The decision to try the ornithologist’s luck despite the distance of 75 km was made quickly. A Hume’s Warbler (Phylloscopus humei) was reported on ornitho.de from the northern Spreewald. Oh, sure just a short sighting – and the bird is gone, I was thinking first. But the next day, the Hume’s Warbler was still hanging around the small village of Dannenreich, in the Spreewald. The attentive and happy first observer, Bodo Sonnenburg, was able to locate the Leaf Warbler on the first day between 08:50 a.m. and 09:05 a.m. by ist calls several times. Although the bird was approx. Only 10 to 15 meters away, it was difficult to see the bird in the willow bushes and reeds on the opposite side of the Skabyer Torfgraben, which is a peat ditch.
Around 7:30 am – the sun was sending the first tentative rays from the east – I was standing at the point that had been identified as Brandenburg’s hotspot for the last two days. The Skabyer Torfgraben is approached from the village of Dannenreich via a dirt road. On the other, the southern side, there is a swamp that makes any access impossible. The Hume’s Warbler had been seen calling several times in the afternoon of the previous day in a Willow tree (Salix sp.) with a few broken branches. It was cold, the thermometer showed 1 ° C. A wonderful morning without wind and without clouds. Alone, the bird could not be seen. A Eurasian Robin (Erithacus rubecula) jumped calling through a dense willow bush, some Eastern Eurasian Bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) were unmistakable in the alder crowns above me. But the Hume’s Warbler stayed hidden for the first 45 minutes. Then the message came on ornitho.de that the Hume’s Warbler had been seen again. Ok, so my position was the wrong one. A little later I found a group of ornithologists standing just 50 meters away on the Skaby peat ditch.
We only waited a short time together. Then, attracted by a characteristic call, not unlike that of a White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), a small, grayish looking bird – clearly a small warbler – could be seen in the backlight. Photos were out of the question. The Hume’s Continue reading Vagrant Hume’s Warbler in Brandenburg
Although the distribution area of Motacilla flava flavissima is not far from Germany, records of this (sub-)species are quite rare. As to be expected, there are some records from the islands in the wadden sea (Amrum, Sylt-Ost, Norderney, Wangerooge, Neuwerk, Baltrum) or near the coast as e.g. Horumersiel but the best location for a german twitcher is Heligoland for sure. Thus, we were alerted when we saw a record in Ornitho.de at the end of May 2019.
Something yellow flashes in the green grass. Could this be the Yellow-headed Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima) reported this morning? On the circular route over the upper plateau of the tiny off-shore island Heligoland we actually pass a cow pasture. 6 Galloways and a goat can be seen on a pasture fenced with electric wire. Here at the so-called Oberland of Heligoland the Yellow Wagtail of the subspecies flavissima was spotted this morning. That was at 10:15 am, much earlier than now at 4:00 pm. But the cattle meadow seems to be still worth a look. Not least because of a pale Continue reading British Yellow Wagtail on Heligoland
Etwas Gelbes blitzt auf dem grünen Gras auf. Kann das die von heute früh gemeldete Gelbkopf-Schafstelze (Motacilla flava flavissima) sein? Auf dem Rundweg passieren wir dann auch tatsächlich eine Kuhweide. 6 Galloways und ein Widder sind auf einer mit Elektrodraht eingezäunte Weide zu sehen. Hier am Oberland von Helgoland war die Schafstelze der Unterart flavissima, die Gelbkopf-Schafstelze heute morgen gesichtet worden. Zuerst wohl im Helgoländer Fanggarten und dann auch noch an der Kuhwiese, westlich vom Fangarten. Das war um 10:15; also deutlich früher als jetzt um 16:00.
Die Kuhwiese ist uns trotzdem einen Blick wert. Nicht zuletzt wegen eines blassen aufrechtstehenden Singvogels auf der kurzrasigen Weide. Ich denke an einen Brachpieper (Anthus campestris). Der Blick durch das Fernglas zeigt aber dann doch einen weiblichen Steinschmätzer (Oenanthe oenanthe). Habe ich da nicht den Ruf einer Continue reading Gelbkopf-Schafstelze auf dem Helgoländer Oberland
After having presented protected nature areas in the Havellaendisches Luch or the Guelper See, a recent blog was dealing with the Oder valley in general and The National Park Lower Oder especially. The National Park protects a flood plain, the last still intact in large parts of the estuary of Central Europe.
A rainy, cloudy Sunday led me to the river Oder. Having refueled with gasoline and a Breakfast from a gas station I decided going to Criewener polder south of Schwedt. Criewen is a small village only 3 km south of the industrial city of Schwedt and roughly 100km north-east of Berlin. The car I parked just in front the bridge on the western side channel of the Oder. I grabbed the tripod, spotting scope and the Canon 4.0 / 400 DO from the car. So I walked up to a bench not far from the crossing between the entry road from the village of Criewen and the dike. Here you really an impressive view over the whole polder with riparian woods and wide Continue reading Observation site for spring migration on the river Oder
Happy Island is considered to be (one of) the best location to watch the East Asian migration. This turned out to be already on the first – very successful – photo morning of my stay on a late autumn day on Happy Island. Wow, a real hotspot for migratory bird observation on China’s south-east coast. I got up at 5:45 am. I grabbed not only the Continue reading On migration: a Siberian Rubythroat on Happy Island
Auch ein erfolgreicher Fotomorgen kann schon am Anfang sehr produktiv sein. So geschehen an einem Spätherbsttag auf Happy Island, dem Hotspot für die Zugvogelbeobachtung an Chinas Süd-Ostküste. Ich war gegen 5:45, vom Wecker am Handy geweckt, aufgewacht. Ich packte auch das Stativ sowie das Spektiv ein. Zuerst widme ich mich dem Strand. Es sind schon die Große Brachvögel (Numenius arquata) zu sehen, die ich gestern Continue reading Rubinkehlchen (Calliope calliope) auf dem Zug
Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is the gateway to continental Europe. Many airlines use the Airport as a hub for connecting flights all over the world. If you have spare time between two flight and you are a birdwatcher, you might be interested to know, where you can find good places to stretch your legs, enjoy fresh air and enjoy birding for typical european birds.
One of these sites is the best riparian forest 60 km south of Frankfurt, called Kuhkopf or in Continue reading Birding around Frankfurt Airport – Kuehkopf-Knoblochsaue
The nature reserve Kuehkopf-Knoblochsaue (in German: Naturschutzgebiet or NSG Kühkopf-Knoblochsaue) is one of the best sites of riparian forest along the river Rhine. The reserve is the largest protected area in Hesse, with 2,369 hectares. It is located on the right bank of the upper Rhine. Towns nearby are Leeheim, Erfelden, Stockstadt and Biebesheim all roughly 60km south of Frankfurt/ Main. The NSG comprises an artificial puncture of the former Rhine floodplain. It is characterized by islands, riparian woods and meadows. Additional features are open water areas, oxbows, mud fields, reed-beds, floodplain meadows and soft wood forest (willows and poplars) and hard wood forest (including oak and elm). The area has a bird list of about 250 species. Approx. 120 species of birds breed here.
With fellow ornithologists I organized another birding walk along the banks of the Rhine at Kühkopf a few weeks ago. The goal was to see various species of water birds, the first migratory Continue reading Lowland birds in and around Kuehkopf
Mit befreundeten Ornithologen organisierte ich vor einigen Wochen eine weitere Vogelbeobachtung zu Fuß entlang des Ufers des Rheins am Kühkopfs. Das Ziel war es, verschiedene Wasservogelarten, die ersten Zugvögel des Frühjahrs und die letzten Wintergäste zu sehen. Wir hofften, vor Ort einige der ersten Rauchschwalben (Hirundo rustica) zu beobachten. Wie in den vorangegangenen Tagen und Wochen war es angenehm und meist sonnig. Letztes Jahr war es zu der gleichen Zeit noch sehr kalt gewesen. Das Frühjahr hatte sich verzögert. Der Spaziergang begann mit einer schönen Beobachtung eines Schwarzer Milan (Milvus migrans) , der direkt über Continue reading Wasservögel auf dem Oberrhein
A beautiful autumn day. Indian Summer, as written in the books. This time it is to go to the Eifel to hill Stockert south of Euskirchen where bird migration at day can be observed. It was still dark when I arrived. The first bird whispers were heard already . It was mainly chickadees whose calls were audible. Then it went very quick. Within minutes, the bushes were full. Of course, especially Great Tit (Parus major
) and Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus
) were seen in the sloe (or Blackthorn), Prunus spinosa
, and rosehip, Rosa canina
, bushes. A wonderful contrast to the blue and red fruits that hung plentiful on the branches everywhere. Migration unrest obviously hit two species of tits too that are usually not associated with the open countryside but with conifers in the forests. There were some Coal Tits (Periparus ater
) and Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus
), which rested for a while on the branches of a sloe . Only short – about 2 minutes – then they were gone again.
When photographing it was obvious to see that migration is in full swing. Singing and other territorial habits were rare and restricted to the earliest morning. This early morning on a sunny day (but quite cold in the first hours) was a real pleasure – also from the point of ornithology. In addition Continue reading Bird migration at the Stockert in the Eifel hills