Tag Archives: Hen Harrier

Winter roost for Hen harriers in Brandenburg

A Northern or Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) is hovering in the early morning light in front of a forest belt. In the first morning light a female Hen Harrier had been siting on a broken Birch (Betula pubescens) in one of the many swamps in southern Brandenburg called „luch“. A luch is the northeast German name for an extensive, moored lowland. These luchs can be found especially in Brandenburg in the landscapes that were shaped by the Ice Age several thousand years before.

The Hen Harriers seem to have chosen the luch as a sleeping place for the nights in wintertime. High up on the broken tree trunk, Hen Harrier shook iots plumage for a while, before going on short hunting trips. Finally, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) flew over the marsh birch quarry forest and also passed the Harriers resting place. The female Eurasian then left the grassy parts of the swamp and disappeared into the adjacent forest. Suddenly a second Eurasian was in the air – a female as well. Together the two flew westward. It was interesting that two days earlier a male Northern Harrier could also be seen in the open part of the swamp in front of a Pine tree (Pinus sylvestris). So the area could well be a sleeping place for hen harriers in the winter period. A place in the peat moss-sedge-cottongrass reed seems to be preferred. The Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) can be clearly seen. The Purple Moor-grass Continue reading Winter roost for Hen harriers in Brandenburg

Kornweihe (Circus cyaneus) im Flug

KornweiheEine wunderbare Flugaufnahme einer weiblichen Kornweihe ist mein persönliches  Foto dieser Woche. In einer auffallenden Pose zeigt das Bild alle Oberseitenmerkmale dieses tollen und nicht immer leicht aufzuspürenden Greifvogels. Allein eine solche Beobachtung hätte diesen Tag zu einem besonderen Birder-Tag gemacht.

Das Bild zeigt eine weibliche Kornweihe im zeitigen Frühjahr über einem Stoppelfeld im Morgenlicht kreisend. Die Aufnahme ist gut belichtet und befindet sich vor einem unauffälligen strukturierten Hintergrund, der den Vogel in einer typischen Situation in seinem Überwinterungsgebiet zeigt. Dies ist eine schöne Aufnahme, die ein bisschen auch dadurch wirkt, daß der sich der ganze Vogel im langsamen Nahrungsflug in Richtung Kamera gedreht hat.

Das besondere Foto wurde mit einem 600-mm-Objektiv an einer Canon EOS 5 D Mark III aufgenommen. Die Aufnahme erfolgte mit 1/640 Sekunde, f4,0 bei ISO 400.

Ein schönes Gebiet, um im Winter Kornweihen zu beobachten ist neben den Belziger Landschaftswiesen in der Planeaue westlich von Bad Belzig das Havelländische Luch bei Buckow. Buckow befindet sich westlich von Berlin. Das Havelländische Luch stellt eine einzigartige Niederungslandschaft dar. Landläufig bekannt als das beste Gebiet Deutschlands um Großtrappen zu beobachten, stellt dieses Gebiet im Winter Überwinterungshabitate vor allem für Greife zur Continue reading Kornweihe (Circus cyaneus) im Flug

Birding around Berlin: Rough-legged buzzards on wintering grounds

Rauhfußbussard Breeding in the tundra zone of northern Europe, As holarctic guest bird Rough-legged Buzzards (Buteo lagopus) are encountered in Central Europe especially in the winter months. Rough-legged buzzards leave their high northern breeding areas by the end of September / early October. In increasing numbers they migrate in the central European region especially the North German / Polish lowlands a short while late. It is a striking accumulation of north-northeastern sightings observed for this Buteo-Buzzard. For Germany most reports came from North Friesland last year. But Brandenburg counties follow on the step. They are namely Prignitz, Havelland, Dahme-Spreewald and Uckermark.

During the winter months most Rough-legged Buzzards can be observed by mid-November and then especially in December to mid-February. With nearly 3,000 observations in 2014 (through mid-December) this species is not really rare in Germany. A comparable experience you do observe with the distribution of winter Hen (or Northern) Harrier (Circus cyaneus).  Again, you will find Continue reading Birding around Berlin: Rough-legged buzzards on wintering grounds

Kornweihen in Rastquartieren in Brandenburg

KornweiheAls holarktischer Gastvogel sind Kornweihen (Circus cyaneus) in Mitteleuropa inzwischen vor allem im Winterhalbjahr anzutreffen. Kornweihen ziehen von Ende September/ Anfang Oktober bis März im Gebiet der norddeutsch/polnischen Tiefebene. Vorkommen in der Zeit von April/ Mai bis August sind eher selten, kommen aber auch schon mal vor. Im Juni 2013 konnte von bird-lens.com u.a. eine subadulte männliche Kornweihe an 2 Tagen beobachtet und fotografiert werden. Die Beobachtung von Kornweihen im Sommer ist selten geworden in Deutschland. Denn die großräumigen Lebensraumzerstörungen haben dieser Art stark zugesetzt. Früher war die Kornweihe eine typische Brutvogelart der Heiden und Moore und deutschlandweit verbreitet. Im Zuge der Trockenlegung der Moore und Urbarmachung der Heiden zusammen mit einer Intensivierung der Landwirtschaft, wurde den Kornweihen der Lebensraum genommen. Im Winterhalbjahr können die meisten im Oktober und dann Continue reading Kornweihen in Rastquartieren in Brandenburg

Griffon vulture in the Wonnegau in the middle of Germany

Eurasian GriffonCurrently, an unusual visitor from the south of Europe can be seen in an area of Rheinhessen between the cities of Gruenstadt, Worms and Ludwigshafen. The distance to Frankfurt am Main is only 100km in south-western direction. The bird is a Eurasian Griffon – or Griffon Vulture – (Gyps fulvus). The Vulture has been detected in the area on 02nd of January 2014 . Most Birder observe with spotting scopes from the concrete field roads that run through this intensively used agriculture landscape. The last days, the vultures could be observed in a field between the suburbs Obersuelzen and Obrigheim. The area is intensively  used by wind farm deployments – as you see in the images.

After days with mild but rainy weather the forecast for Sunday afternoon was quite favorable and I took the chance to photograph in a sudden clearing of the skies some shots of the Eurasian Griffon sitting on the ground of a field, which later took flight. A few pictures can be seen here. The Vulture is not an particulary shy, but you should not startle the bird and additionally the rain has extremely softened the fields and the field roads not fixed with a hard surface. Photo distances are therefore to be bridged only with a long tele lens.

When I arrived on Sunday, 5th of Jan. 2014, it was very cloudy. The bird sat quietly in a field and was only occasionally harassed without haste by some Carrion Crows (Corvus corone) flying over the big bird. The Crows seemed to be quite friendly – at least compared to the behavior when a Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) showed up. Fiercely this raptor was attacked. The griffon vulture was found not worried. Only now and then he scratched the bill with his legs. As the sun came out, he find Continue reading Griffon vulture in the Wonnegau in the middle of Germany

Birds of heath in Brandenburg

Northern ShrikeBrandenburg, one of the new federal states is much more influenced by continental climate than the western parts of the country like e.g. Frankfurt am Main. Moreover, this state is not very densely populated at the Polish border. A good reason to call some parts of the country a birds and birders paradise. Breeding pairs of the rare Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) live here in the East in a good number The Shrike – also called the Northern Shrike – was the main reason for a trip to the east at the end of June. Now the Great Grey Shrikes have largely reared their brood and now take care of the (almost) fledglings. A disturbance of breeding is thus excluded. The feeding phase for the young should therefore be photographed.

Especially in summer I often used go and photograph to the military training areas near Cologne, in particular at the Wahner Heide. The military training areas Reicherskreuzer Heide (Heath) and Lieberose Heide were unknown to me until then and should now be visited intensively for the first time. Actually what I was looking for were the Great Grey Shrikes and the Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus). Besides the birds which could be seen in roughly one week,  it was delighting to see the multitude of butterflies. In addition to large quantities of moths and butterflies like the Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) were tons of Calliptamus italic, a species of short-horned grasshoppers and Small Gold Grasshoppers (Euthystira brachyptera) that you can rarely see anywhere else like this.

The weather forecast was perfect and everywhere there were numerous motives. So I took advantage of every free minute in the morning to be outside. The Lieberoser Heath showed up Continue reading Birds of heath in Brandenburg