Tag Archives: Northern Goshawk

Black Grouse on leks in the snowy spring of Finland

BirkhuhnNature photographers, who visit the snow-capped central Finland in early April, might observe a very special natural event: the mating display of the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix).  If you want to take pictures of the mating display, you should go to Scandinavia for nature conservation reasons alone. For the last remnants of domestic populations the stress of photography is too high.

You have to get up early in order to get a good night’s sleep in the stable, well-insulated wooden cabinets with mattresses and old sleeping bags before daybreak. In the hiding place you have to be completely calm. Gradually, the cocks come closer to the snow-capped plain. A sound makes the presence of the cocks divine; It is a quiet cooing to hear.

In the morning dawn the first cocks of Black Grouse appear on the mating grounds . They announce their arrival with vigorous hissing. Then they begin to walk back and forth with little tripple steps. The wings grind deeply over the ground. They make rolling sounds. With sounds like this: “Kuluku -Lulluku -Kulluku”.

30 cocks run in front of the hiding places in quite a narrow area. If they come close to imaginary limits, they take an imposition. For two or three, they walk along the border parallel to the border. In such moments, they call particularly loudly. They try to force the opponent to turn back. Both cocks are hissing and spitting sounds when they try to persuade the opponent to repent. The images in the gallery show the vigorous fights of the Black Grouse cocks.

All this takes place according to a fixed “ritual”. If none of the Continue reading Black Grouse on leks in the snowy spring of Finland

Habichte in Berlin

HabichtAm Vortag hatten sich teilweise dicke Wolken breit gemacht. Nun sind aber Sterne am Himmel zu sehen. Die Wolkenlücken sind deutlich größer. Ein schöner Morgen kündigt sich an. Gegen 4:00 habe ich mich auf den Weg gemacht. Das Ziel sind die Gärten / Parkanlagen im Schlosspark Charlottenburg, der Görlitzer Park, der Große Tiergarten und die Botanische Anlage Blankenfelde in Pankow, alle in der Stadt Berlin gelegen. Ein besonderes Vogelparadies bilden hier die teils mehr als 100 Jahre alten dicken Buchen und Eichen. Für bewirtschaftete Parkanlagen verfügen die mitten in der Stadt gelegenen Parks und Gärten über teils erstaunlich viel Altholz. Der Aufenthalt am frühen Morgen ist nicht dem Landschaftseindruck geschuldet. Es gilt vielmehr, hier die Suche nach dem Habicht (Accipiter gentilis) aufzunehmen.

Der ehemals vor im Wald und aus dem Wald heraus über das Feld jagende Vogel zieht mehr und mehr in die Stadt. Berlin ist weltweit die Stadt mit der höchsten Habicht-Dichte pro Hektar. Dort Continue reading Habichte in Berlin

Graveyard Blackbirds in the snow

Amsel, MännchenIt is cold in Germany. There had been snow the last few nights before. But now it thaws again. The air is cold and clear. The main part in a vast park cemetery is still as packed with a 5 cm thick layer of snow. Only the paths are cleared temporarily by a snow plow. Ok, this is already not a real winter, but there is snow and in between comes out even the sun. Ideal conditions for a walk in the park of the cemetery. On careful examination, there are encountered many blackbirds constantly in the cemetery over the winter. The population of the Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) seem to have increased again now with snow. Everywhere you see a dark bird flit from a side of the road to the other. Under each second (coniferous) trees the ground is intensively scratched. A regularity is not really visible. However, there seems to be a preference for conifers, under which twigs are intensively inverted. A short picking in the substrate and again…..

A park cemetery, which is not too neat is ideal. Winter food for Blackbirds but also Common Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) – besides what lies under leaves and scatter – is offered e.g. by the Barberry. The Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is a nearly 3 meters tall, Continue reading Graveyard Blackbirds in the snow

Amseln im Schnee

AmselIn der Nacht hat es geschneit. Nun ist die Luft kalt und das Land liegt still wie in Watte gepackt unter einer 10 cm dicken Schneedecke. Richtiger Winter, dazu Schnee und auch noch Sonnenschein. Ideale Bedingungen für einen Spaziergang auf einem Parkfriedhof. Von den Singvögeln hört man nur vereinzelt ein verhaltenes Zwitschern. Bei aufmerksamer Betrachtung offenbart ein solcher Schneespaziergang Erstaunliches. Eine mit frischem Schnee überzogene Landschaft hat immer etwas Unberührtes. Die Wege sind nicht zu erkennen. Ich laufe auf purem Weiß. Dies in der Überzeugung, heute morgen der Erste zu sein, der hier seine Fußspuren hinterlässt – doch weit gefehlt! Vor mir waren schon andere unterwegs: Feldhasen hoppelten querfeldein von den Wiesen herüber und ein Fuchs (Vulpes vulpes) schnürte über die ausladende Allee des Hauptweges.

Auf dem Friedhof sind über den Winter ständig mehrere Amseln anzutreffen. Die Amsel (Turdus merula) gehört zu über das Jahr zu den Frühaufstehern und abends ist sie einer der letzten. Aber jetzt sind die Tage kurz Continue reading Amseln im Schnee

Birding Berlin: Charlottenburg Palace

BuntspechtBirding parks in big cities are often a stopgap in between two family arrangements. But parks are often good for excellent surprises. Berlin should result in a great place to combine a city trip with a birding excursion. I started from the flat of a friend at  Prenzlauer Berg. Soon we arrived at a subway (U-Bahn) station at street level. We bought a U-bahn ticket for the westbound trip to Sophie-Charlotte Platz from where it is a short walk along Schlossstrasse to the Charlottenburg Palace. We had been told that the extensive gardens here are home to a pair of Middle-spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos medius), a species that we had seen only once previously. The huge park is said to be full of gorgeous flowers and birds. It must be very nice to walk along the streams in the shade of huge trees. Unfortunately it rained and we decided to wait a while. After some hours, the weather Continue reading Birding Berlin: Charlottenburg Palace

Singvögel am Habicht-Luderplatz

EichelhäherWintereinbruch in Deutschland. Aber für die Habichtfotografie muß man doch nach Norwegen fahren. Früh geht es los. Der Luderplatz liegt mitten in einem schönen, urtümlichen Kiefernwäldchen. Jetzt – so gegen um 6:45 – ist es in dem recht geschlossenen Kiefernwald natürlich noch sehr dunkel. So gegen 08:00 Uhr scheinen sich die Lichtverhältnisse zu verbessern. Nun beim ersten Licht sind auch die ersten Eichhörnchen zu sehen. Immer wieder wippen sie aufgeregt mit dem Schwanz. Später sind auch mal die ersten Vögel zu hören. Ich tippe mal auf Häher im Hintergrund, aber es sind auch Meisen dabei. Und dann tatsächlich: Die Kohlmeisen (Parus major) und schließlich auch einige, wenige Blaumeisen (Cyanistes caeruleus) sind die ersten. Noch im ersten Büchsenlicht sind sie zu sehen. Dann sind wenig später aber auch andere Meisenarten zu sehen. Zuerst Weidenmeise (Poecile montanus), Tannenmeise (Periparus ater) und Haubenmeise (Lophophanes cristatus). Wenig später dann auch der erste Eichelhäher (Garrulus glandarius). Insgesamt 3 Exemplare zähle ich. Die Meisen und dann auch die Eichhörnchen liefern sich mit den Eichelhähern ein Wettrennen und die Körner und das Fett. Sie scheinen recht hungrig. So richtig klar ist mir die doch sehr aufwändige Fütterung der Singvögel direkt am Habicht-Luderplatz nicht. Da der Habicht (Accipiter gentilis) sehr vorsichtig Continue reading Singvögel am Habicht-Luderplatz

Female Northern Goshawk at nestsite near Tegel airport

HabichtweibchenSun rays are breaking through the foliage and the twigs of an inner-city park in Northern Berlin. Just 3 km distant to Berlin-Tegel airport, some of the most reliable sites for Northern Goshawk (Accipter gentilis) can be found. A hint in the birding community, “…. look for trail behind the hill, then 100m to the east and scan the bigger pine trees for the impressive nest..” made me birding the parks around Tegel in mid June. Big city parks may be often just a stopgap in between two family arrangements, but parks are often excellent habitat to get an first and fast impression for the woodland species of a foreign country. Berlin with is many park is no exception. Some of the parks are small, but others are huge parks. All are full of gorgeous plants, trees and flowers – and birds as well. It is very nice to walk along the trails, some near the streams in the shade of huge trees.

After some searching at that morning I decided that a big bird in the canopy of a tall pine Continue reading Female Northern Goshawk at nestsite near Tegel airport

Ein Habichtweibchen am Nest in Berlin

HabichtweibchenBerlin scheint sich ja zur absoluten Habicht-Hochburg in Deutschland zu entwickeln. Wie die Meldungen in Ornitho.de ausweisen, sind auch in diesem Frühjahr/ Sommer etliche Beobachtungen von Brutpaaren aus den Berliner Stadtbezirken zu vermelden. Meldungen vom Habicht (Accipiter gentilis), kamen allein für die letzten 3 Wochen vom Volkspark Rehberge, dem Volkspark Hasenheide in Neukölln bzw. Kreuzberg, dem Bäkepark, dem Tiergarten bzw. auch dem Großen Tiergarten in Charlottenburg, aus Tempelhof, dem Flughafensee Tegel sowie dem Steinbergpark am Waidmannsluster Damm in Tegel. Grund genug sich die Parks in Berlin mal näher anzugucken.

Ein wunderschöner Morgen macht sowieso Lust auf ein Birding-Erlebnis. Die Sonnenstrahlen kommen gerade durch die Blätter und die Zweige dieses recht natürlich wirkenden und doch innerstädtischen Parks im Norden von Berlin. In nur 3 km befindet Continue reading Ein Habichtweibchen am Nest in Berlin

A sacrifice for a Goshawk – winter photography in Norway

HabichtIn the depths of Norwegians winter forest I stroll in the pitch darkness over a small path. It is just 6:00 am. I woke up early to visit a Goshawk photography hide with Ole Martin Dahle. During a very successful Eagle photography session in November 2013 I made my first attempts to shot the Goshawk with my Canons. But in vain. This time is late winter and I am about 90 minutes earlier on the way to be in the hide prior to activity time of the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). The night before it has snowed. Now the air is cold and the land lies under a thin, icy snow. Ideal conditions for the Goshawk Photography. We travel a narrow road out of the village and a short time later Ole place the car at the edge of a pine forest. Now it is time for the walk through the pine forest. The path is just poorly lit only with a meager torch light. Soon we are in the spacious, well-isolated cabin. Good thing, that I brought enough tripod heads. These are each fastened with a large wing nut under the window. The “loopholes” of hide are now equipped with the lenses, cameras are mounted and secured: Ready! Meanwhile Ole prepares the table with a Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)-bait. The bait is draped on the table, that it looks as if it is laying on the forest floor.

Now everything is ready for hard-core photography. It is now 5:45 am and it is completely dark in the closed pine forest. In the dark I hear the first bird: a Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula). At about 07:00 am the forest looks something brighter now. But no birds and no squirrels far and wide to hear. It begins to snow. Luckily no rain. The table is beautifully covered with snow. This gives great pictures from the Goshawk – if he is coming. Well, at first light Continue reading A sacrifice for a Goshawk – winter photography in Norway

Habicht am winterlichen Luderplatz

HabichtIn den Tiefen des norwegischen winterlichen Küstenwaldes bin ich schon vor 6:00 morgens unterwegs. Es ist stockdunkel. Früh war ich mit Ole Martin Dahle aufgebrochen, um noch im Dunkeln in einem Hide zur Habichtfotografie zu sein. Bei einer sehr erfolgreichen Adlerfotografie in Nord-Trondelag hatte es nur erfolglose Versuche mit dem Habichtansitz im Jahr 2013 gegeben. Diesmal war ich etwa 90 Minuten früher auf dem Weg, um möglichst weit vor der Aktivitätszeit des Habichts in meinem Versteck zu sein. In der Nacht zuvor hat es geschneit. Nun ist die Luft kalt und das Land liegt still unter einer dünnen, vereisten Schneedecke. Fast ein richtiger Winter, dazu Schnee. Ideale Bedingungen für die Habichtfotografie. Wir fahren eine schmale Straße aus dem Ort heraus und schon wenig später stellt Ole den Wagen Continue reading Habicht am winterlichen Luderplatz

Friedhofs-Amseln im Schnee

AmselWintereinbruch in Deutschland. In den letzten Nächten hatte es geschneit. Nun taut es aber schon wieder. Die Luft ist kalt und klar. Die meisten Flächen auf einem ausgedehnten Parkfriedhof liegen noch still wie in Watte gepackt unter einer 5 cm dicken Schneedecke. Nur die Wege werden von einem Schneepflug provisorisch geräumt. Das ist zwar noch kein richtiger Winter, aber es liegt Schnee und zwischendurch kommt sogar die Sonne heraus. Ideale Bedingungen für einen Spaziergang auf einem Parkfriedhof. Von den Singvögeln hört man nur vereinzelt ein verhaltenes Zwitschern. Bei aufmerksamer Betrachtung sind auf dem Friedhof über den Winter ständig viele Amseln anzutreffen. Nun bei Schnee scheinen sich die Bestände der Amsel (Turdus merula) noch mal vermehrt zu haben. Überall sieht man sie von einer Wegseite zur nächsten huschen. Unter jedem zweiten (Nadel-)Baum ist der Boden intensiv aufgekratzt. Eine Regelmäßigkeit ist nicht wirklich zu erkennen. Jedoch scheint es eine Präferenz für Koniferen Continue reading Friedhofs-Amseln im Schnee

Birding around Frankfurt Airport – NSG Lampertheimer Altrhein

Schwarzer MilanFrankfurt Airport (FRA) is the gateway to continental Europe. Many airlines use the Airport as a hub for connecting flights all over the world. If you have some more spare time but only 2 hours between two flights, you might be interested to know, where you can find good places to stretch your legs, enjoy fresh air and enjoy birding for typical European birds.

One of these sites is the best riparian forest 60 km south of Frankfurt, called Kuhkopf or in German Kuehkopf. The nature reserve (in German: Naturschutzgebiet or NSG Kuehkopf-Knoblochsaue) is the largest in Hesse, with Continue reading Birding around Frankfurt Airport – NSG Lampertheimer Altrhein

Tripreport Carpathians of Slovakia, June 2014

Steinadler - JungesAfter having visited the Carpathians of Slovakia in April mainly for Hazel grouse photography, I wanted to observe different birds in the same area. In preparation I ordered a birdlist of the species from a local guide which birds might be possible and got the Continue reading Tripreport Carpathians of Slovakia, June 2014

Irish Bird Trip to the Frankfurt area in Germany; 16thMay-19th May 2014

Black KiteWe flew in from Kerry airport Ireland and landed at Hahn to met by Johannes Ferdinand from Bird-Lens our bird guide.  During our stay we had no rain, some cloud in the mornings and plenty of sunshine all day. We saw a total of 113 birds including lifers Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris), Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo), and adult Black-necked or Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) and Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica). Johannes had organised our trip to Continue reading Irish Bird Trip to the Frankfurt area in Germany; 16thMay-19th May 2014

Griffon vulture in the Wonnegau in the middle of Germany

Eurasian GriffonCurrently, an unusual visitor from the south of Europe can be seen in an area of Rheinhessen between the cities of Gruenstadt, Worms and Ludwigshafen. The distance to Frankfurt am Main is only 100km in south-western direction. The bird is a Eurasian Griffon – or Griffon Vulture – (Gyps fulvus). The Vulture has been detected in the area on 02nd of January 2014 . Most Birder observe with spotting scopes from the concrete field roads that run through this intensively used agriculture landscape. The last days, the vultures could be observed in a field between the suburbs Obersuelzen and Obrigheim. The area is intensively  used by wind farm deployments – as you see in the images.

After days with mild but rainy weather the forecast for Sunday afternoon was quite favorable and I took the chance to photograph in a sudden clearing of the skies some shots of the Eurasian Griffon sitting on the ground of a field, which later took flight. A few pictures can be seen here. The Vulture is not an particulary shy, but you should not startle the bird and additionally the rain has extremely softened the fields and the field roads not fixed with a hard surface. Photo distances are therefore to be bridged only with a long tele lens.

When I arrived on Sunday, 5th of Jan. 2014, it was very cloudy. The bird sat quietly in a field and was only occasionally harassed without haste by some Carrion Crows (Corvus corone) flying over the big bird. The Crows seemed to be quite friendly – at least compared to the behavior when a Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) showed up. Fiercely this raptor was attacked. The griffon vulture was found not worried. Only now and then he scratched the bill with his legs. As the sun came out, he find Continue reading Griffon vulture in the Wonnegau in the middle of Germany

Baffin Shackleton Snow Boot, customer review

Baffin Men's Shackleton Snow BootAfter some reviews-blogs had been written in bird-lens.com about photo equipment as the Canon EOS 1 Mark IV or the Canon EOS 1DX and the Canon 400mm f4 DO I think, I write also a short experience review of the Baffin Men’s Shackleton Snow Boot, because I ‘m often asked about my experiences not only with camera staff but also personal equipment which in many cases are as important for successful photo shootings as the photo gear is.

With my Meindl Hiking boots (Meindl Ortler) I have been very satisfied all the time until the beginning of April this year when I spend 4 days photographing Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) in the vicinity of Oulu in Finland. Finding the Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) can be hard stuff, but even harder to prevent loosing her. To walk/ run behind the owl means walking in 1,5 meters of harsh snowcover, sometimes breaking through the icy cover, sometimes not. This in temperatures between -20° and -5°. It did not take a long time and my feet were deeply frozen whatever socks you wrap around them.
Maybe I should clarify, that I am a bird photographer, who is specialized on photographing as many species of birds for scientific purposes as possible. The subjects to shoot brought me to Varanger in Northern Norway in February or to Finland in early April. Now I trip to Norway was scheduled again. End of November for Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) s. The experience of Finland should not repeat. So I bought a pair at the german Outdoor Shop “Globetrotter” for roughly 300,- €.

After 7 days in use I can Continue reading Baffin Shackleton Snow Boot, customer review

The Northern Goshawk – aerial shots and more

Northern GoshawkWhen scanning images of the portfolio of bird-lens.com it was noticed that the Northern Goshawk is still significantly under-represented . Therefore locations were actively scanned which are known to be frequented regularly by Goshawks. For this purpose sites near wetlands were visited especially in late summer or fall, where many (larger) birds rest and / or moult and are therefore available as prey for inexperienced, young Goshawks. Here, I could see and even photograph a young female Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) approaching me within a few dozen meters. As a result you can see some pictures of this wonderful Northern Goshawk in flight. So strong and breast -heavy like the bird on the pictures in the gallery, the female Goshawk can be differentiated easily from the Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) by size alone.

Other images were shot from an elevated vantage point in the forest. You need time and patience. But then you see pretty easy that Northern Goshawk breeding pairs are territorial. It was also shown that the nests are evenly distributed in the suitable breeding area. Breeding birds defend the environment of their nest within a certain radius, which should not exceed 1km.
Outside the breeding season, territorial behavior is observed, too. Other raptors as the Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) shown on the images are vehemently attacked. Especially adult males show a year-round commitment to the nest area and defend their territory. On the other hand young female Goshawks, independently roaming in others territory as shown in the picture apparently penetrate easily into foreign territories.

The Northern Goshawk is about 45 to 67 cm in length and has a wingspan of about 130 cm. The female is larger than the male. The adult plumage is brownish gray on the back and consists of a white chest which is finely barred black. Young birds are brownish until the first moult on the upper side. The barring on the breast is replaced in young birds by a streaking or a line drawing. The stripes can be found Continue reading The Northern Goshawk – aerial shots and more

Early fall images from the Leinetal/ Hannover

The valley of the river „Leine“ and the surrounding hills called “Leinebergland” is not famous of being one of Germany´s birding hot spots. But a excursion to that charming countryside between the cities of Hildesheim to the east and Hameln to the west has to offer surprisingly good locations to shoot images of excellent birds.
Having been spend one day on invitation of Wolf-Dieter Peest has been very productive – as you can see in the gallery. Wolf-Dieter offers Wildlife Workshops but also the chance to sit in one (or more) of his hides located on ponds, small streams or at the border of agricultural fields. The Leinebergland 30 km south of the city of Hannover, with its many gravel pits, is a paradise for nature photographers. In the early 70s many gravel mining pits were built along the line between Hanover and Göttingen. Having exploited these areas, the remaining ponds and lakes are now on the way back to nature again and offer a new habitat to a huge number of animal and plant species. Many of these ponds are real paradises for nature lovers and the nature- of course. A description of the locations written in german, you will find here!
Wolf-Dieter managed to lease a good number of attractive properties over the last 15 years. There are ideal conditions for a photographic passion to shoot images of wild birds on close distance.
Wolf-Dieter´s favorite bird is the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). Here in that countryside the kingfisher finds the habitat they need. Steep walls of mud or broken steep edges on disused gravel pits. It is said, that nowhere in Germany you will find a better location Continue reading Early fall images from the Leinetal/ Hannover