Tag Archives: Emberiza leucocephalos

A rare vagrant: Pine Buntings in Germany

FichtenammerThough a Pine Bunting (Emberiza leucocephalos) is present in the Winsener Marsch near the Lower Elbe south of Hamburg for some days now, the Pine Bunting is a real exception in Germany. No wonder, that the bird keeps the twitcher in Germany in suspense.

Several times in the last days a bright Bunting could be noticed between about 400 Yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella), 4 Corn Buntings (Emberiza calandra) and many Finches (Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs), European Greenfinches (Chloris chloris) and Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) and Eurasian Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus). The white edges on the wing feathers were striking. However, all of the bunting were very mobile and mostly far away from the observers.

The Pine Bunting is widespread in Siberia as a breeding bird in the open pine forest west to the Urals, although its range only barely extends into Europe during the breeding season. After the breeding season, the Pine Bunting generally migrates further south through Asia. In the western Palearctic, however, there are also areas where it is found quite regularly, albeit as a localized wintering bird. The bird can be seen quite regularly in northern Israel in winter. It is Continue reading A rare vagrant: Pine Buntings in Germany

Fichtenammer in Deutschland

FichtenammerAuch wenn eine Fichtenammer (Emberiza leucocephalos) in der Winsener Marsch an der Unterelbe die Twitcher in Deutschland in Atem hält, gilt die Fichtenammer  in Deutschland als Ausnahmeerscheinung.

Mehrfach wurde in den letzten Tag ein heller Ammernvogel zwischen ca. 400 Goldammern (Emberiza citrinella), 4 Grauammer (Emberiza calandra) sowie vielen Finken (Buchfinken (Fringilla coelebs), Grünfinken (Chloris chloris), Grünfinken (Carduelis chloris) und Stieglitze (Carduelis carduelis)) und Feldsperlingen (Passer montanus) gesehen. Auffallend waren die weißen Schirmfederränder. Allerdings waren alle Ammern sehr mobil und meist weit von den Beobachtern entfernt.

Die Fichtenammer ist in Sibirien als Brutvogel des offenen Kiefernwaldes westlich bis zum Ural weit verbreitet, wobei ihr Verbreitungsgebiet zur Brutzeit nur knapp in den europäischen Bereich reicht. Nach der Brutzeit wandert die Fichtenammer im Allgemeinen weiter nach Süden durch Asien. In der westlichen Paläarktis gibt es allerdings auch Gebiete, wo sie durchaus Continue reading Fichtenammer in Deutschland

Happy Island, der Hotspot für die Zugvogelbeobachtung an Chinas Süd-Ostküste

ErddrosselEs gab jetzt ein paar Nachfragen zu Happy Island, dem Hotspot für die Zugvogelbeobachtung an Chinas Süd-Ostküste. Dies nicht zuletzt auf dem Hintergrund des Blogs zu dem schönen Morgen an einem Spätherbsttag auf Happy Island bei dem ein männliches Rubinkehlchen (Calliope calliope) im Morgenlicht auf einem Dornstrauch fotografiert werden konnte. Wie bin ich auf Happy Island gekommen?

Über das Internet hatte ich damals den wohl besten Bird Guide für China, Jesper Hornskov, gefunden. Jesper sagt selber, daß die meisten Vogelbeobachter und Reiseunternehmen diese legendäre Insel vor der Küste der Provinz Hebei im Mai besuchen. Das ist die Zeit, wenn die Vögel singen und im Brutkleid sind. Die Zeit Oktober/ November ist aber auf jeden Fall eine ausgezeichnete Zeit, die Gegend zu besuchen. Jesper meinte, daß man auf Happy Island auch ohne einen Führer tadellos gut zu Recht kommen kann. Jesper hatte damals folgenden Reiseweg Continue reading Happy Island, der Hotspot für die Zugvogelbeobachtung an Chinas Süd-Ostküste

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

Rare buntings in the western Palearctic

For middle Europe, Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim listed 16 species of buntings of the genus Emberiza plus the Corn Bunting, Miliaria calandra, of the genus Miliaria, the Snow Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis, of the genus Plectrophenax the Lapland Bunting (also known as Lapland Longspur), Calcarius lapponicus, of the genus Plectrophenax in his „Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas“, Band 14/III „Emberizidae“. In total there are 19 species of buntings occurring in the west-center part of the Western Palearctic. The List of the birds of the whole Western Palearctic count for 25 species in this respect.

Of the rarer species of buntings some species occure as vagrants from the northern or eastern parts of Asia, as the Pine Bunting, Emberiza leucocephalos, the Yellow-browed Bunting, Emberiza chrysophrys, the Rustic Bunting, Emberiza rustica, Chestnut Bunting, Emberiza rutila, the Red-headed Bunting, Emberiza bruniceps, the Black-faced Bunting, Emberiza spodocephala and finally the Little Bunting, Emberiza pusilla. The plumage normally is quite drab due to their bush- and ground-dwelling lifestile a rare bunting is not easy to identify. This is particulary true for the females. Here you can find some images in the gallery of the rarer species of buntings.

Of the rarer species of buntings only the Little Bunting can be found with some regularity mainly in fall in western Europe. In Germany Little Buntings were observed at the Lisdorf Beringungsstation on the 13th of Oct 2011 and in Mecklenburg at the Greifswalder Oie on the 25th of Sept. 2011. On the Island of Helgoland, Little Buntings are twitched several times during the fall migration. On the other hand Helgoland was a temporary home for the Rustic Bunting, Emberiza rustica, Continue reading Rare buntings in the western Palearctic