Tag Archives: Gypaetus barbatus

Lammergeier at Mount Olymp/ Macedonia

BartgeierThe rush of wind through feathers is the only sound to break the silence as a huge bird glided by just a few meters from a crack high in the mountains around Mount Olymp. A Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) soars above the mountains, scavenging for a meal. It is the only species of bird that cracks open bones to feast on the marrow inside. Lammergeiers are able lifting large carcasses to great heights. Then they drop them onto the rocks below to break up the bones and access the marrow. Smaller bones are swallowed whole.

Like other mountainous areas of Greece, Mt Olympus has a fine selection of raptors and these include Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Eurasian Griffon (Gyps fulvus), Cinereous Vulture or Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus), Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Levant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)  and Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus). A national park in the eastern part of the Olympus Mountains of northern Thessaly includes some of the most dramatic scenery in the whole of Greece and is popular with hikers as well as birders. Lammergeiers were regularly seen until a few years ago and they were thought to be no longer permanently resident in the area.

But this year, an adult Lammergeier has been seen and photographed on the 6th April in Mt. Olympus by Thomas Nikolopoulos. The Lammergeier in flight appeared with a Golden Eagle on the grey sky.  This is the first observation of an adult plumage bearded vulture since several years.

Two years ago, though, a 2nd-3rd calendar year bird was observed. Lammergeiers do occur in Crete, where the population is stable, at around 7 pairs. In the Alps the population has been increasing Continue reading Lammergeier at Mount Olymp/ Macedonia

Ptarmigan in Tyrol

AlpenschneehuhnA rattling, gibbering call is thrown back from the high rocky walls in echoes. After 1 minute, the call is repeated. Carefully, I try to approach the noise source. Unexpectedly, a Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) appears between the boulders. After only two shots, the Ptarmigan is already disappeared.

In the middle of the mighty mountain range of the European Alps lies the province of Tyrol. Here you can follow untouched natural landscapes from the meadows in the valley over the alpine meadows and forests far up to rugged slopes in the high mountains.

Rugged peaks and countless, crystal-clear mountain lakes, which lie in the midst of idyllic pastures characterize Tyrol. Throughout the year, but especially in autumn, Tirol offers photo opportunities galore. They make every nature photographer’s heart beat faster. Tyrol is home to a typical bird species set for the subalpine and alpine elevations of the Alps in the upper mountain regions.

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), Common Rock Thrush or Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis) or Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris) are examples from the songbird comunity.

A summary rating of Tyrol is currently not possible. However, due to Continue reading Ptarmigan in Tyrol

Birdphotographie in the Picos De Europa

While the southern landscapes in Spain – like the Estremadura – are among the most popular photo destinations on the Iberian Peninsula, the mountains in the north, like the Picos De Europa, are largely unknown to many bird photographers.

On my travels to Spain mountainous birds of the Hochgebirge had been too short. They were at the center of a birding trip this time. The target species were: bearded vulture Yellow-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus), (Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus), Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris) and Citril Finch (Serinus citrinella).

During a break at one of the numerous clear streams I hear a wonderful melodic bird song. I quickly set up my mobile camouflage tent. This is a converted camping landruiser. I slowly approach the song. Suddenly a yellowish-green bird flies back and forth Continue reading Birdphotographie in the Picos De Europa

Vogelfotografie um den Picos de Europa

OrpheusspötterWährend einer Pause an einem der zahlreichen klaren Bäche höre ich einen wundervollen melodischen Vogelgesang. Rasch richte ich mein „fahrbares Tarnzelt” ein, einen umgebauten Camping-Landcruiser und nähere mich langsam fahrend dem Gesang. Plötzlich fliegt ein gelblich-grüner Vogel rastlos hin und her. Mal singt er von der Spitze einer weiter entfernt stehenden Kiefer herab, dann wieder aus einem nahen Brombeergebüsch heraus. Ich muß meine Gesangserinnerungen ein wenig sortieren. Schnell gelange ich zu dem Schluß, daß es sich um einen männlichen Orpheusspötter (Hippolais polyglotta) bei dem kleinen Sänger handelt. Leider wechselt der Vogel derart hektisch seine Sitzwarten, daß es anfangs unmöglich ist, ihn zu fotografieren. Um den Orpheusspötter möglichst für einen längeren Zeitraum in meine Nähe zu locken, spiele ich mein Tape mit Vogelstimmen ab. Der Gesang eines vermeintlichen Konkurrenten läßt den Vogel in einem nur wenige Meter entfernten Busch landen. Er singt aus voller Kehle, um den Konkurrenten zu vertreiben.

Während die südlichen Landschaften in Spanien – wie die Estremadura – zu den beliebtesten Fotozielen auf der iberischen Halbinsel gehören, sind die Gebirge im Norden, wie die Picos De Europa vielen Continue reading Vogelfotografie um den Picos de Europa

Mauerläufer in der Sierra de Guara in Aragon

MauerläuferMeine ersten Versuche waren nicht erfolgreich. Stattdessen brachte mir die sehr zuverlässige Mauerläuferwand in der Stadt Alquezar „nur“ einen männlichen Sperber im Gegenlicht. Auf der Suche nach dem Mauerläufer (Tichodroma muraria), diesem schwer fassbaren Hochgebirgsbewohner fand ein Artikel von Dave Gosney vom 19. find März 2008 zum Thema ” Birding abroad” meine Aufmerksamkeit. Der Artikel trägt den Titel: “Finding Wallcreepers in the Sierra de Guara”. Die Sierra de Guara ist ein Gebirgszug südlich des berühmten Nationalparks Ordesa im Norden Spaniens. Die Gipfel erreichen bis zu 2000 Meter und werden durch Flüsse in teilweise tiefen Schluchten geteilt. Das macht die Gegend perfekt für Mauerläufer, die von den höchsten Gipfeln der Pyrenäen herunter ins Tal wandern, um den Winter auf senkrechten Felswänden in tieferen Lagen zu verbringen. Dave Gosney erwähnt, dass diese überwinternde Vögel bis Anfang April zu sehen sind. Gosney empfiehlt die Sierra de Guara in Aragon. Hier vor allem die Orte “El Huevo de Morrano”, den “Embalse de Calcon” den Vadiello Damm, den Canyon de Mascun beim Klettererort Rodellar und schließlich die Felswände in und um Continue reading Mauerläufer in der Sierra de Guara in Aragon

Wallcreeper in the Sierra de Guara in Northern Spain

MauerläuferMy first attempts were not successful. The very reliable Wallcreeper wall in the town of Alquezar in Aragon revealed a Sparrowhawk instead. In search of this elusive high mountain dweller I payed attention to an article by Dave Gosney from 19th of find March 2008  on ” Birding abroad“. The article is titled: “Finding Wallcreepers in the Sierra de Guara“. The Sierra de Guara is a mountain range south of the famous Ordesa National Park in northern Spain. The peaks Continue reading Wallcreeper in the Sierra de Guara in Northern Spain