Tag Archives: Greater Short-toed Lark

Oriental Skylark versus Eurasian Skylark

Kleine FeldlercheThe Oriental Skylark (Alauda gulgula) is basically an “eastern” species.  Nonetheless, the species is a local migrant and winter visitor in Israel. The best places to observe them are the are alfalfa and lucerne fields in the valleys. During migration periods, these larks are regularly seen along the Mediterranean coast. The Lesser Skylark is often seen in small groups of about 3-5 birds, but sometimes in larger concentrations in winter. It is therefore quite possible that the Oriental Skylark will be encountered at some point in Western Europe. Therefore it is good to have the most important characteristics for species identification ready – especially in differentiation to the Eurasian Skylark.

Many observers familiar with the Lesser Skylark explain how strikingly different the structure of the Lesser Skylark is from its close relative, the Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis). Of course, the species is most likely to be confused with the Eurasian Skylark, especially with the smaller subspecies. However, when visibility is good, the attentive observer should not perceive the separation of the species as a serious problem.

A trip to Sri Lanka gave the chance to observe and photograph several individuials of the nominate subspecies gulgula in Bundala Nationalpark in southern Sri Lanka. Alauda gulgula gulgula is spread as a breeding bird over almost the whole India subcontinent, from Continue reading Oriental Skylark versus Eurasian Skylark

Steppe habitat just outside Castilla de la Mancha

The Spanish province of Valencia was visited in summer. One reason was to relax for a week. The second argument was to get a feel for avian delights of an area of the country normally thought of in mainstream tourism terms. As a habitual visitor to the more well-known birding destination of Andalucía and Portugal, I wasn’t expecting too much but was enjoyably surprised by the numbers and variety of Valencia’s avian inhabitants. One day I headed for the steppe habitat just outside Castilla de la Mancha. This area is blessed with an incredibly diverse range of habitats and excellent birding sites.

A stop at the tiny Bonete Municipal Cemetery en route meant we could search a small lake and a few trees, giving us great intimate views of Egyptian Vulture (Neophron pernocterus), Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), a lonesome Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina) and – best of all – a yellow-and-black male Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus). European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) are common in these lowland Continue reading Steppe habitat just outside Castilla de la Mancha

Irrgäste auf Bird Island/ Seychellen

KurzzehenlercheMit ohrenbetäubenden Schreien segeln Rußseeschwalben (Sterna fuscota) Tag und Nacht über der Lichtung des Palmenwaldes. Nicht nur für die Massen an Rußseeschwalben oder die Sichtung der wunderschönen Reiherläufer (Dromas ardeola) machten den Trip auf die Seychellen zu einem großen Erfolg.

Es war für die  Beobachtung der Zugvögel – und damit für die „selteneren“ Arten der Inselkette – genau die richtige Zeit; vor allem auf Bird Island. So waren neben den Vagrants ja vor allem die vielen Limikolenarten gut vertreten. Zu den Vagrants bzw. den westpaläarktischen Migranten schrieb ich Adrian Skerrett vom lokalen, den Seychelles Bird Records Committee. Er ist begeistert von meinen Meldungen und schreibt auf der Seite des Seychelles Bird Records Committee, daß ich bei meinem Besuch auf den Seychellen Ende Oktober bis Anfang November einen Einfall von Seltenheiten auf Bird Island zu berichten gehabt hätte. Zu nennen sei die Kurzzehenlerche (Calandrella brachydactyla) (4 SBRC record), Orientbrachschwalbe (Glareola maldivarum) (16 bisherige Rekorde von SBRC akzeptiert), Pirol (Oriolus oriolus), (19 SBRC records), Uferschwalbe (Riparia riparia), (25 SBRC records – was mich ehrlich bei diesem Weitstreckerzieher doch verwundert), Grauschnäpper (Muscicapa striata), (35 SBRC records) und die Rauchschwalbe (Hirundo rustica) – eine jährlich durchziehender Vogel in geringen Stückzahlen). Schade, dass ich eine eigentlich zu erwartende endemische Art wie den Seychelles Kestrel nicht auf Mahe angetroffen haben. Meine Life List konnte ich immerhin um 22 weitere Vogelarten (neben den Endemiten eben auch Keilschwanz-Sturmtaucher (Puffinus pacificus), Audubonsturmtaucher (Puffinus lherminieri),  Rotschwanz-Tropikvogel (Phaethon rubricauda), Continue reading Irrgäste auf Bird Island/ Seychellen

The Dupont‘s Lark at Las Almoladeras in Spain

Dupont's Lark on a stoneAlthough recent research and an action plan by SEO regards the Dupont‘s Lark (Chersophilus duponti) as highly on risk in Almeria, this area is still worth a try.  This Lark is probably one of the highly thought-after bird species if travelling to and birdwatching in southern Spain. I photographed it in mid May 2002. First choice for this lark in southern Spain probably is Cabo de Gata. This is a Parque Natural with almost 50,000 ha (exactly 49,696 ha). Cabo de Gata comprises a Biosphere Reserve of the UNESCO. In general this large area extends from the western side of Cabo de Gata around to the eastern coast as far north as Carboneras. For birdwatchers the best sites are the sierra of Cabo de Gata, the salinas of Cabo de Gata, and a series of steppe areas, of which I tried Las Amoladeras which is Continue reading The Dupont‘s Lark at Las Almoladeras in Spain

Hide Photography in Bulgaria in July; Images from the Dobruja

Eurasian Golden-Oriole, maleThe north-eastern countryside of Bulgaria called Dobruja or in Bulgarian Dobrudzha or in romanian Dobrogea was not famous of being one of Bulgaria´s birding hot spots for bird-lens before. But a trip to the Romanian Dobrogea in may 2012 was already very productive. Thus maybe an excursion to that thinly populated area south of the city of Silistra might be good as well.

No disappointment!

The area is a charming countryside which has to offer surprisingly good locations to shoot images of excellent birds.

Having been spent 4 days at the place aiming to photograph Golden Oriole, Ortolan Bunting, Bee-eaters, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Barred Warbler, Tawny Pipit, etc. on invitation of Iordan Hristov one of the two owners of Nature Travel has been very productive – as you can see in the gallery. The other owner, Sergey Panayotov, and his friend Iordan Hristov offer Wildlife Workshops, trips with bicycles and canoes but also the chance to sit in one (or more) of their hides located in the superb gently rolling countryside of that part of Bulgaria. The center of these activities is an ancient farmhouse with an orchard meadow behind. The area in General is dry and can be – at least in that aspect – best compared to the Macin Mountains in Romania.

One of the main targets was the Golden Oriole photography. For this the tower hide was used. This brand-new photohide is in the yard of a small farmland. The tower overlooks the branches of a walnut-tree where birds often perch. Several bird species have their territories around the yard and they often perch on the highest branches for their displays in spring. When bird-lens was shooting the images you see in the gallery the breeding season was almost over. I felt, that the birds use the exposed position of this tallest tree to orientate between a open field and a forest behind and the cherry trees in the orchards of that nice village. An excellent chance to photograph Continue reading Hide Photography in Bulgaria in July; Images from the Dobruja