Tag Archives: Brambling

Finken gönnen sich Sonnenblumen

GrünfinkIm Herbst sieht man inzwischen auch in Brandenburg immer wieder Felder mit schon überreifen Sonnenblumen. Offensichtlich werden sie bewußt erst spät – oder gar nicht – abgeerntet. Wahrscheinlich handelt es sich um eine sogenannte “Blühstreifen”- Maßnahme, die finanziell gefördert wird. Es scheint, daß dies besonders auf Flächen passiert, die mindestens 3 Jahre als Acker genutzt wurden. Meist wird solch ein Feld in einer Breite von 6 bis max. 12 m neben Mais-Monokulturen angelegt. Es werden neben Sonnenblumen und Senf noch einige Blühpflanzen mehr ausgesät. Die Maßnahme ist jedenfalls für die Finken im Herbst eine willkommene Gelegenheit sich noch mal richtig voll  zu fressen bevor der Winter für karge Kost sorgt.

Es lohnt sich an solchen Feldern zu halten und auf die einfliegenden Vögel zu warten. Geduld wird belohnt. Nach einer Weile kommen nach und nach verschiedene Vögel angeflogen. U.a. sind dann schnell Grünfinken (Carduelis chloris)  – wie in dem Bild des Blogs -, Stieglitze (Carduelis carduelis) und Feldsperlinge (Passer montanus) zu sehen. Wenig auffällig, aber auch schnell mal mit dabei kommen Goldammern (Emberiza citrinella) angeflogen. Es lohnt sich einen genauen Blick – am besten mit einem Spektiv – auf die Trupps der Ammern zu werfen. Manchmal ist noch eine Rohrammer (Emberiza schoeniclus) auf dem Zug Continue reading Finken gönnen sich Sonnenblumen

Nach Alaska für die WP-Birdlist?

DickschnabellummeWarum sollte man allen Ernstes 8.000 km und neuneinhalb Stunden in eine berüchtigte Regenecke mit hohen Preisen fliegen, um sich Vögel anzugucken, die in den meisten Fällen auch anderswo viel einfacher, angenehmer und billiger zu sehen sind. Gute Frage! Hierauf ein paar Antworten.

Eine Antwort ist, daß es einfach Spaß macht, sich vor allem in den Zugzeiten an der schiere Masse an verschiedenen Vogelarten zu begeistern. Was einem Nordamerikaner anspornt wie die Möglichkeit Saatgänse (Anser fabalis), Reiherenten (Aythya fuligula), Zwergsäger (Mergellus albellus), Uferschnepfe (Limosa limosa), Grünschenkel (Tringa nebularia), Bruchwasserläufer (Tringa glareola), Flußuferläufer (Actitis hypoleucos), Kernbeißer (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) oder Bergfinken (Fringilla montifringilla) zu sehen, wird einem Birder der West-Paläarktis zwar eher ein müdes Lächeln entlocken.

Aber ein Grund ist auf dem Bild des Blogs schön zu sehen. Dickschnabellumme (Uria lomvia) sind an den normalerweise von WP-Birdern frequentierten Plätzen in Norwegen oder Schottland viel seltener als die allgegenwärtige Trottellumme (Uria aalge). Hier, auf den Alaska vorgelagerten Inseln ist das andersherum. Schön ist der weiße Streif am Schnabelwinkel der Dickschnabellumme (Uria lomvia)  zu sehen. Perfekte Gelegenheit, um ausgiebig Fotos dieses auch in der Westpaläarktis Continue reading Nach Alaska für die WP-Birdlist?

Passerine vagrants on St. Paul – Pribilof Islands

RubinkehlchenAs the plane gets closer to the barren island of St. Paul, the first impression is Brown und Olive-green. Later we see that there are not only brown and olive colors on the island. Metre-high waves of a dark blue sea are breaking against the rugged, rocky coast which is shimmering black. As we land, sunrays are breaking through the clouds. Enchantment in a wild landscape. The melancholic character of the open tundra is obvious. When we get off the plane in front of the hangar, it is very quiet at once. What a contrast to the noise in the machine. Only now and then we hear the melancholy flight song of Lapland Buntings (Calcarius lapponicus) or the high trill of the local race of Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis).

Barren tundra-covered hills dominate the landscape of the Pribilof Islands. But these island also host the largest seabird colony in the Northern Hemisphere with 98 percent of the world population of Red-legged Kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris). In addition, the strongest breeding colony Continue reading Passerine vagrants on St. Paul – Pribilof Islands

High Lonesome BirdTours St. Paul Trip 2016

HornlundThe High Lonesome BirdTours trip to St. Paul Island this year was successful beyond expectations. Not only did we get great looks at all the seabirds, ranging from auklets, murres, puffins, and kittiwakes, we also managed to time our arrival just right to catch up with a slew of vagrant birds. The list of shorebirds that were found on the island during our stay included dozens of Wood Sandpipers, several Longtoed Stints, Common Greenshank, Common Snipe, and a breeding plumaged Curlew Sandpiper (quite rare in Alaska). A Brambling was also a nice find, but was trumped (I think we all agreed) by a stunning male Siberian Rubythroat which we all managed to see well, even in the scope!

Another welcome rarity was a male Tufted Duck spotted among the common Northern Pintails on Salt Lagoon during our first evening on the island. The seabird cliffs of course never disappoint with Least, Parakeet, and Crested auklets in full swing, plus the Pribilof speciality, Redlegged Kittiwake. We studied the Kittiwake in flight, Continue reading High Lonesome BirdTours St. Paul Trip 2016

Zugvogelraritäten auf den Pribilofs

BruchwasserläuferDie kleine Saab-Propellermaschine ist schon seit gut einer Stunde über dem unendlichen nördlichen Pazifik unterwegs als in weiter Ferne ein brauner Streif Inseln im windgepeitschten Meer der Beringsee auftauchen. Das sind die Pribilofs. Wir steuern St. Paul an. Der Flug hat immerhin gut 3 Stunden mit Unterbrechung in einem verlassenen Nest gedauert. Braun ist die vorherrschende Farbe, die man beim Anflug auf St. Paul wahrnimmt. Mit Platz 2A hatte ich einen der vorderen Plätze ergattert und kann ganz gut auch den Rucksack unter dem Vordersitz unterbringen. Die Gepäckafubewahrung oberhalb der Sitze ist nämlich extrem schmal. Das sollte man als Fotograf beachten. Die Maschine hat schon ein paar Jährchen auf dem Buckel. Als die Turbo-Props am Flughafen von Anchorage angeschmissen wurden, denkt man, das kann doch nicht wahr sein. Es werden Oropax verteilt. Das Getöse der Maschinen wird man nur 3 Stunden lang nicht los.

Als wir näherkommen, sehen wir, daß es nicht nur braune Farbe auf der Insel gibt. Meterhohe Wellen aus einem dunkelblauen Meer brechen gegen die schroffe, felsige schwarzschimmernde Küste. Als wir landen, brechen auf einmal Sonnenstrahlen durch die Wolkendecke. Sie verzaubern ruckzuck die wilde Landschaft. Der melancholische Charakter der offenen Tundra ist offenkundig. Als wir aus dem Flugzeug vor dem Hangar aussteigen, ist es auf einmal ganz ruhig. Was für ein Kontrast zu dem Lärm in der Maschine. Nur ab und zu erklingt der melancholische Fluggesang der Spornammer (Calcarius lapponicus) oder die hohen Triller der Beringstrandläufer  (Calidris ptilocnemis).

Baumfreie, Tundra-bedeckte Hügel prägen das Continue reading Zugvogelraritäten auf den Pribilofs

Spring migration along the Baltic Sea coast

BuchfinkSunrise over the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. Grey dots swinging in the air reveal themselves as migrating songbirds. And there were masses of grey dots. One flock after another passed the steep cliff of the island of Usedom in the morning of eastern. A fresh wind blowing from the south obviously pushed the birds from their wintering grounds up to the north. At the southern coast of the Baltic Sea the birds realized the huge area of open water and preferred to stay on an eastern direction to reach their breeding territories.

Up to that the sunny, windy Sunday morning only the very first migrating songbirds as Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) and European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) could be found quite numerous in the bushes of the island of Usedom in north-eastern Germany. But following the wind from the south, masses of Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) appeared over the canopy Continue reading Spring migration along the Baltic Sea coast

Singvögel am Habicht-Luderplatz

EichelhäherWintereinbruch in Deutschland. Aber für die Habichtfotografie muß man doch nach Norwegen fahren. Früh geht es los. Der Luderplatz liegt mitten in einem schönen, urtümlichen Kiefernwäldchen. Jetzt – so gegen um 6:45 – ist es in dem recht geschlossenen Kiefernwald natürlich noch sehr dunkel. So gegen 08:00 Uhr scheinen sich die Lichtverhältnisse zu verbessern. Nun beim ersten Licht sind auch die ersten Eichhörnchen zu sehen. Immer wieder wippen sie aufgeregt mit dem Schwanz. Später sind auch mal die ersten Vögel zu hören. Ich tippe mal auf Häher im Hintergrund, aber es sind auch Meisen dabei. Und dann tatsächlich: Die Kohlmeisen (Parus major) und schließlich auch einige, wenige Blaumeisen (Cyanistes caeruleus) sind die ersten. Noch im ersten Büchsenlicht sind sie zu sehen. Dann sind wenig später aber auch andere Meisenarten zu sehen. Zuerst Weidenmeise (Poecile montanus), Tannenmeise (Periparus ater) und Haubenmeise (Lophophanes cristatus). Wenig später dann auch der erste Eichelhäher (Garrulus glandarius). Insgesamt 3 Exemplare zähle ich. Die Meisen und dann auch die Eichhörnchen liefern sich mit den Eichelhähern ein Wettrennen und die Körner und das Fett. Sie scheinen recht hungrig. So richtig klar ist mir die doch sehr aufwändige Fütterung der Singvögel direkt am Habicht-Luderplatz nicht. Da der Habicht (Accipiter gentilis) sehr vorsichtig Continue reading Singvögel am Habicht-Luderplatz

A sacrifice for a Goshawk – winter photography in Norway

HabichtIn the depths of Norwegians winter forest I stroll in the pitch darkness over a small path. It is just 6:00 am. I woke up early to visit a Goshawk photography hide with Ole Martin Dahle. During a very successful Eagle photography session in November 2013 I made my first attempts to shot the Goshawk with my Canons. But in vain. This time is late winter and I am about 90 minutes earlier on the way to be in the hide prior to activity time of the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). The night before it has snowed. Now the air is cold and the land lies under a thin, icy snow. Ideal conditions for the Goshawk Photography. We travel a narrow road out of the village and a short time later Ole place the car at the edge of a pine forest. Now it is time for the walk through the pine forest. The path is just poorly lit only with a meager torch light. Soon we are in the spacious, well-isolated cabin. Good thing, that I brought enough tripod heads. These are each fastened with a large wing nut under the window. The “loopholes” of hide are now equipped with the lenses, cameras are mounted and secured: Ready! Meanwhile Ole prepares the table with a Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)-bait. The bait is draped on the table, that it looks as if it is laying on the forest floor.

Now everything is ready for hard-core photography. It is now 5:45 am and it is completely dark in the closed pine forest. In the dark I hear the first bird: a Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula). At about 07:00 am the forest looks something brighter now. But no birds and no squirrels far and wide to hear. It begins to snow. Luckily no rain. The table is beautifully covered with snow. This gives great pictures from the Goshawk – if he is coming. Well, at first light Continue reading A sacrifice for a Goshawk – winter photography in Norway

Habicht am winterlichen Luderplatz

HabichtIn den Tiefen des norwegischen winterlichen Küstenwaldes bin ich schon vor 6:00 morgens unterwegs. Es ist stockdunkel. Früh war ich mit Ole Martin Dahle aufgebrochen, um noch im Dunkeln in einem Hide zur Habichtfotografie zu sein. Bei einer sehr erfolgreichen Adlerfotografie in Nord-Trondelag hatte es nur erfolglose Versuche mit dem Habichtansitz im Jahr 2013 gegeben. Diesmal war ich etwa 90 Minuten früher auf dem Weg, um möglichst weit vor der Aktivitätszeit des Habichts in meinem Versteck zu sein. In der Nacht zuvor hat es geschneit. Nun ist die Luft kalt und das Land liegt still unter einer dünnen, vereisten Schneedecke. Fast ein richtiger Winter, dazu Schnee. Ideale Bedingungen für die Habichtfotografie. Wir fahren eine schmale Straße aus dem Ort heraus und schon wenig später stellt Ole den Wagen Continue reading Habicht am winterlichen Luderplatz

Albinotic Chaffinch at winter feeder in Lower Saxonia

ChaffinchDuring a visit to a hide in front of a winter feeding station near the small town of Salzhemmendorf some 40 km south of Hanover in Lower Saxony, I was lucky enough to see a leucistic male Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) and I could shot some photos of the bird. That was on January 30th 2014. I saw this unusual Common Chaffinch along with some of his conspecifics ​​and some Bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla). The regular bunch of birds at a winter feeder as Tits, Nuthatches, Blackbirds were present, too. The male Common Chaffinch with the interesting color distribution seemed to be a bit more shy than the other birds at the winter feeding . But he was neither bullied Continue reading Albinotic Chaffinch at winter feeder in Lower Saxonia

Woodpeckers at the winter feeder

Great Spotted Woodpecker

A few years ago, I was a guest at a commercial winter feeding site for raptors. Great shooting conditions, beautiful scenery, great birds. Unfortunatelly not quite around the corner of my home located in the Eifel. ” …this I can do that, too” ,I thought. But then it turned out to be not so easy. Since there had been problems with the farmer who owned the land, then the tenant hunter. But finally I succeeded. A great advantage of my hide, built from wood and carpet remnants is that although it is right along the edge of a forest, it is only about 200 meters from my house. Of course you are thinking about the expected guests already when you plan the construction of the hide and the feeding site in front of it. Besides chickadees, finches and blackbirds, the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) was “booked” in my plans. This is the most common woodpecker species in our landscape, not only in forests of all types, but also in urban parks and bigger gardens. And the plans turned right. After a short time this woodpecker counted to the regular guests in front of the winter hide, from which I made my shots in all distances, sometimes only 3.5 to 7 meters away. Most times he announced himself with a loud ” KiKiKiK ” before he came rushing in his undulating flight. The favorite food of the woodpeckers observed and photographed in recent winters is a product made from beef tallow and fat oatmeal mixture that is commonly known as bird seed. Hazelnuts cause very little attention, walnuts are beloved and Continue reading Woodpeckers at the winter feeder

Bird migration at the Stockert in the Eifel hills

Crested Tit, resting in sloe

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A beautiful autumn day. Indian Summer, as written in the books. This time it is to go to the Eifel to hill Stockert south of Euskirchen where bird migration at day can be observed. It was still dark when I arrived. The first bird whispers were heard already . It was mainly chickadees whose calls were audible. Then it went very quick. Within minutes, the bushes were full. Of course, especially Great Tit (Parus major) and Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus ) were seen in the sloe (or Blackthorn), Prunus spinosa, and rosehip, Rosa canina, bushes. A wonderful contrast to the blue and red fruits that hung plentiful on the branches everywhere. Migration unrest obviously hit two species of tits too that are usually not associated with the open countryside but with conifers in the forests. There were some Coal Tits (Periparus ater) and Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus), which rested for a while on the branches of a sloe . Only short – about 2 minutes – then they were gone again.

When photographing it was obvious to see that migration is in full swing. Singing and other territorial habits were rare and restricted to the earliest morning. This early morning on a sunny day (but quite cold in the first hours) was a real pleasure – also from the point of ornithology. In addition Continue reading Bird migration at the Stockert in the Eifel hills

Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Schwanheimer Duene

Eurasian Golden-OrioleThere are not too many foreign birdwatchers coming to the middle of Germany for just birding. But Frankfurt 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 have spare time between two flight and you are a birdwatcher, you might be interested to know, where you can find good places to stretch your legs, enjoy fresh air and enjoy birding for typical european birds. One of these places is only 15 minutes away from the Frankfurt Airport. This is the Schwanheimer Duene (Dunes of Schwanheim) located in a southern outskirt of Frankfurt. In so far, the area is more or less the same distance than the Langener Waldseen. But whereas these lakes, situated just 2 km east of the runway of Frankfurt AP, are a highly frequented recreation area in summertime, the Schwanheimer Duene is especially good in spring and summer. Thus an excellent alternative to the Langener Waldseen which are very productive in wintertime.

The Schwanheimer Duene is one of the few inland dunes in Europe. It was established after the last ice age of sands that have been blown out of the riverbed of the River Main. Then, a forest grew on it. In the last century farmers cleared the forest and put on cherry meadows. Several dry periods ended these attempts in the second half of the 19th Century. The dune devasted and started to wander. Between 1882 and 1890 the dune moved aground to its present location.

Following the desolation a  typical plant community of inland dune developed, which can be encountered up to nowadays. This plant community is called Continue reading Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Schwanheimer Duene

Birding around Frankfurt Airport: Langener Waldseen

Gavia stellata

Frankfurt 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 have spare time between two flight and you are a birdwatcher, you might be interested to know, where you can find good sites to stretch your legs, enjoy fresh air and enjoy birding for typical european birds. One of these places – only 10 minutes away from the Frankfurt Airport – are the Langener Waldseen. These artificial lakes are situated just 2 km east of the runway and are a highly frequented recreation area with an oper-air swimming area. But wintertime is quiet and goods birds – including some vagrants – can be seen on the most western lake. This lake is still an active gravel spit, thus access especially for the best site is more or less tolerated and cannot be guaranteed.

Good birds to be seen on the lake in wintertime here on a regular basis are Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Gadwall(Anas strepera),  Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) and  Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula). At the beginning of December 2012 there was an influx of cold temperatures in Germany. Shortly after a Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellate), Smew (Mergellus albellus) ,  Common Merganser (Mergus merganser ) and a male Red-crested Pochard  (Netta rufina) as well as up to 10 Velvet Scoter  (Melanitta fusca) showed up. The woods hold all 6 species of continental woodpeckers (incl. Black, Middle-spotted and Grey-faced Woodpecker) and vast numbers of Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes ) and Bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla) in the winter. Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) are often heard and sometimes seen in the canopy of the many pine trees.  For the last winters 1 Great Grey (Northern) Shrike (Lanius excubitor) used the area as a wintering ground. I have seen large flocks of Common Crane moving overhead in late October from this site.

For direction it is recommended to take a taxi Continue reading Birding around Frankfurt Airport: Langener Waldseen