Tag Archives: Dendrocopos medius

Woodpeckers and their breeding cavities

SchwarzspechtSpring is marked by striking drums that reverberate loudly through the forest. In addition to their drumming, the calls, which can be heard especially in spring and autumn and allow the species to be distinguished from afar, are noticeable. Like no other bird family, the woodpeckers in Central Europe represent the forest habitat.

It is the same when, in early spring, powerful hammer blows sound far through the morning forest. All that is missing are the occasional, far-reaching calls to confirm the assumption. The Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) marks its territory.

In his “Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas”, Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim describes in detail the preferences of Black Woodpeckers with regard to their breeding trees. The black woodpecker is quite picky about cave trees. For the creation of breeding and sleeping caves, the Black Woodpecker primarily prefers old beeches. This predilection usually makes the Black Woodpecker a typical inhabitant of deciduous forests in Central Europe.

Almost all woodpeckers build caves and thus open up resting, breeding and food sources for a variety of animal species. They are therefore of particular importance for the forest ecosystem. Numerous fascinating adaptations to the tree as shelter and food source characterize this group of birds, as well as their high cognitive abilities. The self-made caves, specially set up forges as a simple form of tool use, ring marks on trees, and the almost omnipresent chopping marks bear witness to the presence of woodpeckers in our forests. Bird-lens.com has written about woodpeckers in their breeding burrows for some species. So for the Black Woodpecker breeding in poplar tree, Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius) or the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in orchards.

Each species has its own preferences. Smaller woodpeckers often use dead trees that are already quite rotten to build their caves. The Continue reading Woodpeckers and their breeding cavities

On confrontation: the Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)

The leaves in the riparian forest are still sparse. The warm spring sun shines beautifully down to the ground. Everything is full of life. Now it is important to find the perfect breeding site and the right territory – and above all to keep it. A Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla) enters the territory of a conspecific. The high ” si si si see see see seeeh seeeh “, basically always on the same pitch, is the hallmark of the Firecrest and betrays the intruder early. The owner of the territory immediately flies to the intruder to a neighboring branch. The distance is only a few centimeters. In contrast to the Eurasian Nuthatch (European) (Sitta europaea), however, which I saw the day before, the birds do not collide directly with one another or even wedge each other into the ground.

They seem a bit more civilized. But the two Firecrests are also busy with an impressive display, in which they sing repeatedly, then raise the golden cap and, above all, flap their wings wildly. They continue to sing what the beak has to offer. As far as the beak is torn open, the little bird – for its standards – must produce a hell of a noise.

Both birds are so busy with each other that I can approach within 3 meters and take pictures of the Firecrest on branches and even on the litter of last year’s leaves.

An impressive „discussion“ that can be captured in a great series of pictures of the quarreling Firecrests that can be admired in the gallery!

The scene of the dispute is located in the southern part of Continue reading On confrontation: the Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)

Kleiber, verbissen im Kampf

Ein Frühlingstag in einem Auenwald in meiner Heimatstadt. Noch ist der Laubaustrieb gering. Wunderschön scheint die warme Frühlingssonne bis auf den Boden. Alles ist voller Leben. Überall ruft und singt es. Immer wieder ist Bewegung auf Zweigen und Ästen und an den Baumstämmen zu beobachten. Die Vögel bereiten sich auf die Brutsaison vor. Die Temperaturen lassen das Temperament der Vögel ebenfalls steigen. Eine bemerkenswerte Aggressivität ist in der Luft.

Viele Kernbeißer (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) – ein Trupp mit mindestens 6 Exemplaren – wechselt immer wieder vom sonnendurchfluteten Boden zu den lichten Wipfeln. Im wunderbarem Sonnenschein fliegt mit typischem Ruf ein Buntspecht (Dendrocopos major) ein. Ein Kleiber (europ.) (Sitta europaea) erdreistet sich in das Revier eines Artgenossen einzudringen. Der Revierinhaber – bzw. derjenige, der sich dafür hält – fliegt den Eindringling sofort unvermittelt an. Beide Vögel prallen gegen die Rinde einer dicken Eiche. Sie stürzen beide zu Boden. Dort „verbeißen“ sie sich ineiander, hauen mit ihren spitzen Schnäbeln aufeinander, die Flügel flatternd. Dann wieder bleiben beide – wie ermattet – im trockenen Laub liegen. Sie sind so Continue reading Kleiber, verbissen im Kampf

Woodpeckers as indicators of natural forest ecosystems

WeißrückenspechtCentral Europe is an old cultural landscape in which practically no area has been able to preserve its natural state. The far-reaching anthropogenic changes also affect the remaining type of forest strongly, that it is not known exactly what they look like under natural conditions. Largely unchanged forests can only be found on small remaining areas in some higher mountains and in the far east of Central Europe. Naturally, around 95% of Germany’s area would be covered with forest. The European beech or Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) would probably occupy around 70% of the country’s area as the predominant tree species in western Germany. Due to their specific diet and the associated high degree of specialization, woodpeckers are particularly suitable as indicators for near-natural forest ecosystems. From this, the anthropogenic changes in the forests can be derived. The wealth of woodpecker species in Europe reflects quite well the strength of human influence on the originally forested landscapes. In almost all European countries, the clade of woodpeckers would probably be represented with 7 to 8 species if there would be still larger natural forest areas. The sensitivity of the woodpecker to habitat changes and thus its suitability as an ecological indicator increases with the degree of specialization and ranges from the “habitat generalist” Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) to the highly endangered White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) and Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus).

Several studies, among others in the Bialowieza forest show that the White-backed Woodpecker is the most sensitive species of woodpeckers. It can only find optimal conditions in strictly Continue reading Woodpeckers as indicators of natural forest ecosystems

Birding Berlin: Ducks in winter in Charlottenburg Palace

A splash drops of water, a wild tumult. Just a moment ago the two male Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) had been standing side by side on the ice-plate. Now they quarrel like crazy. Diving, swimming, fluttering and finally escaping, they obviously let their aggression run wild. Most of the short but intense fights end with the fact that one of the males gets through and drives his rival away with a bite in the tail. The defeated duck flies a short distance; and after a few minutes they are together again on the ice – as if nothing had happened. Since the winter temperatures are now also noticeable in the middle of Berlin, large areas of the large ornamental pond – the Karpfenteich (i.e. carp pond) – are covered in ice in the western part of the park in Charlottenburg Palace Park. Only a small part, located in close proximity to the tributary to the river Spree, has remained an open water surface, which is the center of attraction for many waterfowl such as Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) and Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula). Goosanders (Mergus merganser) are also well represented. Even a male Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) appeared, but it looked quite pale, suggesting an escaped ornamental bird or a hybrid. Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) is standing on the shore quite close to the trails in the park. The ornamental park in the middle of the city of Berlin is a very special bird paradise. Partly natural water surfaces form a beautiful combination with the more than 100 years old thick Beeches and Oaks. For managed parks, the park has an amazing amount of old wood.

Birding parks in big cities are often surprisingly good. Berlin is a great place to combine a city trip with a birding excursion. A U-bahn ticket for the trip to Sophie-Charlotte Platz is cheap. From here it is only a short walk along Schlossstrasse to the Charlottenburg Palace. The extensive gardens here are home for many bird species, Continue reading Birding Berlin: Ducks in winter in Charlottenburg Palace

Gebirgsstelzen im Warnowtal/ MV

GebirgsstelzeIm herbstlichen Flußtal fliegt im wippenden Flug ein gelb-schwarzer Vogel über das Wasser. Es ist eine Gebirgsstelze (Motacilla cinerea). Der Bach hat sich seinem Durchbruchstal in der Nähe von Groß Görnow nördlich von Sternberg (knapp 30 km Luftlinie östlich des Schweriner Sees) eine abwechslungsreiche Strecke mit Stromschnellen, Stein- und Baumhindernissen und zahlreichen Windungen ausgesucht. Ich bin unterwegs im Naturpark Sternberger Seenland. Hier hat sich die Warnow vor Millionen Jahren 40 m tief ins Erdreich gegraben und ein beeindruckendes Durchbruchstal hinterlassen. Eine Kanufahrt vom Sternberger See aus führt durch wildromantische Natur auf schlängelnden Flussläufen des eiszeitlich geprägten Warnowtals.

Bei den meisten der Bachläufe im nördlichen Mecklenburg, so auch der Warnow, handelt es sich um Kerbtalbäche, die in Folge von Erosionswirkung ein Sohlenkerbtal gebildet haben. Einige weitere Bäche weisen eine für Mecklenburg-Vorpommern relativ hohe Fließgeschwindigkeit auf. Die Durchbruchstäler nehmen bei den Kerbtalbächen eine Sonderstellung ein. Hier erfolgte der Durchtritt der Bäche durch Eisrandlagen. Das Durchbruchstal der Warnow Continue reading Gebirgsstelzen im Warnowtal/ MV

Middle Spotted Woodpecker at Hainich National Park, Thuringia

MittelspechtA high-pitched call in early spring is heard from afar. An obtrusive väh-wäh-wäh – combination of calls can be heard after. A beautiful old mixed beech forest with several layers and plenty of dead wood is home of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius).  A small hiking trail passes the ground at Langes Tal in the Western Hainich park area. The Middle Spotted Woodpecker is easily been seen in 5 meters height when it is calling. The Middle Spotted Woodpecker uses oak-dominated forest stands in the National Park. Beech dominated forest areas are only used when the beech trees are well over 140 years old or a high proportion of mixed tree species is available.

Signs of woodpecker’s nesting holes can be seen afterwards. The area of the Hainich National Park in general is important for many other species of Picids, including Grey-headed (Picus canus), Lesser Spotted (Dendrocopos minor)  and Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) which are all quite common.

Using the playback method, along transects, an annual scientific study counted Woodpeckers distribution and abundance. In the context of the point stop count all woodpecker species occurring in the national park were proven. The results show that, as expected, the most common species were Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) (41 % on average per year), Grey-headed Woodpecker (20 %) and Middle Spotted Woodpecker (21%). These species were detected in each study year. Continue reading Middle Spotted Woodpecker at Hainich National Park, Thuringia

Weißrückenspecht in Park in Estland

WeissrückenspechtNach einem erfolgreichen Foto-Shooting der Doppelschnepfe (Gallinago media) will ich mich zum Abschluß dem Gutspark des Haeska Manor House widmen. Der zur Pension umgebauten Gutshof weist einen weitläufigen Park mit vielen alten Bäumen auf. Neben einen paar schönen alten Eichen gibt es auch alte Linden. In alten Parkanlagen soll – wie mir einheimische Naturschützer sagten – der Weißrückenspecht (Dendrocopos leucotos) recht häufig sein. Sie meinten sogar, daß in den alten Parks der Gegend der Weißrückenspecht sogar der häufigste Specht sei. Was für eine Verkehrung der Verhältnisse zu Deutschland! Ich kann dann im weiteren Verlauf sowohl Grauschnäpper (Muscicapa striata) als auch Trauerschnäpper (Ficedula hypoleuca) sehen und schön fotografieren. Amseln (Turdus merula) flitzen die ganze Zeit zwischen Rasen und Unterholz. Der Hit sind aber die vielen brütenden Wacholderdrosseln (Turdus pilaris), die intensiv warnen, wenn sich jemand ungebührlich einem Nest mitten auf einer Asthöhle nähert. So kann ich endlich auch mal ein paar schöne Aufnahmen von der Wacholderdrossel machen. Von einem Weißrückenspecht – oder überhaupt von Spechten – ist aber weit und breit nichts zu sehen. Es ist auch nicht die richtige Jahreszeit. Die beste Zeit ist der April. Dann trommeln sie intensiv und markieren ihr Revier.

Plötzlich höre ich ein länger anhaltendes Trommeln. Eindeutig ein Specht. Und wohl zu lang, um zu einem Buntspecht (Dendrocopos major) zu gehören. Es könnte natürlich noch ein trommelnder Continue reading Weißrückenspecht in Park in Estland

Heidemoore in der Wahner Heide

Schwarzkehlchen (europ.)Die leuchtend weißen, weithin sichtbaren Blüten des Wollgrases wiegen sich sanft im Wind. Sie bieten einen herrlichen, unschuldigen Anblick. An manchen Standorten bildet diese Pflanze wogende Teppiche, über denen verschiedene Libellenarten nach Beute jagen. Ein männliches Schwarzkehlchen (Saxicola rubicola) wippt auf einem vorjährigen Staudenstengel und überwacht sein Revier am Rand der Wasserfläche. Die Heide-Moor-Landschaft ist zu allen Jahreszeiten wahrhaftig fotografisch besonders lohnenswert.

Mein bevorzugtes Fotorevier waren lange die Heidemoore in der Wahner Heide im Südosten Kölns. Bis vor einigen Jahren wurde die Wahner Heide als militärisches Übungsgebiet genutzt. Der sandige Untergrund kam bei dem Übungsbetrieb zu Tage. Die Heide-Moor-Landschaft besteht überwiegend aus Sandheiden, die trockenere Bereiche einnehmen, während sich in Dünentälern Feuchtheiden und Heidemoore mit nährstoffarmen Stillgewässern gebildet haben.

Heiden sowie Heidemoore zählen zu den besonders bedrohten Continue reading Heidemoore in der Wahner Heide

Schwarzspecht in Schlafbaum

SchwarzspechtDie Nuthe-Nieplitz-Niederung ist in den trockenen Bereichen von Kiefernwäldern, manchmal richtigen Kiefernplantagen, geprägt. Ein Buchenstamm-Spezialist wie der Schwarzspecht (Dryocopus martius) dürfte es also in diesem Naturgebiet südlich von Berlin schwer haben. Trotzdem ergab eine Kartierung in den Jahren 2007 und 2008 erstaunliche Erkenntnisse. So wurden im SPA der Nuthe-Nieplitz-Niederung auf ca. 5500 ha 22 Schwarzspechte kartiert.

Da der Schwarzspecht in Sachen Höhlenbäume recht wählerisch ist, eine bemerkenswerte Zahl. Zur Anlage von Brut- und Schlafhöhlen bevorzugt der Schwarzspecht nämlich keine Nadelbäume, sondern alte Buchen. Diese Vorliebe macht den Schwarzspecht normalerweise zu einem typischen Bewohner von Mischwäldern des Mittellandes. Die wenigen Buchen in der Nuthe-Nieplitz-Niederung, die dick genug sind, sind daher heißbegehrt.

“Kliööh“ klingt es durch den winterlichen Wald. 5 dicke Buchen Continue reading Schwarzspecht in Schlafbaum

Lake Tegel as a winter birding destination in Berlin

OhrentaucherDuring migration and in winter waterfowl rest in good numbers on the Tegeler See (a lake just north of Tegel airport). A visit in late January performed with damp and cold conditions at temperatures around 0 degree Celsius. The shore is lined of a crumbling ice. No welcoming weather. No snow nor sunshine will improve the images. But very quickly, this does not matter. A wintering Slavonian Grebe (Podiceps auritus) in the middle of Berlin had been observed due to a message on the local birding website Ornitho.de. This is an opportunity a nature photographer does not want to miss. The Great Malchsee is Continue reading Lake Tegel as a winter birding destination in Berlin

Birding Berlin: Charlottenburg Palace

BuntspechtBirding parks in big cities are often a stopgap in between two family arrangements. But parks are often good for excellent surprises. Berlin should result in a great place to combine a city trip with a birding excursion. I started from the flat of a friend at  Prenzlauer Berg. Soon we arrived at a subway (U-Bahn) station at street level. We bought a U-bahn ticket for the westbound trip to Sophie-Charlotte Platz from where it is a short walk along Schlossstrasse to the Charlottenburg Palace. We had been told that the extensive gardens here are home to a pair of Middle-spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos medius), a species that we had seen only once previously. The huge park is said to be full of gorgeous flowers and birds. It must be very nice to walk along the streams in the shade of huge trees. Unfortunately it rained and we decided to wait a while. After some hours, the weather Continue reading Birding Berlin: Charlottenburg Palace