Tag Archives: Pelagic Cormorant

Dickschnabellummen auf dem Frühjahrszug im Westen Alaskas

GelbschopflundDer Frühjahrszug im Westen Alaskas läßt sich am besten von St. Lawrence beobachten. Gambell ist dabei wirklich das Eldorado für Vogelfotografen und Freitzeit-Birder. Eine der Besonderheiten sind die kopfstarken Trupps der Dickschnabellumme (Uria lomvia). Der Vogel hat wie alle Alkenvögel einen länglichen Körper, die Vögel wirken aber doch pummeliger und durchaus tonnenförmig. Dickschnabellumme schlagen beim Zug entlang der Küste schnell mit den Flügeln und vollziehen teilweise abrupte Richtungsänderungen. Von den wendigen Manövern abgesehen, ist der Flug gerade und entspricht dem, was man von Alken sonst so gewohnt ist. Immer wieder ziehen sie zu Dutzenden – häufig in V-Form –in einiger Entfernung vom Strand vorbei. Andere Seevögel, gerade die Enten, kommen da deutlich näher an „The Point“ heran, um diese Landspitze zu umfliegen. Immer wieder sind andere Vögel in den Dickschnabellummen-Trupps involviert. Manchmal sind es Trottellummen (Uria aalge). Die Dickschnabellumme wirkt jedoch Continue reading Dickschnabellummen auf dem Frühjahrszug im Westen Alaskas

Kittlitz’s Murrelet between glaciers in Alaska

KurzschnabelalkThe big push for the last days of the birding tour in Alaska was to search for the Kittlitz’s Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris). Kittlitz’s Murrelet is a rare member of the Alcid family of diving seabirds that includes the puffins, auklets and murres. This was one of the birds highest on my list, as it is a species that numbers in the low tens of thousands and does only rarely migrate along the west coast of the United States, and therefore can be seen mainly near its breeding grounds in Alaska. But in Alaska too, this bird is uncommon and local and there are recent evidences of decline.

After a 2 week trip with the tour operator High Lonesome to the Pribilofs Islands, St. Lawrence and Nome to observe the impressive bird migration along the shore of the islands to the Bering Sea I wanted to complete birding in Alaska with some birds I missed or could not see further to the west.

During summer, populations of Kittlitz’s Murrelets are concentrated in areas with large glacial fields. For this I participated in a chartered boat trip with Saltwater Tours from Seward. From Seward Harbor we started in early June. We went on a veritable boat, which is approved for 20 people. We headed on Resurrection Bay south. When pulling out of harbor, we saw the first Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) and Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) sitting on rocks along the shore. Suddenfly Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) raised their heads out of the water. Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) could Continue reading Kittlitz’s Murrelet between glaciers in Alaska

Slettnes – Gambell-Seawatching: a photographers point of view

EiderenteA 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