Tag Archives: Common Buzzard

Im Reich des Wachtelkönigs

RotschenkelSeltsam, rätschende Geräusche kommen nachts aus den Wiesen im Warthevorland. Das ist die Stimme des Wachtelkönigs (Crex crex), der auch Wiesenralle genannt wird. Dies ist eine der seltensten und gefährdetsten Vogelarten Deutschlands.

Den Wachtelkönig, der nur selten in der dichten Vegation auszumachen ist, aber dennoch der berühmteste Brutvogel des Odertals ist, sah ich in den letzten zwei Jahren gleich drei Mal auf einem Plattenweg von einem Grasdickicht ins andere huschen. Im Unteren Odertal werden in jedem Jahr um die 100 rufende Männchen gezählt. Das dürfte für Polen die weitaus größte und gleichzeitig stabilste Population sein. Die Wiesenbrüter im Unteren Tal der Warthe genießen einen Vorteil, der Naturfotografen die Arbeit schwer macht: In dem weiten Gebiet finden sie fast überall Pfützen, Wasserstellen und nahrungsreiche Uferzonen. Somit sind sie nach der Brutzeit nicht auf bestimmte Plätze angewiesen. Ich habe tagelang an vorher erkundeten Stellen in einem Tarnzelt gesessen, ohne zu einem vernünftigen Foto zu kommen, weil die Motive selbst für 400 mm- oder 500 mm-Brennweite unerreichbar waren. Am anderen Ende des Tümpels flogen Löffelenten (Anas clypeata) ein, Graureiher (Ardea cinerea) verjagten Artgenossen, Rotschenkel (Tringa totanus) führten ihre Jungen auf eine überschwemmte Wiese, Flußuferläufer (Actitis hypoleucos) sprinteten durchs Flachwasser, eine Großfamilie von Graugänse (Anser anser) führte die Jungen ins Wasser und Rehe wanderten Continue reading Im Reich des Wachtelkönigs

Junge Rohrweihe am Köder

RohrweiheEin traumhafter Hochsommermorgen mit Morgennebel über den Feldern. Die Tage im Sommer scheinen manchmal vogelleer. Doch am frühen Morgen ist die Aktivität unübersehbar.  Die Reste eines Rehs liegt gut 25 Meter vor dem tonnenförmigen Hide. Gespannt warte ich auf die Ankunft des Schreiadlers (Aquila pomarina). Diese mittelgroßen Greife sind im Osten Deutschland, vor allem in Vorpommern, eine nicht so ungewöhnliche Erscheinung. Es ist aber nicht leicht, ein Exemplar aus nächster Nähe zu fotografieren. Zuerst tut sich gar nichts. Dann aber beobachte ich einige Pferde, die den Köder ausgiebig beäugen. Sie stehen nebeneinander in „sicherer“ Entfernung und halten den Köder gut im Blick. Irgendetwas scheint faszinierend und angsteinflößend gleichzeitig zu sein. Irgendwann steht auf einmal eine junge Rohrweihe (Circus aeruginosus), die direkt auf dem Köder Platz nimmt. Nachdem sie sich versichert hat, daß außer den Continue reading Junge Rohrweihe am Köder

Harter Winter – gute Vogelaufnahmen

ZwergsägerJe härter der Winter, desto schwieriger ist die Futtersuche. An der Ostseeküste gilt das für die Vogelwelt besonders dann, wenn auf dem Blankensee, an den Havelseen oder gar der Ostsee das Wasser zufriert und offene Stellen selten werden. Dann überwinden die Vögel ihre natürliche Scheu und versuchen, in den Häfen auf Beutefang zu gehen. Für Fotografen ist das eine gute Gelegenheit, zu reizvollen Motiven zu kommen.

Vor einigen Jahren hatte der lang anhaltende Frost die Ostsee in eine arktische Winterlandschaft verwandelt. Viele seltene und dem Menschen gegenüber eher scheue Vogelarten hatten ihre Zurückhaltung aufgegeben und waren in den windgeschützten Häfen aufgetaucht. Dort gab es noch einige wenige eisfreie Wasserflächen, an denen die Vögel an Nahrung gelangen konnten.

Nach angenehmen Temperaturen um Weihnachten sorgten ab Sylvester Temperaturen von bis zu – 20 ° Grad Celsius für eine kältestarre Eiswüste. Zwangsweise fand sich eine vielfältige Vogelwelt in den Häfen ein. Pfeifenten (Anas penelope) und Stockenten Continue reading Harter Winter – gute Vogelaufnahmen

Greifvögel am Rehluder

MäausebussardObwohl es gerade erst dämmert, ein zarter roter Streifen am Horizont zu sehen ist, ist das Rätschen der Elstern unüberhörbar. Das Reh – ein Verkehrsopfer – liegt gut 25 Meter vor dem tonnenförmigen Hide. Angespannt warte ich auf die Ankunft des Seeadlers (Haliaeetus albicilla). Diese großen Greife sind zumindest im Osten Deutschland eine nicht ungewöhnliche Erscheinung. Trotzdem ist es nicht leicht, ein Exemplar aus nächster Nähe zu fotografieren. Zuerst aber beobachte ich ausgiebig einen Trupp mit gut 5 Elstern (Pica pica), der sich zänkisch und trotzdem erfolgreich dem gefrorenen Kadaver widmet. Irgendwann kommt auch mal ein junger Mäusebussard (Buteo buteo), der allerdings vorsichtig auf dem daneben liegenden Baumstamm Platz nimmt. Nachdem sich die tiefstehende Morgensonne anfangs durchsetzt und mit ihrem warmen Streiflicht für eine ganz besondere Lichtstimmung sorgt, zieht sich der Himmel anschließend zu. Drinnen bullert der Gasofen, draußen ist es 2° C kalt. Es fängt an mit großen Flocken zu schneien. Ein Traum wie das tote Reh immer weißer wird und sich die schwarz-weißen Vögel im dichten Schneetreiben verköstigen. Die Lage der Futterstelle und die Artenzusammensetzung ist aber auch perfekt.

Von den guten Fotografiermöglichkeiten konnte ich mir auf Continue reading Greifvögel am Rehluder

Elstern im Schneetreiben am Köder

Alles ist wie mit einem weißen Mantel zugedeckt. Unter der Schneedecke zeichnen sich die Umrisse eines Rehs ab. Zuerst ist nur das Rätschen der Elstern (Pica pica) unüberhörbar. Das Reh – ein Verkehrsopfer – liegt gut 25 Meter vor dem tonnenförmigen Hide. Die Elstern müssen sich direkt neben dem Hide in der Weißdornhecke befinden. Dann traut sich die Erste. Im tiefen Flug mit einem eleganten Schwanzaufstellen kurz vor der Landung, geht die Elster kurz vor dem Kadaver nieder. Vorsichtig nähert sie sich dem braunen Etwas. Dicke Schneeflocken geben der Szenerie einen melancholischen Grundtenor. Schnell steht die Elster auf dem Reh. Ein beherztes Picken in die aufgerissene Wunde und der erste rote Fleischhappen ist im Schnabel zu sehen. Das läßt die Artgenossen nicht ruhen. Eine nach der anderen kommt die ganze Sippe angeflogen. Immer wieder steht mal die eine oder die andere Elster auf dem Reh und holt sich ihren Anteil. So beobachte ich ausgiebig den Trupp, der wohl insgesamt Continue reading Elstern im Schneetreiben am Köder

Display flights of European Honey-buzzards

WespenbussardSpring is the best time to observe a flying or circling European Honey-buzzard (Pernis apivorus) on their breeding grounds. Now is Display time! Since the breeding birds arrive until the middle of May in the breeding area, bird watchers and bird photographers have to hurry-up to take pictures of European Honey-buzzards. This is because oviposition falls on the brink of May/ June. At the end of June / beginning of July, the youngs appear and at to the beginning of August fledging starts.

There are two periods of activity for the adult European Honey-buzzards: display and post-fledging. Display takes place in Germany from mid of May till early June. There is a time lag between spring migration observations and display flights. It seems, that on first arrival in early May the birds are rather lazy perhaps feeding and resting after the long migration. The lazy flight with long periods of effortless floating, interspersed with the very occasional stall or spell of active flapping, occurs over their breeding areas at this time. This can be misinterpreted as migration flight. In this time very impressive and repeated display flights – “butterfly display” – is brief and in rainy springs may not be conspicuous. In “butterfly mode” the European Honey-buzzard shakes its wings above back in rapid succession, usually six or seven times.

A good description you will find here. The author mentions, that Continue reading Display flights of European Honey-buzzards

Falkenbussarde im Winterquartier in Südafrika

FalkenbussardFalkenbussarde (Buteo buteo vulpinus) sind in den Sommermonaten der südlichen Erdhalbkugel die häufigsten Greifvögel in Südafrika. Die gilt, insbesondere für die westliche Kapprovinz. Für einen Birdwatcher aus Mitteleuropa ist die Suche nach Falkenbussarden in ihren Winterquartieren in Südafrika vielleicht die einfachste Weise, diese Mäusebussard-Subspezies zu sehen und zu fotografieren.
Dazu wurde genug einschlägige Literatur gewälzt. Es stellte sich heraus, daß die am Kap „Steppe Buzzard“ genannten Greife entlang der Schnellstraßen und Autobahnen recht häufig auf Zaunpfählen in Steppenlandschaften (oder das, was so aussieht) zu finden sind. Die Gegend zwischen Grabouw und Caledon schien für mehrere interessante Arten sehr gut geeignet; u.a. für die Falkenbussarde.

In den frühen Morgenstunden erreichten wir die Ackerbaugebiete außerhalb von Grabouw. Es dauerte nicht lange, bis wir überhaupt den ersten Bussard wie aus dem „Lehrbuch“ sahen. Nicht untypisch der hiesigen Mäusebussarde (Buteo buteo buteo) tendieren auch Falkenbussarde dazu gerade auch an stark befahrenen Straßen völlig ruhig und relaxed auf Zaunpfählen zu sitzen. Dies allerdings nur solange das Auto anhält. Wenn dann noch ein dicker Gegenstand Continue reading Falkenbussarde im Winterquartier in Südafrika

Seltene Greife auf dem Zug: Falkenbussarde

FalkenbussardFalkenbussarde (Buteo buteo vulpinus) werden nur selten in Ornitho.de gemeldet. Wenn dann ist es ca. Mitte Oktober, wie z.B. am Brielower Ausbau bei Beetzsee im Havelland am 10. Oktober 2015 oder am 28. Oktober 2014 vom Schugetal in der Nähe von Luckau in der Nähe des Spreewalds. Übereinstimmend wird berichtet, daß sich die beobachteten Falkenbussarde kreisenden/ balzenden Mäusebussarden angeschlossen hatten. Auffällig erschien beiden Beobachtern der fehlende Flügelbugfleck, die rostroten Hosen und der ungebänderte (oder nur mit schmaler dunkler Endbinde) Schwanz, der nahezu einfarbig verwaschen hellbraun erschien,
Falkenbussarde sind in den Sommermonaten der südlichen Erdhalbkugel (also unseren Wintermonaten) die häufigsten Greifvögel in Südafrika. Die gilt, insbesondere für die westliche Kapprovinz. Für einen Birdwatcher aus Mitteleuropa ist die Suche nach Falkenbussarden in ihren Winterquartieren in Südafrika vielleicht die einfachste Weise, diese Mäusebussard-Subspezies zu sehen und zu fotografieren.

Mäusebussarde der Nominatform (Buteo buteo buteo) zeichnen sich durch ihren kompakten und wohl proportionierten Körperbau mit einem breiten Kopf und kurzen Hals aus. Im Vergleich mit dem Continue reading Seltene Greife auf dem Zug: Falkenbussarde

Wespenbussardbeobachtung im Flug

WespenbussardDer Wespenbussardzug ist ein beeindruckendes Schauspiel. Der interessierte Beobachter wird normalerweise schon viel Zeit, Geld und Reisestrecke investiert haben, um eine gute Beobachtungsstelle – wie z.B. die Insel Fehmarn im September – zu erreichen. Da stellt man dann häufig fest, daß Greife doch sehr weit entfernt vorbeiziehen und/oder das Wetter einen Schönwetterflug in hohen Luftschichten ermöglicht, der die Wespenbussarde (Pernis apivorus) hoch am Himmel erscheinen läßt. Die Silhouette und der Flugeindruck sind dann die einzigen Anhaltspunkte bei der Bestimmung. Die in der Fotogalerie gezeigte hohe Variabilität der Federkleider machen die richtige Identifikation auch nicht leichter. Dabei soll dieser kleine Blog helfen.

Der erfahrene Beobachter des Wespenbussardzugs scheint sich in der Identifikation auf die Kombination verschiedener Flugmerkmale anderer Greife zu verlassen. Beim Wespenbussard (Pernis apivorus) sind zum einen Flugmerkmale in der Art von Milanen (Milvus sp.) mit Merkmalen der Gattung Buteo (allgemein: Bussarde) zu nenne. Hier stellt sich also die Frage: Was genau sollte man sich ansehen, wenn man Charakteristika von Milanen oder/ und von Bussarden abgleicht? Daher die Frage: Fliegt er in der Art von Milanen oder in der Art der Bussarde?

So weisen Wespenbussarde einen recht langen Schwanz auf, Continue reading Wespenbussardbeobachtung im Flug

Female Northern Goshawk at nestsite near Tegel airport

HabichtweibchenSun rays are breaking through the foliage and the twigs of an inner-city park in Northern Berlin. Just 3 km distant to Berlin-Tegel airport, some of the most reliable sites for Northern Goshawk (Accipter gentilis) can be found. A hint in the birding community, “…. look for trail behind the hill, then 100m to the east and scan the bigger pine trees for the impressive nest..” made me birding the parks around Tegel in mid June. Big city parks may be often just a stopgap in between two family arrangements, but parks are often excellent habitat to get an first and fast impression for the woodland species of a foreign country. Berlin with is many park is no exception. Some of the parks are small, but others are huge parks. All are full of gorgeous plants, trees and flowers – and birds as well. It is very nice to walk along the trails, some near the streams in the shade of huge trees.

After some searching at that morning I decided that a big bird in the canopy of a tall pine Continue reading Female Northern Goshawk at nestsite near Tegel airport

Pallid Harrier: First-summer individual in post-juvenile moult in Havelland

SteppenweiheDescribed in old literature as a rare vagrant, the Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) is much less rare in NW Europe nowadays. It is not yet clear, whether this is due to the numbers of birders in the field, increasing knowledge of the immature and adult female plumage, migrations watchpoints or due to a change in the migration patterns of this bird species. At least on the coast and in the eastern parts of Germany Pallid Harriers can be regarded as scarce migrants now. Visiting the Havellaendische Luch at Buckow – 50 km west of Berlin – very interesting observations of a hunting immature Pallid Harrier could be made. The lowlands of the Havellaendische Luch are an unique area of meadows and fields. Actually known as the top territory in Germany to observe Great Bustards (Otis tarda), it is a perfect habitat for raptors as well. Different species of flying predators such as Red Kite (Milvus milvus), Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Montagu’s Harriers (Circus pygargus), Western marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus) and Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) visit the area Continue reading Pallid Harrier: First-summer individual in post-juvenile moult in Havelland

Wespenbussard im Balzflug

WespenbussardWann ist ein kreisender Wespenbussard (Pernis apivorus) eigentlich genau zu sehen? Am besten natürlich im Balzflug, denn der „Schmetterlingsflug“ ist sehr eindrucksvoll und wiederholt sich dazu in der Regel mehrfach hintereinander. Es heißt ja, daß die Reviere des Wespenbussards sehr groß sein sollen und etliche Quadratkilometern umfassen können. Während Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim in seinem „Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas“, Band 4 „Falconiformes“ auf Seite 71ff ausführlich auf die Fortpflanzung eingeht, den Balzflug beschreibt und ausführt, daß die die Balzflüge der Männchen auffällig, langandauernd und auf grosse Distanz zu erkennen sind werden die tageszeitlichen Aktivitätsmuster im Flug nur Continue reading Wespenbussard im Balzflug

Joined hunting with Hen Harrier

KornweiheThe lowlands of the Havellaendische Luch at Buckow – 50 km west of Berlin – as an unique area of meadows and fields. Actually known as the top territory in Germany to observe Great Bustards (Otis tarda), it is a perfect winter habitats, especially for wintering raptors as well. Different species of flying predators such as Red Kite (Milvus milvus), Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus), Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus), Merlin (Falco columbarius) and sometimes a Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) use the high diversity of the meadows , pastures and fields around to pick up their food. The White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is a feeding guest, too. Unlike the species mentioned above, he does not keep up with mice but tries to chase the many Geese grazing in the area. Unfortunately, he also attacks some of the precious Great Bustards (Otis tarda).

While visiting the Havelländische lynx very interesting observations of hunting Northern Harriers chasing songbirds Continue reading Joined hunting with Hen Harrier

Mäuse halten Rotmilane im Sommerquartier

Roter MilanEin traumhafter Spätherbstmorgen. In der Nacht hat es Temperaturen unter 0° Grad gegeben. Reif bedeckt im Schatten der Bäume noch Blätter und Grashalme. Nur leichte Schleierwolken sind am Himmel zu sehen. Die Sonne scheint mit ihrem milchigen Novemberlicht. Der Ausflug in eine ausgedehnte Niederung war schon sehr erfolgreich. Dieses Gebiet stellt im Winter ein bedeutendes Überwinterungshabitat vor allem für Greifvögel dar. Verschiedene Arten von fliegenden Beutegreifern wie Kornweihe (Circus cyaneus), Mäusebussard (Buteo buteo), Rauhfußbussard (Buteo lagopus), Merlin (Falco columbarius) nutzen die Vielfalt der Wiesen, Weiden und Äcker um hier auf Jagd zu gehen. Bei einem Besuch des in Brandenburg Luch genannten Gebietes konnte aber auch eine interessante Spätbeobachtung eines ansonsten nur von Frühjahr bis Herbst vorkommenden Greifvogel gemacht werden. Ein einzelner Roter Milan (Milvus milvus) jagte Continue reading Mäuse halten Rotmilane im Sommerquartier

Mäusebussard fängt Kohlmeise

MäusebussardEin traumhafter Spätherbstmorgen. Nur leichte Schleierwolken sind am Himmel zu sehen. In der Nacht hat es Temperaturen unter 0° Grad gegeben. Reif bedeckt im Schatten der Bäume noch Blätter und Grashalme. Die Sonne scheint schräg durch die Büsche und überhängenden Zweige und entfaltet ein zauberhaftes Licht. Ein Weg führt in einen Tunnel aus mittelhohen Eichen. Auf einmal fliegt im wunderschönsten Gegenlicht ein Mäusebussard (Buteo buteo) auf den Eingang des „Tunnels“ zu. Mit ausgebreiteten Schwingen fliegt er durch die „hohle Gasse“ und landet mit erstaunlicher Präzision und Geschwindigkeit auf dem sandigen Feldweg. Ein kurzes Quieken!

Ich bin wie gebannt. Keine Bewegung. Doch auch dem Bussard bleibt meine Anwesenheit nicht verborgen. Die Entfernung beträgt Continue reading Mäusebussard fängt Kohlmeise

Merlin im Fiener Bruch – Brandenburg

MerlinAls holarktischer Brutvogel ist der Merlin (Falco columbarius) in ausreichender Zahl nur im Winterhalbjahr in Mitteleuropa anzutreffen. Vor allem im Oktober und bis Mitte November kommen dazu Durchzügler, die den kleinsten einheimischen Falken auch für ortsansässige Ornithologen erlebbar und beobachtbar machen.

In dem Zusammenhang soll erwähnt werden, daß die nähere und weitere Umgebung von Berlin auch ein Paradies für Vogelbeobachter ist. Einer dieser Gebiete um Berlin ist der Fiener Bruch bei Continue reading Merlin im Fiener Bruch – Brandenburg

Pallid Harrier on the Schroecker Feld north of Frankfurt/ M

SteppenweiheAt least since Saturday, July 19, 2014, a plateau east of Marburg, the Schroecker Feld, is home to a male Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) on. The Schroecker Feld near Marburg is roughly 100km distant from downtown Frankfurt/ Main. This Pallid Harrier male has very pale grey upperparts and is white below. In flight, the distinctive black wing tips can be seen. Young male Pallid Harrier look not so bright white, in the earliest stages, they have coloration similar to the female. This individual seemed very light, almost white, but had – as is recognizable in the photo of the flying male Pallid Harrier – some darker wash on the upper wings. Therefore the ornithologists unanimously call the bird a male in the third calendar year (autumn).

The bird stayed in the area on the following weekend. It was observed among corn fields and harvested fields in a specific area (N 8 ° 51’26 .39 “E / 50 ° 46’40 .46”) which is shown on the detailed maps as Ebsdorfergrund. The Pallid Harrier could usually be seen hovering for a short while in the evenings, sometimes until dark on / above the roost. The most of the day, however, the bird kept hidden. Continue reading Pallid Harrier on the Schroecker Feld north of Frankfurt/ M

Steppenweihe – Weihentreff auf dem Schröcker Feld bei Marburg

SteppenweiheSeit mindestens Samstag, den 19. Juli 2014, hält sich auf dem Plateau östlich von Marburg, das Schröcker Feld genannt wird, eine männliche Steppenweihe (Circus macrourus) auf. Die Weihe wirkte sehr hell, fast weiß, hatte aber – wie auf dem Foto des fliegenden Männchens der Steppenweihe erkennbar – einen schmutzigen Anflug auf Continue reading Steppenweihe – Weihentreff auf dem Schröcker Feld bei Marburg

Tripreport Carpathians of Slovakia, June 2014

Steinadler - JungesAfter having visited the Carpathians of Slovakia in April mainly for Hazel grouse photography, I wanted to observe different birds in the same area. In preparation I ordered a birdlist of the species from a local guide which birds might be possible and got the Continue reading Tripreport Carpathians of Slovakia, June 2014

Mating of Common Buzzards on spruce top

MäusebussardDuring a visit on a fairly high mountain in the Taunus first mountain chain, the Atzelberg, in early March it was possible to observe and photograph the copulation of a pair of the Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo). On top of the Atzelberg there is a lookout tower, which gave the perfect position to photograph this unique event. The mating season begins usually in early spring in Middle Europe. During the mating Continue reading Mating of Common Buzzards on spruce top

Mäusebussard: Paarung auf einer Fichtenspitze

MäusebussardWährend eines Aufenthalts auf dem Atzelberg einem recht hohen Berg der ersten Taunuskette Anfang März konnte nicht weit entfernt von einem Aussichtsturm die Kopulation eines Mäusebussard-Paares (Buteo buteo) beobachtet und fotografiert werden. Die Paarungszeit beginnt in seinen natürlichen Verbreitungsgebieten für gewöhnlich im zeitigen Frühjahr. Das eigentliche Brutrevier ist mit rund zwei bis drei Quadratkilometer relativ klein aber zur Paarungszeit segeln Continue reading Mäusebussard: Paarung auf einer Fichtenspitze

Seeadler am Luder – diesmal an der Ostsee

White-tailed EagleHide – Fotografie nun auch am Darss? Seeadler (Haliaeetus albicilla) sind nun ja zumindest im Osten Deutschland eine vertraute Erscheinung geworden. Trotzdem ist es nicht leicht, ein Exemplar aus nächster Nähe zu fotografieren. Wenn man in Europa – so wie im Blog vom November 2013 beschrieben – wilde Seeadler fotografieren möchte gibt es vielleicht keinen besseren Ort als das norwegische Fischerdorf Lauvsnes in der Nähe von Flatanger in der Provinz Nord-Tröndelag, 200 Kilometer nordwestlich von Trondheim. Hier in der Mitte Norwegens hat es Ole Martin Dahle geschafft, das Vertrauen einiger Seeadler zu gewinnen. Schon seit einigen Jahren bietet er mit seinem Unternehmen Norway Nature Bootstouren an, bei denen man den Seeadlern beim Beutefang zuschauen kann. Kann da ein deutscher Standort mithalten?

Ja und Nein. Die Umstände sind völlig andere – und die Ergebnisse auch. Dafür aber nicht minder attraktiv und sehenswert. Wie das Titelbild zeigt, ist die intensive Interaktion der Rabenvögel und der Seeadler sehr schön und ausdauernd zu beobachten.

Das Fischland und der Darß sind berühmte Continue reading Seeadler am Luder – diesmal an der Ostsee

Griffon vulture in the Wonnegau in the middle of Germany

Eurasian GriffonCurrently, an unusual visitor from the south of Europe can be seen in an area of Rheinhessen between the cities of Gruenstadt, Worms and Ludwigshafen. The distance to Frankfurt am Main is only 100km in south-western direction. The bird is a Eurasian Griffon – or Griffon Vulture – (Gyps fulvus). The Vulture has been detected in the area on 02nd of January 2014 . Most Birder observe with spotting scopes from the concrete field roads that run through this intensively used agriculture landscape. The last days, the vultures could be observed in a field between the suburbs Obersuelzen and Obrigheim. The area is intensively  used by wind farm deployments – as you see in the images.

After days with mild but rainy weather the forecast for Sunday afternoon was quite favorable and I took the chance to photograph in a sudden clearing of the skies some shots of the Eurasian Griffon sitting on the ground of a field, which later took flight. A few pictures can be seen here. The Vulture is not an particulary shy, but you should not startle the bird and additionally the rain has extremely softened the fields and the field roads not fixed with a hard surface. Photo distances are therefore to be bridged only with a long tele lens.

When I arrived on Sunday, 5th of Jan. 2014, it was very cloudy. The bird sat quietly in a field and was only occasionally harassed without haste by some Carrion Crows (Corvus corone) flying over the big bird. The Crows seemed to be quite friendly – at least compared to the behavior when a Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) showed up. Fiercely this raptor was attacked. The griffon vulture was found not worried. Only now and then he scratched the bill with his legs. As the sun came out, he find Continue reading Griffon vulture in the Wonnegau in the middle of Germany

The Northern Goshawk – aerial shots and more

Northern GoshawkWhen scanning images of the portfolio of bird-lens.com it was noticed that the Northern Goshawk is still significantly under-represented . Therefore locations were actively scanned which are known to be frequented regularly by Goshawks. For this purpose sites near wetlands were visited especially in late summer or fall, where many (larger) birds rest and / or moult and are therefore available as prey for inexperienced, young Goshawks. Here, I could see and even photograph a young female Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) approaching me within a few dozen meters. As a result you can see some pictures of this wonderful Northern Goshawk in flight. So strong and breast -heavy like the bird on the pictures in the gallery, the female Goshawk can be differentiated easily from the Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) by size alone.

Other images were shot from an elevated vantage point in the forest. You need time and patience. But then you see pretty easy that Northern Goshawk breeding pairs are territorial. It was also shown that the nests are evenly distributed in the suitable breeding area. Breeding birds defend the environment of their nest within a certain radius, which should not exceed 1km.
Outside the breeding season, territorial behavior is observed, too. Other raptors as the Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) shown on the images are vehemently attacked. Especially adult males show a year-round commitment to the nest area and defend their territory. On the other hand young female Goshawks, independently roaming in others territory as shown in the picture apparently penetrate easily into foreign territories.

The Northern Goshawk is about 45 to 67 cm in length and has a wingspan of about 130 cm. The female is larger than the male. The adult plumage is brownish gray on the back and consists of a white chest which is finely barred black. Young birds are brownish until the first moult on the upper side. The barring on the breast is replaced in young birds by a streaking or a line drawing. The stripes can be found Continue reading The Northern Goshawk – aerial shots and more

Red Kites slow wind power expansion

Red Kite

Conservation initiatives and the strictly protected red kite, Milvus milvus prove to be the biggest obstacles to wind power development in Germany . The ambitious goals of both the current federal government and especially the red-green state governments are in danger .

In particular, the requirement to use increasingly forest sites as locations for 200 -meter high wind turbines, met with criticism. One example is in Baden-Wuerttemberg. In the focus of the current debate is a forest about five hectares in size to be cut down in the middle of the “Great Hau” at Horb in the Black Forest to establish windmill farm. But the forest is not only a popular recreational area, it is also home to many protected animals . For decades, the forest has been converted to quite a natural forest, which is particularly rich in species. Again there are the Red Kites that curb further expansion of wind power .

In the specific case at least it did not take long until a citizens’ initiative formed against the plans of the town of Horb . There were information-events, petitions and a forest festival, visited by hundreds of citizens. Also, the Conservation Assosiation “Nabu” rejected the site due to nature protection reasons. However, the city was fiercely determined . “We knew that only the Red Kite can help now,” said a representative of a local conservation initiative. In fact, the initiative could rely on the strictly protected raptor. Today, the wind farm project is stopped. The authorities in Karlsruhe gave priority to the protection of that species .

The case Horb illustrates the dilemma for the green-red state government. In the second year after the change of government nothing can be seen from a wind power boom. Just nine plants were built in the Southwest in 2012. From the target to increase the proportion of wind power in the country from 1 to 10 percent by 2020, Green-Red is miles away. And especially nature conservation activists and protected species such as Continue reading Red Kites slow wind power expansion

Red Kites in North Rhine-Westphalia

Red Kite in flightThe Red Kite (Milvus milvus) is a character bird of well structured landscapes with woods and forests in Central Europe. Approximately 65% ​​of the world’s population of the Red Kite (Milvus milvus) is found in Germany. Since the late 1970s, the population is declining. In the lowlands even a large-scale retreat is observed. In recent years, although a positive population development was found again, due to which the Red Kite was released from the Red List. However, it is discussed whether the downgrading of the red kite in a lower risk category compared to the red list of 1999 is not likely due to an altered system of criteria as to an change in the situation of the environment. This applies especially to the Red List in North Rhine-Westphalia. Future intensification of agriculture and the increasing use of wind energy (many red kites crash on wind turbines) probably will further put pressure on the population of the kite.

Foraging on agricultural land with a mosaic of meadows and fields is preferred. The nest, however, is found in small woods, in light wood stocks and the forest edges of larger forests. Red Kites are pretty faithful of their territory and use old nests often over many years. Typical is the lively, rocking flight of the Red Kite with a hanging hand and quite a deeply forked tail. He looks much bigger and heavier than a Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) though he is only slightly larger with a body length of 60-70 cm. Perhaps because of the hanging wings he appears more massive. The Red Kite is also called “Gabelweihe” in german because of the forked tail.

Since about 65% of the world’s population if the Red Kite occurs in Germany, the geman state of North Rhine-Westphalia also has a special responsibility for the protection of species. The total population is estimated at 420-510 breeding pairs. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Red Kite mainly breeds in the Weserbergland, the mountains along the river Weser, the Sauerland and in the Eifel. To the many Kites over the sky of the area of Blomberg – which is within the Weserbergland – the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Rotmilanfreunde Lippe” Continue reading Red Kites in North Rhine-Westphalia

All 4 Sylvia – Warblers in Weilbacher Kiesgrube near Frankfurt

Common WhitethroatThis morning all 4 species of Sylvia-Warblers which regularly occur in Germany could be seen. First the male of a Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) showed up in the first light of this chilly but sunny morning. Then a beautiful singing individual of a Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) could be seen very near to a observation tower which is located on the eastern end of the old gravel pit. A Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca) showed up briefly afterwards. And finally even a silent Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin) could be seen catching a caterpillar in a dense bush.

When photographing it was obvious to see that breeding is in full swing. Singing and other territorial habits were rare and normally quite short – with the exception of the singing individual of a Common Whitethroat and a Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos).

A sunny morning with clear sky after several rainy days was a good reason to make the trip to that abandoned gravel pit which is now a nature reserve and try to photograph some special birds.

This early morning on a sunny day (but quite cold in the first hours) was a real pleasure – even from the point of ornithology. In addition to the shots of the Warblers, it was possible to see and photograph birds like European Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia turtur),  Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), Eurasian Golden-Oriole (Oriolus oriolus), Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) and Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes). Good contributions to the bird-lens portfolio and possible to see here in the Continue reading All 4 Sylvia – Warblers in Weilbacher Kiesgrube near Frankfurt

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) on Norderney

Northern HarrierNorderney, the most densely populated island in the german Wadden Sea is with good reason called a bird paradise. Terns, Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), Common Redshank (Tringa tetanus) , Brent Geese (Branta bernicla), Greylag Geese (Anser anser)and many other birds of water are to be found there, as well as the rare Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), or raptors as Kestrels, Marsh Harriers (Circus aeruginosus) and Buzzards. The birds are back from their wintering grounds in southern Europe and Africa and have reached their breeding grounds on Norderney safe.

On the meadows at the airport breed Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) defend clamoring their turf against intrusive neighbors in the Grohdeheller, Common Redshank (Tringa tetanus) flutes from their perch on the fence posts along the salt marshes in the Grohdepolder and the dunes to the east of the island host again a large breeding colony of gulls. Breeding pairs of the rare Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) live on the island, too. The Northern Harrier, Circus cyaneus, also called the Hen Harrier was the main reason to arrange a trip to Norderney in early May this year. Finally the Northern Harriers have returned from their wintering areas. On a trip to China – on Happy Island – Northern Harrier could be photographed very successfully on migration  -interesting enough only females. The courtship and breeding period should now be photographed.

For shots of the beginning of courtship, it was too late. Beginning and mid of April you can observe Continue reading Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) on Norderney

Red Kites in flight with buzzards over corn fields

Red Kite low over fieldsThe last days in May were stormy days in the Vogelsberg on the edge of the Wetterau. At least 8 Red Kites (Milvus milvus) flew over 3 various nearby maize fields along with at least 25 Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) and two Black Kites (Milvus migrans). The were flying in the upwinds very easily. Obviously they liked the windy weather with some sunshine and than dark clouds of thunderstorm very much. Such a large assembly of birds of prey, especially Red Kites in such a small area I had not seen before. From time to time, the raptors landed and caught a – not determinable – small prey and sit down among the green stalks. After a while, even a White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, appeared and searched the field for food. A great picture. The Red Kites are said to be convicted robbers to other birds by attacking them to leave their food. But this could not be observed. Certainly one hour the kites could be seen circling low over the green rows of corn field. Some individuals of the Red Kites were only 15 meters from the small country road near Ulfa away. Once the car stopped, they flew on a little further and then circled over the field.

Red Kites reach a size of 70 cm and a wingspan of about 160 cm. The breeding range of the Red Kites is limited to Central Europe in light deciduous and mixed forests of the lower mountains. Only part of the population Continue reading Red Kites in flight with buzzards over corn fields

Common Buzzard at the bait in wintertime

Common BuzzardTo observe and photograph Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) at the bait in wintertime in good numbers  – sometimes 8 individuals on one occasion. Is this possilbe right in the center of a heavy industrialized country like Germany? Yes, it is!

The valley of the river „Leine“ and the surrounding hills called “Leinebergland” is not famous of being one of Germany´s birding hot spots. But in wintertime the charming countryside between the cities of Hildesheim to the east and Hameln to the west is invaded by keen birdwatchers and bird photographers to shoot images of Common Buzzards and other excellent birds on a winter feeding site.

Having been spend one day on invitation of Wolf-Dieter Peest has been very productive – as you can see in the gallery. Wolf-Dieter offers Wildlife Workshops but also the chance to sit in one (or more) of his hides located on ponds, small streams or at the border of agricultural fields. The Leinebergland 30 km south of the city of Hannover, with its many gravel pits, is a paradise for nature photographers. In the early 70s many gravel mining pits were built along the line between Hanover and Göttingen. Having exploited these areas, the remaining ponds and lakes are now on the way back to nature again and offer a new habitat to a huge number of animal and plant species. Many of these ponds are real paradises for nature lovers and the nature- of course. A description of the locations written in german, you will find here!
Wolf-Dieter managed to lease a good number of attractive properties over the last 15 years. There are ideal conditions for a photographic passion Continue reading Common Buzzard at the bait in wintertime

Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor in the Hochtaunus near Frankfurt

Northern ShrikeDuring a short trip to a hiking site near my hometown in the Hochtaunus just 25km from downtown Frankfurt I could observe a beautiful Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor. This Northern Shrike could be seen in perfect light in the afternoon of the 20th of February in an area called Viehweide (cattle pasture) northwest of the small village Schloßborn near both to the highest peak of the Taunus, the Grosser Feldberg, and the fashionable town of Koenigstein im Taunus.

The bird was already observed by Eleonore Gothe on the 18th of February.

This was my first sighting for this winter in the Taunus. One of the last Great Grey Shrikes I could see was on Helgoland in the Suedhafen area last October.

In his „Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas“, Band 13/II „Passeriformes, Sittidae – Laniidae“ Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim mentioned that migration of the Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, (also called Northern Shrike), back to breeding grounds has been reported between mid of February until beginning of April with peaks in March. In so far the observation could still fit for a wintering ground observation or a sighting during migration.

Remarkably otherwise there were 8 Ravens (Corvus corax) and at least 5 Red Kites (Milvus milvus). Although Red Kites breed in the Taunus and these Kites seem to stay and feed in the area, they will probably go further north in the near future. The german Birdnet is full with migration counts of Red Kites – sometimes in good numbers (as 37 individuals migrating in north-eastern direction in the Landkreis Waldeck-Frankenberg in northern Hesse).
Moreover, 8 Eurasian Buzzards (Buteo buteo) could be seen. Very interesting to see 5 Common Buzzard with 2 Kites trying to Continue reading Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor in the Hochtaunus near Frankfurt

Birding in & around Frankfurt: The Palmengarten

Frankfurt is the financial capital of Germany. It is well known although the city limits inhabit only roughly 600,000 people. But the greater Frankfurt area of course is much more populated. If you are on business in Frankfurt and have some spare time between two meetings and you are a birdwatcher, you might be interested to know, where you can find good places to walk a bit and enjoy birding for typical european birds.

One of these sites is the Palmengarten. On an area of approx. 22 hectares near the old american embassy and just north-west of the towers of the banks, the Palmengarten botanical gardens display a range of interesting and beautiful plants. Almost every kind of exotic flora growing around the world can be found here, right in the middle of Frankfurt. The Tropicarium, an ensemble Continue reading Birding in & around Frankfurt: The Palmengarten

Fall migration at the Black Sea Coast/ Romania

Spectacular numbers of Pallid Harrier, Circus macrourus, and Red-footed Falcon, Falco vespertinus, were the highlight of the first day. Having spent 3 days in May north of Constanta at Romania´s Black Sea coast, it was decided to try our luck with birds again in the area around the village of Vadu. The target was, to increase the birdlist and to look what differences in the bird diversity we could experience. South of the Danube Delta is wide stretch of a sandy shoreline with shallow lagoons. This is part of Romania´s Black Sea coast. September– like May – is migration time. Whereas the association of the east Romanian countryside is normally with the core Danube Delta with its special birds like Pelicans, Black-necked and Red-necked Grebes, Glossy Ibises, Spoonbills, the stretch of coast just south of the Danube Delta up to the northern city limits of Constanta is an excellent birding spot not only for migrating birds, too. Two dedicated bird photographers went for the countryside area near of Vadu at the sandy coast in the 3rd week of September 2012. The area called Dobrudja with its steppe habitat more to the west was neglected this time. All breeding specialities should have gone already.

The trip date was perfect, allowing us to see good variety of species, many of them in considerable numbers, especially raptors. We also saw waders, gulls, herons, pelicans and passerines.

The Bird Diversity we enjoyed was high; exactly 90 species of birds we found in only 2,5 days. Highlights of the tour you will find in the gallery. Among others we made photos of Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis, Dalmatian Pelican, Pelecanus crispus, Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, Ruddy Shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea, Common Shelduck, Tadorna tadorna, Black Kite, Milvus migrans, Western Marsh-Harrier, Circus aeruginosus, Pallid Harrier, Circus macrourus, Montagu’s Harrier, Circus pygargus, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus, Red-footed Falcon, Falco vespertinus, Eurasian Hobby, Falco subbuteo, Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, Common Quail, Coturnix coturnix, Syrian Woodpecker, Dendrocopos syriacus, Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus, many Willow Warblers, Phylloscopus trochilus, Common Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita, lots of Blackcaps, Sylvia atricapilla, only a few Common Whitethroats, Sylvia communis, many Lesser Whitethroats, Sylvia curruca, many Spotted Flycatchers, Muscicapa striata and Red-breasted Flycatchers, Ficedula parva, good numbers of Common Redstarts, Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Whinchats, Saxicola rubetra, Northern Wheatears, Oenanthe oenanthe and a single Tawny Pipit, Anthus campestris.

This tour gave us the opportunity to witness the spectacular autumn migration Continue reading Fall migration at the Black Sea Coast/ Romania

Migration of raptors over the Macin Mountains National Park

Because Macin Mountains is famous as an important migration hotspot for raptors in autumn, we decided to visit this site after a visit in May again at the end of September.

An excellent choice. Arriving only at around 11:00h the activity of the “normal” birds were low. But the highlight, we were looking for, was the migration of flying raptors anyway. This time of the day was just right – as you can see in the gallery. We did manage to observe two adult, White-tailed Eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla in a heavy fight with a pair of Common Raven, and a juvenile individual just flying slowly overhead. Short after a Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, hovered over our observation point in search of prey.

Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, is one of the largest buzzards of Europe and is the most common bird of prey in the Macin Mountains National Park. He usually builds his nest on cliffs. Other breeding raptors of that area include Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk and Saker Falcon. But of the rarer breeding raptors we did not see one, but one (or more) migrating Pallid Harrier, Circus macrourus , were seen hovering on the cliff along. We were surprised to see so often (or so many) Pallid Harriers here in Macin again – as we were happy to see the migration of Pallid Harrier along the Black Sea coast north of Constanta. An Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus, could be observed in a furious air combat with a Eurasian Hobby, Falco subbuteo.

Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Aquila pomarina, were seen just migrating against the steel-blue sky in the wonderful mountainous scenery. It was a brilliant afternoon with not to many images today and large crops to some of them. But the birds which were photographed were top quality.

Of course we did not find any of the breeding songbirds we found in May. As you can read in a blog or see in the gallery at that time we had two species of Continue reading Migration of raptors over the Macin Mountains National Park