Tag Archives: Great Reed-Warbler

Common Whitethroat at Brenu Beach Grasslands near Cape Coast

DorngrasmückeAfter a long journey from Ankasa, we – a Birdquest-Group – stranded for an afternoon birding at Brenu Beach Grasslands near Cape Coast / Ghana. We had just seen a male Marsh Tchagra (Tchagra minuta) a bird in a spiny bush reminded me of an old friend from Germany. It looked like a Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis). I called, but obviously nobody of the group was interested. So made some shots with my camera and had to rely on my photos to help me to identify the bird. Reviewing the photos, the bird in the bush look very much like this common European warbler. I consult birdforum.net. The experts confirmed ID to me. In the meanwhile, another Palearctic migrant was detected. It was a Great Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus). Attempts to get the Great Reed Warbler out of the bush failed. When excitement ceased, the Common Whitethroat had gone.

The bird reminded me of a young male already on the spot. The wing pattern seemed quite convincing to me at the time. On the images I saw a hint of a pale white eye ring. The “problem was, that books, as „Birds of Western Africa“ (Helm Identification Guides) von Nick Borrow und Ron Demey, mention this bird only as a vagrant in the south (pictured as a red cross) and see their wintering distribution more for the north. This in contrast to the Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin), which is shown for the north of Ghana and the coastal strip.

As the Common Whitethroat is a common warbler in the Western Palearctic, there seems to be a lack in information concerning its distribution in Western Africa. The same what happened in March 2019 in Ghana happened in the littoral province of southern Cameroon 2 years ago. On a way back from a successful hike on Mount Cameroon, we were lucky to observe this Western Palearctic visitor near the Continue reading Common Whitethroat at Brenu Beach Grasslands near Cape Coast

Birding in Chobe Nationalpark/ Botswana

Afrikanischer ScherenschnabelIn the first morning light a mokoro-boat splits the shallow waves of the early river. Silence lies over the wide river plain in the morning haze. The birding specials in the area around the Chobe River in the north of Botswana, characterized by flood plains, grasslands and riparian woods along the river courses, are real treats for avid birders. The bird list is characterized by many species that love the proximity to the water. These include White-backed Night Heron (Gorsachius leuconotus), Slaty Egret (Egretta vinaceigula), African Darter (Anhinga rufa), African Marsh Harrier (Circus ranivorus), African Finfoot (Podica senegalensis), Pel’s Fishing Owl (Scotopelia peli), Half-collared Kingfisher (Alcedo semitorquata), Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) and – last not least – the African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris).  But also other beautiful and/ or rare birds like White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides), Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera), Meyer’s Parrot (Poicephalus meyeri), Swamp Boubou (Laniarius bicolor), Holub’s Golden Weaver (Ploceus xanthops) and Brown Firefinch (Lagonosticta nitidula). Regular guests from the western Palearctic from October on are Great Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Thrush Nightingales (Luscinia luscinia).

When we’ve left the river bend behind the lodge for a while, a flock starts moving with a heavy, powerful wing beat. Perched low on a sandbank were standing dozens of black and white colored birds with a strikingly long red bill. These are the long-awaited African Skimmer. First, the flock turns a round over the resting sandbar. Then the flock descends into low altitude flight. The black-and-white-colored, roughly tern-sized birds with their long, elegant wings fly a few centimeters above calm water, hovers prey-hunting parallel to the water surface – as you might want to see from the Skimmers at River Sanaga in Cameroon. Suddenly they pull out their oversized, laterally flattened and sharp-edged lower beak and pull it, flattening its wings, through the upper layers of water. They fly until their beaks come into contact with a fish. Shortly thereafter, it closes his beak abruptly, and a small silver fish disappears wriggling in the throat of the successful hunters.

The beaks of the Skimmers have over thirty special adaptations to the hunting technique in the skull and neck area – such as horn-like Continue reading Birding in Chobe Nationalpark/ Botswana

Chinarohrsänger in Thailand

ChinarohrsängerWer sich noch fragt, wo man im Winter birden kann, der sollte sich überlegen, nach Thailand zu fliegen. Ein schönes, Land mit guter Infrastruktur und exzellenten Vögel; darunter eben auch viele, die in Thailand überwintern und in Europa als Seltenheitsgäste geführt werden. Ein wirkliches Top-Gelände für die Vogelbeobachtung sind die Laem Pak Bia Watertreatment Plants in der Provinz Phetchaburi südlich von Bangkok. Die Becken dienten der versuchsweisen Abwasserklärung und gehören – laut den angeschlagenen Karten – dem König höchstselbst. Man hat Becken angelegt, die im biologischen Reinigungsverfahren mit Röhricht das Wasser reinigen sollen. Die teils sumpfigen, mit Wasser bestandenen oder trockenen, mehr oder weniger großen Becken sind ein perfekter Platz um viele der üblichen, heimischen und aber auch ungewöhnliche Vögel Thailands zu sehen. Das gilt insbesondere im Winterhalbjahr.

So schlagen mich schon nach wenigen Metern im Gebiet die unheimlich vielen Weissbart-Seeschwalbe (Chlidonias hybridus) in ihren Bann. Diese schönen Seeschwalben haben sich direkt am ersten Becken versammelt und sammeln Kleinst-Insekten von der Wasseroberfläche im eleganten Flug auf. Die Bedienungsmannschaften der Abwasserbehandlungsbecken sind sehr nett. Das Tor ist auch morgens früh entweder schon offen oder man öffnet es für den einfahrenden Vogelbeobachter. Ein tolles Bild so im ersten Morgenlicht. Wenig weiter ist auf dem Damm zwischen zwei Absetzbecken an diesem Morgen auch mal ein Pieper zu sehen, den ich als Orient-Spornpieper (Anthus rufulus) identifiziere. Mein Continue reading Chinarohrsänger in Thailand

Eurasian Reed-Warbler in a jungle of reed

Reed seems a monotonous habitat. In early spring, the reeds of the previous years are uniform and stand close to each other; pale gray, sometimes brown. Peeling stalk layers of the reed already provide for the maximum of visual variety. Otherwise: a sea of ​​vertical stems. But like the right sea, the reed “sea” is inhabited. And this habitat is both species-rich and individual-rich. One of the inhabitants is the Eurasian Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus). Its plumage is as grayish-brownish as its surroundings. Like its habitat, this bird ist drab, this bird has no obvious features for the birder. A closer relative is Savi’s Warbler (Locustella luscinioides), which is colored brown, too. Like the Savi’s Warbler the tail of the Eurasian Reed-Warbler is slightly wedge-shaped, but not as strong and broad as in the Locustella- Warblers.

What is striking, though, are the song of the inhabitants of the sea of reed. This applies to the Reed-Warbler as well as for the Locustella- Warblers. Here is the Eurasian Reed-Warbler to advantage. Its song consists of a continuous, strongly rhythmic rarely accelerating performed scandals. As a rule, simple and short, relatively quiet and slowly recited elements are introduced; the louder body with constant pause lengths usually ends abruptly after different durations. Its singing can probably not be described as well-sounding. The singing is rather scratchy. But not so rough and deep compared to the Great Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), which also lives in extensive reeds. The bird sometimes sings in the cover of the reed; but also like to sing in dense bushes. In choral singing with neighbors, it does not keep the Eurasian Reed-Warbler Continue reading Eurasian Reed-Warbler in a jungle of reed

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

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

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

Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Kuehkopf-Knoblochsaue

Eurasian Golden-Oriole, maleFrankfurt Airport (FRA) is the gateway to continental Europe. Many airlines use the Airport as a hub for connecting flights all over the world. If you have spare time between two flight and you are a birdwatcher, you might be interested to know, where you can find good places to stretch your legs, enjoy fresh air and enjoy birding for typical european birds.

One of these sites is the best riparian forest 60 km south of Frankfurt, called Kuhkopf or in Continue reading Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Kuehkopf-Knoblochsaue

Observations of a Great Reed-Warbler in the Rhine Valley

DrosselrohrsängerBased on a message in Ornitho.de in the beginning of May I when visited the Schiersteiner water works in the vicinity of Wiesbaden in the Rheingau region. This area is about 50 km west from the Frankfurt city center. A singing Reed Warbler had been seen. Maybe a nice photo opportunity. Shortyl after arrival at least one individual of an intensively singing Great Reed-Warbler was found . The individual was singing all the time – as shown in the photo. It showed-up repeatedly on the high stalks ends of last year’s reeds in a water pond called “the Lagoon”. The water body is easily detected from the flood dike. The shooting Continue reading Observations of a Great Reed-Warbler in the Rhine Valley

Birds in courtship and singing behaviour

Great Reed-WarblerWith the beginning of spring, the days get longer and the birds awaken to seemingly new life. For the males now the time of the highest activity begins. Everyone is keen to conquer a territory and find a mate. For this purpose, the birds have developed a variety of optical and acoustic methods, and specific behaviors in the course of their evolutionary history.

Singing is probably the most common type of attracting a mate among birds. In contrast to the calls produced by both sexes and which can be heard all year, singing is usually presented only by the males during the mating season. Many of our native birds here in Germany, such as Robins, Tits or Blackbirds start to sing already in late winter. Thus they are among the most striking signs of spring. Then gradually new voices add to the concert Continue reading Birds in courtship and singing behaviour

Caspian Seashore & Volga delta in May

Squacco HeronBird richness on the northern shore of the Caspian Sea is amazing. Caspian Sea is counted the largest inland body of water in the world. More than 100 rivers provide inflow to the Caspian, with the Volga River being the largest. Pristine floodplain forests, flooded grasslands to the horizon, eagles on almost every tree. A trip to the lowlands south of Astrakhan in southern Russia is not easy due to the distances and border formalities. But the only alternative is a trip to the Danube delta. To ease preparation, it was decided to participate in a guided trip in the first half of May 1998 to Volga delta. After that, the trip continued to the hill – lakes region and the feather grass steppe and the semi-desert north-west of Astrakhan.

In the Volga delta we stayed in Damtschik Continue reading Caspian Seashore & Volga delta in May

Wolgadelta im Mai – Erfahrungen von Zug- und Brutvögeln

Whiskered Tern flying over youngWeite ursprüngliche Auenwälder, überschwemmte Wiesen bis zum Horizont, Seeadler auf jedem Baum. Wo gibt es das – noch dazu in Europa? Dazu fährt man entweder ins Donaudelta oder noch viel weiter. Eine Gruppenreise führte in der ersten Hälfte des Monats Mai 1998 ins Wolgadelta südlich von Astrachan im südlichen Russland. Danach wurden die Hügel-Seen-Region und die Federgrassteppe westlich sowie die Halbwüste nordwestlich von Astrachan angesteuert.

Der Tagesablauf in Damtschik an den 4 Tagen sah so aus. Um 5:45 aufstehen, dann kurz balancierend auf Holzbohlen zum Frühstück. Nach dem Frühstück Continue reading Wolgadelta im Mai – Erfahrungen von Zug- und Brutvögeln

Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Wagbachniederung:

Purple HeronFrankfurt Airport (FRA) is the gateway to continental Europe. Many airlines use the Airport as a hub for connecting flights all over the world. If you are coming from Frankfurt Airport and heading down to the south for e.g. Munich or Stuttgart or the Black Forest, you might consider to squeeze in a morning of birding you might have a look at the wagbachniederung. Here you can walk, enjoy some fresh air and enjoy birding for typical european birds.

One of these sites is the best riparin woods 110 km south of Frankfurt, called The “Wagbachniederung” . This location is situated on the right bank of the Rhine at Waghaeusel southeast of Speyer between Mannheim and Karlsruhe. The Wagbachniederung was formerly a loop of the Rhine, which was separated from the main Continue reading Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Wagbachniederung:

Long-eared Owl chased by a Magpie

A rainy day in May at Romania´s Black Sea coast. Some good birds for a western birdwatcher like Reed, Corn and Black-headed Bunting, Great Reed-Warbler, Barred Warbler and a flying Lesser Spotted Eagle could be seen. A big surprise was what you see on the pictures: a Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, staying in a bush, eventually flying away. After a few seconds a Magpie showed up. Here you can see the Long Eared Owl chased by a Black-billed Magpie in flight. The images were photographed in the nice countryside of Romania north of the city of Constanta.
Basic habitat requirements for the Long-eared Owl are small forests or hedges with some trees. Preferred are open countrysides which nest-sites of Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) or Magpie (Pica pica). It is not clear, why the Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica) chased the owl. It is well reknown that magpies could be very aggressive in defending their nest and/or brood. Probably that has been the case Continue reading Long-eared Owl chased by a Magpie