Tag Archives: Green Sandpiper

Grey Heron fighting with a Common Newt

GraureiherThe Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) flies elegantly on the wetland in the middle of the agricultural landscape of the Lower (Niederer) Fläming. Carefully the bird secures to all sides before it starts on the muddy shore with the search for food. Although at the beginning it just stands silently on the edge and obviously lets the whole scenery work on it in contemplation. For a long time, I look at the Grey Heron and its feeding site from a hide. Then I return my eyes to the lonely Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus), who has been scared off by the Grey Heron and is looking for food on the opposite bank. The wader gets then society in the form of a Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) as well.

After a while, the Grey Heron apparently managed to convince himself of the lack of space. After some settling in, he walks along the shore; the other birds (the Common Snipe and the Green Sandpiper) are on the lookout. The proximity of the good 5 times as big heron is obviously suspect for them. Suddenly I hear a loud splash in the water. The Grey Heron has captured swimming a Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris).  Smooth Newt, also known as the Common Newt is a species of amphibian, the most common one in Germany. The Heron brings the Smooth Newt ashore and chews extensively on the newt. I am surprised that the Grey Heron does not swallow the Smooth Newt directly down. But the Newt probably does not taste that well. At some point the Grey Heron leaves the Smooth Newt fall on the land and returns – clearly disgusted – back Continue reading Grey Heron fighting with a Common Newt

Waldwasserläufer (Tringa ochropus) im Spreewald

Der Waldwasserläufer befindet sich in Deutschland am Rand des süd-westlichen Verbreitungsgebiets. Bekannt ist sein Brutvorkommen in der Uckermark. Ich wollte aber auch mal Meldungen von Waldwasserläufern in der Brutzeit deutlich weiter südlich, nämlich im Spreewald, nachgehen.

Ausgesucht wurde eine abwechslungsreiche leicht hügelige Kiefernlandschaft am Ostrand des Spreewalds, die abgelegen und daher relativ ungestört ist.

Am 6.4. gegen 7:15 – also 45 Min. nach Sonnenaufgang – war der Waldwasserläufer das 1. Mal zu hören und kurz zu sehen. Zwischen umgestürzten Baumstämmen eines unter Wasser gesetzten ehemaligen Birkengrundes waren die Waldwasserläufer nur kurz zu sehen. Die Rufe eines Balzflugs, nur leise und zurückhaltend, waren weit im Innern des überschwemmten Gebiets zu hören. Erst 1 Stunde später konnten die ersten richtigen Balzflüge des Waldwasserläufers vor dem blauen Himmel gesehen werden. Diese waren dann auch mit mehr und lauteren Flugrufen verbunden. Mittags flogen am Nordende des Überschwemmungsgebiets 2 Exemplare vom Uferrand auf.

Am nächsten Tag waren die Waldwasserläufer wieder aktiv, auch am Uferrand. Der 1. Flug fand um 6:40, also gerade mal 10Minuten nach Continue reading Waldwasserläufer (Tringa ochropus) im Spreewald

Kampfläufer an der Nuthe

KampfläuferDie Dammwiesen zwischen Thyrow und Christinendorf sind schon seit den Regenfällen des Frühwinters überschwemmt. Die Kanäle können die Wassermassen nicht in den Amtgraben und dann weiter zur Nuthe weiterleiten. Ein Glück für die Kampfläufer (Philomachus pugnax). Gestern konnten bei einem Abendbesuch der weit überstauten Flächen ein Trupp von mindestens 26 Kampfläufern, einige davon schon in fast vollständigem Prachtkleid entdeckt werden. Die Kampfläufer gingen eifrig der Nahrungssuche in den überstauten Wiesen nach. Von Zeit zu Zeit flogen sie einzeln oder in kleinen Trupps ohne erkennbaren Grund etwas weiter und gingen dann anschließend einer Beschäftigung nach.

Auch mindestens 3 Bekassinen (Gallinago gallinago) standen im seichten Wasser und waren meist nur mit ihren Köpfen zu erkenne. Ein Waldwasserläufer (Tringa ochropus) stand einsam an einer Schlenke direkt neben einem Wirtschaftsweg und 4 Kiebitze (Vanellus vanellus) flogen aus den angrenzenden Wiesen herüber.

Die meisten Meldungen von Limikolen in der Gegend kommen von den traditionellen Plätzen in den Körziner Wiesen und den Ungeheuerwiesen, die rund um den Blankensee im Westen von Trebbin gelegen sind. Wie man an dieser Meldung aber sieht, lohnt Continue reading Kampfläufer an der Nuthe

Keoladeo National Park, a paradise also for Western Palearctic birds

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)Is it possible to combine business and birding in India? The country is large, the distance too and most business is performed in a metropolitan area – New Delhi. Although supposedly in the area of New Delhi only 250,000 people live after the Indian census of 2011, but there are at least several million in the greater Delhi area . Nature must stand back there. Nearby , however, is Keoladeo . According to wikipedia is a national park in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Keoladeo is also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. The National Park is located about 50 km west of Agra near the town of Bharatpur and not too far south of the city of New Delhi, the capital of India. As a business trip to New Delhi allowed for a few days off for birding, I opted for the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary.

From Germany first the trip went to New Delhi. I stayed in the city, had four grueling days in business meetings with constantly running air conditioning in darkened rooms and then went on a weekend to my well-deserved relaxation destination, the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur. But before the bird’s enjoyment there are more exhausting times to cope with. Although there are only about 200 km to the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. But they are strenuous. At least 3 hours – rather 4 hours – you are traveling on dusty, crowded highways in almost constant traffic jam. But then you’re on your final destination: in Keoladeo, India´s paradise for water birds. It is for India which for Botswana is the Okavango and the Everglades mean for America. The local population knows Keoladeo as “Ghana” . In their language the word means “forest” or “jungle”. Keoladeo was originally the private duck hunting ground of the Maharajas of Bharatpur. In the swamps many water birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia are wintering. Supposedly over Continue reading Keoladeo National Park, a paradise also for Western Palearctic birds

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