The Dotterel – migration pattern in Germany in autumn 2015

MornellregenpfeiferOnly during migration you will find this cute, little bird of the high Arctic in Germany. The charismatic Eurasian Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus or Eudromias morinellus) has now a loyal fan base, which explores specifically known staggering sites from mid-August for a few week. A good option is, to look for additionally for appropriatec locations in the open, hilly landscape.  Whereas in spring especially the coastal areas are preferred. In contrast in autumn Dotterel show a preference for locations far inland. To find these interesting birds, you should pay attention to some basic insights. On the one hand there is a pronounced seasonality.

From around the middle of August it is worthwhile to look for a few weeks to see this bird on its famous resting places in the open landscape. Experiences with the observations on the staggering areas in autumn 2015, however, were rather disappointing for Germany. With good 1,100 resting birds as the sum of all reported staggering days the occurrence was weaker than in previous years. Compared to the maximum during fall migration 2014 there were only about half as many Dotterels counted. The daily maximum of 109 individuals was only 40% of the value in the fall of 2014. The young bird proportion was nearly one-third. This fortunately do not suggest that a particularly low breeding success was the cause of the low numbers. Last year, a similar proportion of juveniles was determined. Striking was the relatively long length of stay. An explanatory model is that the migration pattern has delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions (prolonged headwind) compared to previous years.

For the one, who is keen to look for Dotterels in Germany in the autumn 2016 you should pay attention to some basic insights locationwise. The currently best-known and most important resting places for Dotterels in Germany are the North Rhine-Westphalian Hellweg Boerde in the district of Soest and the Maifeld in district Mayen-Koblenz and the hilly landscape near Partenheim and Ober-Hilbersheim close to state capital Mainz in Rhineland-Palatinate.

An alternative might be to look for Eurasian Dotterels in the Algarve. Eurasian Dotterels area regular passage migrants for many years, mainly in the Sagres Peninsula. The flat fields of Vale Santo are the main area of occurrence of this tundra bird, which likes the steppe. It can be seen there with roughly a 3 weeks delay compared to occurrence on the german staggering sites between September and October.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western Palearctic. Trips to productive locations in Germany but also to remote places in the world to capture images of rare birds of western Palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog was shot on the Maifeld in Germany and is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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