Der Frühjahrszug im Westen Alaskas läßt sich am besten von St. Lawrence beobachten. Gambell ist dabei wirklich das Eldorado für Vogelfotografen und Freitzeit-Birder. Eine der Besonderheiten sind die kopfstarken Trupps der Dickschnabellumme (Uria lomvia). Der Vogel hat wie alle Alkenvögel einen länglichen Körper, die Vögel wirken aber doch pummeliger und durchaus tonnenförmig. Dickschnabellumme schlagen beim Zug entlang der Küste schnell mit den Flügeln und vollziehen teilweise abrupte Richtungsänderungen. Von den wendigen Manövern abgesehen, ist der Flug gerade und entspricht dem, was man von Alken sonst so gewohnt ist. Immer wieder ziehen sie zu Dutzenden – häufig in V-Form –in einiger Entfernung vom Strand vorbei. Andere Seevögel, gerade die Enten, kommen da deutlich näher an „The Point“ heran, um diese Landspitze zu umfliegen. Immer wieder sind andere Vögel in den Dickschnabellummen-Trupps involviert. Manchmal sind es Trottellummen (Uria aalge). Die Dickschnabellumme wirkt jedoch Continue reading Dickschnabellummen auf dem Frühjahrszug im Westen Alaskas
Seawatching along the arctic coasts of north-west Alaska – with Siberia on the horizon – was the thrill at the end of May till the first days of June 2016. Along the edges pf St. Lawrence Island seabirds are living and migrating not only in the Nearctic region but also to the Palearctic.
Migration was on its peak when we arrived with a tour of the operator High Lonesome – a group for mainly US-birders. Migration kept going for the whole time (during a 6-day trip) with some changes in mixture of species.
Whereas Eiders as Common Eider (Somateria mollissima), King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) and Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri) and Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis) were abundant mainly in the first days, other seaducks like White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) of both subspecies – Stejneger´s Scoter (Melanitta deglandi stejnegeri) and White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi deglandi) or divers like Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata), Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) and Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) showed up later. Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) could be seen daily. Unfortunately only Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri) we missed – probably these birds, which migrate normally quite early, had Continue reading Vagrant Mongolian Plover: seawatching surprise on St. Lawrence Island
A 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
A moment ago it had rained. Now again, you are standing in the most beautiful sunshine. Well, that one is on the lee side of the lighthouse, because the east wind whistles pretty much. In a distance on the horizon you see migratory birds flying ahead against the heavy wind towards the Barents Sea.
In the distance, migrating Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) can be discovered. They are not the only migratory birds. Other seabirds are on the trip as well. There are King Eider (Somateria spectabilis), Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis), Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra) and Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), all can be seen on off-shore over the rough sea. Now – in early May – the passage of Red-throated Divers has reached its peak and Red-throated Divers make with the largest group of migrating birds. Again and again you can hear a strange cackle. After a while, normally you observe a Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) close to see at or above the lighthouse. But the main part of Red-throated Divers pulls over the open sea. Even from a long distance you can recognize them well due to their characteristic flight pattern. The feet Continue reading Red-throated Diver: Migration in May in front of Nordkyn/ Norway
It 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
Terns in general are excellent fliers, which may, from time to time, appear as vagrants outside of their home range. Forster’s Tern, Sterna forsteri, are no exception in that. Only some days ago, a Forster’s Tern was found on the coast of Ireland. An adult winter Forster’s Tern could be observed at Corronroo along with Common Loon (Gavia immer), 3 Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis), some Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator), Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), 2 Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus), 3 adults and 1 first-winter Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) or (Larus melanocephalus) and 1 second-winter Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus). This would have been an excellent selection of birds for a continental birding day in the middle of wintertime. Other Forster’s Terns could be found in Galway on Mutton Island, at Nimmo’s Pier, at Doorus and off Newtownlynch Pier. All observations were made between mid December 2014 and beginning of January 2015.
In the Western Palaearctic the first Forster’s Tern, probably an adult specimen, was taken Continue reading Forster’s Tern, Sterna forsteri, as a vagrant for the Western Palearctic
Photographing the most colorful ducks of the world in 10-minus-degree temperatures in February at the northern tip of Europe sounds crazy. Well, whether it is crazy or just stupid is a matter of your point-of-view. But all can agree, that it is real Arctic Adventure. The one or the other vagrant Eider might arrive in front of coast of The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark. But this is a rare event. In contrast these birds are very common in the north of the Western Palearctic. On Varanger/ Norway www.bird-lens.com was able to shot nice pictures of King Eider (Somateria spectabilis), right from a floating hide in the middle of the harbor of Båtsfjord, Varanger. It was the 1st full-year in use and bird-lens.com was able to photograph not King Eiders alone, but also Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri) and Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) and gulls in 5 Continue reading Eiders in the Frozen
Das quirlige Odinshühnchen (Phalaropus lobatus) habe ich nun schon eine ganze Weile auf dem Wasser kreisend bewundert. Jetzt muß ich doch mal meine Kamera holen. Schnell ist die Aufrüstung auf ein Stativ gesetzt und ganz ohne Tarnung kann ich auf einer Insel im Varangerfjord ausgiebig Aufnahmen des wunderschönen Vogels machen. Das Odinshühnchen ist in Deutschland meistens auf dem Wegzug – und dann im Schlichtkleid – zu entdecken. Hier auf Varanger treffe ich jetzt, im Mai das Odinshühnchen in seinem Bruthabitat im Prachtkleid an. Auf Tümpeln und Seen im Strandbereich bis hinauf in´s Fjell trifft man die agilen Odinshühnchen nun an. Dort sind auch Sterntaucher (Gavia stellata) und Prachttaucher (Gavia arctica) recht häufig. Die Odinshühnchen kann man am besten an einem kleinen See fotografieren, der auf einer Vadsö vorgelagerten, über eine Brücke jedoch gut erreichbaren Insel liegt. Von der am südlichen Rand der Varanger – parallel zum Fjord – verlaufenden Straße ist die Straße und auch die Brücke schon gut zu erkennen. Ganz in der Nähe steht ein Luftschiffmast von Amundsens erfolgreicher Nordpolüberquerung im Luftschiff Norge.
Jetzt im Mai ist Balzzeit, aber hier versammeln sich im Juni/Juli auch oft mehr als 100 Odinshühnchenweibchen vor der Abreise zum Süden. Am Varangerfjord gibt es überhaupt vielfältige Fotografiermöglichkeiten wie in der Varanger–Galerie erkennbar. Für den Naturfotografen ist Continue reading Odinshühnchen im Finnarksommer am Varangerfjord in Nordnorwegen
Today a female Steller’s Eider, Polysticta stelleri, has been recorded north of the Holnisspitze, which is a peninsula north-east of a town in Schleswig-Holstein named Gluecksburg. After a run in the last days to the one individual of a male King Eider, Somateria spectabilis, at Kalkhorst at the shores of the Baltic Sea, this is the second mega duck in a short time, which can be seen at the shores of the Baltic Sea in Germany. The female Steller’s Eider was observed the first time by Katrin Habenicht and photographed with some nice shots (including a nice starting/ flying shot). The Eider can be seen in the northern extension of the Holnisser ferry road (Faehrstraße). The duck swims between other ducks (Eurasian Wigeon and Common Eider) present in the same area.
The Holnis peninsula, which is a nature reserve is approx. 15km distance east of Flensburg, which is connected to the rest of the world via Highway (Autobahn) 7. Holnis peninsula marks the northernmost point of the German mainland. The area extends for a distance of 6 km into a fjord – the so-called Flensburger Foerde – and is a reknown pastime area of Gluecksburg. On the peninsula there is a cliff and a salt marsh with a major nesting colony of seabirds.
This female Steller’s Eider is obviously only Continue reading Steller’s Eider female on Baltic Sea of Germany
During the last days one male King Eider, Somateria spectabilis, continues to stay at Kalkhorst at the shores of the Baltic Sea. The german sea resort is approx. 15km distance east of Travemünde, Lübeck. This male King Eider in beautiful breeding plumage is obviously only one of the few records for 2013 so far south for the Western Palearctic and has been observed from the beach of Kalkhorst.
In contrast these birds are very common in the north of the Western Palearctic. On Varanger/ Norway bird-lens.com was able to shot this nice pictures right from a floating hide in the middle of the harbor. Not King Eiders alone, but also Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri) and Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) and many gulls in 5 different species. A selection of the best shots you can find here in the gallery!
The Bird on the Baltic Sea could be seen yesterday from Continue reading Male King Eider on Baltic Sea of Germany