A barely inhabited island, rugged cliffs, changing light moods and unusual species of animals: this is how the Shetland island of Foula presents itself. A terrain made for nature photographers. As long as the wind does not blow the equipment or the showers from the sea put everything under water.
When I visited the Shetland island of Foula in June, this was mainly with the aim of taking photos of the Great Skua (Stercorarius skua). On Foula you will find the world’s largest breeding colony of this species. The Skua is the highwayman of the island. She is also a true flying artist. Nobody – except perhaps the Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), which is found mainly in the south of the island – can take it with her in terms of agility and aggressiveness. It is impressive to see how Skuas keep track of Parasitic Jaegers again and again on its heels. It is amazing to which turning maneuvers both Jaegers are capable. A special feature of the Skua is the attacking of birds, heavily laden with food. Many seabirds return from the sea to their offspring. The victim is pursued by Parasitic Jaeger and Skuas as well and attacked until it vomits the prey. Still in free fall, the vomited prey is seized by the Skua in an artistic dive and brought to its own offspring to the nest.
I was deeply impressed not only by the almost unlimited possibilities to document the interesting behavior of the Great Skuas, but also by the other possibilities for taking pictures. Scenic Foula has a lot to offer. Da Kame is the second highest sea cliff in the UK at about 400 meters. In order to take the many seabirds, plants and the landscape into the viewfinder, I returned to the island at the end of July again. Continue reading Photographing birds on the Shetland island Foula
Rosy Starlings (Pastor roseus) are sociable and partly nomadic breeding birds of the steppes and semi-deserts of Central Asia and Southeastern Europe. Westward thrusts are usually associated with the mass propagation of grasshoppers. In Germany, Rosy Starlings are rare vagrants with few records per year, which usually affect rather inconspicuous pale-colored juveniles. At the moment, however, the chances of observing an attractive adult bird in partly breeding plumage are as good as virtually never before.
Currently there is a strong influx of Rosy Starlings. In the past two weeks, an unusually large number of adult Rosy Starlings have been found far to the west of their regular breeding grounds. Hundreds Continue reading Influx of Rosy Starlings in Middle Europe
Ende September, Anfang Oktober zieht es viele Vogelbegeisterte auf die einzige deutsche Hochseeinsel, Helgoland. Und es lohnt sich. Während einer Reise vom 8. bis 13. Oktober 2012 konnten einige bemerkenswerte Vögel gesichtet werden. An der südlichen Ecke von Helgoland, dem sogenannten “Kringel” wurde am 9. Oktober 2012, an der roten Sandsteinklippe ein Buschspötter (Hippolais caligata) gesehen. Am selben Tag wurde ein sibirisches Pallasschwarzkehlchen, (Saxicola maura), in der Nähe des Sportplatzes und ein Rosenstar (Pastor (Sturnus) roseus) wurde im Kurpark gesehen.
Doch auch andere Inseln in der Nordsee haben Seltenheiten zu bieten. Derjenige, der mal was anderes als die Irrgäste auf Helgoland sehen möchte und die Einsamkeit norwegischer Inseln liebt, sollte sich überlegen der Insel Kvitsøy einen Besuch abzustatten. Kvitsøy ist nur eine 15-minütige Fahrt (plus 40-minütige Fährübersetzung) von Stavanger, Norwegens viertgrößter Stadt entfernt und man ist Continue reading Irrgastsuche auf Kvitsoy/ Norwegen
During a trip from October 08th till 13th 2012 to experience migrating birds on Helgoland several remarkable sighting could be noted. A Booted Warbler, Hippolais caligata, was seen at the red sandstone cliff at the southern corner of Helgoland, at the so-called “Kringel” on the 9th of October 2012. On the same day a Siberian Stonechat, Saxicola maura, was seen in the area near the sports field and a Rosy Starling, Pastor (Sturnus) roseus, was seen in the Kurpark. Further remarkable sightings on that day was a Barred Warbler, Turtle Dove, a Wryneck and the Yellow-browed Warbler.
Although the Booted Warbler thrilled the many birdwatchers already, that feeling could be even increased. On the following day, a strange thrush could be observed. Short ID-discussion revealed a Turdus atrogularis, a Black-throated Thrush, a recent split from the Dark-throated Thrush, Turdus ruficollis. The bird showed only for a few moments and disappeared for more than 2 hours. In the evening – just before dusk – it was seen briefly again. The lucky few were happy but the many frustrated birders who did not see it expected that the birds will leave in the night. This due to the fact, that a calm night with low wind was forecasted. It was a happy surprise, that on the following days until – at least – the 15th of October the the thrush showed up again – albeit with long times in between suddenly appearing on the steep slope just below a place called Falm on the so-called Oberland.
Thus an excellent bird sighting for Continue reading Booted Warbler and other vagrants on Helgoland