The fate of the Common Pochard is discussed intensively in the relevant forums. Scientific research suggests that the sex ratio of the populations of Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), a medium-sized diving duck, in Europe and North Africa has changed. This could play a role in the decline of the species in the Western Palearctic.
Sex ratio results have just been published in the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) Journal Wildfowl. These conclusions show that populations are becoming increasingly “masculine”. Using the data obtained in January 2016, the researchers compared counts from surveys conducted in January 1989 and January 1990 in the same region. The proportion of men in the total population was 62% in the years 1989 to 1990 and in 2016 this disparity even increased to 71%.
Interesting clues for the pochard, a bird in a sharp population descent, provides an investigation of ZIMMERMANN, H. (2010), which was published in: Brut und Mauser der Tafelente Aythya ferina im Naturschutzgebiet Fischteiche in der Lewitz (Breeding and moulting of the pochard Aythya ferina in the nature reserve fish ponds in the Lewitz) in Orn. Newsletter Meckl.-Vorp. 46: 367-373.
Das Schicksal der Tafelente (Aythya ferina) wird intensiv in den einschlägigen Foren diskutiert. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen legen nahe, dass sich das Geschlechterverhältnis der Tafelentenpopulationen in Europa und Nordafrika verändert hat. Dies könnte eine Rolle beim Rückgang der Art in der westlichen Paläarktis spielen.
Diese Ergebnisse, die gerade im Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) Journal Wildfowl veröffentlicht wurden, zeigen, dass Populationen zunehmend “männlicher ” werden. Unter Verwendung der im Januar 2016 gewonnenen Daten verglichen die Forscher Zählungen aus Erhebungen, die im Januar 1989 und im Januar 1990 in derselben Region durchgeführt wurden. Der Anteil der männlichen Vertreter an der Gesamtpopulation betrug in den Jahren 1989 bis 1990 schon 62 %. Und im Jahr 2016 stieg dieses Mißverhältnis sogar auf 71 %.
Spätherbst ist die Zeit der Gänse in der Nieplitzniederung. Diese weite, teils intensiv landwirtschaftlich geprägte, Landschaft ist dann Heimat nicht nur nordischer Entenvögel sondern auch der Graugänse (Anser anser). Nasskaltes Wetter mit einem wolkenverhangenen Himmel darf einen Vogelbeobachter aber nicht abhalten, den rastenden und fliegenden Trupps einen Besuch abzustatten. Vielleicht findet man ja gerade bei richtig trübem Wetter mit tiefen Wolken in Verbindung mit Nieselregen eine Seltenheit. Man kann die ganze Szenerie aber auch einfach nur auf sich wirken lassen. Wenn sich morgens mit unglaublichem Getöse die großen Gänsescharen, die die Nacht vor dem Nieplitz-Delta verbracht haben, in Bewegung setzen, fährt es einem durch Mark und Bein. Traumhaft, wie ein Gänsetrupp nach dem anderen die eisige Wasserfläche verläßt um sich dann im Dämmerungslicht tief über den See fliegend auf zu den Äsungsflächen in der Umgebung zu begeben. Ein morgendlicher Ausflug zum Blankensee verschafft dem Frühaufsteher nicht nur eine wunderschöne Wasserlandschaft in einer Zeit des Übergangs vom Herbst zum Winter, sondern auch viele wunderschöne Vogelbeobachtungen. Manchmal ist der Morgen von Minustemperaturen und einem klaren Himmel, dann wieder von Nebel geprägt. Neben den allgegenwärtigen Graureihern (Ardea cinerea) und Silberreihern (Ardea alba) sind auch immer mal wieder Continue reading Graugänse ziehen über den Blankensee→
Je 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→
Migration season starts in Germany right now. One of the best places to see especially the early fall migrants – the waders – is the old sewage farm in the north of Muenster, called Rieselfelder Munster. Early morning, 6:30 am. Still dawn. Haze over the water and I am watching through a well located hide here on the edge of the best lagoon, called E1. Waders are my main interest, but I would not complain, if an early Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana) or Continue reading Moorhen chases Snipe at Rieselfelder Munster→
After a message on Ornitho.de I decided to visit the sewage farms in the north of Muenster. A Green-winged Teal, a close relative of our European Teal (Anas carolinensis) was said to stay for a few days already in Muenster. The duck was in the area of an old abandoned sewage farm. The species has been seen since at least the 16th of March on the pond named E1. From the Rhine -Ruhr region, the sewage farm is easy to reach and the sewage ponds – the Rieselfelder Muenster – are famous to reveal rarities especially in the spring season. The area is a real birding hotspot. First, there was nothing to see but the sheer numbers of ducks. Gadwalls (Anas strepera), Continue reading Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) near Muenster/ North Rhine-Westphalia→
Is it possible to combine business and birding in India? The country is large, the distance too and most business is performed in a metropolitan area – New Delhi. Although supposedly in the area of New Delhi only 250,000 people live after the Indian census of 2011, but there are at least several million in the greater Delhi area . Nature must stand back there. Nearby , however, is Keoladeo . According to wikipedia is a national park in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Keoladeo is also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. The National Park is located about 50 km west of Agra near the town of Bharatpur and not too far south of the city of New Delhi, the capital of India. As a business trip to New Delhi allowed for a few days off for birding, I opted for the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary.
From Germany first the trip went to New Delhi. I stayed in the city, had four grueling days in business meetings with constantly running air conditioning in darkened rooms and then went on a weekend to my well-deserved relaxation destination, the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur. But before the bird’s enjoyment there are more exhausting times to cope with. Although there are only about 200 km to the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. But they are strenuous. At least 3 hours – rather 4 hours – you are traveling on dusty, crowded highways in almost constant traffic jam. But then you’re on your final destination: in Keoladeo, India´s paradise for water birds. It is for India which for Botswana is the Okavango and the Everglades mean for America. The local population knows Keoladeo as “Ghana” . In their language the word means “forest” or “jungle”. Keoladeo was originally the private duck hunting ground of the Maharajas of Bharatpur. In the swamps many water birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia are wintering. Supposedly over Continue reading Keoladeo National Park, a paradise also for Western Palearctic birds→
In the South-Western corner of the capital of Romania, near and alongside the Dâmboviţa River, one of the nature jewels of Bucharest can be found. Park the car on the sidewalk and quickly you can see the first Whiskered Tern already, which fly croaking from the river and disappear behind you. Often the bird is carrying a small fish in its beak. Parallel to the city road there is a high dam which does not seem to promise too much. But then – if you stand on the dam – you will see a wide swampy landscape with only a few scattered willows. Otherwise, a lot of open water and almost no people. This is surprising, because right next door some pretty looking apartment buildings had been built in the last years. This is Vacaresti!
Soon you will hear the first Great Reed Warbler. A real bonus bird is the abundant Eurasian Golden Oriole. The Orioles you can hear all the time when you are walking on one of the paths that cross through the area. The paths – mainly trampled by anglers – pass the many ponds very closely. Thus keep a little distance, so the birds will not flush before you see them. If you keep quiet, you will see many birds – especially waders, ducks and herons. Last time, I had a female Common Pochard, right in the first pond. Whiskered Terns breed in the area and can be seen – as documented in the Gallery (here) – very closely feeding the youngsters.
The Vacaresti area was a development project of the ancient communist regime. Actually, planned as reservoir (flood protection and urban recreation area), this plan was abandoned after 1989 and the Vacaresti lake was created in its present form. Today, after more than 20 years, the area is a very interesting case of a natural ecological succession in an urban area. The area is approximately 155 hetares and is now home to a self-sustaining ecosystem with grasslands, lakes, temporary pools, puddles and partly an extensive reed beds. The area is home to many species of plants and animals and some of them are nor very common species. A team of botanists of the Botanical Garden Bucharest has identified two major plant communities: the Danube (Danubian) community and a community of settlement areas (anthropic community). Me, Cristian Mihai, have intensively studied the area visiting it many times in roughly 4 years (between 2007-2011) and identified more than Continue reading Birding in the city of Bucharest – Vacaresti wetland→
Now that winter has proceeded quite well some good birds show up on “stupid” spots like recreation areas and parks. In a series of blogs Bird-lens has already described some excellent spots like the Langener Waldseento observe birds, but this spot came to my awareness the first time. This was due to the fact that a female Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) showed up on a abundant gravel spit near Offenbach-Rumpenheim, just 10 km east of the city of Frankfurt. The location is called the “Schultheisweiher”. Normally the Ferruginous Duck is looking for the companionship of Aythya – ducks like Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) and Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula). The Ferruginous Duck was discovered on the 31st of January 2013 on the Schultheisweiher is there now for more than 1 week.
The photo was shot yesterday when the sun came out after heavy clouds and snow showers distracted a visit on the previous days. The female Ferruginous Duck could be seen next to at least 22 Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) and approx. 50 Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) on the north-western corner of the lake. The female Ferruginous Duck could be seen first only sleeping, then preening the plumage and finally swimming and even diving.
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. 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.
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.