Thursday, March 31, 2011

Productive trip to Duvenstedt with a camera that doesn't work

On March 19th I went to the Duvenstedter Brook again and had some nice birds. But my camera wouldn't work as a little bit of plastic from another SD-card that had broken would block it. So this time there won't be any pictures. Eventhough it would have been so nice to have ne with me. Because the birds were quite close and wouldn't move to much. I saw another Middle Spotted Woodpecker in the forest which seem to be quite easy to see there, as I've seen it almost everytime I went by now. Then I watched the Cranes feeding in the grass just like 30m away from me. A soaring Red Kite distracted me and flew right over my head at optimal photo distance, when a Crane pair mated. They breed here, so I will have good chances to see them again.
As I went on a woodpecker call turned out to be my first Little Spotted Woodpecker of the year, a female. 2 Yellowhammers were a first sighting for me in Hamburg and after talking to another birder, who told me he was waiting for the Stonechats to come, as they turn up normally around this year, I drove a few 100m on and find a male sitting in midst of a meadow and singing quietly his song. Driving on I found the Great Grey Shrike sitting just 10m of the way and chasing for insects. But my camera...
Driving back to the Metro station as it was going to get dark I checked the goat traps that were put on the sides of the street to protect them from being run over, but no goats were in them yet. But instead I suddenly stood just a few meters away from a Roe Deer, looking deep in its eyes and it was looking deep in mine. We stood like this for 1 or 2 minutes and I hated my camera for not working. Then I ended my day with 2 Whooper Swans and 8 Goldeneyes as they were as usually on the lakes...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flying Jewels

So last Monday I got a hint, where to look for Kingfishers and as this was even in my area, not far from the Eagle-Owl and the Grey Herons I went and hoped to find something. Before I had even arrived I could already hear two of them with their high-pitched sounds and so I watched them fishing and flying around closely over the surface. The next day I came back with my camera and tried my best. Apart from that I had a Muskrat and some mice just few feet away, that were hiding under the leaves but I could only see their movements...

The Grey Herons on the Bramfelder Lake are busy building their nests and I got my first White Wagtail for this year in the area. Other nice birds were a Hawfinch and 2 Goldfinches...

Owling in Latvia

On March, 12th I tried my luck for some owls with a birding group in Latvia (where I visited the family of my current host-brother) and after few minutes only were rewarded with both Pygmy-Owl and Eagle-Owl. What a big contrast!
This was also the first time I saw the Eagle-Owl in flight. Our search for Boreal, Tawny and Long-eared Owl got us nothing. But apart from Boreal (Tengmalm's) Owl had I seen them before, so I wasn't too disappointed...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring slowly comes...

On Wednesday I visited the Wedeler Marsch again and was looking for some Spring Migrants that were reported these days. So I made my trip with metro and bycicle and soon got some very nice birds. It started with numerous Teals and Wigeons. Two Mergansers were between them and two Hares on the fields ran away from me.
A few meters further a pair of Egyptian Geese was the first yearer, soon followed by many Skylarks and White Wagtails.
Hare running away
White Wagtail
On the other side of the dike I soon found some lifers (well, less or more. I hadn't seen them yet since I am doing lists, but before I began I had): 27 Oystercatchers, 2 Redshanks and many Ringed Plovers searched their food in the mud. There were also 2 Dunlins and between the numerous Black-headed Gulls sat a Greater Black-backed Gull. Some Brent Geese were another yearer.
Ringed Plovers and two Dunlins
I then went to the Carl-Zeiss-birdstation, where other birders searched for birds I wanted to see aswell. Soon a Mediterranean Gull was found between the Black-heads. Another lifer I really badly wanted to find. Huge groups of Teals, Wigeons, Gadwalls, Pochards, Crested Ducks, 2 Goldeneyes and a pair of Pintails swam on the lake. Some Great Egrets fished in the background, a Crested Grebe just in front of me.
Crested Grebe
A veerry big group of barnacle goose sat in the grasslands. It must have been about 5000. Some Lapwings were displaying. Then suddenly a little falcon scared up the Gulls and Starlings and I had my first Peregrine for the year and finally quite good views on it.
Back out of the birdstation I found some Reed Buntings and another lifer, 3 Curlews in the grasslands. A few huge groups of Goldfinches passed me by and at least two Meadow Pipits searched for insects and apparently I photographed a Woodlark believing it was a Skylark. Two Muskrats sat in a canal behind the dike. The last birds I hoped for, had been seen in the last days, but wouldn't show up this day. Therfore I still need a White Stork on my year-list and still haven't seen any Shovelers in my life.
Barnacle Geese
But this doesn't matter, I'll get to see them soon enough, of that I'm sure. Also was I compensated with the battle between a Hare and three Egyptian Geese, with 7 Roe Deers and also at the end of the day with a female Smew, showing quite well so that I even got good pics of it.
Roe Deer
All in all it was a very successful day and I am very happy, because I now broke the 100 species mark for this year. 102 species to be exact. My trip on Wednesday yielded 8 yearers and 5 lifers. You can really feel the spring come, but I'm excited about was is going to come for April and May...

If any specialist would approve that the Lark in front is a Woodlark, I'd be very happy...