Tag Archives: Monticola saxatilis

Steinschmätzer am Hohneck

SteinschmätzerDer kratzende Laut ist unüberhörbar. Nicht auf Anhieb würde der geneigte Naturfreund dies als Gesang betrachten. Doch genau das ist es. Damit soll das Revier verteidigt und ein Partner interessiert werden. Obwohl der Steinschmätzer (Oenanthe oenanthe) sich nicht scheut, sich offen zu präsentieren, ist es gar nicht so leicht den kleinen, schwarz-weißen gefärbten Vogel auf einem der Felsblöcke zu entdecken.

Die Bergwiesen in den Vogesen sind in der Sommerzeit ausgesprochen reizvoll. Neben Vögeln der alpinen Zone sieht man auch einige typische Pflanzen dieser Region wie Gelben Enzian (Gentiana lutea), Arnika (Arnica montana), Kleine Alpen-Kuhschelle (Pulsatilla alpina) und gelbe und blaue Vogesen-Stiefmütterchen (Viola lutea) auch Gelbes Vogesenveilchen genant.  Wiesenpieper (Anthus pratensis) und Feldlerchen (Alauda arvensis) sind neben den oben beschriebenen Steinschmätzern sicher die häufigsten Vogelarten. An den schnell fließenden Bachläufen sind Gebirgsstelzen (Motacilla cinerea) zu finden. In den Klippen und Geröllhalden leben neben den Steinschmätzern auch einige sonst seltene Vogelarten. Wanderfalke (Falco peregrinus) und Kolkrabe (Corvus corax) kann man regelmäßig beobachten. Mit etwas Glück erspäht man hier aber auch den ansonsten in den Alpen beheimateten Steinrötel (Monticola saxatilis) oder man kann andere „Hochgebirgsarten“ wie die Alpenbraunelle (Prunella collaris) beobachten.

Zum Steinrötel ist interessant zu wissen, daß ein früher Ornithologe, nämlich Raimund Scheicher, schon kurz vor dem 1. Weltkrieg über seine ornithologischen Ausflüge in die Umgebung von Freiburg und in die Südvogesen berichtete.  Dabei konnte er im Juli in den Vogesen am Rotenbacher Kopf (südlich vom Hohneck) ein Pärchen des Steinrötel beobachten, das sich in den steil nach Osten abfallenden Felsen aufhielt. Leider wurde es schon zur damaligen Continue reading Steinschmätzer am Hohneck

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

Alpine birds in the Haut Chaumes / Vosges

SteinrötelThe mountain meadows in the Vosges are very attractive in summer time. Beside birds of the alpine zone one sees some interesting plants like Yellow Gentian (Gentiana lutea), Mountain arnica (Arnica montana), Alpine Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla alpina), Mountain Pansy (Viola lutea). Northern Wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), Meadow Pipits (Anthus pratensis) and Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) are certainly the most common species of birds, but some rare bird species live in the cliffs and boulder fields as well. If you are lucky, you may spot the Common Rock Thrush or Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis) or other “high mountain species” such as Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris).

The scratching sound is unmistakable. Not necessarily the nature lover would consider this as singing. But that’s exactly what it is. With that, the Northern Wheatear is defending his territory. Although the Wheatear is not afraid to present itself openly, it is not so easy to spot the small, black and white colored bird on one of the boulders.

It is even more difficult to discover the Common Rock Thrush. Continue reading Alpine birds in the Haut Chaumes / Vosges

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