Tag Archives: Pallid Harrier

Steppenweihen auf dem Zug

Spektakuläre Zahlen von Steppenweihen (Circus macrourus) und Rotfußfalken (Falco vespertinus) sind Anfang September an den Hauptdurchzugs-Orten zu erwarten. Diese Vögel sollten nun wieder an der rumänischen Schwarzmeerküste nördlich von Constanta in kopfstarken Trupp zu finden sein. Vor allem die dünn besiedelte Gegend um das Dorf Vadu mit ihren Stranddünen kann an manchen Tagen voll  mit Zugvögeln sein. Südlich des Donaudeltas erstreckt sich eine breite sandige Küstenlinie mit flachen Lagunen. Dies ist ein Teil der rumänischen Schwarzmeerküste. Das Gebiet der Dobrudja mit seinen weiter westlich gelegenen Steppenhabitaten ist eher im Frühjahr und Sommeranfang sehr produktiv. September ist die Migrationszeit für Rumänien im Herbst überhaupt; so dass eine gute Artenvielfalt gesehen werden kann. Viele der Vogelarten kommen in einer beträchtlichen Anzahl vor; das gilt insbesondere für Greifvögel. Man sieht aber auch Watvögel, Möwen, Reiher, Pelikane und Singvögel. Die Küste ist dafür ideal.

Aber auch in Deutschland ist es wichtig, bei Zugvogelbeobachtungen die Augen offen zu halten. Bei einer Sichtung einer Steppenweihe kann man zuerst an eine Wiesenweihe (Circus pygargus) denken. Auch andere Greife sind vom Flugbild auf Continue reading Steppenweihen auf dem Zug

Steppenweihe wieder am Schröcker Feld bei Marburg

SteppenweiheWie im Juli 2014 ist nun auch Anfang September eine Steppenweihe (Circus macrourus) über dem Schröcker Feld bei Marburg gesichtet worden. Gegen Abend (19:15 Uhr) war die männliche Steppenweihe im 2. Kalenderjahr auf dem Schröcker Feld kurz gesichtet worden. bevor der Vogel hinter einer Anhöhe verschwandt. Leider war eine kurzzeitige Nachsuche erfolglos, doch das war bei den bisherigen Sichtungen auf den Höhen oberhalb des Lahntals auch nicht anders gewesen.

Bei den Beobachtungen des im Blog Steppenweihe – Weihentreff auf dem Schröcker Feld bei Marburg beschriebene Greif im Juli 2014 dürfte es sich um eine Einzelbeobachtung gehandelt haben. Ab dem 19. Juli 2014, hielt sich auf dem Plateau östlich von Marburg, das Schröcker Feld genannt wird, eine männliche Steppenweihe (auf. Die Weihe wirkte sehr hell, fast weiß, hatte aber – wie auf dem Foto des fliegenden Männchens der Steppenweihe erkennbar – einen schmutzigen Anflug auf der Oberseite und wurde daher Continue reading Steppenweihe wieder am Schröcker Feld bei Marburg

Vorkommen der Steppenweihe in Deutschland im Jahr 2014

SteppenweiheDie im Blog vom 29. Juli 2014 beschriebene männliche Steppenweihe (Circus macrourus) vom Schröcker Feld bei Marburg ist nun im Journal „Seltene Vögel in Deutschland 2014“ (s. S 11) zusammen mit anderen Vorkommen gewürdigt worden. Dabei wurde zusammengestellt, daß dieser schöne Greif auch an vielen anderen Orten in Deutschland gemeldet wurde.

Vom Wesselburenerkoog (Kreis Dithmarschen) in Schleswig-Holstein über den Tagebau Welzow-Süd in Brandenburg bis zum Loisach-Kochelsee-Moor (Kreis Garmisch-Partenkirchen) in Bayern reicht die Liste.

Bei den Beobachtungen des im Blog Steppenweihe – Weihentreff auf dem Schröcker Feld bei Marburg  beschriebene Greif im Juli 2014 dürfte es sich um eine Einzelbeobachtung gehandelt haben. Ab dem 19. Juli 2014, hielt sich auf dem Plateau östlich von Marburg, das Schröcker Feld genannt wird, eine männliche Steppenweihe auf. Die Weihe wirkte sehr hell, fast weiß, hatte aber – wie auf dem Foto Continue reading Vorkommen der Steppenweihe in Deutschland im Jahr 2014

Bird Migration in Eilat/ Israel

SteppenadlerBirding in Israel in general is unique. But the observation of the spring migration of thousands of raptors is literally breathtaking. The Steppe Buzzard (Buteo buteo vulpinus) is one of the first raptors, you can observe migrating. On good days, migration starts as early as before 8 am. Then the birds pass the city of Eilat between Sholmo and Mount Yoash in about 300-400 meters above sea level (asl). During the morning, migration normally moves a little to the northwest of the area between Mount Yoash and Moon Valley. However, the migration may also switch to southeast, directly over Eilat if there is bad weather in the Negev desert. The Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) forms the conclusion of migratory events in the spring around the end of May. Approx. 1 million birds of this species migrate within just two weeks through the area, in some years, the birds migrate even in the course of just one week. In early May usually the temperature drops at night below 25 degrees Celsius, which means that the Honey Buzzards do not have to wait until the air is heated by daybreak. Therefore, you can already Continue reading Bird Migration in Eilat/ Israel

Wiesenweihen im Fläming

WiesenweiheTau liegt auf den Gräsern. Anfang Mai liegen die morgendlichen Temperaturen noch deutlich im einstelligen Bereich, bei Sonnenschein wird es später aber schon recht warm. Elegant schwebt ein Greifvogel tief über dem noch niedrigen Getreidefeld. Im Winter sind Kornweihe (Circus cyaneus) im Gebiet ebenso wie in den Niederungsgebieten Brandenburgs – wie dem Havelländischen Luch – nicht selten. Beim Näherkommen fällt dann auf, daß diese Weihe auffallend zierlicher als die Kornweihe ist und deutlich längere, schlankere und spitzere Flügel aufweist. Da wird es sich wohl um die Wiesenweihe (Circus pygargus) handeln, die im Bereich des Niederen Flämings im Süden Brandenburgs seit Ende April zu sehen ist. Als Alternative käme nur noch die Steppenweihe (Circus macrourus) in Frage. Diese Weihe ist allerdings ein seltener Irrgast auch wenn sie zunehmend auf dem Zug oder auch übersommernd in Deutschland festgestellt wird. So wurde eine immature Steppenweihe (Circus macrourus) seit dem 14. Mai 2015 aus dem Havelländischen Luch gemeldet. Damals konnten bei einem Besuch des Turms bei Buckow, mitten im Havelländischen Luch, Beobachtungen eines jagenden Exemplars, ein Männchen im 2. Kalenderkleid, über einen längeren Zeitraum gemacht werden.

Der Flug der Wiesenweihe ist elegant und leicht. Besonders während des Patrouillierens schlägt Continue reading Wiesenweihen im Fläming

Hobbies pull over the Nyika Plateau – Malawi

BaumfalkeThe Nyika National Park, in the north-western corner of Malawi is the largest National Park in Malawi. It spreads over 3,000 sq km. On the Nyika Plateau at an altitude of approx. 2,000 m asl and above you can find typical grassland and mountainous vegetation. Wide gently rolling grasslands alternate with valleys covered with fern. There are areas where light gray, often almost white boulders intersperse among the grass. Miombo woodland can still be found on the slopes of Continue reading Hobbies pull over the Nyika Plateau – Malawi

Pallid Harrier on the Schroecker Feld north of Frankfurt/ M

SteppenweiheAt least since Saturday, July 19, 2014, a plateau east of Marburg, the Schroecker Feld, is home to a male Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) on. The Schroecker Feld near Marburg is roughly 100km distant from downtown Frankfurt/ Main. This Pallid Harrier male has very pale grey upperparts and is white below. In flight, the distinctive black wing tips can be seen. Young male Pallid Harrier look not so bright white, in the earliest stages, they have coloration similar to the female. This individual seemed very light, almost white, but had – as is recognizable in the photo of the flying male Pallid Harrier – some darker wash on the upper wings. Therefore the ornithologists unanimously call the bird a male in the third calendar year (autumn).

The bird stayed in the area on the following weekend. It was observed among corn fields and harvested fields in a specific area (N 8 ° 51’26 .39 “E / 50 ° 46’40 .46”) which is shown on the detailed maps as Ebsdorfergrund. The Pallid Harrier could usually be seen hovering for a short while in the evenings, sometimes until dark on / above the roost. The most of the day, however, the bird kept hidden. Continue reading Pallid Harrier on the Schroecker Feld north of Frankfurt/ M

Steppenweihe – Weihentreff auf dem Schröcker Feld bei Marburg

SteppenweiheSeit mindestens Samstag, den 19. Juli 2014, hält sich auf dem Plateau östlich von Marburg, das Schröcker Feld genannt wird, eine männliche Steppenweihe (Circus macrourus) auf. Die Weihe wirkte sehr hell, fast weiß, hatte aber – wie auf dem Foto des fliegenden Männchens der Steppenweihe erkennbar – einen schmutzigen Anflug auf Continue reading Steppenweihe – Weihentreff auf dem Schröcker Feld bei Marburg

Keoladeo National Park, a paradise also for Western Palearctic birds

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)Is it possible to combine business and birding in India? The country is large, the distance too and most business is performed in a metropolitan area – New Delhi. Although supposedly in the area of New Delhi only 250,000 people live after the Indian census of 2011, but there are at least several million in the greater Delhi area . Nature must stand back there. Nearby , however, is Keoladeo . According to wikipedia is a national park in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Keoladeo is also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. The National Park is located about 50 km west of Agra near the town of Bharatpur and not too far south of the city of New Delhi, the capital of India. As a business trip to New Delhi allowed for a few days off for birding, I opted for the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary.

From Germany first the trip went to New Delhi. I stayed in the city, had four grueling days in business meetings with constantly running air conditioning in darkened rooms and then went on a weekend to my well-deserved relaxation destination, the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur. But before the bird’s enjoyment there are more exhausting times to cope with. Although there are only about 200 km to the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. But they are strenuous. At least 3 hours – rather 4 hours – you are traveling on dusty, crowded highways in almost constant traffic jam. But then you’re on your final destination: in Keoladeo, India´s paradise for water birds. It is for India which for Botswana is the Okavango and the Everglades mean for America. The local population knows Keoladeo as “Ghana” . In their language the word means “forest” or “jungle”. Keoladeo was originally the private duck hunting ground of the Maharajas of Bharatpur. In the swamps many water birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia are wintering. Supposedly over Continue reading Keoladeo National Park, a paradise also for Western Palearctic birds

Birding in the city of Bucharest – Vacaresti wetland

Whiskered Tern feeding young with fishIn the South-Western corner of the capital of Romania, near and alongside the Dâmboviţa River, one of the nature jewels of Bucharest can be found. Park the car on the sidewalk and quickly you can see the first Whiskered Tern already, which fly croaking from the river and disappear behind you. Often the bird is carrying a small fish in its beak. Parallel to the city road there is a high dam which does not seem to promise too much. But then – if you stand on the dam – you will see a wide swampy landscape with only a few scattered willows. Otherwise, a lot of open water and almost no people. This is surprising, because right next door some pretty looking apartment buildings had been built in the last years. This is Vacaresti!
Soon you will hear the first Great Reed Warbler. A real bonus bird is the abundant Eurasian Golden Oriole. The Orioles you can hear all the time when you are walking on one of the paths that cross through the area. The paths – mainly trampled by anglers – pass the many ponds very closely. Thus keep a little distance, so the birds will not flush before you see them. If you keep quiet, you will see many birds – especially waders, ducks and herons. Last time, I had a female Common Pochard, right in the first pond. Whiskered Terns breed in the area and can be seen – as documented in the Gallery (here) – very closely feeding the youngsters.
The Vacaresti area was a development project of the ancient communist regime. Actually, planned as reservoir (flood protection and urban recreation area), this plan was abandoned after 1989 and the Vacaresti lake was created in its present form. Today, after more than 20 years, the area is a very interesting case of a natural ecological succession in an urban area. The area is approximately 155 hetares and is now home to a self-sustaining ecosystem with grasslands, lakes, temporary pools, puddles and partly an extensive reed beds. The area is home to many species of plants and animals and some of them are nor very common species. A team of botanists of the Botanical Garden Bucharest has identified two major plant communities: the Danube (Danubian) community and a community of settlement areas (anthropic community). Me, Cristian Mihai, have intensively studied the area visiting it many times in roughly 4 years (between 2007-2011) and identified more than Continue reading Birding in the city of Bucharest – Vacaresti wetland

Harriers on wintering grounds in Awash NP – Ethiopia

Having seen the Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus), a species of a graceful flying raptor already during trips in September on its migration route along the Black Sea coast near the town of Constanta south of the Danube delta at the Black Sea coast of Romania and north of Astrakhan along the Volga river in Russia I was keen to see this “near-threatened” species during a stay in Ethiopia, too. Before, I had seen Pallid Harriers already on their wintering grounds in South Africa (Kruger Park) and Tanzania (Serengeti). But literature said, that Pallid Harriers occur in Ethiopia during passage and some overwinter, albeit in small numbers. A good bet to try it in the arid environment of the Rift Valley, as Pallid Harriers main wintering grounds are open grasslands and agricultural areas in the savannah belt in Africa, south of the Sahara. But J. Terraube et al. (2011) in an examination of “Broad wintering range and intercontinental migratory divide within a core population of the near-threatened Pallid Harrier” showed that birds wintering in Ethiopia spent the winter in the most anthropized habitats, a mix of pastures and agricultural areas at the vicinity of several villages.

In that combination the perfect place to look for, was in my opinion the Awash National Park. This is because the Park’s location in a region of semi-arid grassland and its accessability only 2 hours drive from our stay near Debre Zeit. We spend a phantastic time in the park, seeing 90 species of birds in just 8 hours (from 9 to 5). In the afternoon we had our first harrier in the eastern part of the central Ilala Sala Plain. A 1st winter individual of Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus), could be seen in Flight gliding gracefully over the savannah of the Ilala Sala Plain. We followed the harrier in a pick-up for a minimum of 5 minutes allowing excellent (and close) shots of the flying birds as you can see in the gallery. One and a half an hours later a male harrier could be seen very well. But again, a Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus) as you see on the image of the blog. But then, after 30 minutes more, there was sitting another harrier. This time you could see a pale collar behind Continue reading Harriers on wintering grounds in Awash NP – Ethiopia

Fall migration at the Black Sea Coast/ Romania

Spectacular numbers of Pallid Harrier, Circus macrourus, and Red-footed Falcon, Falco vespertinus, were the highlight of the first day. Having spent 3 days in May north of Constanta at Romania´s Black Sea coast, it was decided to try our luck with birds again in the area around the village of Vadu. The target was, to increase the birdlist and to look what differences in the bird diversity we could experience. South of the Danube Delta is wide stretch of a sandy shoreline with shallow lagoons. This is part of Romania´s Black Sea coast. September– like May – is migration time. Whereas the association of the east Romanian countryside is normally with the core Danube Delta with its special birds like Pelicans, Black-necked and Red-necked Grebes, Glossy Ibises, Spoonbills, the stretch of coast just south of the Danube Delta up to the northern city limits of Constanta is an excellent birding spot not only for migrating birds, too. Two dedicated bird photographers went for the countryside area near of Vadu at the sandy coast in the 3rd week of September 2012. The area called Dobrudja with its steppe habitat more to the west was neglected this time. All breeding specialities should have gone already.

The trip date was perfect, allowing us to see good variety of species, many of them in considerable numbers, especially raptors. We also saw waders, gulls, herons, pelicans and passerines.

The Bird Diversity we enjoyed was high; exactly 90 species of birds we found in only 2,5 days. Highlights of the tour you will find in the gallery. Among others we made photos of Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis, Dalmatian Pelican, Pelecanus crispus, Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, Ruddy Shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea, Common Shelduck, Tadorna tadorna, Black Kite, Milvus migrans, Western Marsh-Harrier, Circus aeruginosus, Pallid Harrier, Circus macrourus, Montagu’s Harrier, Circus pygargus, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus, Red-footed Falcon, Falco vespertinus, Eurasian Hobby, Falco subbuteo, Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, Common Quail, Coturnix coturnix, Syrian Woodpecker, Dendrocopos syriacus, Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus, many Willow Warblers, Phylloscopus trochilus, Common Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita, lots of Blackcaps, Sylvia atricapilla, only a few Common Whitethroats, Sylvia communis, many Lesser Whitethroats, Sylvia curruca, many Spotted Flycatchers, Muscicapa striata and Red-breasted Flycatchers, Ficedula parva, good numbers of Common Redstarts, Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Whinchats, Saxicola rubetra, Northern Wheatears, Oenanthe oenanthe and a single Tawny Pipit, Anthus campestris.

This tour gave us the opportunity to witness the spectacular autumn migration Continue reading Fall migration at the Black Sea Coast/ Romania

Migration of raptors over the Macin Mountains National Park

Because Macin Mountains is famous as an important migration hotspot for raptors in autumn, we decided to visit this site after a visit in May again at the end of September.

An excellent choice. Arriving only at around 11:00h the activity of the “normal” birds were low. But the highlight, we were looking for, was the migration of flying raptors anyway. This time of the day was just right – as you can see in the gallery. We did manage to observe two adult, White-tailed Eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla in a heavy fight with a pair of Common Raven, and a juvenile individual just flying slowly overhead. Short after a Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, hovered over our observation point in search of prey.

Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, is one of the largest buzzards of Europe and is the most common bird of prey in the Macin Mountains National Park. He usually builds his nest on cliffs. Other breeding raptors of that area include Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk and Saker Falcon. But of the rarer breeding raptors we did not see one, but one (or more) migrating Pallid Harrier, Circus macrourus , were seen hovering on the cliff along. We were surprised to see so often (or so many) Pallid Harriers here in Macin again – as we were happy to see the migration of Pallid Harrier along the Black Sea coast north of Constanta. An Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus, could be observed in a furious air combat with a Eurasian Hobby, Falco subbuteo.

Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Aquila pomarina, were seen just migrating against the steel-blue sky in the wonderful mountainous scenery. It was a brilliant afternoon with not to many images today and large crops to some of them. But the birds which were photographed were top quality.

Of course we did not find any of the breeding songbirds we found in May. As you can read in a blog or see in the gallery at that time we had two species of Continue reading Migration of raptors over the Macin Mountains National Park