Long-eared Owl chased by a Magpie

A rainy day in May at Romania´s Black Sea coast. Some good birds for a western birdwatcher like Reed, Corn and Black-headed Bunting, Great Reed-Warbler, Barred Warbler and a flying Lesser Spotted Eagle could be seen. A big surprise was what you see on the pictures: a Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, staying in a bush, eventually flying away. After a few seconds a Magpie showed up. Here you can see the Long Eared Owl chased by a Black-billed Magpie in flight. The images were photographed in the nice countryside of Romania north of the city of Constanta.
Basic habitat requirements for the Long-eared Owl are small forests or hedges with some trees. Preferred are open countrysides which nest-sites of Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) or Magpie (Pica pica). It is not clear, why the Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica) chased the owl. It is well reknown that magpies could be very aggressive in defending their nest and/or brood. Probably that has been the case Continue reading Long-eared Owl chased by a Magpie

Eurasian Spoonbill in Germany

2012 might become a good year for the Eurasian Spoonbill , Platalea leucorodia, in Germay – and a good year for the birdwatcher to observe one far away from the coasts. Right now, you can see up to 8 individuals at the “Große Flutmulde” on the Bislicher Insel near Wesel/ Lower rhine valley. Another location is the nature reserve “Bingenheimer Ried” in the Wetterau near the town of Giessen/ Hessen, where one individual has been seen at least until the 19th of June 2012. The Eurasian Spoonbill is a rare breeding bird in europe with a stronghold in the northwestern part of the Netherlands (Ijsselmeer) or Germany. 46 years ago, Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim wrote in his „Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas“, Band 1. Gaviiformes – Phoenicopteriformes that only in 1962 there have been successful breeding on the island of Memmert and that Eurasian Spoonbill could be seen in Germany only on the north-western coast or – very rare – in Bavaria. Since then, western populations have increased during the last decades. But still, in the center of Germany this bird is a rare but regular visitor. Mainly there are birds in non-breeding plumage, but a Eurasian Spoonbill in breeding plumage could be seen on  15th of June 2007 in Niederweimar near the town of Marburg/ Hessen.

This species has an extremely large range Continue reading Eurasian Spoonbill in Germany

Robin attack on Cuckoo´s head

The European Common Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, has always been a miraculous bird. His loud and simple song and his arrival as a migrant in Europe signaling spring time made him one of the best-known birds in Europe. Quite recently his migration made the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) track Cuckoos via attached satellite-tracking devices to find out more about their important stop-over sites and wintering destinations on the way to and from Africa. Very reknown – but not often seen – is the cuckoo´s notorious behavior to parasite other birds brood. Especially this attidude made him unique in the awareness also for people in Europe who are not claiming to be keen birdwatchers.
During a stay in the wild landscape of masuria in north-eastern Poland I witnessed the long-lasting fight between a female Common Cuckoo and a pair of Robins, Erithacus rubecula, over a nest inside Continue reading Robin attack on Cuckoo´s head

Syrian Woodpecker and Fall webworm moth

with Fall Webworm Moth (Hyphantria cunea) in Bazilescu Park, Bucharest

The Fall webworm moth (Hyphantria cunea) seems to like the Bazilescu Park, a small park near the home of Cristian Mihai in Bucharest. During the last weeks beginning in May he saw maybe hundreds of individuals from this species, most of them entirely white, only a few showing a variable number of black dots (see first two pics in his article on birdforum). During this time, Cristian Mihai had the opportunity to see a lot of birds eating them. They are easy to find, because they are easy to spot on the dark bark of the trees, sometimes gathered in large numbers (for instance, in a morning, Cristian Mihai saw a tree with more than twenty moths from this species on its bark). During this season, birds obviously need a lot of food for chicks, so this “invasion” seems to be highly appreciated by them, as you can see in the image of a Syrian Woodpecker here.
Continue reading Syrian Woodpecker and Fall webworm moth

A Greenish Warbler in the middle of Germany

The Greenish Warbler – or Grünlaubsänger in german – could be observed in the little town of Hilchenbach (427 asl) in the Siegerland on the edge of the state of North-Rhine Westfalia. The Greenish Warbler has established as a breeding bird in South Finland and at the coast of the eastern Baltic sea quite recently. But a singing Greenish Warbler in the Siegerland on the edge of the state of North-Rhine Westfalia in the middle of Germany is an exception nonetheless. This indivudual could be seen on the 10th of June 2012 along a stream near a retirement home in the center of the town. First the local ornithologists assumed it would be a Taiga Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus tristis or Sibirischer Zilpzalp), who managed to make its way to Hilchenbach. Deliberate singing made the identification easy eventually. The Warbler was discovered on the 1st of June and had been seen by several observers in the meantime. One other discovery in the state of North-Rhine Westfalia dates back to the year 1987, when a singing male was observered in Heiligenhaus near Overath 40 kilometers west of Cologne.

Continue reading A Greenish Warbler in the middle of Germany

An Imperial Eagle in Romania: an unexpected surprise

May is Migration and early breeding time in Romania´s Black Sea coast. Thus it is prime birdwatching time. After having seen many of the speciality birds like Pelicans, Black-necked and Red-necked Grebes, Glossy Ibises, Spoonbills in the Danube Delta, a small group of bird photographers went for the Dobrudgea– organized by Sakertours. A big surprise was, what you see on the pictures: a juvenile Imperial Eagle. Here you can see Imperial Eagle in flight. Photographed in the nice countryside of Romania near the city of Constanta. The eagle was flying from the east along the northern limits of the Cheile Dobrogei – the Dobrogei Gorge. After having seen (young) Imperial Eagle in Oman on several occasions, the identification was not too difficult.
The Imperial Eagle is sparsely distributed from central, south-east and eastern Europe east to Lake Baikal in Russia. Continue reading An Imperial Eagle in Romania: an unexpected surprise

Parrots in Papua New Guinea

New Guinea is an island located just south of the equator. New Guinea is home to 46 species of parrots (s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parrots_of_New_Guinea), which makes it the third most diverse biogeographic region in parrot diversity, after the continent of South America which harbours about 100 species and Australia which has 57 species.
New Guinea on the other side is only a fraction as big in land mass as these two zones. Thus making New Guinea’s parrot diversity truly spectacular.
New Guinea is the land of Eclectus Parrots, Pesquest’s Parrot, Lories, Cockatoos, Fig-parrots, but also of Fruit-Doves, Honeyeaters, Cassowaries and of course Birds-of-Paradise. Because of its astounding variety of habitats due to topography and the influence of tropical climate, New Guinea supports over 700 species of birds.
New Guinea shares three species of cockatoos and five species of true parrots with Australia and other islands. 38 species of parrots are endemic to the island of New Guinea and minor offshore islands.
A good example of PNG´s richness in birds is the Eclectus Parrot, Eclectus roratus. Continue reading Parrots in Papua New Guinea

Iberian Chiffchaff on Fuerteventura

Iberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus ibericus (or P. brehmii  as it is called, too) is mainly found on the Iberian peninsula in Spain and Portugal but migrates to the south in fall. This chiffchaff is brighter, greener on the rump, and yellower below than Phylloscopus collybita. This species is a long-distance migrant, occurring every year on the way back from it´s wintering grounds in western Africa as far north as Germany. Right now a bird has been located in Zarrendorf near Stralsund in the north-eastern corner in Germany. This is in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Other vagrants has been found in other parts of Germany in the recent weeks, too.

It was a pleasure for me to see a Iberian Chiffchaff in low scrub on the sandy plain on top of the isthmus of Jandia in the southern corner of Fuerteventura/ Canary Islands.   Continue reading Iberian Chiffchaff on Fuerteventura

Common Snipe in courtship flight

Common Snipes, Gallinago gallinago, are always a prime birdwatchter´s and bird photographers target bird. A beautiful patterned wader that stays hidden normally in the grass, but is seen sometimes in the open; even allowing approach at short distance. If the snipe is startled it will burst out from its cover and fly in a zig-zag pattern to evade predators.
In the internet normally you will find thousands of images with the bird photographed on a fence post. This is the easy way. There are only a few exceptions where you can see Common Snipes in flight in the internet. Bird-lens is proud to show this bird in flight and even in display flight during courtship.
Continue reading Common Snipe in courtship flight

Pratincole in Oman´s deserts

These pictures are from Dawkah Farm on 10th of march 2012. Migration time in the desert could be very rewarding as surprises could arise everywhere. So happens with this pratincole with a wine-red underwing. First I thought of course of a. But looking at the photos I did not find the white trailing edge on the wing. The wash of orange on underparts are quite extensive and the red on the bill is restricted to the very beginning of the bill. I am thinking of Oriental Pratincole but cannot exclude Collared Pratincole, either. More pictures, you will find under “Photo” in the Gallery. Who can help?

Young Pale Crag-Martin in flight over Oman

Pale Crag-Martin over the Oman Desert. Early spring in the desert could be very rewarding as surprises could arise everywhere. The birder has a chance to see birds in migration and to see the first birds breeding. A surprise was this Pale Crag-Martin, Hirundo obsolete or Ptyonoprogne obsolete patrolling over the little nice oasis of Mudday in the north-western corner of Dhofar/ Oman.

Interesting features of this particular bird were a yellow gape flange and a whitish-grey rump contrasting with the lead-grey back. These characters suggest a juvenile individual. The flight however has been very swift and showed that the bird was not an inexperienced one. Photos of a young Pale Crag-Martin I have never seen in the internet galleries. Bird-Lens is proud to present this nice pictures and more you will find in the gallery under Pale Crag-Marting of Oman. Bird Lens hopes that these images are of value for other birders, too.

Pale Crag-Martin, Hirundo obsoleta is a split of the widespread Rock Martin, Hirundo fuligula, and has been treated as a subspecies of the Rock Martin,  Hirundo fuligula obsoleta before.

Continue reading Young Pale Crag-Martin in flight over Oman

A Steppe Eagle, Aquila nipalensis: From Eye to Eye

Most pictures of Steppe Eagle you find in the internet are from falconry or zoos. But the keen birdwatchter want the right stuff. Here you can see Steppe Eagle, Aquila nipalensis, in the wild. Photographed in the desert environment of Dhofar/Oman near the city of Salalah. To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic, Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic. Trips to remote places to capture images of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. Part of the images gained are photos of Baillon’s Crake, Heuglin’s Gull and Imperial Eagle. The behaviour of Steppe Eagles is not very eagle-like. They prefer to scavange but are able to kill their own prey, too. This is the reason, that Steppe Eagles can be found on garbage dumps in Arabia where they find easy food supply on carcasses of livestock and slaughterhouse waste. Continue reading A Steppe Eagle, Aquila nipalensis: From Eye to Eye

Images of birds for science & public; Western Palaearctic & the World