Tag Archives: Northern Gannet

Basstölpel; das Brutgeschäft

BasstölpelBrutkolonien der weißgefärbten Basstölpel (Morus bassanus) werden immer häufiger. Noch vor 30 Jahren lebten nicht einmal halb so viele Basstölpel auf dem Bass Rock, dem Inbegriff des Brutfelsen vor Schottlands Küste. Auch an anderen Stellen seines Verbreitungsgebietes hat dieser Vogel stark zugelegt. Überall sind die Brutkolonien dieser Vogelart im Wachsen begriffen. Im 20. Jahrhundert kam es zu einer anhaltenden Bestandszunahme von im Mittel 3% pro Jahr.

Im Zuge dieser Wiederzunahme erfolgte auch eine Ausweitung der Brutplätze, sodass sich die gegenwärtige Brutverbreitung von Ostkanada über Island bis nach Nordwestfrankreich erstreckt. Schon als es noch viel weniger von ihnen gab, haben Basstölpel immer dicht gedrängt in Kolonien gebrütet. Auf flachen Brutinseln befinden sich bis zu zweieinhalb Nester pro Quadratmeter. Und das, obwohl die Tiere zu den am Brutplatz aggressivsten Arten überhaupt gehören. Auf dem Nest sitzende Vögel sind pausenlos in Streitigkeiten mit ihren Brutnachbarn verwickelt. Wenn der spitze, kräftige Schnabel richtig trifft, kann sogar Blut fließen. Eierdiebstahl, Raub von Nistmaterial und Massenprügeleien sind an der Tagesordnung. Damit das Brutgeschäft in den oft riesigen Kolonien überhaupt erfolgreich verlaufen kann, haben die Tiere Continue reading Basstölpel; das Brutgeschäft

Stejneger’s Scoter at Alicante, Valencia

Höckerschnabelente ssp. An adult male Stejneger’s Scoter (Melanitta deglandi stejnegeri) could be photographed at Pinet beach, La Marina Coast, Alicante.  This Asian White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi stejnegeri) is the second record for Spain and is a real MEGA .

The bird was seen at least from the 6th of December at La Marina together with Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra), Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan), Northern Gannets (Sula bassana), Shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and Razorbills (Alca torda).

The last Stejneger´s Scoter in Europe I heard from, was detected in Norway in Fauske, Nordland, where an adult drake was observerd at Røvika in July 2016 and a individual (maybe the same?) in June near Berlevåg, Finnmark.

The Stejneger´s Scoter is a relative to the White-winged Scoter of North America (Melanitta deglandi). This species is one of three species/subspecies of the Melanitta fusca – group. Theses Scoters are found throughout the Holarctic waters. The assemblage includes Melanitta deglandi stejnegeri of Eastern Asia, White-winged Scoter Continue reading Stejneger’s Scoter at Alicante, Valencia

Basstölpel; eine Erfolgsgeschichte

BasstölpelVor dem ausnahmsweise mal stahlblauen Himmel schweben weiße Schneeflocken. Ebenfalls weiße Flecken leuchten in der Morgensonne beim Anblick auf die Brutkolonien der weißgefärbten Basstölpel (Morus bassanus) auf dem Felsen im Meer. Schemenhaft erhebt sich der längst erloschene Vulkan aus dem ansonsten Dauernebel in der Trichtermündung des Flusses Forth bei Edinburgh vor der schottischen Ostküste. „Bass Rock” heißt dieser nur ca. 20.000m² große Steilfelsen. Er hat einer Vogelart den Namen gegeben, die hier seit Urzeiten in großer Zahl zu Hause ist, dem Basstölpel. Knapp 50.000 der gut gänsegroßen Vögel teilen sich den immer knapper werdenden Platz auf dem steilen Felsen.

Das war nicht immer so. Noch vor wenigen Jahrzehnten lebten nicht einmal halb so viele Basstölpel auf dem Bass Rock, nur gut 20.000 Tiere. Auch an anderen Stellen seines Verbreitungsgebietes hat dieser Vogel ebenfalls stark zugelegt, überall sind die Brutkolonien dieser Vogelart im Wachsen begriffen. Auch an anderen Stellen seines Verbreitungsgebietes hat dieser Vogel stark zugelegt. Continue reading Basstölpel; eine Erfolgsgeschichte

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

Red-throated Diver: Migration in May in front of Nordkyn/ Norway

SterntaucherA 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

Handa, a Scottish bird island

SkuaSpray foam feet high. The air is impregnated to the saturation limit in puccinellia. Metre-high waves crash against the craggy, rocky shores that extend indomitable and majestic into the air. Just having left the small fishing port of Tarbet in County Lairg, Highland in a calm sea, a beautiful sound between a rocky coast and a rocky island enchants the visitor. The crossing to the bird island is short-lived. The landing site is an unaffected looking, lonely sandy beach. But this is the east side facing away from the Atlantic sea. On the west side, the world looks very different. Sun rays breaking through the cloud cover giving the wild scenery wrapped in warm colors a melancholy charm. The air is filled with the piercing cries of a countless multitude of seabirds. Despite cold, wind and water they have set their breeding colony on Scotland’s west coast.

The visitor is first simply overwhelmed when the first rays of the wild scenery of moss and rocks give off warm colors wrapped in melancholy charm. In the distance the Continue reading Handa, a Scottish bird island

Puffins, the black-red-white clowns of bird rocks

PapageitaucherA high level of  noise prevails especially in the breeding season on a typical bird cliff. Right in the middle an attentive observer might discover a colorful, stocky fellow with bright orange feet and beaks. Resting on the edge of the cliff, as if it is not concerned of all the fuss. This is the Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica). You can see Puffins often in more or less large groups standing on rocky outcrops. Observing this bird for a while, you might see how a puffin after another flying – in a bumblebee-like flight and then gladly land to join its peers. Not only for the tourists this is a very popular species. So elegant and skillfully Puffins act underwater, so clumsy they act on landing and when staggering on the cliffs. That is why Puffin gain this special benevolence of many tourists of bird colonies. He acts as the needy comedians among seabirds, which you simply must give his sympathy.

Often you can see Continue reading Puffins, the black-red-white clowns of bird rocks

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

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/

Pelagic Birds in the Western Palearctic

Pelagic or oceanic birds, seabirds or marine birds all describe bird which spend a significant portion of its life on the open ocean, rarely venturing to land except to breed. Their flight is often described as elegant and beautiful. This is particulary true for the Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris), as you can see on the image on the right. Pelagic Birds are powerful fliers that can remain for hours while gliding or soaring over the waves. When the birds rest, they do so by swimming quite high (floating) on the water. Pelagic birds may be found hundreds or thousands of miles offshore. Pelagic birds typically feed on fish, squid and crustaceans as well as offal from fishing ships or trash dumped into the ocean. Although “Pelagic Birds” does not have a scientific meaning in it´s strict sense, normally you mean albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels are described as being pelagic. The right taxonomic description for these birds are “Procellariformes”. There are lots of pelagic bird species with a great range of sizes and ranges. In the Gallery you will find different types Continue reading Pelagic Birds in the Western Palearctic