Watching and photographing the colorful Bee-eater is always a great experience. The (European) Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), which also occurs in Germany, is only one representative of a whole family, which has its stronghold in the tropics, especially in Africa. A common representative in Kenya is the Little Bee-eater (Merops pusillus), which occurs in a large part of sub-Saharan Africa. I was especially happy that I was able to photograph this Bee-eater on the approach of the branch and that it also took along its prey, a fat hoverfly. The courtship is a very special ritual between the Bee-eaters. The male brings his beloved a bride gift in the form of a fat wasp, bee or dragonfly. Bee-eaters, according to their name, like to present striped insects. At that moment in the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in eastern Kenya in October she, the female, sits for a while next to or behind him and does not appear immediately interested. Perhaps as a bride, she is waiting for the male to offer her the wedding gift even more invitingly. She adorns herself, but Continue reading Little Bee-eaters and a bridal gift
The Spanish province of Valencia was visited in summer. One reason was to relax for a week. The second argument was to get a feel for avian delights of an area of the country normally thought of in mainstream tourism terms. As a habitual visitor to the more well-known birding destination of Andalucía and Portugal, I wasn’t expecting too much but was enjoyably surprised by the numbers and variety of Valencia’s avian inhabitants. One day I headed for the steppe habitat just outside Castilla de la Mancha. This area is blessed with an incredibly diverse range of habitats and excellent birding sites.
A stop at the tiny Bonete Municipal Cemetery en route meant we could search a small lake and a few trees, giving us great intimate views of Egyptian Vulture (Neophron pernocterus), Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), a lonesome Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina) and – best of all – a yellow-and-black male Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus). European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) are common in these lowland Continue reading Steppe habitat just outside Castilla de la Mancha
A 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
In einem Artikel bei Birdguides.com wurde die bemerkenswerte Fotosequenz gezeigt bei der ein Bienenfresser (europ.) (Merops apiaster) in Israel offenbar eine Fledermaus erbeutet hatte und diese verzehrfertig aufbereitet.
Am 26. Juni 2015 war der glückliche Fotograf, Shuki Cheled, auf Vogelbeobachtungstour mit einem niederländischen Freund. In der Nähe des Dorfes Nahala begegnete den beiden ein Bienenfresser, der etwas erstaunlich Großes, Braunes in seinem Schnabel hielt. Der Vogel flog schließlich näher und die beiden waren erstaunt zu sehen, dass die Beute tatsächlich eine Fledermaus war. Die Fledermaus war lebendig und flatterte auch mit den Flügeln. Bei der Beute handelte es wahrscheinlich um eine Weißrandfledermaus (Pipistrellus kuhlii).
Im Verlauf der Fotosequenz wird deutlich Continue reading Fotosequenz zeigt Bienenfresser mit Fledermaus
I am just back from a trip to Bulgaria. The purpose was to photograph European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) during a busy young feeding period. Honestly this was the main target of the trip. The birds had arrived in Bulgaria for quite a while. Thus feeding of the young were almost finished. Feeding on their breeding tube. This was a bit disappointing. However I still had good photo opportunities of this incredibly adorable birds.
I decided to spent at least four days with these colourful birds. Thanks to the help and advice of a friend who worked the area one year ago, I easily found a good site and decided to pitch a tented hide. This on top of an escarpment of a sand pit. There were also sandbanks next to the Bee-eaters colony. But the perspective on top was best. To my delight 2 or sometimes even 3,4,5 birds were landing on a perch, flying away, landing again. What a spectacle. There was plenty of action.
As the Bee-eaters are more active feeding early in the morning, I decided to come back at dawn. This time I set – up my hide before the sunrise and to my big relieve birds started to turn up again with the first light. As the name suggests bees are on the top of the menu for bee – eaters, but they are chasing dragonflies, Continue reading European Bee-eaters in Bulgaria
Eigentlich bin ich auf der Suche nach Bienenfressern (Merops apiaster)an einer Lehmwand am Neusiedler See. In der Nähe der Ortschaft Weiden am See befindet sich der Ungerberg, der sowohl eine Lehmwand aufweist, als auch dicht bewachsene Hecken, u.a. mit Robinie und Weißdorn. Ein kurzes ratternd-knarrender Laut begleitet mich, als ich die Hecken auf dem Weg zur Lehmwand passiere. Auf dem Rückweg von – erfolgreicher – Bienenfresser-Fotografier ist an den Stellen, die die ungastlichen Knarzlaute aufwiesen, ein wunderschön, melodischer und Continue reading Die Nachtigall: ein Gesangeskünstler am Ungerberg – Österreich
Bienenfresser (Merops apiaster) sind sicher eine der begehrtesten Fotografierobjekte bei den in Deutschland vorkommenden Vogelarten. Zwar gibt es inzwischen vermehrt Ansiedlungen auch in der Mitte Deutschlands, so in Sachsen-Anhalt oder auch in der Pfalz, vom Kaiserstuhl ganz zu schweigen, doch sind die Brutplätze zu Recht geheim um die niedrigen Bestandszahlen nicht zu gefährden. Ganz anders verhält sich das in den südlichen und südöstlichen Ländern Europas.
Bulgarien ist für die Vogelfotografie geradezu Continue reading Fototrip nach Bulgarien: dem Bienenfresser auf der Spur
Schon 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
Ein 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
We 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
The north-eastern countryside of Bulgaria called Dobruja or in Bulgarian Dobrudzha or in romanian Dobrogea was not famous of being one of Bulgaria´s birding hot spots for bird-lens before. But a trip to the Romanian Dobrogea in may 2012 was already very productive. Thus maybe an excursion to that thinly populated area south of the city of Silistra might be good as well.
The area is a charming countryside which has to offer surprisingly good locations to shoot images of excellent birds.
Having been spent 4 days at the place aiming to photograph Golden Oriole, Ortolan Bunting, Bee-eaters, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Barred Warbler, Tawny Pipit, etc. on invitation of Iordan Hristov one of the two owners of Nature Travel has been very productive – as you can see in the gallery. The other owner, Sergey Panayotov, and his friend Iordan Hristov offer Wildlife Workshops, trips with bicycles and canoes but also the chance to sit in one (or more) of their hides located in the superb gently rolling countryside of that part of Bulgaria. The center of these activities is an ancient farmhouse with an orchard meadow behind. The area in General is dry and can be – at least in that aspect – best compared to the Macin Mountains in Romania.
One of the main targets was the Golden Oriole photography. For this the tower hide was used. This brand-new photohide is in the yard of a small farmland. The tower overlooks the branches of a walnut-tree where birds often perch. Several bird species have their territories around the yard and they often perch on the highest branches for their displays in spring. When bird-lens was shooting the images you see in the gallery the breeding season was almost over. I felt, that the birds use the exposed position of this tallest tree to orientate between a open field and a forest behind and the cherry trees in the orchards of that nice village. An excellent chance to photograph Continue reading Hide Photography in Bulgaria in July; Images from the Dobruja
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
South of the Danube Delta is a wide stretch of a sandy shoreline with shallow lagoons. This is part of Romania´s Black Sea coast. May is Migration and early breeding time. Whereas the association of the east Romanian countryside is normally with the core Danube Delta with its speciality 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, too. A small group of bird photographers went for that countryside, with the area called Dobrudja more to the west and the area of Vadu at the coast. The tour was organized by Sakertours. The Bird Diversity we enjoyed was high; over 90 species of birds we found in only 3 days, some had just arrived from their wintering grounds in Africa. Highlights of the tour you will find in the gallery. Among others we made photoshots of Great Bittern, Botaurus stellaris, European Honey-buzzard, Pernis apivorus, Montagu’s Harrier, Circus pygargus, Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Aquila pomarina, Imperial Eagle, Aquila heliaca, 2 species of Sparrowhawks Continue reading Top Birds at Romania´s Black Sea Coast