Collared Plover on a sandbar in the Pantanal

Azararegenpfeifer oder Schlankschnabel-RegenpfeiferA tiny white-gray-brown bird runs swiftly ahead of me on the sands of the Rio São Lourenço, which is called Rio Cuiabá as well. It is a Collared Plover (Charadrius collaris). I lie down on the sand and let the bird come. It walks here, sometimes there. But over time the wader gets closer and closer. I decide to take a few photos with the 4.0 / 500 on the monopod from the plover, but also from the other waders on the sandbanks. Who knows when to find them again?

In addition to the Pied Lapwings (Vanellus cayanus) I dedicate a lot of time especially to the Collared Plover. With their chestnut-brown neck, gray-brown mottled coat and pure white bottoms, they are very rich in contrast. There is also a black chest band. The male I photograph has a white forehead bounded by a black frontal strip and at the bottom by a black eyestripe. Strikingly are the long pinkisj legs. Collared Plovers differ from most similar species of plovers by the narrow black breast band.

Actually, I wanted to make my way back today via the Transpantaneira. A rain front is announced. If the road is soaked and I have to drive with snow chains, I must pull these down before each bridge, because otherwise I will irrevocably disassemble the bridge and my land cruisers, too. The chains get caught in no time in the fixing iron or in the protruding nails.

Other sympatric Charadrius plovers occurring in similar habitats look very similar. One of them is Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus), the American representative of our Kentish Plover (Charadrius Continue reading Collared Plover on a sandbar in the Pantanal

Preuss’s Weaver creeping on giant primeval forest tree

PreussweberIn the steaming lowland rainforest of Ghana we are standing since dawn up to 45 meters above ground on the so-called Canopy Walkway since dawn. Despite the height of the jungle giant, we are not standing in the canopy. No wonder the tree on which our platform is mounted can be a resource of food in every respect and any altitude. The gaze must always be directed upwards and downwards. A yellow flashing makes us look up. A small yellow-black goblin quickly and purposefully examines the thick side branch of the tree. Once it runs on the light bark, then again the mossy bottom is inspected. It is a rather small weaver bird, but it can score with its intense colors. It is a Preuss’s Weaver (Ploceus preussi). The yield in foraging can be seen on one of the images. It consists mainly of insects, such as grasshopper (Orthoptera) butterflies (Lepidoptera). In the documented case – see the gallery of Preuss´s Weaver – the bird fed from spiders (Araneae).

The Preuss’s Weaver examines the bark of tree trunks in the rainforest of Guinea via Ghana, Cameroon to the Congo. It examines the smooth bark as well as branches that are covered with epiphytes. The foraging should probably take place less than 10 m in height. It is said, that they are foraging usually in pairs. But we did not see single individuals.

The photographed Preuss’s Weaver – sometimes referred to as Golden-backed Weaver – is a male who is recognizable by his Continue reading Preuss’s Weaver creeping on giant primeval forest tree

Invasion von Hakengimpeln in Deutschland?

HakengimpelAm 6. November 2019 flogen 11 sehr große und langschwänzige Finken nach Norden über den Königshafen an der Lister Nehrung auf Sylt. Leider zogen die Vögel stumm über den Beobachter hinweg. Außerdem waren gegen den dunkelgrauen Himmel keine Färbungsdetails zu erkennen. Von der Silhouette waren es aber mit ziemlicher Sicherheit Hakengimpel (Pinicola enucleator).

Für den mit Hakengimpeln aus dem Norden Skandinaviens vertrauten Beobachter ist diese Beobachtung des Brutvogels der borealen Nadelwälder absolut nachvollziehbar. Allerdings liegt der letzte Nachweis des Hakengimpels in Deutschland bereits mehr als 25 Jahre zurück. Laut einschlägiger Forenmitteilungen könnte die Chance auf einen neuen Nachweis und damit einen zusätzlichen Eintrag in der Deutschlandliste in den kommenden Wochen so groß sein wie lange nicht. In Skandinavien wird derzeit eine südwärts gerichtete Massenwanderung mit Nachweisen bis in den Süden Schwedens und Dänemarks beobachtet.

Die ersten Vögel erreichten Dänemark am 27. Oktober. An dem Tag wurden bis zu sechs Exemplare in Skagen gesehen wurden. Ähnlich Continue reading Invasion von Hakengimpeln in Deutschland?

Birding in Chobe Nationalpark/ Botswana

Afrikanischer ScherenschnabelIn the first morning light a mokoro-boat splits the shallow waves of the early river. Silence lies over the wide river plain in the morning haze. The birding specials in the area around the Chobe River in the north of Botswana, characterized by flood plains, grasslands and riparian woods along the river courses, are real treats for avid birders. The bird list is characterized by many species that love the proximity to the water. These include White-backed Night Heron (Gorsachius leuconotus), Slaty Egret (Egretta vinaceigula), African Darter (Anhinga rufa), African Marsh Harrier (Circus ranivorus), African Finfoot (Podica senegalensis), Pel’s Fishing Owl (Scotopelia peli), Half-collared Kingfisher (Alcedo semitorquata), Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) and – last not least – the African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris).  But also other beautiful and/ or rare birds like White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides), Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera), Meyer’s Parrot (Poicephalus meyeri), Swamp Boubou (Laniarius bicolor), Holub’s Golden Weaver (Ploceus xanthops) and Brown Firefinch (Lagonosticta nitidula). Regular guests from the western Palearctic from October on are Great Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Thrush Nightingales (Luscinia luscinia).

When we’ve left the river bend behind the lodge for a while, a flock starts moving with a heavy, powerful wing beat. Perched low on a sandbank were standing dozens of black and white colored birds with a strikingly long red bill. These are the long-awaited African Skimmer. First, the flock turns a round over the resting sandbar. Then the flock descends into low altitude flight. The black-and-white-colored, roughly tern-sized birds with their long, elegant wings fly a few centimeters above calm water, hovers prey-hunting parallel to the water surface – as you might want to see from the Skimmers at River Sanaga in Cameroon. Suddenly they pull out their oversized, laterally flattened and sharp-edged lower beak and pull it, flattening its wings, through the upper layers of water. They fly until their beaks come into contact with a fish. Shortly thereafter, it closes his beak abruptly, and a small silver fish disappears wriggling in the throat of the successful hunters.

The beaks of the Skimmers have over thirty special adaptations to the hunting technique in the skull and neck area – such as horn-like Continue reading Birding in Chobe Nationalpark/ Botswana

Uhus und ihre Jungen

Uhu - JungesIm zeitigen Frühjahr ist der typische, rhythmische Ruf bzw. Gesang eines Uhus (Bubo bubo) zu hören. Ich dachte sofort an einen aufgelassenen Steinbruch. Dicke weiße Kotspritzer in einer Felsnische bestärkten mich in dem Verdacht. Auch Federn und Reste von Kröpfungen waren zu entdecken. Taubenfedern, Krähenfedern, Bunspechtfedern und Waldkauzfedern waren zu erkennen. Kein Zweifel, der Uhu hatte ein Terrain erobert. Wenig später stand fest, daß ein Uhupaar brütet. Erstaunlich war, dass die Brut in einem Gebiet stattfand, in dem es teilweise unruhig zuging. Das Gelände des Steinbruchs zog immer wieder Moto-Cross-Fahrer an und auch Mineraliensammler fanden sich hin und wieder ein. Das alles schien den Uhu nicht sehr zu stören. Trotzdem wurde natürlich durch die örtliche Naturschutzgruppe darauf geachtet, dass diese Störungen minimal blieben.  Zuerst noch im Privatbesitz eines Abbaubetriebs wurde der Steinbruch mittlerweile von einem Naturschutzverein angekauft, so dass in Zukunft solche Störungen vermieden werden können.

Auch in den folgenden Jahren war das Uhu-Paar erfolgreich. 2017 wurden zwei Junge aufgezogen und in diesem Jahr sind es wieder 2 Jungtiere. Natürlich kann man noch nicht voraussagen, ob alle überleb en werden. Aber es zeigt sich ganz deutlich, daß der Uhu wieder zu einem festen Faunen-Bestandteil dieser Gegend geworden ist.

Erstaunlich war, dass der Uhu einer alten Brutnische über die Continue reading Uhus und ihre Jungen