A Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) with a yellow bill might be not the only difference what you realize, if you are seabirding on different locations. Well, Somateria mollissima v-nigrum is breeding along the arctic coasts of north-east Siberia to Alaska and shows a yellow bill unlike its relatives from the northern part of Europe. But is this the only difference when seawatching? Along island or peninsula edges seabirds are living and migrating not only in the Palearctic but also in the Nearctic. Bird-lens.com managed trips now to 2 hotspot destinations in the high arctic. One location, Slettnes is on the northern tip of Norway, on the Nordkyn peninsula. This is the best location to spot the migration out to the Barents Sea.
On contrast, Gambell, a small village on the north-western tip of the remote St. Lawrence Island of Alaska, is an outstanding outpost not only for North American Birders to observe impressive bird migration along the shore of the island to the Bering Sea further north.
After having performed these trips, it is time to compare the chances and challenges in observation and photography of migrating pelagic Continue reading Slettnes – Gambell-Seawatching: a photographers point of view
It is hard to believe, but also on the northern edge of the WP (Western Palearctic) seabirds are living and migrating. To see them, bird-lens.com managed a trip in the beginning of May to the northern tip of Norway, to the Nordkyn peninsula. This is the best location to spot the migration out to the Barents Sea. The Nordkyn is the next peninsula west of Varanger, which might be more known.
After trips to the western edge of the WP to see and photograph migrating pelagic birds, now migrating seabirds with a strictly northern circle of migration could be observed from the land but also on an off-shore boat trip with Vidar Karlstad.
I went out on his boat to the excellent migrating grounds north of Continue reading Seabird migration from a boat in Nordkyn/ Norway
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) is said to be on its northern limit in Finmark/ northern Norway. It is described as a scarce and sparse breeding bird in Finmark. First breeding records date back to the 1960s. The bird breeds in small colonies normally in western Finmark and the Porsanger Fjord. The population in Finmark has decreased greatly in recent years. This gull migrates far away by the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and arrives on its breeding grounds at Finmark in mid May. There is probably 1 subspecies involved. It is L. f. fuscus – the Baltic Lesser Black-backed Gull which breeds in northern Norway, Sweden & Finland to the White Sea. An alternative might be L. f. heuglini –Heuglin’s Gull which Continue reading Lesser Black-backed Gull in Mehamn, Finmark in early May
Polarmöwen (Larus glaucoides) sind trotz ihres hocharktischen Brutgebiets immer mal wieder in Europa zu beobachten. Meistens werden Beobachtungen im Winterhalbjahr nicht allzu weit von der Küste entfernt gemeldet. Die letzte Polarmöwe konnte ich in Oldenburg / Niedersachsen entdecken.
Diesmal war ich aber im März an der Westküste Norwegens erfolgreich. Polarmöwen überwintern wohl doch mit einer gewissen Regelmäßigkeit an der Westküste Norwegens und sind dann auch zwischen den Schären bei Flatanger zu entdecken. Allerdings nehmen nur wenige Vogelbeobachter in dieser Jahreszeit die Mühe auf sich, hierhin zu fahren. Es sind Continue reading Polarmöwe bei Lauvsnes in Nord-Trondelag / Norwegen
Yellow-billed Loons or Yellow-billed Divers (Gavia adamsii) are highly thought-after species for the serious birdwatcher of continental Europe. And it is a big event, with lots of hot telephone wires, if a Yellow-billed Loon is observed inland in Europe. This happened recently due to a Yellow-billed Loon which was observed near the small city of Goerlitz in the southeast corner of Saxony/ Germany. The bird could be seen for well 2 month on a lignite mining lake, called Berzdorfer See (lake). The distance to the next water, which you can call a sea, is roughly 400km away. I did not manage to travel there.
This time I was successful to see and photograph a Yellow-billed Loon on its “right” winter habitat. Because Yellow-billed Loon overwinter with some regularity on the west coast of Norway, it was Continue reading Yellow-billed Loon between the archipelagos of Flatanger
There is still a last year’s (since 1.1.2014 ) Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) in the middle of this Danish fishing port. The gulls sits often on the kai, which can be reached from the northern side street of Kai Lindberg Gade. Sometimes it sits on the 2.5 meter high perimeter wall on the northern edge – unfortunately positioned directly against the bright sky. But sometimes it also flies around in the habour.
After many Birder visit the site over the weekend between Christmas and New Year, I could now see the seagull very well on New Year’s Day 2014 and photograph it well. A Danish Birder fed them occasionally, with fish remains and this is perhaps why it is there quite steady .
Ivory Gull at least in the middle of Europe is anything but a familiar sight. And also if you look at the their breeding range e.g. Spitsbergen / Svalbard, it is still not easy to photograph a specimen close enough. The birds are not extremely shy to humans, but they often stay in their breeding area on inaccessible areas.
Here in the fishing port the photographic conditions are Continue reading Ivory Gull in the port of Hanstholm, Denmark
Schon einige Tage alt ist die Meldung über Eurotwitch / Birdline vom DK500Club (Dänemark), daß weiterhin eine junge Elfenbeinmöwe (Pagophila eburnea) bei Hanstholm im Hafen anwesend ist. Sie ist dort bereits mindestens seit dem 21. Dezember 2013 anwesend. Sie taucht wohl immer mal wieder rund um das Bassin 8 auf. Auch am 29. Dezember kam ein positives Update der Meldung.
Die Elfenbeinmöwe (Pagophila eburnea) taucht nur sehr selten in Mitteleuropa auf. In Skandinavien gibt es allerdings fast alljährlich Beobachtungen. Die letzte Meldung einer Elfenbeinmöwe stammt von einer diesjährigen Möwe, die am 1. Dezember 2013 zurerst in Laxvik (Südschweden) entdeckt wurde, dann der Küste entlang nach Süden flog und anschließend in Båstads hamn gesichtet wurde. Sie war dort zumindest bis zum Montag, den 9. Dezember 2013 anzutreffen.An der Westküste Norwegens (Provinz Trøndelag) wurde ebenfalls ein Exemplar am 11. Dezember gemeldet. Sie war in einer Fischfarm seit mindestens 3 Tagen
anwesend. In Deutschland wurde zuletzt ein Exemplar 1997 am Strand von St. Peter-Ording gesehen.Die etwa 40 Zentimeter große Elfenbeinmöwe brütet rund um die Arktis. Der nächste Brutplatz liegt auf den äußeren Nordost-Inseln von Svalbard/ Spitzbergen. Mit nur Continue reading Mega: Elfenbeinmöwe neben Schneeeule, Eismöwen und Polarmöwe in Hanstholm/ DK
During observations to the northern part of Norway from February 28th – 3rd of march 2013 I shot images of a very pale gull, what I thought at that time was a regular adult Iceland gull. But I showed the image – more by accident – in the BirdForum and one of the experts asked for more pics of that bird to verify if the seemingly dark grey outer webs of P9-10 are real or just a light effect. I send the images and now they think it is a Kumlien’s Gull (Larus glaucoides kumlieni).
Kumlien’s Gull is a large gull which breeds in the Arctic regions far west of Varanger. The main breeding sites are in Canada. But Kumlien’s Gull is migratory, wintering from Labrador west across the Great Lakes and south to New England There are some observations outside that range. Thus the bird is quite a regular vagrant in small numbers to Scandinavia, Great Britain, Ireland and the Atlantic islands. So there was one observation in January 2012 near Trondheim, Norway or in February 2009 on Madeira. According to http://madeira.seawatching.net/articles/Kumliens_2009_Madeira.pdf there has been an unprecedented influx of Kumliens Gulls into Southern Europe in the early part of 2009. Numbers involved are difficult to gauge but as many as ten could have been recorded in Spain where previously only two birds had been recorded before. Others were recorded in Belgium and Portugal, with a single adult also seen on the Azores.
The reason for this influx is Continue reading Kumlien’s Gull (Larus glaucoides kumlieni) on Varanger, Norway