Friday, January 27, 2012


2012 has started quite good. as I have already been able to observe 77 species. I have already seen a Lifer (Bar-headed Goose), a new subspecies (White-throated Dipper ssp. cinclus) and a few new birds for the Wedeler Marsch and the Duvenstedter Brook.
On January 18th i went to the Wedeler Marsch and it was incredible how few birds were around! I needed a while before I got anything out of the very common birds. First I tried a new spot for some forrest birds, I still needed on my area list and I found most of them: Hawfinch, Bullfinch, Long-tailed Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper.

Then in the bird station, from where you can normally observe dozens of species I got to see only 5 species in 2 hours! And those were quite normal ones: Goldfinch, Barnacle Geese, Kestrel, Black-headed Gull and Great Egret. So I decided to try my luck at a lake some kilometres further. On the way there i finally got two of the species I had mainly come for: 3 Little Gulls and 1 Black-legged Kittiwake, of which a few had been blown in by a storm a week or so before. At the lake i finally could add some new birds, but none of them was really out of the normal: 8 Shovelers and about 200 Wigeons were the best between those.
On my way home I came across a Rough-legged Hawk, 2 Smews and a Stoat with some mouse in its mouth, but none of those would show very good and long, so i didn't get any pics.
So in the end I had a day with only very few birds, but some of them were quite good (especially the Gulls and the Hawk)

Then yesterday I went to the Duvenstedter Brook in hope of the White-breasted Dipper that had been seen there since at least a week. But on the way to the exact spot I had to sadly realize that a sleeping tree, where a Tawny Owl had been living for some years had fallen down. Hopefully the Owl wasn't sleeping in it, when it fell down...
Then I arrived at the lake, from which a small stream comes and where the Dipper had been seen before. On the lake where 2 Whooper Swans, 1 gorgeous Goldeneye and a female Merganser, but on the stream was no Dipper to be found :(
I tried my luck on another part of the stream and another lake, but no Dipper either. But on the other lake were some nice birds: 1 immature Whooper Swan, another gorgeous Goldeneye, 18 Mergansers, 22 Tufted Ducks and 8 Gadwalls.
I hoped to see the Tawny Owl on the graveyard, but it wasn't there. instead I found a Great Grey Shrike, sitting on top of one of the Pine Trees. i would never have expected one up there. I was checking for Grosbeaks, but no luck... Seems like I'll never see one. Instead came 7 Redpolls flying over me. At least one new area bird.
In the main part of the Brook I saw almost nothing apart from a group of 21 Fallow Deer and another Great Grey Shrike. On a meadow close to the main part sat a very huge(!) Hare feeding, but as the light was fading fast I hurried to look another time at the stream, if the Dipper had reappeared. On the way I came across a group of 69 Greylag geese, between them where 1 Bar-headed Goose and 2 hybrids (Bar-headed x Greylag). My first lifer for 2012, a bird I had been hoping for for a long time already.
This Bar-headed Goose had bred with a Greyleg Goose in 2010 and raised 3 chicks in the surroundings of the Brook, but I hadn't seen it yet. So finally...

When I arrived at the stream the light was almost gone already, but I was lucky, because I realized, there was a White-throated Dipper quite well hidden. Mission accomplished...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


2011 is over and thus also my first complete year of birding in Germany. Here's a report of that fantastic year:
I saw a total of 250 bird species, 210 of those in Germany and 178 species in Hamburg and the nearer surroundings. From those 250 species 114 were lifers. Another two birds were only heard this year: Water Rail (eventhough it wouldn't even have been a lifer) and Corn Crake.

The year started well with 4 Long-eared Owls in the city park. My first real visit to the Duvenstedter Brook brought me a male Northern Harrier, a wintering Red Kite and three lifers that became almost ordinary: Tawny Owl, White-tailed Eagle and Middle Spotted Woodpecker. The year continued with a Northern Pintail and another Middle Spot. They were so special because they both showed in my area (which is about the region 5km around were I live).
Also the Wedeler Marsch yielded some new species for me: Eurasian Wigeon, Smew and Reed Bunting.
On the Bramfelder Lake were present up to 30 Grey Herons on a little stream near to the Öjendorfer Lake was a White-breasted Dipper. Unfortunately just outside my area.
When I found my first Great Grey Shrike I was very happy a few days later I also saw auncooperative Merlin, which shot 3 times through my field of vision. Every time I was just to give up the search for it, it would come shooting out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere...
Then migration time began and some waders appeared, but also a Wood Lark, which is normally quite rare, where I saw it. Between the Black-headed Gulls were some Mediterranean Gulls.
2 Kingfishers could be observed for a long time on the Ohlsdorfer cementary, but then they disappeared out of reasons I still don't understand and I have seen one in the area only once after.
Then it began with Ducks: Garganeys and Shovelers, but especially a very lucky observation of Red-breasted Goose. After about 15 secondes of observations it disappeared between the Barnacle Geese never to be seen again.
On the 4.4. 20 Bohemian Waxwings sat in the neighboors yard. Furthermore I could add Wigeon and Grey Wagtail to the area list.
Shortly after I saw two of my absolutely favourite birds 2011: Ruff and Bluethroat. But also a very surprising Cattle Egret in the Wedeler Marsch, that disappeared into nowhere after 45 minutes.

A holiday in Lisbon got me some nice lifers: Gannet, Yellow-legged Gull and also a Ring-billed Gull. A vagrant I didn't even recognize while seeing and of which I just shot a pic, because it looked a bit different.
In the Duvenstedter Brook more and more summer birds appeared, for example Whinchats, Hobbies and Cuckoos. In the Wedeler Marsch more and more Warblers appeared.
My listed expanded with White-tailed Eagle and Oystercatcher flying over my house.
On an individual Birdrace, one day after the official one I found 98 species, amongst others a Temminck's Stint and my nemesis bird Black Woodpecker.

I saw more and more passerines, especially Warblers and Flycatchers, but also my first Red-backed Shrikes. In the Brook I was fortunate to follow the growth of 2 Eagle-Owl chicks in an oak. There were also many other young birds to be found, for example Cranes.

I made a short vacation with my family in Büsum, where I saw 30 Spoonbills, 2 Montagu's Harriers, some Little Gulls and a Gull-billed Tern.

Back in the Brook I heard two Corncrakes for many days, aswell as some Quails, until on 27.6 I saw the backparts of one in the grass, before it sneaked away. I saw some Woodcocks in display flight, but heard many more that I never saw in the undergrowth.

Then I was in Madrid for one month and saw: Little, Egrets, Night-Herons, White Storks, Griffon and Cinereous Vultures, Booted Eagles, Montagu's Harrier, Black and Red Kite, Lesser Kestrels, Bee-eaters, Hoopoe, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag Martins, Golden Orioles, Azure-winged Magpie, White-throated Dipper, Cetti's Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Great Reed-Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Southern Grey and Woodchat Shrike and Cirl Bunting to name just the best. Also did I see many new subspecies...

Back in Germany I saw my first Curlew Sandpipers and the next nemesis bird: Honey-Buzzard!
On 5th August I twitched my first rarity, a Pectoral Sandpiper in the Wedeler Marsch.
Then the migration time began again and from my own window I saw 14 migrating White Storks. In the Wedeler Marsch I saw an incredible total of 65 Honey-Buzzards and a Wryneck, which I still can't believe!!!

In Eckernförde I saw 6 female Mergansers and my first Eiders 2011.

Back in Hamburg I have even the luck to put the Honey-Buzzards on my yard list aswell as some other birds on the area lists.

During the autumn vacations I went to Morocco where I saw many new lifers: Barbary Partridge, (Wild) Rock Pigeons, Little and Pallid Swift, African Blue Tit, Common Bulbul, Chough, Moussier's Redstart, Sardinian Warbler, Western Bonelli'S Warbler, Atlas Pied Flycatcher, Blue Rock-Thrush, Black and White-crowned Wheatear, Trumpeter Finch and House Bunting aswell as many new subspecies again.

One day after returning from Morocco I continued to Heligoland, where I birdwatched hardcore and got 98 species. New for me were most pelagic birds like Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Little Auk, Common Scoter, Greater Scaup, Norhern Gannet, but also some shore birds like Horned Lark, Twite, Lapland Bunting, Rock Pipit and Short-eared Owl. On Heligoland there are almost always some rarities, so I was happy to see Yellow-browed, Hume's Leaf and Western Bonelli's Warbler and Richard's Pipit which are all rare fopr Germany, but also Barred Warbler and Thrush Nightingale which are rare for the region and the time (October). I was also very happy about the Ring Ouzels and the Purple Sandpipers, like I was about every other bird I saw there!

Back in Hamburg it was quite calm. There were 42 Great Egrets in the Wedeler Marsch (on the day before it had even been 75!) and I got my lifer Ruddy Shelduck.
A Rough-legged Buzzard stuck around in the Brook as did a Long-eared Owl in the city park, in exact the same spot where I had seen it in the beginning of the year.
On 28th December I saw 3 Waxwings flying away and then on the last day in 2011 I added 3 lifers and 4 new species for the Wedeler Marsch. The lifers were Caspian Gull, Tundra Swan and Water Pipit, the new area species were Brant, Kingfisher, Great Grey Shrike and Bearded Reedling.

I ended the year 2011 with 250 bird species seen, 210 of those in Germany and 178 in Hamburg (and surroundings). I'm very happy about that result!

Monday, January 2, 2012

December 31st 2011

On the last day in 2011 I finally got out again to bird the Wedeler Marsch. I hoped for a new bird for the area or maybe even a lifer, but the result were 3 lifers and another 3 new birds for the area.

I started the day not in the Wedeler Marsch, but in Altona. There have been reported up to 3 Caspian Gulls and one Yellow-legged Gull from there, so aimed to get one of these. First I did not find anything apart from Black-headed, Herring and very few Mew Gulls. Then I spotted a Gull with white head on the other side of the Elbe 200m away. It is probably a Yellow-legged Gull, but I don't think I can be sure of this.
So I kept searching for interesting Gulls and finally was rewarded witht his second winter Caspian Gull

Then in the Marsch everything started very good as I immediately found a new bird for the area and one i hadn't seen since a few month: A Kingfisher.
Unfortunately the pics turned out horrible, as the bird was quite far away.

As I had to notice the bird station was closed today and I had to bird outside but this turned out to be great.
I soon found 2 Bearded Reedlings in the reed, were also 6 Reed buntings were feeding.
I saw as almost always in Wedel a White-tailed Eagle, that was hunting and a Greater Black-backed Gull harrassing it a bit.

I saw my lifer Water Pipit and a newbie for the area a Great Grey Shrike.
A Peregrine chased up all the Barnacle Geese and then the third lifer flew over me, a calling Tundra Swan!
Oh yes I also saw a beautiful fox, which was new tot he area aswell!
So I ended this year 2011 with a total of 250 bird species seen, 210 of those in Germany. I'm pretty happy about that, especially because almost none of them was twitched, but most were found by me.
Highlights of this year were for sure Red-breasted Goose, Ring-billed Gull, Cattle Egret and Pectoral Sandpiper in terms of rarity but also breeding Eagle-Owl, White-breasted Dipper in Hamburg, the Penduline Tit and the 65 Honey-Buzzards on one day and just every single lifer!