein-Main-Taunus-Region. Als wir gegen 16:30 ankamen, trieben sich die Alpenbraunellen gemeinsam im westlichen Innenhof direkt am großen Fernmeldeturm herum. Sie waren eifrig damit beschäftigt, auf dem mit Pflaster ausgelegten Innenhof Continue reading Alpenbraunelle (Prunella collaris) am Großen Feldberg bei Frankfurt / Main

Birkhähne am Balzplatz

Black GrouseIn Deutschland ist es fast eine aussterbende Erfahrung: das Birkhahngurren ((Tetrao tetrix) im zeitigen Frühjahr. Der autochtone Bestand in der Rhön ist fast erloschen. Nur in den Alpen lebt noch eine vitale Population dieses mittelgroßen Raufußhuhns.

Will man Fotos von der Birkhahnbalz machen, sollte man auch aus naturschützerischen Gesichtspunkten nach Skandinavien fahren und nicht auch noch die letzten Überreste heimischer Populationen dem Streß der Fotografie aussetzen. Im Frühjahr 2013 Continue reading Birkhähne am Balzplatz

Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) photography in Extremadura

Littel Bustard male in displayThe sun is still high in the sky, although it is almost 6:00 pm. As far as the eye can see : steppe, interrupted now and then by eroded rocks . Above the ground , the air shimmers . In the car there is indescribable heat. After last year’s winter precipitation had failed in the Extremadura, everything looks withered. And yet it teems with soil insects, especially grasshoppers. It let the routes appear in a green. Dark- gray colour. Again and again Continue reading Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) photography in Extremadura