Tag Archives: Eurasian Curlew

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

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

Beste Beobachtungsgebiete im Winter auf Texel

StockenteTagelang hatte es geregnet. Der Ausflug über Sylvester auf die südlichste der westfriesischen Inseln schien sich als Reinfall zu entpuppen. Dann nach 3 Tagen klarte es gegen Abend auf. Ein phantastisches Abendrot kündigte eine sternenklare Nacht an. In dieser Nacht ohne schützende Wolkendecke fielen die Temperaturen auf deutlich unter Null. Die Feuchtigkeit an Gräsern und Zweigen gefror. Der nächste frühe Morgen mit seinem Eiskristallen, Reif und Eisflächen verzauberte den Besucher dieser Insel und entschädigte ihn für die voran gegangenen Tage, die doch mehr oder weniger in der warmen Stube verbracht wurden. Stacheldrahtzäune waren eisbedeckt und glitzerten in den verschiedensten Farben in der prallen Morgensonne. Bald würde das Schauspiel mit der wärmenden Sonne vorbei sein. Jetzt mußten die richtigen Motive schleunigst gefunden werden.

Eigentlich war ich über Sylvester nach Texel gefahren, um die Wintergäste beobachten und fotografieren. Als Übernachtungsort auf der Insel wählte ich Oost, da sich die meisten Vögel im Nordosten der Insel aufhalten. Hier gibt es auch einige Seen und Gräben, an denen sich die Vögel vom Auto gut beobachten lassen. Direkt in der Nähe von Oost in Richtung Continue reading Beste Beobachtungsgebiete im Winter auf Texel

Säbelschnäbler an der Nordsee

Pied AvocetSäbelschnäbler (Recurvirostra avosetta) gehören zu den auffälligsten Küstenvögeln. Die taubengroßen Watvögel sind überwiegend weiß gefärbt, haben schwarze Abzeichnungen und im Vergleich zu anderen Seevogelarten sehr lange Beine. Kennzeichnend für diesen Vogel ist jedoch der säbelartige, nach oben gebogene Schnabel. Er wird bei der Futtersuche im Flachwasser leicht geöffnet und seitwärts durch den Schlick gezogen. So durchkämmt der Vogel im Takt des Vorwärtsschreitens den Boden. Der Säbelschnäbler kommt an der gesamten Nordseeküste und den vorgelagerten Inseln vor.

Gute Beobachtungs- und Fotomöglichkeiten gibt es zum Beispiel auf der niederländischen Insel Texel. Dort kann man auf einer Spülfläche nahe dem Ort Oost das Sozialverhalten, den Nahrungserwerb und das Brutgeschäft der Tiere beobachten. Dazu gesellen sich meistens Austernfischer (Haematopus ostralegus), Goldregenpfeifer (Pluvialis apricaria), Große Brachvögel (Numenius arquata) und Rotschenkel (Tringa totanus). Eher auf Wiesen im Landesinneren sind oft auch viele Kiebitze (Vanellus vanellus) zu entdecken. Wer hier zu guten Fotos kommen will, sollte Continue reading Säbelschnäbler an der Nordsee

On migration: a Siberian Rubythroat on Happy Island

RubinkehlchenHappy Island is considered to be (one of) the best location to watch the East Asian migration. This turned out to be already on the first – very successful – photo morning of my stay on a late autumn day on Happy Island. Wow, a real hotspot for migratory bird observation on China’s south-east coast. I got up at 5:45 am. I grabbed not only the Continue reading On migration: a Siberian Rubythroat on Happy Island

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

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

Cranes on Happy Island, Chinas´s Helgoland, Part I

China’s Helgoland? Is there such a thing? Well, it depends on what you consider to be the specific characteristic of the “Shijiu Tuo Island” or “Bodhi Island” (in English simply “Happy Island”) mentioned island.

Shijiu Tuo Island or simple Happy Island, about 3 hours drive from the seaside resort of Beidaihe located on the Yellow Sea to the east, is at first appearance rather like one of the Northern Sea islands as Texel, Norderney or even Wangerooge. This applies both to the topography as well as the distance from the mainland. Happy Island is not an off-shore island. Therefore it only takes a small boat to bring passengers to the island – in about the same time what it takes to ship from Harlinger Siel to Wangerooge.

Beidaihe is located east of Beijing – about 300 km from the international airport.

The resort has been in the international media at the beginning of August 2012, as this year the Chinese leadership resided in this seaside town to a multi-week retreat to prepare for the upcoming change in power. Previously, the communist party retreats were held regularly in the summer in the nice place. Large parts of the state bureaucracy were carted in the hot months to Beidaihe with its convenient seaside climate. Security is of course very strict at that time but in October / November – the best time for bird migration observation – the resort is very quiet and not crowded. Perfect conditions to go for the beach or in the park adjacent to the Lotus Hills – the Lian Feng Mountain Park – to look after local and migrating birds. So far so good. But now more to Happy Island.

Happy Island at the widest point is only 1.5 kilometers wide and 3.5 kilometers long. Albeit this island offers an impressive diversity of habitats – as does Helgoland. There are grasslands, sandy beaches, small ponds, dense coastal scrub, sand dunes, shrimp ponds and – in the middle a collection of trees that could be almost called a small wood. The wood is picturesquely located right around a Buddhist temple.

The surrounding sea impresses the observer with wide mud flats at low tide. This is an excellent food area for migratory and native birds – such as our North Sea islands. Here waders as Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus), Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva), Mongolian Plover (Charadrius mongolus), Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii), Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus), Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis), Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) and Dunlin (Calidris alpina) can be seen. Rarities are Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) and finally Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis). One of the highlights is Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer), who is the almost annually observed. Unfortunately I draw a blank on that bird as I missed the Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), who is also a scarce passing migrant. A special feature is the observation opportunities for the otherwise very rare Saunders’s Gull (Larus saundersi) and Relict Gull (Larus relictus). Both could be photographed beautifully. So far, the impressive number of 408 species has been proven for the island, of which only 29 are valid as breeding species and 379 as migratory.

The Fall – from September to mid-November – is a very favorable season for bird watching Continue reading Cranes on Happy Island, Chinas´s Helgoland, Part I

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