Tag Archives: Calidris tenuirostris

Nach Alaska für die WP-Birdlist?

DickschnabellummeWarum sollte man allen Ernstes 8.000 km und neuneinhalb Stunden in eine berüchtigte Regenecke mit hohen Preisen fliegen, um sich Vögel anzugucken, die in den meisten Fällen auch anderswo viel einfacher, angenehmer und billiger zu sehen sind. Gute Frage! Hierauf ein paar Antworten.

Eine Antwort ist, daß es einfach Spaß macht, sich vor allem in den Zugzeiten an der schiere Masse an verschiedenen Vogelarten zu begeistern. Was einem Nordamerikaner anspornt wie die Möglichkeit Saatgänse (Anser fabalis), Reiherenten (Aythya fuligula), Zwergsäger (Mergellus albellus), Uferschnepfe (Limosa limosa), Grünschenkel (Tringa nebularia), Bruchwasserläufer (Tringa glareola), Flußuferläufer (Actitis hypoleucos), Kernbeißer (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) oder Bergfinken (Fringilla montifringilla) zu sehen, wird einem Birder der West-Paläarktis zwar eher ein müdes Lächeln entlocken.

Aber ein Grund ist auf dem Bild des Blogs schön zu sehen. Dickschnabellumme (Uria lomvia) sind an den normalerweise von WP-Birdern frequentierten Plätzen in Norwegen oder Schottland viel seltener als die allgegenwärtige Trottellumme (Uria aalge). Hier, auf den Alaska vorgelagerten Inseln ist das andersherum. Schön ist der weiße Streif am Schnabelwinkel der Dickschnabellumme (Uria lomvia)  zu sehen. Perfekte Gelegenheit, um ausgiebig Fotos dieses auch in der Westpaläarktis Continue reading Nach Alaska für die WP-Birdlist?

Pribilof: Inseln im windgepeitschten Meer

RotschnabelalkWeit draußen in der Beringsee, fast 500 km westlich vom Festland Alaskas und knapp 400 km nördlich der Aleuten, liegen die Pribilof-Inseln im windgepeitschten Meer der Beringsee. Angeblich sind die Inseln nach dem russischen Pelzhändler Gavrill Pribylov benannt, der im 18. Jahrhundert in St. George Island an Land ging. Die Witterung ist rau, die Wolken hängen tief, es regnet praktisch jeden Tag. Was also treibt Naturfreunde und Fotografen auf so schwer zugängliche, kalte, regenreiche und kulinarisch unterversorgte Inseln?

Die Antwort ist schnell gegeben. Die Inseln beherbergen wohl die größten Seevogelkolonien der nördlichen Hemisphäre. Vor allem die Insel St. George verzeichnet das größte Vorkommen an Seevögeln in der nördlichen Hemisphäre.

In diesem Archipel herrscht ein unglaublicher Reichtum an Fischen und anderen Meerestieren. Viele der aus dem Meer ragenden Felsklippen sind daher von Seevögeln vereinnahmt. Mehr als 2,5 Millionen Seevögel von 230 Arten nisten auf den Pribilofs.

Die Pribilof-Inseln werden auch das “Galapagos des Nordens” genannt. Mit seinen riesigen Kolonien Continue reading Pribilof: Inseln im windgepeitschten Meer

Newly discovered wintering location for Spoon-billed Sandpiper

LöffelstrandläuferSpoon-billed Sandpipers (Calidris pygmaea) are one of the big megas in birding space. This charismatic species is listed as Critically Endangered because it has already an extremely small population. Population distribution is limited for the breeding range from the Chukotsk peninsula south to Kamchatka. The bird migrates from north-eastern Russia down the western Pacific coast through Russia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, China to its main wintering grounds in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

According to BirdLife International HKBWS volunteers found end of December 2015, at least 30 Spoon-billed Sandpipers near the Fucheng Estuary in south-west Guangdong Province. This was the highest number ever found in China during winter. At the end of January further coordinated counts in Guangdong Province, including members from the Zhanjiang Bird Watching Society and staff from the Zhanjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve Management Bureau took place. The numbers accounted for at least 45 individuals from four locations, with Fucheng Estuary having the highest count with 38 individuals. This is an extremely significant tally, given that the world population numbers fewer than Continue reading Newly discovered wintering location for Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Spoon-billed Sandpipers and other waders in Thailand on wintering grounds

Spoonbill SandpiperThe Spoon-billed Sandpiper is one of the big megas in the birding space – not only for twitchers, but Thailand in general is an excellent birding destination.

During a trip to Thailand in January 2011 I was looking for wintering birds from the palearctic. The whole trip was a great success, seeing especially many waders which are rare in the western palearctic like Mongolian Plover (Charadrius mongolus), Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultia), Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), Pintail Snipe (Gallinago stenura) and Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus).

But many birders go for the Spoon-billed Sandpipers. For general directions and travel advice visit Nick Upton’s excellent website Thaibirding.com. At the known Spoon-billed Sandpiper site at Pak Thale I spend 3 days. This location is very reliable, with several individuals seen each day there, and up to 3 at once. For details of locations you can also check out these Google maps.  They show the  Spoon-billed Sandpiper distribution not only in Thailand.

At the first time there were Temminck’s Stint (Calidris temminckii) and surprisingly 3 Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus). I teamed up with a group of german birdwatchers. We also saw one individual Spoon-billed Sandpiper at a site which is called the “Derelict Building” –site in Nick Upton’s description. This site is closer (only 2 km) from a little town called Laem Pak Bia. Behind a dam, drive a dirt track passing a garbage dump and you will see the shallow saltpans already. There were masses of egrets, waders and gulls. So we quickly saw Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva), Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Rufous-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis), Long-toed Stint (Calidris subminuta), Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), Broad-billed Sandpiper, (Limicola falcinellus) and many flying Common and Whiskered Tern Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) and Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus). A nice selection of the birds occuring you will find here!

But the best place on finding Spoon-billed Sandpipers in Thailand is certainly at Continue reading Spoon-billed Sandpipers and other waders in Thailand on wintering grounds

Cranes on Happy Island, Chinas´s Helgoland, Part I

China’s Helgoland? Is there such a thing? Well, it depends on what you consider to be the specific characteristic of the “Shijiu Tuo Island” or “Bodhi Island” (in English simply “Happy Island”) mentioned island.

Shijiu Tuo Island or simple Happy Island, about 3 hours drive from the seaside resort of Beidaihe located on the Yellow Sea to the east, is at first appearance rather like one of the Northern Sea islands as Texel, Norderney or even Wangerooge. This applies both to the topography as well as the distance from the mainland. Happy Island is not an off-shore island. Therefore it only takes a small boat to bring passengers to the island – in about the same time what it takes to ship from Harlinger Siel to Wangerooge.

Beidaihe is located east of Beijing – about 300 km from the international airport.

The resort has been in the international media at the beginning of August 2012, as this year the Chinese leadership resided in this seaside town to a multi-week retreat to prepare for the upcoming change in power. Previously, the communist party retreats were held regularly in the summer in the nice place. Large parts of the state bureaucracy were carted in the hot months to Beidaihe with its convenient seaside climate. Security is of course very strict at that time but in October / November – the best time for bird migration observation – the resort is very quiet and not crowded. Perfect conditions to go for the beach or in the park adjacent to the Lotus Hills – the Lian Feng Mountain Park – to look after local and migrating birds. So far so good. But now more to Happy Island.

Happy Island at the widest point is only 1.5 kilometers wide and 3.5 kilometers long. Albeit this island offers an impressive diversity of habitats – as does Helgoland. There are grasslands, sandy beaches, small ponds, dense coastal scrub, sand dunes, shrimp ponds and – in the middle a collection of trees that could be almost called a small wood. The wood is picturesquely located right around a Buddhist temple.

The surrounding sea impresses the observer with wide mud flats at low tide. This is an excellent food area for migratory and native birds – such as our North Sea islands. Here waders as Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus), Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva), Mongolian Plover (Charadrius mongolus), Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii), Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus), Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis), Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) and Dunlin (Calidris alpina) can be seen. Rarities are Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) and finally Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis). One of the highlights is Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer), who is the almost annually observed. Unfortunately I draw a blank on that bird as I missed the Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), who is also a scarce passing migrant. A special feature is the observation opportunities for the otherwise very rare Saunders’s Gull (Larus saundersi) and Relict Gull (Larus relictus). Both could be photographed beautifully. So far, the impressive number of 408 species has been proven for the island, of which only 29 are valid as breeding species and 379 as migratory.

The Fall – from September to mid-November – is a very favorable season for bird watching Continue reading Cranes on Happy Island, Chinas´s Helgoland, Part I