Pied Wheatear only 150 km south of Berlin

According to ornitho.de a Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka) can now be seen far north of its regular distribution/ breeding area. This male individual, now molting into new plumage, can currently be seen on the Alte Elbe near Kathewitz; approx. 10 km as the crow flies from Torgau in northern Saxonia.

When I came to the place already visited and described by many ornithologists in the early morning, I first found: nothing. A truck came and unloaded a few pallets with paving stones for the new road behind the dike. That may have caused a certain restlessness and background noise, which the Wheatear might not like. I spent almost 1 hour on the spot without even seeing the Pied Wheatear.

I checked several times all the spots that came to my mind along the dike section. They should be characterized by maximally sparse vegetation and an accumulation of stones or split. In the meantime, I had already seen a, a successfully hunting Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) with some Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) harassing on him, a Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) on a plum tree along the access track and 2 Little Terns (Sternula albifrons) with captured fish in their bills .

Finally, I could see a striking white-headed, pied bird on a pallet of paving stones. Yes, this was the Pied Wheatear!  However, the bird was quite shy and disappeard already to a distance. When it approached, it flew into a brownfield nearby and was not seen from there for the time being. I simply decided to wait quietly by car and remain in the car in front of the piled-up paving stones.

After about 10 minutes, the Pied Wheatear suddenly found itself on its favorite spot, where he had also been photographed several times, namely a pallet with stones for the construction of a new road. First he examined the stones for food. But then he started plucking, cleaning and shaking extensively. A feather was carefully pulled out of the breast with its beak, another feather was roughly plucked out, other feathers were shaked out of its plumage. The new feathers were obviously very itchy. I was able to photographed extensively the Pied Wheatear.

After 45 minutes of extensive photography of the Pied Wheatear, no further action was to be expected and another 2 cars with Ornis arrived. I decided to retreat and to go birding elsewhere.

The last time I saw the Pied Wheatear was in Romania. It is considered one of the most characteristic birds in the region. It is there on the westernmost regular limit of its distribution. On a bird trip, beautiful pictures of males and females in full brood were taken.

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