Sunday, November 29, 2015

Long-tailed Tits

It is not often that I see Long-tailed Tits in my garden, but a flock has arrived recently. They do not come to the feeders but regarly visit the bushes next to the kitchen window, really close! The birds show a variety of head-patterns, from really dark to completely white, and demonstrate the challenge of identifying pure White-headed Long-tailed Tit ("caudatus"-type). And I need to clean the windows:-)
typical native breeder, with extended dark eyestripe
intermediate bird with faint dark streaking on ear and crown
same bird, different pose
intermediate bird with less streaking
caudatus-type; completely white head with strong contrast to black back. I think the hint of fine streaking behind the eye is caused by shadow
shadow or streaking?
caudatus-type with again pure white head, sharply demarcated black back

Meanwhile the House Sparrows have learned to open the seeds of Sunflower, and I am sure the 40kg will not be enough this winter:-) 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Arctic Warbler

A bird that put Franeker on the birding map! Last week this Arctic Warbler spend several days on the parking of the local swimming pool. Unfortunately the bird was in a rather bad state, with a deformed bill and poor plumage. I assume it did not survive the short cold, dark and foggy days.
Meanwhile the Bewick's Swans start to arrive in Lauwersmeer, and I explored by boat several times. Their beautifull calls create a fantastic atmosphere!  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

more Helgoland

This was the first time ever we missed the boat; the highway was closed off after a severe accident in Bremerhaven and caused a delay of 2 hours. So we stayed a night at Cuxhaven and saw the Kingfisher and a few Firecrests. We could not clinch a rarity during the remaining 3 days on Helgoland but there were plenty of Yellow-browed Warblers to enjoy (20). Furthermore there were Short-eared Owl, Shore Lark, Firecrests, Ring Ouzels, Jack Snipe, Peregrine, Black Guillemot, late Tree Pipits, and spectacular migration on monday (mainly Thrushes).
Ring Ouzel @Mittelland
Yellow-browed Warbler @Grosse Treppe
Yellow-browed Warbler @Grosse Treppe
Yellow-browed Warbler @Grosse Treppe
Yellow-browed Warbler @Grosse Treppe
Yellow-browed Warbler @Grosse Treppe
Coal Tit @Nordostgelande
same bird
Chiffchaff @Kringel
not an Isabelline Wheatear @Dune
Northern Wheatear @Kringel

annoying model plane (like a huge distant horse-fly) @Kringel, measuring windspeeds at height for windfarms
Dune has suffered from erosion; the airstrip ends in the sea now!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Helgoland Goldcrests

There were many, they even outnumbered the Yellow-browed Warblers! More of those later.
New Holland tractor with kelp flies, the perfect feeding habitat @Kringel

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Falsterbo bird migration

An impression from a visit last week. Raptors peaked on monday, a day with optimal conditions (sunny weather and a light southwesterly wind).
Nabben, the end of Scandinavia for migrating birds in autumn
Early morning Honey Buzzard with passerine migration in the background. About 30 seen in total.
massive migration of Siskin
Blue Tits in confusion, a lot of hesitation before they actually take off towards the sea
late Swifts, I saw 9 in total
Sparrowhawks are everywhere, 1000+ on a single day
Red Kites following the coast
the first Rough-legged Buzzards started migration
Cranes over Ljungen
Falsterbo-canal; a better spot for raptors because they fly concentrated and lower than over the heath. Eagles may return inland here as they notice land is ending 
But not this eagle, Ospreys fly anywhere anytime! They were on show daily.
Red Kites have strongly increased in Sweden, about 150 were on the move on monday. Impressive and very elegant birds.
Buzzards and a kite disappearing in the cloud to gain height for the crossing to Denmark (about 500 in total)
Red Kite
Pallid Harrier, I saw 3 in total but all were very distant.
Fyledalen valley, hotspot for Golden Eagles but not today.. River restoration is nice anyway!