Tag Archives: Black Grouse

Nockberge: ein österreichischer Biosphärenpark

RauhfusskauzDer Name Nocke bezeichnet die runden Formen der bis zu 2.400 m hohen Berge im Süden der österreichischen Alpen. Als Bestandteil der Gurktaler Alpen bestehen die Nockberge vorwiegend aus kristallinen Gesteinsarten und zählen erdgeschichtlich zu den ältesten Gebirgen Österreichs. Die geologische Besonderheit dieser Berglandschaft ist jedoch der rund drei Kilometer breite Kalk- und Dolomitgesteinszug, der den Nationalpark durchzieht. Vor allem dank dieser besonderen geologischen Verhältnisse entwickelte sich in den Nockbergen eine äußerst vielfältige Tier- und Pflanzenwelt. 1987 als Nationalpark Nockberge gegründet, wurden die Nockberge 2012 in einen Biosphärenpark nach Konzept der UNESCO umgewandelt. Im Unterschied zu den Nationalparks, die dem Schutz von Wildnisgebieten dienen, sind die Biosphärenparks Kulturlandschaften. Die Nockberge sind vom bäuerlichen Leben geprägt, wie es hier seit Jahrhunderten gepflegt wird. Die Almwirtschaft ist der Garant für den Erhalt der weiten Wiesenflächen mit ihrer typischen Blumen.

Besonders die Vogelwelt ist mit einigen besonderen Vertretern in den Nockbergen vertreten. Genannt werden sollen nur Steinadler (Aquila chrysaetos), Steinhuhn (Alectoris graeca), Birkhuhn (Tetrao tetrix), Auerhuhn (Tetrao urogallus), Alpenschneehuhn (Lagopus muta), Mornellregenpfeifer (Charadrius morinellus), Uhu (Bubo bubo), Sperlingskauz (Glaucidium passerinum), Rauhfusskauz (Aegolius funereus), Continue reading Nockberge: ein österreichischer Biosphärenpark

Black Grouse on leks in the snowy spring of Finland

BirkhuhnNature photographers, who visit the snow-capped central Finland in early April, might observe a very special natural event: the mating display of the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix).  If you want to take pictures of the mating display, you should go to Scandinavia for nature conservation reasons alone. For the last remnants of domestic populations the stress of photography is too high.

You have to get up early in order to get a good night’s sleep in the stable, well-insulated wooden cabinets with mattresses and old sleeping bags before daybreak. In the hiding place you have to be completely calm. Gradually, the cocks come closer to the snow-capped plain. A sound makes the presence of the cocks divine; It is a quiet cooing to hear.

In the morning dawn the first cocks of Black Grouse appear on the mating grounds . They announce their arrival with vigorous hissing. Then they begin to walk back and forth with little tripple steps. The wings grind deeply over the ground. They make rolling sounds. With sounds like this: “Kuluku -Lulluku -Kulluku”.

30 cocks run in front of the hiding places in quite a narrow area. If they come close to imaginary limits, they take an imposition. For two or three, they walk along the border parallel to the border. In such moments, they call particularly loudly. They try to force the opponent to turn back. Both cocks are hissing and spitting sounds when they try to persuade the opponent to repent. The images in the gallery show the vigorous fights of the Black Grouse cocks.

All this takes place according to a fixed “ritual”. If none of the Continue reading Black Grouse on leks in the snowy spring of Finland

Steinadler am winterlichen Köder

SteinadlerAuch aus großer Höhe entdecken die scharfen Augen jede Beute. Es dauert trotzdem stundenlang, bis man den eindrucksvollen Steinadler (Aquila chrysaetos) am Köder im Winter beobachten kann. Und dann hat man auch noch Glück. Die erste Beobachtung eines Besuchs eines Steinadler an einem Luder lief so ab, daß ein junger Vogel nur kurz auf einer Kiefer saß, bevor er wieder verschwandt. Der Adler hatte nicht einmal versucht, sich am Kadaver eines ausgelegten Fuchses zu bedienen.

Möglicherweise hatten sie mich auch beobachtet, als ich in der Dämmerung mein Versteck aufsuchte und glaubte, daß kein Adler in der Nähe sei. Vielleicht war es aber so, daß ein Adler einige Kilometer entfernt auf einem Baum auf einer Bergkuppe saß und dorthin nach abgeschlossener Mahlzeit zurückkehrte. Es ist fast unmöglich, ein Versteck zu bauen, ohne daß die Adler eine Möglichkeit zur Einsicht haben. Obwohl das Versteck gut isoliert war, hatte ich die Befürchtung, daß die Greife durch das Auslösegeräusch der Kamera gestört würden. Die „Geräuschkulisse” schienen aber nicht wirklich zu stören. Das Geräusch der Kamera war bei der nicht sehr leise arbeitenden Canon EOS 1 DX Continue reading Steinadler am winterlichen Köder

Black Grouse on lek in Finland

Black GrouseIn Germany it is almost a dying experience: the sound of Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) in early spring. The indigenous population in the Rhoen – a mountaninour area in the middle of Germany –  is almost extinct. Only in the Alps a vital population still survives.

If you want to take pictures of the Black Grouse in courtship, one should trip to Scandinavia – also from nature conservation point of view. It is not acceptable to expose even the last remnants of native populations to the stress of photography. In the spring of 2013 I was travelling in the vicinity of the Gulf of Bothnia to Oulu in Finland. During a workshop near this northern part of the Baltic sea in Finland from 5th – 8th of April 2013 I shot images of a hunting Great Grey Owl but also of Black Grouse. Early in the morning you have to be already in the wodden hides, which are lined up in front of a snowy area shining white in the cloudless dark sky. Gradually, the male Grouse come closer to their mating grounds. You can already hear their faint cooing.

More and more they move closer to their display site. In early March at the latest the first grouse cocks are in place on the lek sites. In the snow you can still see feather streaks from their wide-spread wings and traces of jumps of the previous days. Every male bird has its defined territory and a timely arrival might prevent battles. Nevertheless, after a short while many different fights are to be observed. Some cocks fight with almost everybody, others only defend their territory. This is often associated with a corresponding loss of feathers.

The black grouse lek lasts from mid-April to mid-May. During that time the display activity of the cocks is hightest. They fly to the lek site already an hour before sunrise, in May even two hours. The morning display lasts about five to six hours and proceeds in two stages: in the twilight and after sunrise.

Last year’s young and those older male birds that could not manage to defend their territory keep to the edges of the lek sites, display only for short periods, move around and often feed. They may visit several lek sites during this period.

If there are not displaying, the grouses can be seen in birch tops. They look like black-feathered bundles. In spring birch buds are a major part of the diet of the grouse..

The cooing of male Black Grouse can be heard in October mornings, too. The autumn bubbling of grouse cocks can be heard at the same lek sites as in spring. Only rarely a grouse hen appears in the lek site. Ornithologists explain the autumn display  by the fact, that the daylight period is again as long as at the beginning of the spring leks in March. This might affect the hormons of the males, inducing lek behavior. This is something, which also happens with other Gallinaceous bird species like Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia).

It is in October again when you can observe these impressive birds on undisturbed forest roads in Scandinavia. They are pecking at gravel from the ground. In their stomach the little stones grind the ingested food. Until now they have been feeding on forest berries. But it will not take long before they have to change to the winter diet.

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 like in Finland to capture images of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The operator´s name of the workshop is Finnature. It is highly recommended. Most of other workshops run by Finnature – a tour operator based in Oulu – take place in January/February for a period of 2 – 4 days.

This nice image is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Pictures Shop” very soon. Just give me a message, if I could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

Golden Eagle at fox bait in Norway

Golden EagleIs it possible to observe and photograph Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) at the bait in wintertime in good numbers with good reliability? Is this possible in Europe? Yes, it is!

Ole Martin Dahle, known as the Eagle Man, has several hides out in the wilderness of Norway. Having been spent one week on invitation of Ole Martin Dahle has been very productive – as you can see in the gallery. Ole offers Wildlife Workshops but also the chance to sit in one (or more) of his hides located on mountain ridges or in the middle of pine forests. It is also possible in winter to go out in the fjord for White-tailed Eagle-photography.

Ole managed to lease attractive properties over the last years, other locations he owns by himself. Consequently, there are ideal conditions for a photographic passion to shoot images of wild birds on close distance.

In wintertime the chances to shot breath-taking images of Golden Eagle are Continue reading Golden Eagle at fox bait in Norway