Tag Archives: Great Skua

Slettnes – Gambell-Seawatching: a photographers point of view

EiderenteA Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) with a yellow bill might be not the only difference what you realize, if you are seabirding on different locations. Well, Somateria mollissima v-nigrum is breeding along the arctic coasts of north-east Siberia to Alaska and shows a yellow bill unlike its relatives from the northern part of Europe. But is this the only difference when seawatching? Along island or peninsula edges seabirds are living and migrating not only in the Palearctic but also in the Nearctic. Bird-lens.com managed trips now to 2 hotspot destinations in the high arctic. One location, Slettnes is on the northern tip of Norway, on the Nordkyn peninsula. This is the best location to spot the migration out to the Barents Sea.

On contrast, Gambell, a small village on the north-western tip of the remote St. Lawrence Island of Alaska, is an outstanding outpost not only for North American Birders to observe impressive bird migration along the shore of the island to the Bering Sea further north.

After having performed these trips, it is time to compare the chances and challenges in observation and photography of migrating pelagic Continue reading Slettnes – Gambell-Seawatching: a photographers point of view

Welche Skua vor Kapstadt?

Antarktis SkuaEin Trip nach Kapstadt muß man einfach mit einem Ausflug auf´s Meer (einem sogenannten pelagic trip off-shore Cape Town) verbinden. Das umso mehr als man hier unten am südlichen Zipfel Afrikas einige Arten trifft, die zwar auf der WP-Liste stehen, in den Gewässern der Westpaläarktis aber ausgesprochene Irrgäste sind. Dazu zählen die südlichen Vertreter der Skuas der Gattung Catharacta.

Der reguläre WP-Vertreter ist die allseits bekannte – wenn auch nur selten an ihren Brutplätzen angetoffene Große Skua, die auch als Große Raubmöwe (Stercorarius skua  bzw. Catharacta skua) gehandelt wird. Auf den WP-Listen taucht aber auch die Antarktikskua (Stercorarius maccormicki), im englischen South Polar Skua Continue reading Welche Skua vor Kapstadt?

Cape pelagic Highlights: 3 Arten von Albatrosse

WeißkappenalbatrosEin Albatros (Thalassarche sp.) als Fotobeute. Das ist der Traum. Ein früher Morgen. Frische Seeluft, blauer Himmel und keine Wolke am Himmel. Auch der Wind der Vortage hat sich gelegt. Ideale Bedingungen für eine Fahrt vor die Südspitze der Kaphalbinsel, die ansonsten für ihre stürmische See bekannt ist. Alle Teilnehmer dieser extra übers Internet gebuchten Reise waren erwartungsfroh, einen schönen, aufregenden Tag auf See zu genießen. Nach dem Ausfahren aus dem Stadthafen von Simon’s Town an diesem frühen Sonntagmorgen nahmen wir sofort Kurs auf die Südspitze der Kaphalbinsel und passierten die letzten Häuser von Simon’s Town und Boulders Beach mit seiner Pinguinkolonie. Wenig später dann auch die in der Nähe von Smitswinkel Bay gelegenen Felsen mit den Kormoranen, von denen wir aber nur Kapscharben (Phalacrocorax capensis) und Weißbrustkormorane (Phalacrocorax lucidus) sahen. Auffallend waren die vielen Sportfischerboote, die morgens früh schon unterwegs waren. Offensichtlich optimale Fanggründe.

Der erste, richtige Seevogel, den wir sahen, war ein Kaptölpel (Morus capensis), der schon auf der Höhe der ersten Kormoranfelsen über uns hinweg flog. Kaptölpel sind wie ihre europäischen Verwandten kräftige Flieger. Später können wir diese fischfressenden Vögel, bei ihren sturzflugartigen Continue reading Cape pelagic Highlights: 3 Arten von Albatrosse

Seabird migration from a boat in Nordkyn/ Norway

PapageitaucherIt is hard to believe, but also on the northern edge of the WP (Western Palearctic) seabirds are living and migrating. To see them, bird-lens.com managed a trip in the beginning of May to the northern tip of Norway, to the Nordkyn peninsula. This is the best location to spot the migration out to the Barents Sea. The Nordkyn is the next peninsula west of Varanger, which might be more known.

After trips to the western edge of the WP to see and photograph migrating pelagic birds, now migrating seabirds with a strictly northern circle of migration could be observed from the land but also on an off-shore boat trip with Vidar Karlstad.

I went out on his boat to the excellent migrating grounds north of Continue reading Seabird migration from a boat in Nordkyn/ Norway

Cleptoparasitism between White-tailed Eagles

SeeadlerAlthough it is said, that kleptoparasitism (or cleptoparasitism) is relatively uncommon in birds, some Skuas – as the Great Skua (Stercorarius skua),  Jaegers – as the or the Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) – and Frigatebirds are famous of taking prey from another bird that has caught. In this case, two White-tailed Eagles – a juvenile and an adult individual – were observerd and photographed.

White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) are able to detect prey from a very far distance, and then a small dot in the sky very quickly transforms into a giant bird of prey swooping down from a great height. The White-tailed Eagle catches – its impressive claws already Continue reading Cleptoparasitism between White-tailed Eagles

Pelagic specialities on Bird-Lens

Great ShearwaterOn the western edge of the western palearctic pelagic birds are living and migrating. To see them, Bird-lens.com managed several trips already to Portugal and the Canary Islands. Now migrating seabirds with a more northern circle of migration could be observed on several pelagic trips with Joe Pender on his boat “Sapphire” off-shore the Isles of Scilly. A great experience. Thus for the keen birdwatcher of western palearctic birds these pelagic species do not need to stay on status “highly though-after mega birds”, but you can see them, too.

To see birds like Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris borealis), Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis), Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus), Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus), Wilson’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), European Storm-Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus), Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus ), Great Skua (Catharacta skua), Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus), Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus ) and maybe even a Fea´s or Cape Verde Petrel or a Little Shearwater (Puffinus assimilis) in their element, a pelagic trip is a must!. A nice selection of the Images shot during the recent season you will find here or here!

It is advisable to go for locations on the western edge of the United Kingdom and book one of the pelagic trips – preferable with a reliable skipper like Joe is.
To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer birds of the western palearctic from science & public customers Bird-Lens is proud to present a wide range of pictures shot in the UK. Are you interested? A first impression you will find in the gallery here. Just give me a message, if Bird-lens could serve you with additional requests.
Other successful shootings you can see under: http://www.bird-lens.com/2012/09/09/pelagic-birds-in-the-western-palearctic/