Tag Archives: Lake Constance

Influx of Eurasian Jay in autumn 2019

EichelhäherEurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) are not pronounced migratory birds, which can be seen from their flapping flight style and their wide, rounded wings. The Jay´s body is more made to fly from tree to tree, less to cover longer distances. Small migratory movements probably take place annually, but are hardly noticed due to the wide distribution of the species.

Birds from the north and east fly in irregularly, however. In such cases, there are significant migratory movements of thousands of jays that extend far into Central Europe. Extraordinary years of influxes were in 1978, 1983, 1996, 2004 and 2010. Now in autumn 2019 there was another strong jay influx. From the beginning of September, observations of Eurasian Jays migrating in Germany and double-digit flock sizes were reported. It became particularly noticeable from the second decade of September. Not only in Germany, but also in some neighboring countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland, a strong appearance of Eurasian Jays was registered. Flocks of up to 200 Eurasian Jay and four-digit daily totals were recorded at various points. The maximum was reached in Germany in early October. Some bird watchers, who systematically counted migratory birds at Überlingen on the northern shore of Lake Constance, had an unforgettable day. More than 42,000 jays roaming through were recorded on that day. After that, however, the phenomen quickly calmed down and in mid-October jays were only seen in large numbers in southern Germany, until normal levels were reached again in early November and no more unusual migratory movements were reported. The whereabouts of the birds are unclear. The troops have presumably disbanded and the jays are scattered across the landscape. How many individuals were ultimately involved in the invasion can hardly be estimated. In view of the high daily totals at different observation points, a number in the six-digit range can be assumed in any case. Where did the jays come from? The question of the origin of birds is usually difficult to answer.

In combination with the high number of migratory birds along the southern Baltic coast, there are some indications that the Eurasian Jays may have derived from areas to the east. Additonally, while in Continue reading Influx of Eurasian Jay in autumn 2019

Dancing Great Egret in morning fog

Egrets in fog are a great motif. By the white color , the herons have always something mystical in the morning mist. White creatures are often used in myths and legends to serve as leaders to a different world. White deer, white horses and white rabbits are probably the most common associations for magic and are often brought into connection with fairies and other magical figures. To see a heron flying out of the fog in the first dim light of the early morning is a magical experience. The plumage of the Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) has a brilliant, pristine white. They seem to act as messengers from world far away from daily business life. The slow wing-beat has a unique beauty. If they stand patiently on the hunt in the shallow water, they are looking very majestic.

Great EgretIn nature only very few things are of pure white. Well, there are milk and snow , and of course white birds. A long time human being had to live with earthy tones, before technical progress brought us bleach and white color. White in the natural environment was unusual and therefore all the more fascinating .

There was no white heron in Germany when I was a kid. In general, there were very little egrets or herons. Herons were followed up in the 80s as a fish predator. The name “Fischreiher” (fishing heron) for the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) can be found even today in zoological textbooks. The Great Egret (Casmerodius albus) has spread only in the last few decades in Germany. The population is on the rise in Germany for about twenty years. First as a winter visitor the first nest could be detected in 2012 in the north of Germany. The first definite breeding record for the egret in Germany involved two couples who had settled in a colony of Grey Herons. Egrets are not part of traditional fauna of the country. The people , therefore sometimes mess up identification with storks and cranes . Of course, the Herons do not dance – just as those shown in the gallery – nor does the Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) dance on the images but they do follow each other. For fun or to secure their feeding territory? Who knows?

The Great Egret is the heron with the largest geographical distribution. It is found on all continents except Continue reading Dancing Great Egret in morning fog