Tag Archives: Eurasian Bullfinch

Sparrowhawk feeding on a House Sparrow

SperberIf you operate a winter bird feeder, you can easily make beautiful and interesting nature observations from the window. For this reason I also feed, and not because I expect it to have a nature conservation effect. Many of our endangered birds aren’t there in winter anyway. They are in the warm south and would not come to the bird feeder in the garden even if they were fed in summer.

However, there are species that come to the feeding ground not because of the sunflower seeds, but because of the small birds that want to eat them. The Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) should be mentioned here, which regularly appears in villages and at farms in winter and prey on them. So also at my feeding place.

This feeding place consists of a small house that I place on a crossbeam on a fruit tree and provide this with sunflower seeds. The birds can simply drop from the lowest branch of a tree nearby onto the table in front of the house. Most frequent guests are Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris), Great Tit (Parus major), Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris), Eurasian Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), many House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) and one or the other Coal Tit (Periparus ater). I enjoy sitting at the window with the last cup of coffee from Continue reading Sparrowhawk feeding on a House Sparrow

Vagrant Hume’s Warbler in Brandenburg

The decision to try the ornithologist’s luck despite the distance of 75 km was made quickly. A Hume’s Warbler (Phylloscopus humei) was reported on ornitho.de from the northern Spreewald. Oh, sure just a short sighting – and the bird is gone, I was thinking first. But the next day, the Hume’s Warbler was still hanging around the small village of Dannenreich, in the Spreewald. The attentive and happy first observer, Bodo Sonnenburg, was able to locate the Leaf Warbler on the first day between 08:50 a.m. and 09:05 a.m. by ist calls several times. Although the bird was approx. Only 10 to 15 meters away, it was difficult to see the bird in the willow bushes  and reeds on the opposite side of the Skabyer Torfgraben, which is a peat ditch.

Around 7:30 am – the sun was sending the first tentative rays from the east – I was standing at the point that had been identified as Brandenburg’s hotspot for the last two days. The Skabyer Torfgraben is approached from the village of Dannenreich via a dirt road. On the other, the southern side, there is a swamp that makes any access impossible. The Hume’s Warbler had been seen calling several times in the afternoon of the previous day in a Willow tree (Salix sp.) with a few broken branches. It was cold, the thermometer showed 1 ° C. A wonderful morning without wind and without clouds. Alone, the bird could not be seen. A Eurasian Robin (Erithacus rubecula) jumped calling through a dense willow bush, some Eastern Eurasian Bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) were unmistakable in the alder crowns above me. But the Hume’s Warbler stayed hidden for the first 45 minutes. Then the message came on ornitho.de that the Hume’s Warbler had been seen again. Ok, so my position was the wrong one. A little later I found a group of ornithologists standing just 50 meters away on the Skaby peat ditch.

We only waited a short time together. Then, attracted by a characteristic call, not unlike that of a White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), a small, grayish looking bird – clearly a small warbler – could be seen in the backlight. Photos were out of the question. The Hume’s Continue reading Vagrant Hume’s Warbler in Brandenburg

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

Where and how to photograph Hawfinches

Right now, there is a large invasion of Hawfinches (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) recorded for Great Britain. The peak took place in fall 2017, and good numbers have remained during the winter months. With fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs in Britain, Hawfinch populations are critically low and the bird is Red-listed as a Bird of Conservation Concern, according to the RSPB.

On the continent – especially in the eastern parts, Hawfinches are not as rare as in the western part of Europe. But to photograph them, is tricky enough.

Hawfinches are notable for their bright brown-orange-grey colors and for their unusually large beaks and strong jaws. Hawfinches are real beauties. Famous are their beaks, which can shear open hawthorn, cherry and even damson stones. Like all finches, Hawfinches use the cutting edge at the back of their bills to hold a stone while they crack it open and skilfully extract the kernel with their tongues.

Hawfinches love to feed on hornbeam seeds. If you find a suitable Continue reading Where and how to photograph Hawfinches

Singvögel am Habicht-Luderplatz

EichelhäherWintereinbruch in Deutschland. Aber für die Habichtfotografie muß man doch nach Norwegen fahren. Früh geht es los. Der Luderplatz liegt mitten in einem schönen, urtümlichen Kiefernwäldchen. Jetzt – so gegen um 6:45 – ist es in dem recht geschlossenen Kiefernwald natürlich noch sehr dunkel. So gegen 08:00 Uhr scheinen sich die Lichtverhältnisse zu verbessern. Nun beim ersten Licht sind auch die ersten Eichhörnchen zu sehen. Immer wieder wippen sie aufgeregt mit dem Schwanz. Später sind auch mal die ersten Vögel zu hören. Ich tippe mal auf Häher im Hintergrund, aber es sind auch Meisen dabei. Und dann tatsächlich: Die Kohlmeisen (Parus major) und schließlich auch einige, wenige Blaumeisen (Cyanistes caeruleus) sind die ersten. Noch im ersten Büchsenlicht sind sie zu sehen. Dann sind wenig später aber auch andere Meisenarten zu sehen. Zuerst Weidenmeise (Poecile montanus), Tannenmeise (Periparus ater) und Haubenmeise (Lophophanes cristatus). Wenig später dann auch der erste Eichelhäher (Garrulus glandarius). Insgesamt 3 Exemplare zähle ich. Die Meisen und dann auch die Eichhörnchen liefern sich mit den Eichelhähern ein Wettrennen und die Körner und das Fett. Sie scheinen recht hungrig. So richtig klar ist mir die doch sehr aufwändige Fütterung der Singvögel direkt am Habicht-Luderplatz nicht. Da der Habicht (Accipiter gentilis) sehr vorsichtig Continue reading Singvögel am Habicht-Luderplatz

A sacrifice for a Goshawk – winter photography in Norway

HabichtIn the depths of Norwegians winter forest I stroll in the pitch darkness over a small path. It is just 6:00 am. I woke up early to visit a Goshawk photography hide with Ole Martin Dahle. During a very successful Eagle photography session in November 2013 I made my first attempts to shot the Goshawk with my Canons. But in vain. This time is late winter and I am about 90 minutes earlier on the way to be in the hide prior to activity time of the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). The night before it has snowed. Now the air is cold and the land lies under a thin, icy snow. Ideal conditions for the Goshawk Photography. We travel a narrow road out of the village and a short time later Ole place the car at the edge of a pine forest. Now it is time for the walk through the pine forest. The path is just poorly lit only with a meager torch light. Soon we are in the spacious, well-isolated cabin. Good thing, that I brought enough tripod heads. These are each fastened with a large wing nut under the window. The “loopholes” of hide are now equipped with the lenses, cameras are mounted and secured: Ready! Meanwhile Ole prepares the table with a Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)-bait. The bait is draped on the table, that it looks as if it is laying on the forest floor.

Now everything is ready for hard-core photography. It is now 5:45 am and it is completely dark in the closed pine forest. In the dark I hear the first bird: a Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula). At about 07:00 am the forest looks something brighter now. But no birds and no squirrels far and wide to hear. It begins to snow. Luckily no rain. The table is beautifully covered with snow. This gives great pictures from the Goshawk – if he is coming. Well, at first light Continue reading A sacrifice for a Goshawk – winter photography in Norway

Habicht am winterlichen Luderplatz

HabichtIn den Tiefen des norwegischen winterlichen Küstenwaldes bin ich schon vor 6:00 morgens unterwegs. Es ist stockdunkel. Früh war ich mit Ole Martin Dahle aufgebrochen, um noch im Dunkeln in einem Hide zur Habichtfotografie zu sein. Bei einer sehr erfolgreichen Adlerfotografie in Nord-Trondelag hatte es nur erfolglose Versuche mit dem Habichtansitz im Jahr 2013 gegeben. Diesmal war ich etwa 90 Minuten früher auf dem Weg, um möglichst weit vor der Aktivitätszeit des Habichts in meinem Versteck zu sein. In der Nacht zuvor hat es geschneit. Nun ist die Luft kalt und das Land liegt still unter einer dünnen, vereisten Schneedecke. Fast ein richtiger Winter, dazu Schnee. Ideale Bedingungen für die Habichtfotografie. Wir fahren eine schmale Straße aus dem Ort heraus und schon wenig später stellt Ole den Wagen Continue reading Habicht am winterlichen Luderplatz

Dompfaffe auf Durchzug am Grossen Feldberg

Eurasian BullfinchGimpel, Pyrrhula pyrrhula, werden im Volksmund auch Dompfaff genannt. Diese farbenprächtigen Finkenvögel sind nun wieder auf dem Durchzug am Großen Feldberg, dem höchsten Berg des Taunus zu beobachten. Auch letztes Jahr konnten sie dort an den Vogelbeeren mit anderen Zugvögeln gesehen werden. Meist ziehen sie in kleinen Gruppen,  seltener in Scharen von hundert Vögeln. Ein Teil der Vögel, die hier gebrütet haben, sind in südlichere Gefilde abgezogen. Sie werden nun nach und nach von den angekommenen und den immer noch ankommenden Brutvögeln vom Norden und Nordosten, ersetzt. Unter den Neuankömmlingen sind auch immer wieder die sogenannten Tröter, Gimpel der Subspezies (ssp.) pyrrhula. Diese Continue reading Dompfaffe auf Durchzug am Grossen Feldberg

Bullfinches: White-red-black balls in action

Bullfinch flying upEurasian Bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula, are usually thought-after species for the wintertime photographer. These colorful finches are now increasingly observed at the feeding tables when wintertime proceeds. Last year they could be seen with other wintering birds at the feeding sites, too. The favorite food of the birds observed in recent winters is a product made from beef tallow and fat oatmeal mixture. In many regular stores they are selling the birdseed. But the laid sunflower seeds are eaten alike. Particularly striking is the highly aggressive behavior of the bullfinches to each other. If multiple birds are in the same area, the same table of food, photography is often not possible, because as soon as a bird is flying to the feeding place, it is already chased away from the next. Especially the males are sometimes quite aggressive. Due to the shooting conditions in winter you are shooting at slow shutter speeds sometimes. Here you can make a virtue of the necessity. At 1/ 30 sec , the Finches are only dimly seen. To show the dynamics of the dispute is all the better advantage. This is beautiful to see in the Gallery. Too long exposure times, however, are not appropriate since then only colors can be seen.

It is always a fascinating experience, when not only the Bullfinch arrive at the bird table, but also Robin (Erithacus rubecula), Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella), Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), Tits (Parus sp.) and Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) and sometimes even Continue reading Bullfinches: White-red-black balls in action