Tag Archives: Eurasian Hoopoe

Tree Pipit: back from Africa

BaumpieperA remembrance of a song, beautiful and both familiar and strange. It took a while until I got the clue. It was a Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) singing in a woodland in the heath on sunday. Singing now south of Berlin, seen 20 days ago in Cameroon. There the subspecies trivialis was still fairly common near the Ngaoundaba Ranch on the Adamawa Plateau of middle Cameroon in the beginning of April. Other migrant WP-birds were Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops), Great Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) and many Whinchats (Saxicola rubetra).

The Tree Pipit is a small passerine bird which breeds across most of Europe. It is an nondescript species, similar to the Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis). The Tree Pipit is brown with streakings above and has black markings on a white belly and buff breast below. It can be distinguished from the slightly smaller Meadow Pipit by its heavier bill and greater contrast between its buff breast and white belly. Tree pipits more readily perch in trees in comparison Continue reading Tree Pipit: back from Africa

Sooty falcons – killers on the islands of the Red Sea

SchieferfalkeA blast from the blue evening sky. Brown feathers in the air. The collision does take only a fracture of a second. Then the spectacle is already over and gone and a bird of prey with long, slender wings and a long tail has disappeard in the stands of low mangroves. Another migratory songbird has finished its life. A Sooty Falcon has made his job again not far from its breeding ground. These falcons start breeding in fall between August and November to make use of the bird migration in fall along the red sea coast.

The Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor) is the killer of passerine birds on the islands along the red sea coast of Egypt. When the Sooty Falcon recognizes a bird flying overhead, the Sooty falcon rapidly takes to the air, accelerating above its prey before making a low dive and seizing it in its talons. The adult birds with its mainly uniform Continue reading Sooty falcons – killers on the islands of the Red Sea

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

Tierparadies Hundsheimer Berge

BienenfresserEtwa eine Stunde donauabwärts von Wien (50 km) entfernt befindet sich das Naturreservat Hundsheimer Berge in der Nähe der Stadt Hainburg. Die Gebiet zwischen Wien und Bratislava liegt nicht weit von der slowakischen Grenze entfernt. Von dem kleinen Ort Hundsheim aus können Naturfotografen in einer weitgehend naturbelassenen Wald- und Graslandschaft mit einer artenreichen Flora und Fauna auf Fotopirsch gehen. Nach etwa einer Stunde Aufstieg erreicht man den höchsten Punkt des Naturreservats Hundsheimer Berge, das aus dem Braunsberg (346 m), dem Hexenberg (480 m) und dem Spitzerberg (288 m) besteht. Da die Wetterlage oft sehr sonnig ist, ist die beste Zeit für eine fotografisch Exkursion früh morgens bis mittags. Am Hundsheimer Berg befindet sich ein Hide, ein versteckter Besucherstand. Dieser ist vorzüglich zur Beobachtung von Bienenfressern (Merops apiaster) oder auch des Wiedehopfs  (Upupa upupa) geeignet. Bienenfresser Continue reading Tierparadies Hundsheimer Berge

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

Overshoots im Frühjahrszug auf den britischen Inseln

GartenrotschwanzEs lohnt sich immer wieder, mal über den Tellerrand des unmittelbaren Orni-Umfelds zu schauen. So konnten auch die Birder auf der Insel im Westen des Kontinents das erste Wochenende im April als Frühling mit angenehmen Temperaturen, einem leichten Windchen und in der Regel Sonnenschein willkommen heißen. Mit den frühlingshaften Temperaturen war auch auf den britischen Inseln ein deutlicher Schub von sommerlichen Migranten verbunden: Ringdrosseln (Turdus torquatus) wurden verstärkt an ihren traditionellen Rastplätzen angetroffen; es gab einen bemerkenswerten Einflug von Gartenrotschwänzen (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) (weitgehend Männchen) und auch andere Zugvögel wie Trauerschnäpper (Ficedula hypoleuca), Feldschwirl (Locustella naevia), Schilfrohrsänger (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) und Teichrohrsänger (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)  waren erstmals in diesem Jahr zu bewundern.

Mit dem zunehmenden Vogelzug aus südlichen Gefilden wuchs natürlich auch die Vorfreude auf die Vögel, die von den Briten „overshoots” genannt warden. Dies sind Zugvögel, die in dieser Zeit ihr eigentliches Verbreitungsgebiet nach Norden überschreiten und in Großbritannien und Irland in den kommenden Wochen nur sporadisch wahrgenommen werden und sich dann in ihre südlichen Brutgebiete zurückziehen. Hier konnten u.a. schon die ersten Beobachtung mit einem Rotkopfwürger (Lanius senator) bei der Windmill Farm, Cornwall gemacht werden. Schon fast „fest-gebucht“ zu diesem Zeitpunkt ist der Continue reading Overshoots im Frühjahrszug auf den britischen Inseln

A night in Brandenburg heath: The Eurasian Nightjar

ZiegenmelkerThe late sun of the day still shines through some pine trees. The sun stays already very low, but is not yet set. A discreet purring is suddenly heard from a wood right in the heath landscape in front of me. The calls of the Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) are still much more dominant. But the rhythmic purr of the Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) is increasing in volume in the background. Aggressive wasps and importunate little flies are bothering the attentive birder. The time lags between the purring of the Nightjar become more and more shorter. Finally, the male begins to patrol its territory. Slow, excessive wing beats enhance the impression of a relevant actor in the night theatre. It is beautiful to admire the white spots on the tail edge and the primaries. Only a few moment, this event takes place; then the Nightjar has disappeared already in the adjacent ash grove. A short time later, you can hear the singing of the Nightjar from a stationary point of view of right behind the site I am sitting. It is time for a investigation. The search reveals a Continue reading A night in Brandenburg heath: The Eurasian Nightjar

Ziegenmelker im Revierflug

ZiegenmelkerSchweißperlen stehen auf der Stirn. Die Sonne steht tief, ist aber noch nicht untergegangen. Da hört man schon das dezente Schnurren aus dem Heidewäldchen. Noch sind die Rufe des Pirols (Oriolus oriolus) viel dominanter und spielen sich in den Vordergrund. Das rhythmische Schnurren des Ziegenmelker (Caprimulgus europaeus) nimmt aber sowohl an Lautstärke wie auch an Dauer zu. Das Warten zwischen den Gesangspausen des Männchen des Ziegenmelkers wird nicht unbedingt dadurch verkürzt daß etliche aggressive Wespen und zudringliche kleine Fliegen den aufmerksamen Birder afu einer Jagdkanzel belästigen. Schließlich fängt das Männchen an, sein Revier zu patrollieren und kommt im langsamen Gaukelflug mit betontem Flügelschlag auf die Kanzel zugeflogen. Dabei sind wunderschön die weißen Flecken auf den Schwanzkanten und den Handschwingen zu bewundern. Nur kurz dauert dieses Ereignis, dann ist der Ziegenmelker auch schon im angrenzenden Eschenwäldchen verschwunden. Kurze Zeit später ist dann der Gesang des Ziegenmelkers direkt Continue reading Ziegenmelker im Revierflug

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

Eurasian Wryneck and other birds in Bulgaria

Eurasian WryneckI am now back from a trip to Bulgaria for quite a while. As I wrote already in the Bee-eater-Blog, the main purpose was to photograph European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster). But as I mentioned in the recent blog, Bulgaria is full of wildlife which could be found relatively easy. As most of the mornings were spent with Bee-eaters or in a hide for Eurasian Golden Orioles (Oriolus oriolus), evening photo sessions quite often were spent roaming along country roads in the car and photographing any birds I encountered. I came up with pretty good results. There were many passerine birds present. I came across with Crested Lark (Galerida cristata), Eurasian Linnet (Carduelis cannabina), Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala), Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca), Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor), Continue reading Eurasian Wryneck and other birds in Bulgaria

Hainburg an der Donau: Bienenfresser an der Brutröhre

BienenfresserSchon ein süd-östliches Flair weist die Stadt Hainburg, direkt an der Donau liegend, auf. Die Stadt zwischen Wien und Bratislava in unmittelbarer Nähe zur slowakischen Grenze hat aber auch einige Naturschönheiten zu bieten. Eine dieser Kostbarkeiten befindet sich nicht weit von der Donau am Hundsheimer Berg. In der Nähe der Ortschaft befindet sich ein Hide, ein versteckter Continue reading Hainburg an der Donau: Bienenfresser an der Brutröhre

Bienenfresser am Neusiedler See

BienenfresserEin südliches Flair geben die wunderschönen Vögel aus der Familie der Racken einer jeden Landschaft. Noch dazu ist der farbenprächtige Vogel ist ein wahrer Flugakrobat. Bienenfresser graben jedes Jahr neue Bruthöhlen in Löß- und sandige Lehmsteilwände. Hier lassen sich die Bienenfresser im späten Frühjahr und im Sommer am besten beobachten. Ein Muß für Continue reading Bienenfresser am Neusiedler See

Irish Bird Trip to the Frankfurt area in Germany; 16thMay-19th May 2014

Black KiteWe flew in from Kerry airport Ireland and landed at Hahn to met by Johannes Ferdinand from Bird-Lens our bird guide.  During our stay we had no rain, some cloud in the mornings and plenty of sunshine all day. We saw a total of 113 birds including lifers Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris), Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo), and adult Black-necked or Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) and Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica). Johannes had organised our trip to Continue reading Irish Bird Trip to the Frankfurt area in Germany; 16thMay-19th May 2014

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

Cattle Egret taking a shower under a lawn sprinkler

This species of heron is renown to spend a lot of time close to livestock like grazing cattle and grab insects and worms that their hooves disturb. But on these pictures you can see, that the Cattle Egret feels attracted to other human environment as well. Weather the egret seeks the spray of the lawn sprinkler in search of insects and worms or weather it just like a cool shower running along its feathers is not clear.  But anyway, a great impression which couldn´t be missed. Without haste the bird marched under the spray of the water from one side of the green rondell to the other.  The images were shot in March 2012 in the park called Green Mubazzarah near Al Ain/ UAE at the foot of the Hajar Mountains. Green Mubazzarah is a picnic area with streams, grass and chalets at the northern base of Jebel Hafeet before the road starts to climb upwards towards the summit of Jebel Hafeet. Lawn sprinklers are abundant and in full action in the mornings to preserve the green in a extremely desert environment. The green in the desert does not only attract Cattle Egret and other birds present year-round in that area like Chukar, Grey Francolin, Laughing Dove und Eurasian Collared-Dove but also many migrating birds like e.g. Blue Rock-Thrush, Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush, Eurasian Hoopoe, Pied, Northern, Isabelline and Desert Wheatear, Wagtails and Water Pipits.
The birding strategy is to go early in the morning. The official opening times is: 9am to 9pm, but cleaning service start right after dawn so you might be able Continue reading Cattle Egret taking a shower under a lawn sprinkler