Tag Archives: Common Snipe

Woodcocks on Flores

WaldschnepfeDue to its stealthy habits the Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) is one of the least observed regular birds in Europe. Essentially active at twilight and at night the Woodcock is the least known birds among the islands of the Azores as well. It is, however, one of the most unique species of the Azorean avifauna. The fact that Scolopax rusticola (named Galinhola in portugues) has different names on different islands, Cagarrona (Santa Luzia, Pico); passaroa (Terra do Pão, Pico); marreca (by several people in some localities of Pico) indicates, that people have something in mind with this bird.

The Woodcock is essentially resident on the island and breeding records are noticed from all the islands, with the exception of Santa Maria and Graciosa. Although the occurrence of migratory individuals (a bird was ringed in São Miguel in 2006 and recaptured a few months later in France), the real importance of these Continue reading Woodcocks on Flores

Bekassine im Balzflug

BekassineTräge fließt der Fluß dahin. Die Wiesen sind von der Schneeschmelze und den ergiebigen Regenfällen weiträumig überschwemmt. Dunkle Wolken trieb der Wind den ganzen Tag vor sich her. Gegen Abend klart es auf. Kühl ist es immer noch; aber fast wolkenlos. Bald wird die Abenddämmerung einfallen. Da ist irgendwo hoch über den Wiesen und Weiden ein dumpfes, vibrierendes Meckern am Himmel zu hören. Es stammte von einem Männchen der Bekassine (Gallinago gallinago), welches dieses seltsame Geräusch mit seinen abgespreizten Schwanzfedern erzeugt. Im Sturzflug der Balz sind nicht nur die beiden Federn zwischen Flügeln und Schwanz zu erkennen. Auch die Schwanzfedern sind weit gefächert und lassen im Fernglas die bunten Farben erkennen. Immer wieder steigt der Vogel auf und läßt sich dann wieder fallen. Damit markiert er sein Revier und signalisiert seine Ausdauer. Das ganze Spektakel des Balzflugs kann Stunden dauern. Zwischendurch ruft die Bekassine im Flug. Durch den langen, nun geöffneten Schnabel und die weit abgespreizten Federn wirkt der Vogel deutlich imposanter, als wenn man ihn auf dem Boden sieht. Dort ist er trotz seines „tick-e-tick“ – Rufens (das an das Geräusch einer großen Wanduhr erinnert) sehr unscheinbar und erstaunlich gut getarnt.

Es ist sehr eindrucksvoll, wie die Bekassinen teils weit im Süden über den nur noch seicht überschwemmten Wiesen des Gebietes fliegen, rufen und auf und nieder sausen und dabei ihre arttypischen Trommelgeräusche über die Wiesen schallen lassen. Dann wieder sind es 2 oder gar 3 Bekassinen, die direkt über dem Weg durch Continue reading Bekassine im Balzflug

Alpenstrandläufer im Niederen Fläming

AlpenstrandläuferEin Trupp von 10 Alpenstrandläufer (Calidris alpina) läuft am schlammigen Ufer einer feuchten Senke mitten in der Agrarsteppe des Niederen Fläming. Intensiv und hastig stechen sie ihren Schnabel in den feuchten Schlamm und bevorzugen die ganz flachen Bereiche, die über und über mit Insekten auf der Wasserfläche bedeckt sind. Dabei widmen sie sich ganz der Nahrungssuche. Nur ab und zu gibt es einen Warnruf und der ganze Trupp fliegt wie auf ein Kommando davon. Meist drehen sie dann eine Runde (oder auch zwei) und fallen irgendwo ohne erkennbare Präferenz für die eine oder die andere Seite des flachen Gewässers ein. Ein Gewitter kündigt sich an. Dicke Wolken stehen am Himmel nachdem es einige Tage ein hochsommerliches Wetter mitten im September gegeben hatte. Schon am Abend gegen 18:00 ist der Trupp in der Stärke anwesen. Bis zum Einbruch der Dunkelheit bleibt der Trupp zusammen. Weitere Limikolen fliegen gegen Abend leider mit Ausnahme von mindestens 3 Bekassinen (Gallinago gallinago) nicht ein. Dafür sorgen die immer wiederkehrenden Alpenstrandläufer für perfekte Fotogelegenheiten.

Wie bereits im Blog über die Limikolen auf dem Niederen Fläming beschrieben, bilden sich Wasserflächen nach starken Niederschlägen im Frühjahr und Frühsommer in der intensiv landwirtschaftlich genutzte  Hügellandschaft des Niederen Flämings im Süden Brandenburgs. Diese temporären Feuchtflächen sind zwar bei zunehmender Trockenheit über den Sommer Continue reading Alpenstrandläufer im Niederen Fläming

Young Whinchat on summer morning

BraunkehlchenA fresh morning. Thick layers of fog are lying over the wetlands of the Nuthe floodplain south of Berlin. The weather forecast was perfect and everywhere there were numerous motives. So I took advantage of every free minute in the morning to be outside. The meadows along the river offer a diverse habitat structure. One family of Whinchats (Saxicola rubetra) with at least 2 juveniles were seen in uncut grassland. I placed the car not far from a pole inside the meadow, hoping a young Whinchat, I had seen before, to return. After a while the recently fledged Whinchat really returned to the pole. In the first morning light, it started to preen and stretch the wings. Obviously it wanted to get rid of their youngster’s feather dress. Successful, as it seems. With a surprised look, the young Whinchat looked after the flying plume.

The area south of Berlin has a lot to offer in terms of nature. In addition to the natural richness this is a legacy of the division of Germany, which has prevented the city´s spread after the end of the 2nd World War like in no other city. This means, that even today you often have to pass the city limits only in order to stand in the middle of nature. One of these areas is the Continue reading Young Whinchat on summer morning

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

Vogelfotografie im Biebrza-Nationalpark im Frühjahr

Weissbart-SeeschwalbeIm Nordosten Polens, etwa 200 Kilometer nordöstlich von Warschau, erstreckt sich eine einmalige Sumpflandschaft, die von vielen deutschen Tierfotografen inzwischen nicht mehr vernachlässigt wird. Der Biebrza-Nationalpark liegt zwar eigentlich nicht gleich vor unserer Haustür, doch stellt er für etliche Arten die westlichste Verbreitungsgrenze dar. So kann man an der Biebrza nach wie vor viele in Europa sonst schwierig zu sehende Arten wie Doppelschnepfe, Seggenrohrsänger oder Schreiadler relativ leicht sehen. Mit dem Auto schafft man die Fahrt an einem Tag. Von Berlin führt die Route über die A2 und dann ab Frankfurt/Oder weiter nach Poznan-Warschau-Bialystok.

Der Biebrza-Nationalpark, der „Europäische Amazonas” schützt ein riesiges Flußsystem mit ausgedehnten Feuchtwiesen, Wasserflächen, Sümpfen und Auwäldern. Der Park hat eine Größe von etwa 60.000 Hektar. Geprägt wird das Gebiet von dem Biebrza-Becken, einem außergewöhnlich weitläufigen Continue reading Vogelfotografie im Biebrza-Nationalpark im Frühjahr

Waterfowl Spring migration on the flooded meadows of the river Oder/ Germany

SchnatterenteAlready several sites for nature protection with excellent birding ops in Brandenburg has been presented. One of these sites is a protected nature area in the Havellaendisches Luch or the Guelper See. If you have spare time between two tourist attractions in Germany´s sprawling capital Berlin you might be interested as a birdwatcher to know, where you can find good places to enjoy fresh air and relax with birding for typical European birds. Berlin, the capital of Germany is a top tourist destination and easy to reach by air or car. So the city is a great place to combine a city trip with a birding excursion.

One of these sites is a National Park in Oder valley (Polish: Odra). The Oder is a river in Central Europe which rises in the Czech Republic and ultimately flows into the Szczecin Lagoon of the Baltic Sea. The National Park Lower Oder protects a flood plain, the last still intact in large parts of the estuary of Central Europe with its adjacent slopes, mixed deciduous forests and dry grasslands.

April demonstrated spring time with pleasant temperatures, a pleasant southern wind and usually sunshine. The first weekend provided a significant boost in migratory birds. Especially thrushes – including the first Ring Ouzels (Turdus torquatus) were Continue reading Waterfowl Spring migration on the flooded meadows of the river Oder/ Germany

Dunkler Wasserläufer in Schneegestöber

Dunkler WasserläuferEs ist kalt in Lappland noch Mitte Mai. Schnee liegt am Straßenrand. Dann verdicken sich die Wolken und leise, langsam rieselt der Schnee. Der Schneeregen nimmt an Kraft zu, er entwickelt sich zu einem veritablen Schneefall und steigert sich zu einem Schneegestöber. Wenig später ist sogar ein richtiger Schneesturm zu vermelden. Ein Moorschneehuhn (Lagopus lagopus) mit seinem schönen braunen Hals und der leuchtend roten Rose ist mal auf einer Bülte zu sehen. Leider fliegt es weg. Dafür fliegen 2 Limikolen vor dem dunkelgrauen Himmel. Es sind Bekassinen (Gallinago gallinago), wie ich erst anhand der Auswertung der Bilder sehe. Weiter geht es auf zusehends rutschig-verschneiter Straße. Da steht ein Paar Dunkler Wasserläufer (Tringa erythropus)auf Bülten in einem Sumpf am Straßenrand. Leider fliegen sie beim Anhalten des Wagens weg. Sie fliegen zu einem weiteren Sumpf. Davon gibt es ja hier genug. Eigentlich will ich nur anhalten um die Geräusche in der menschenleeren Landschaft zu hören. Bei praktisch nicht vorhandenem Continue reading Dunkler Wasserläufer in Schneegestöber

Zwergschnepfen im Rasthabitat

ZwergschnepfeFür den ornithologisch Interessierten sind Zwergschnepfen (Lymnocryptes minimus) sicher eine der Vogelarten der Westpaläarktis, die jeder noch auf seiner Liste hat. Viele Vogelbeobachter haben Zwergschnepfen noch gar nicht gesehen. Einige Beobachtungen, die mit Fotos belegt sind, stammen dann von Helgoland, wo doch praktisch alljährlich am Hafen – in der Nähe des sogenannten Kringels – die Zwergschnepfen im Oktober beobachtet werden können. Diese Zwergschnepfen sind dann von der Reise über die See so erschöpft, daß sie sich ausgiebig betrachten lassen. Das richtige Rasthabitat für die Zwergschnepfe stellen die Wellenbrecher am Kringel jedoch nicht dar. Wer Zwergschnepfen daher in der Rast- oder Überwinterungsumgebung beobachten möchte, ist darauf angewiesen, die richtigen Stellen in der Landschaft zu finden.

Zuerst sollte man sich darüber klar sein, daß die Zwergschnepfe ein Vogel des Tieflandes ist. Die meisten Vögel werden auf Gebieten unter 100 m (NN) Höhe berichtet. Meldungen von Hügelländern auf  Continue reading Zwergschnepfen im Rasthabitat

Birding around Berlin – Reckahner Teiche

KrickenteBerlin, the capital of Germany is a top tourist destination. Many airlines use the Airport of Berlin, but it is possible to take a flight to Frankfurt/ Main as well and drive with a rented car in roughly half a day. If you have spare time between two tourist attractions, are fed-up with the museum in crowdy downtown Berlin, have enjoyed nightlife extensively and are a birdwatcher, you might be interested to know, where you can find good places to enjoy fresh air and relax with birding for typical European birds. One of these sites Continue reading Birding around Berlin – Reckahner Teiche

Moorhen chases Snipe at Rieselfelder Munster

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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

Bearded Tits south of Berlin

Bartmeise, Although the capital of Germany, Berlin has a lot to offer in terms of nature, too. In addition to the natural richness this is a legacy of the division of Germany, which has prevented the city´s spread after the end of the 2nd World War like in no other city. This means, that even today you often have to pass the city limits only in order to stand in the middle of nature. One of these areas is the Nature Park “Lowlands of Nuthe and Nieplitz”. The small rivers Nuthe and Nieplitz are located south-west of Berlin and form Continue reading Bearded Tits south of Berlin

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

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

Emergency landing for lapwings

Northern LapwingShorebirds as the Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), are heavily suffering from the return of winter. The return of the winter in the past two weeks with temperatures down to minus two-digit nummbers also in the western part of Germany is devastating for waders. Due to observations of the Hessischen Gesellschaft für Ornithologie und Naturschutz (HG ON) [engl.: Hessian Society for Ornithology and Nature Conservation] in the Main-Kinzig district especially many Northern Lapwings on route from the wintering areas in Africa and southern Europe to their breeding grounds in the north were forced for ​​an emergency landing. This in search of food and to protect from snow and cold temperatures.

In this situation one can observe to the phenomenon Continue reading Emergency landing for lapwings

Spoon-billed Sandpipers and other waders in Thailand on wintering grounds

Spoonbill SandpiperThe Spoon-billed Sandpiper is one of the big megas in the birding space – not only for twitchers, but Thailand in general is an excellent birding destination.

During a trip to Thailand in January 2011 I was looking for wintering birds from the palearctic. The whole trip was a great success, seeing especially many waders which are rare in the western palearctic like Mongolian Plover (Charadrius mongolus), Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultia), Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), Pintail Snipe (Gallinago stenura) and Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus).

But many birders go for the Spoon-billed Sandpipers. For general directions and travel advice visit Nick Upton’s excellent website Thaibirding.com. At the known Spoon-billed Sandpiper site at Pak Thale I spend 3 days. This location is very reliable, with several individuals seen each day there, and up to 3 at once. For details of locations you can also check out these Google maps.  They show the  Spoon-billed Sandpiper distribution not only in Thailand.

At the first time there were Temminck’s Stint (Calidris temminckii) and surprisingly 3 Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus). I teamed up with a group of german birdwatchers. We also saw one individual Spoon-billed Sandpiper at a site which is called the “Derelict Building” –site in Nick Upton’s description. This site is closer (only 2 km) from a little town called Laem Pak Bia. Behind a dam, drive a dirt track passing a garbage dump and you will see the shallow saltpans already. There were masses of egrets, waders and gulls. So we quickly saw Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva), Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Rufous-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis), Long-toed Stint (Calidris subminuta), Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), Broad-billed Sandpiper, (Limicola falcinellus) and many flying Common and Whiskered Tern Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) and Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus). A nice selection of the birds occuring you will find here!

But the best place on finding Spoon-billed Sandpipers in Thailand is certainly at Continue reading Spoon-billed Sandpipers and other waders in Thailand on wintering grounds

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

An early Common Gull, Larus canus on Romania´s Black Sea coast

September is fall migration time in Romania´s Black Sea coast. After having seen the spectacular mass migration of Red-footed Falcon, Falco vespertinus, in an area south of the Danube Delta with its wide stretch of a sandy shoreline with shallow lagoons we arrived at the sandy beach near the little town of Vadu. The shoreline was dotted with gulls (Common Black-headed Gull, Larus ridibundus, Yellow-legged Gull, Larus michahellis, and Mediterranean Gull, Larus melanocephalus, Little Gull, Larus minutus and some Caspian Gull, Larus cachinnans. Additionally Gull-billed Tern, Sterna nilotica,  Sandwich Tern, Sterna sandvicensis and Common Tern, Sterna hirundo,) and waders (Common Ringed Plover, Charadrius hiaticula, Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata and Sanderling, Calidris alba). A blog describing what could be seen on that excellent birding spot will follow very soon on the 30th of October 2012.

One observation of a gull was remarkable. A gull in non-breeding plumage was swimming not too far from the shore. Heavy streaks on the neck were clearly visible and the bill showed a black ring on grey ground. A black area below/in front of the eye underlined the head markings even more. Only checking the images at home, it was possible to identify this gull as a Common (or Mew) Gull, Larus canus moulting in 2nd winter plumages. According to local ornithologists the Common Gull in September is an unusual record. Usually the Common (or Mew) Gull, Larus canus is starting to appear on its wintering grounds Continue reading An early Common Gull, Larus canus on Romania´s Black Sea coast

NABU | Vogel des Jahres 2013: Die Bekassine

Common Snipe is “Bird of the Year 2013” NABU and the national federation for Birds (LBV), NABU partner in Bavaria have voted in Germany endangered Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) to the “Bird of the Year 2013” as you can see here:  NABU | Vogel des Jahres 2013: Die Bekassine. More information, you will find following the link to the Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern e.V (LBV).

In Germany actually there are only 5500-6700 breeding pairs left – about half the population of 20 years ago. The Common Snipe is to advertise as an ambassador for the preservation of wetlands and wet meadows. The deaf great snipe bird with beige-brown plumage and the distinctive beak is due to his vociferous courtship flight often called “complaints bird”.

“The snipe had really good reason to complain because of bogs and marshes their habitat is fast disappearing. It is high time the last Moore strictly protected in Germany – in the interests of climate protection. The same applies to wetlands. We can not accept the fact that lowered the water table and dewatered areas, grasslands plowed, cultivated crops such as corn for biogas plants over large areas, and degraded peat meadows are planted in, “said NABU Vice President Helmut Opitz.

“The fact that the Snipe is threatened with extinction in Germany, is mainly due to the systematic destruction of their habitats. The habitat Continue reading NABU | Vogel des Jahres 2013: Die Bekassine