Tag Archives: Falco tinnunculus

Winter visitors: the Merlin

Progress is slow on the little-traveled pothole road. Lucky, because just 100 meters in front of me, a bird flies into an apple tree with a raptor-like flight. This is a winter habitat for the Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor), which can be seen here in the south of Brandenburg in some years for the 4 – 5 winter months. But this one is different, darker and also a little bigger. It is a male of the Merlin (Falco columbarius), a fast hunter from the Far North.

So far I had seen the Merlin in autumn in the intensively arable Niederen Fläming, also in southern Brandenburg. in one case a female Merlin that I was able to photograph with a captured Sky Lark (Alauda arvensis) in the catch flying deep over the field.

In some years the Merlin can be observed quite well and regularly. In many other years, the little bird of prey, which comes from the far north and sometimes spends the winter with us, or also crosses into the Mediterranean region, is only a fleeting sighting.

When determining the Merlin, increased attention is required. It is important that other falcon species, but also smaller birds of prey with similar hunting behavior (especially the Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)) can be excluded. Merlins hunt mainly in open landscapes. This can be heathlands, moors, dune areas, but also over harvested fields and plowed fields. One can get the impression: the clearer the landscape, the more advantageous for the Continue reading Winter visitors: the Merlin

Young female Goshawk attacked by Kestrel in the Eifel

While observing the bird migration on the Bürvenicher Berg at the edge of the Eifel, I could see a young Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) flying elegantly low over a field. Striking were the size and the flight pattern on top, which was determined by a brown color and the rather broad, curved wings at the rear edge. A powerful bird that then perched in a dry elderberry tip. Immediately a male of a pair of Eurasian Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), which had been sitting on its perch significantly further down the slope, started calling. The young female hawk was not impressed by this. Thereupon the young Goshawk was vehemently attacked first by the male, then also by the female Eurasian Kestrel. Above all, the male of the Kestrel rose regularly in the morning sky, then hit the edge of the forest with the elderberry with flung wings, caught himself in the fall less than 3 meters above the Goshawk and circled around and in close contact the bare branches of the bush. The young female Goshawk did recognize that it was the subject of the attacks, regularly turned her head in the direction of the attacker, then sometimes up in the sky. All in all, however, she remained extremely unimpressed and did not let her morning perch scare her away.

The female of the Kestrel could also be heard quite loudly, but did not step into such a vehement attack and stayed largely away from the flight action. In an unobserved moment the female Goshawk Continue reading Young female Goshawk attacked by Kestrel in the Eifel

Zugvogelbeobachtung am Tötschberg/ Eifel

Es war noch dämmrig, als ich in dem auf ca. 246m NN gelegene Bergkuppe Bürvenicher Berg direkt gegenüber vom Tötschberg ankam. Vor mir die Weite der Zülpicher Börde, die hier zu den Eifelbergen beginnt zu steigen.

Eingeleitet wurde der Vormittag mit einem Trupp von 3 Roter Milanen (Milvus milvus), die im aktiven Flug tief über den ansteigenden Äckern „Strecke“ machen wollten.

Der Vormittag zog sich mit vielen Zugbeobachtungen u.a. von Singdrosseln (Turdus philomelos) und Misteldrosseln (Turdus viscivorus) hin. Besonders war aber der Einflug eines jungen Habichtweibchens (Accipiter gentilis), das elegant über den Acker kreiste und sich dann in einer trockenen Holunderspitze niederließ. Das fand überhaupt nicht die Zustimmung eines Turmfalkenpaars (Falco tinnunculus), das daraufhin den Junghabicht vehement attackierte.

Auffallend waren die vielen Feldlerchen (Alauda arvensis), die ihre typischen Kontaktlaute im Flug riefen, schon von weitem im Osten zu beobachten waren und sich dann an dem Berg eine Ehrenrunde leisteten. Diese wurde gerne zum hin -und herfliegen genutzt. Dabei kam es dann auch immer wieder zu Flugmanöver und Interaktion en einzelner Exemplare, die einen gewissen Spaßfaktor zu zeigen schienen.

Der Buchfink (Fringilla coelebs) war im Untersuchungszeitraum die Continue reading Zugvogelbeobachtung am Tötschberg/ Eifel

Influx of Red-footed Falcons, Falco vespertinus, in Brandenburg

RotfußfalkeThe month of August already brought the first of Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) for Germany. Maybe 2020 is a good Falcon-year again. The year 2019 at least was a strong year for the occurrence of the Red-footed Falcon.

The Red-footed Falcon is still regarded as a vagrant from late April to early June and from August to September in Germany. However, every year some individuals are observed with a certain regularity on their fall and their spring migration.

in 2019, several Red-footed Falcons from northern Germany, especially from the northeast of the republic, were reported daily at the end of August and September.

It is well-known that the Red-footed Falcons now and then invade unusual areas. Thus in the last century mass-migration influxes through East Prussia were reported. Examples are the September 1881, May 1882, the fall of 1896 and September 1927 called.

Last year 2 Red-footed Falcons could be observed in the Niederer (Lower) Flaeming, 50km south of Berlin, too. The gentle hilly landscape of the Lower Flaming south of the medieval town of Jueterbog is agriculturally used heavily. Therefore irrigation systems and electricity pylons are already landmarks. A pumping station near Bochow is connected to the electric grid with power lines. One morning two pretty petite birds were sitting on the lines. They were already perceptible from afar. I wonder if it is small doves. A look through the spotting scope reveals that my second thought is confirmed: there are two first-year Red-footed Falcons. A quick photo was taken. However, the position of the sun drives me to do a lap so I have the sun in my back for better shots. I have to drive under the power line with the two red foot hawks. That scares them to a surprisingly short distance only. The Red-footed Falcons circle over me. A little later they land on the power lines again. One of the Red-footed Falcons flies off, sweeping over the harvested potato field at a remarkable speed, then rises and hovers. A little later the birds dives down to earth and comes up a little later with a big insect in the clutches.

Then the second bird flies over the wide plain. A little later, I suddenly see one of the red-footed hawks flying from the west about 20m above a potato field, pursued by a Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus). The Eurasian Kestrel cannot be shaken off immediately. In any case, both birds disappear eastwards across the Meadows. Unfortunately, this way I lost track of both Red-footed Falcons.

It will be seen if more Red-footed Falcon will arrive and if a invasion will gradually end around mid-September, as in previous events

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western Palearctic. Trips to remote places to capture images not only of rare birds of western Palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give bird-lens.com a message, if bird-lens.com could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

Long-eared Owls in Hungary in winter

WaldohreuleIn a small side street of the sleepy town of Balmazújváros in eastern Hungary, almost in the city center next to the church, up to 10 Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) have been hiding in large trees for years. A bizarre sight that makes every photographer or birdwatcher’s heart beat faster. Long-eared Owls are not uncommon in almost any countryside in Europe. However, they are difficult to observe outside winter time. They usually sleep during the day and only become active during the pitch-dark night.

The ecological requirements of the Long-eared Owl largely coincide with those of the Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) and the Carrion Crow (Corvus corone). The two latter are also the most important nest suppliers, as Long-eared Owls themselves do not build nests.

In winter, Long-eared Owls concentrate in the vicinity of particularly nutritious habitats with high vole densities or mass sleeping places of small birds. Some wintering sites have been regularly visited by dozens to more than 100 Long-eared Owls for years, not infrequently also in cemeteries and parks with a good food supply.

What drives this rather large number of long-eared owls to set up quarters exactly here will probably remain their secret. The choice of location does not mean that they have to settle for a lot of traffic noise and a lot of people, but of course one or the other curious person passes by. But people are peaceful and only look up from Continue reading Long-eared Owls in Hungary in winter

Beutespektrum des Uhus

UhuFedern, Reste von Kröpfungen und weiße Kotspritzer in einer Felsnische können auf ein Uhu-Vorkommen hinweisen. Die Spannbreite der Nahrungsreste gibt das weite Nahrungsspektrums des Uhus (Bubo bubo) als Opportunist wieder und so finden sich hauptsächlich Tiere als Beute, die im jeweiligen Revier häufig vorkommen, also meist Mäuse (Microtus sp. und Arvicola sp.) und Ratten (Rattus sp.).

Es gibt aber auch Spezialisten, die sich auf ein bestimmtes Spektrum von Beutetieren konzentrieren, wobei zwei bis vier Arten häufig die Mehrheit der Nahrung ausmachen. Die primäre Beuteart variiert je nach Region, besteht jedoch hauptsächlich aus kleinen Säugetieren wie Wühlmäusen, Ratten, Mäusen, Kaninchen und Hasen. In Europa sind als die fünf wichtigsten Beutearten folgenden Arten bekannt: die Wanderratte (Rattus norvegicus), die inzwischen in fast allen Teilen Europas ihre Verbreitung hat. Weiterhin die Feldmaus (Microtus arvalis), der europäische Igel (Erinaceus concolor), die Wasserschermaus (Arvicola amphibius) und das europäische Kaninchen (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Die Anzahl wird eher von kleinen Nagetieren, die Biomasse aber von etwas größeren Säugetieren wie Continue reading Beutespektrum des Uhus

Junge Brandgans in Agrarsteppe mitten im Niederen Fläming

BrandgansPraktisch so weit das Auge reicht, breitet sich die Agrarsteppe im Bereich des Niederen Flämings im Süden Brandenburgs aus. Sie umfaßt das intensiv landwirtschaftlich genutzte Gebiet  westlich, südlich und östlich von Jüterbog, von Marzahna im Westen bis  Dahme/Mark im  Osten.  Die flach gewellte, leicht hügelige Landschaft auf einer Höhe zwischen etwa 70 und 90 m ü. NN erstreckt  sich über  eine Ost-West-Ausdehnung von  knapp 50  km und über eine Fläche von bis zu 400 km². Mit einer Jahresdurchschnitts-Temperatur von 9,2 °C und einem Jahresniederschlag von 561 mm ist  die Hochebene etwas  wärmer  und  deutlich  trockener  als  der deutschlandweite Durchschnitt. Die Gegend ist eine landwirtschaftliche Hochburg.

Umso erstaunlicher, daß immer wieder Vogelarten angetroffen werden, deren Auftreten nicht unbedingt zu erwarten sind. So geschah es auch Anfang September mit einer jungen Brandgans (Tadorna tadorna), die in einem intensiv landwirtschaftlich genutzte  Gebiet  direkt südlich von Jüterbog auf einem sogenannten „Schlucker“ einfiel und gut 2 Stunden bei der Nahrungssuche gesichtet wurde. Daß die Landschaft, die nur leicht gewellt ist und bis auf einige Landschaftsstrukturelemente wie Baumreihen oder Windschutzhecken komplett unter dem Pflug ist, die ein oder andere natürliche Abwechslung bieten muß, zeigte auch immer Continue reading Junge Brandgans in Agrarsteppe mitten im Niederen Fläming

Red-footed Falcons in Berlin and Brandenburg

RotfußfalkeIn case of observations of Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) it is important to rule out other small falcons. The type of hovering of the Red-footed Falcon is often called useful for species identification. In a case of observation in the Lower Flaeming, 50km south of Berlin, this was very helpful. The gentle hilly landscape of the Lower Flaming south of the medieval town of Jueterbog is agriculturally used. Therefore irrigation systems and electricity pylons are almost the only landmarks. Red-footed Falcon can see you from afar. And you might realize Red-footed Falcon from a distance as well – if you are aware of their field marks. Two Red-footed Falcons were sitting on power lines in the hilly landscape of the Lower Flaming. One of the Red-footed Falcons flies off, sweeping over a harvested potato field at a remarkable speed, then rises and hovers. A little later the birds dives down to earth and comes up a little later with a big insect in the clutches.

Flight pattern was quite good to observe. The Red-footed Falcon in its graceful and agile flight behavior is generally located between the Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and the Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) and may sometimes have traits of both Falcons. The Red-footed Falcon has a quick and agile cross-country flight on its Continue reading Red-footed Falcons in Berlin and Brandenburg

Rotfussfalken im Niederen Fläming

RotfußfalkeDer frühe Morgen hatte schon einen Steinschmätzer (Oenanthe oenanthe) auf dem Zug ergeben. Die sanfte Hügellandschaft des Niederen Fläming ist stark landwirtschaftlich geprägt. Daher bilden Beregnungsanlagen und Strommasten bereits Landmarken. Ein Pumpwerk in der Nähe von Bochow wird mit Stromleitungen an das E-Netz angeschlossen. Auf den Leitungen sitzen zwei recht zierliche Vögel, die schon aus der Ferne wahrnehmbar sind. Ich frage mich, ob es sich um Turteltauben handelt? Ein Blick durch das Spektiv zeigt aber das mein zweiter Gedanke sich bestätigt: es sind zwei einjährige Rotfußfalken (Falco vespertinus). Schnell ist ein Belegfoto geschossen. Der Sonnenstand zwingt mich aber, eine Runde zu drehen damit ich die Sonne für bessere Aufnahmen im Rücken habe. Dabei muß ich unter der Stromleitung mit den beiden Rotfußfalken hindurch fahren. Das scheucht sie auf erstaunlich geringe Entfernung auf. Die Rotfußfalken kreisen. Wenig später nehmen sie wieder Platz auf der Stromleitung. Einer der Rotfußfalken fliegt dann ab, fegt in bemerkenswerter Geschwindigkeit über das abgeerntete Kartoffelfeld, steigt dann auf und rüttelt. Wenig später geht er unter und kommt wohl mit einem Heupferd in den Fängen wieder hoch.

Ich tippe bei beiden Vögeln auf einjährige Weibchen. Dann fliegt auch der zweite Vogel über die weite Ebene davon. Wenig später sehe ich einen der Rotfußfalken plötzlich aus westlicher Richtung in Continue reading Rotfussfalken im Niederen Fläming

Imperial Eagle near border of Eastern Germany

KaiseradlerA fresh summer morning with a steel-blue sky opened the day. In front of the steel-blue sky over the Zichow forest in the Randowbruch only 10 km away from the polish border, raptors are circling up in the air. One of them is strikingly different. Red Kites (Milvus milvus) circle around him and – after a while – attack him. Finally it is clear: the highly thought-after immature Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) is found.

After a beautiful but quite cool morning, the birding day had gone so far without the long-awaited sighting of the Imperial Eagle. The day was – now at 10:30 am – although still young already very productive. But the exceptional vagrant had not yet emerged. Bad luck: on Tuesday and Wednesday of the week, the Eagle of the Randowbruch between Zichow and Zehnebeck could not be detected within five hours of up to 4 observers.

Otherwise, it was already a beautiful, productive birding day. Almost no sighting of a regular bird of prey remained unfulfilled. So many Red Kites – especially young birds – ,Black Kites (Milvus migrans), young and adult White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla), Eurasian Marsh-Harriers (Circus aeruginosus), Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo), at least 4 Lesser Spotted Eagle (Clanga pomarina), one or the other Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and as a nice highlight a deep passing Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo).

Shortly before a sighting of an Aquila-Eagle was still uncertain. Continue reading Imperial Eagle near border of Eastern Germany

Der Kaiseradler vom Randowbruch

KaiseradlerVor dem stahlblauen Himmel über dem Zichower Wald schrauben sich Greife in die Luft. Einer davon ist auffallend anders. Rotmilane umkreisen ihn und attackieren ihn. Endlich: der immature Kaiseradler (Aquila heliaca) ist gefunden.

Nach einem wunderschönen aber recht kühlen Morgen war der Birdingtag bisher ohne die ersehnte Sichtung des immaturen Kaiseradlers verlaufen. Der Tag war – jetzt gegen 10:30 – zwar noch jung und schon sehr produktiv verlaufen, aber der Ausnahmegast war noch nicht aufgetaucht. Schon Dienstag und Mittwoch wurde der Adler im Randowbruch zwischen Zichow und Zehnebeck innerhalb von fünf Stunden von bis zu 4 Beobachtern nicht gefunden.

Ansonsten blieb an dem sonnigen Sommermorgen fast kein Greifvogel-Wunsch unerfüllt. So waren schon etliche Roter Milane (Milvus milvus) – vor allem diesjährige Vögel – Schwarze Milane (Milvus migrans), natürlich junge und erwachsene Seeadler (Haliaeetus albicilla), Rohrweihen (Circus aeruginosus),

Mäusebussarde (Buteo buteo), mindestens 4 Schreiadler (Clanga pomarina), der ein oder andere Turmfalke (Falco tinnunculus) und als schönes Highlight ein tief vorbeifliegender Baumfalke (Falco subbuteo). Continue reading Der Kaiseradler vom Randowbruch

Eurasian Hobby in the Belziger Landschaftswiesen

BaumfalkeA misty and chilly morning. After weeks without rain, the drizzling rain kept going already for a while. A wet falcon was sitting crooked on a pole in some distance. Obviously not very comfortable in the rain. The view through the scope revealed a Eurasian Hobby (Falcon. subbuteo), also known as the Northern Hobby rested on a post with larger prey. In this position a Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)  would be the first bet, if you are looking only superficially.

Often you will observe Hobbies in flight. Hobbies catch dragonflies and are hirundine or swift specialists, usually taking the prey by surprise in the air, and even dismantling and eating them there.

With its moustache and its rank, slender body, with blue-tinged slaty upperparts and black-streaked underparts which have a subtle buffy tinge these falcons should be not mistaken for any other raptor. But Continue reading Eurasian Hobby in the Belziger Landschaftswiesen