Tag Archives: European Golden-Plover

Searching for Eurasian dotterel on migration through Middle Europe

MornellregenpfeiferThe Eurasian dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) is a member of the plover family which migrates from northern Europe, where it breeds, to North Africa, where it winters. In the Middle Rhine area (Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse) the Eurasian dotterel was considered to be a rare vagrant until recently. Only through systematic migration surveys, a large number of records were discovered of this species. The (re)discovery required the migration status to be set by Rhineland-Palatinate ornithologists from ‘accidentally’ to ‘regular passage’. The main migration period is during late August and early September. But observations are both from return migration as well as from the fall migration to the wintering areas. Springtime observations are significantly less often counted than the fall findings. Spring migration occurs during the period between mid-April to mid-May. The species prefers open habitats in elevated locations like hilly plateaus. Only rarely the pretty small Eurasian Dotterel be discovered by accident. The Eurasian Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) shows a strong preference for grubbed stubble fields. In the Continue reading Searching for Eurasian dotterel on migration through Middle Europe

Identifying Eurasian dotterel on migration

MornellregenpfeiferA bleak agricultural prairie in a low mountain range of Germany. The gaze falls on monotonous furrows. Only on the horizon forest can be discerned. The area seems to be empty of birds. Only at some distance a Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is circling in the air. Nevertheless, this kind of habitat can be of great importance ornithological-wise. After a while, you might hear a trilling call, a melancholy “pjurrr”. Now it is time to watch-out carefully. Intense screening of suitable areas with binoculars or spotting scope to spot resting Eurasian dotterel (Eudromias morinellus) usually results only with a lot of time and patience in success. Due to the excellent camouflage of the resting birds you cannot expect fast sightings. Once you have discovered a Dotterel, it is relatively easy to determine the bird. In non-breeding plumage Eurasian dotterel may – under certain circumstances – be confused with the European Golden-Plover (Pluvialis apricaria). Dotterel in breeding plumage, however, are not to be confused with any other species to be expected in Germany. The following tips should help in determining ID-characteristics of the birds.

Dotterel in breeding plumage are characterized by the bright white superciliar stripe. On chest and belly they showy a reddish-brown color. A narrow white chest band is very typical. Moulting birds in the plumage, fade all the colors, the belly is yellowish to white blotchy. At that time a chest ring is far less noticeable. Juvenile individuals or Eurasian dotterels in non-breeding plumage are to be confused Continue reading Identifying Eurasian dotterel on migration

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

Bird migration on the Sagres Peninsula/ Portugal

MornellregenpfeiferDuring the fall migration this is one of the areas most visited by ornithologists who want to enjoy the magic of bird Migration in Portugal. One of the birds encountered is the Eurasian Dotterel, among others. The Eurasian dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) is a member of the plover family which migrates from northern Europe, where it breeds, to North Africa, where it winters. A nice place to look for Eurasian Dotterels is in the Algarve. Eurasian Dotterels is a regular passage migrant for many years, mainly in the Sagres Peninsula. The flat fields of Vale Santo are the main area of occurrence of this tundra bird, which likes the steppe. It can be seen there with roughly a 3 weeks delay compared to the german staggering sites every year between September and October.

The exact screening of suitable areas with binoculars or spotting scope is a must but usually results only with a lot of time and patience in success. Due to the excellent camouflage of the resting birds on a steppe habitat, birds on the ground are much more difficult to detect as migrants which fly over. Once you have discovered a Dotterel, it is relatively easy to determine the ID-characteristics and a Dotterel can hardly be confused with other species. Knowing the vocalizations is extremely Continue reading Bird migration on the Sagres Peninsula/ Portugal

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

Snowy Owl on snow-covered plateau in Nordkyn/ Norway

SchneeeuleHaving booked a snowmobile-trip with Nordkyn Nordic Safari AS to the fjell-region south of Mehamn (the most northern fishing town of the world) to enjoy the snow-covered nature of this beautiful nordic countryside and to have a look for the first arrivals, arrivals of birds coming back to their breeding grounds. Already before starting the trip, there were rumors of a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) hanging around in the area we were supposed to visit. Local people and winter enthusiasts had already enjoyed the sightings of at least 2 Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) in the past months around Lake Skillevatnet. The area is only on 260 meters above sealevel (asl) and is highly frequented by snow-mobiles and other winter activities which bring hordes of people to this otherwise snow-covered loneliness. As they say, that the Snowy Owls hang around since several weeks, it seemed obvious, that the Owl had adapted to some kind of human disturbance. Anyway, I hoped for a chance to have a glimpse on the Snowy Owl.

In the beginning of May, we started the trip in the evening at the office of Nordkyn Nordic Safari in Mehamn to prepare and pay the scenic ride over the mountains. When we arrived at the site, from where the snow-mobile were supposed to start, we heard already the high trilling calls of the European Golden-Plovers (Pluvialis apricaria). The days before, it had been warm already, very warm Continue reading Snowy Owl on snow-covered plateau in Nordkyn/ Norway