November Mood

Blässgänse / Greater white-fronted geese
Blässgänse / Greater white-fronted geese am St. Andräer Zicksee, Seewinkel

Europe's Rarest Tern

The harbour of Funchal on the island of Madeira (Portugal) is known to be a good place to see Roseate terns / Rosenseeschwalben (Sterna dougallii). This species is sometimes slightly boastfully dubbed "Europe's rarest seabird" (what about Zino's petrel?) but it surely takes the title of Europe's rarest tern.

During my time on the island, I saw 2-5 individuals (one pair with two chicks and one additional adult), whenever I visited the area between 2. and 9. August 2018. The Roseate terns usually gathered on wavebreakers in the eastern part of the harbour, together with up to 30 Common terns / Flussseeschwalben (Sterna hirundo). The adults spent much time fishing, while the two juveniles where waiting there to be fed, only sometimes flying short rounds in the harbour.

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Palomas verdes

I'm currently in Spain, where these "palomas verdes" - as a little boy referred to them - were abundant in some places. Escaped Monk parakeets / Mönchssittiche  (Myiopsitta monachus) have established big populations and mingle with the Feral pigeons in the cities. Check out how it uses its feet! Most parrots are zygodactyl, meaning that they have one reversed toe. Two point to the front, two to the back. This is i.e. also seen in many woodpeckers or owls. But bringing food to the bill with the feet is usually not seen in other birds than parrots.

Podersdorf, Seewinkel

White Storks / Weißstörche in Podersdorf

White Storks / Weißstörche (Ciconia ciconia) in Podersdorf | It's the most beautiful month of the year in the Seewinkel region (at least for many birdwatchers and wildlife photographers). Bird migration is in full swing and the White storks already occupied their nests.

Parrot crossbill / Kiefernkreuzschnabel collecting nesting material

A female Parrot crossbill / Kiefernkreuzschnabel (Loxia pytyopsittacus) collecting nesting material near Zeist, the Netherlands on 8 March 2018. Looking good for the second ever Dutch breeding record of this species native to Scandinavia and Russia. The nest's framework is made from dry twigs, grass is used as lining.

Season's Greetings

Wörthersee & Dobratsch
Wörthersee & Dobratsch, 21.12.2017

Frohe Weihnachten | Merry Christmas | Feliz Navidad

Alpendohle / Alpine Chough

Alpendohle / Alpine Chough
Alpendohle / Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus), Dachstein/Austria, 2017

Ocellated turkey detail

Ocellated turkey / Pfauentruthuhn
Ocellated turkey / Pfauentruthuhn (Meleagris ocellata) | Detail of the side of a male individual.
I've seen birders taking more than just one extra mile and a good effort to get a glimpse of the near threatened Ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata). At Chan Chich Lodge in Belize, this gem was the species I would see most often and at ridiculously close distance. As most megafauna species, the turkeys are being hunted in other places, hence being rare and shy. Hunting is banned in a vast area around the lodge, so many animals are very easy to see and not afraid of humans.

Watch this space

I just returned from a really fantastic trip to Guatemala to a winterly Austria, where I already spent my first day out birding in the cold of Central Europe. There's a lot of material to be edited from the trip - watch this space for more.

Mönchswaldsänger / Wilson's Warbler
Mönchswaldsänger / Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) | Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

Enjoy fall!

Singdrossel / Song Thrush
Singdrossel / Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) | Frauenkirchen, Oktober 2016

Reminder: Babies crossing

Überfahrenes Kiebitzküken / Overrun lapwing chick, Seewinkel, May 2016

Dieses traurige Bild hielt ich kürzlich im Seewinkel fest. Die Kiebitz-Mutter stand noch rufend neben dem frisch zerdrückten Küken auf der Straße, als ich mich der Szene näherte. Wie viele andere Paare brütete auch dieses in einem Acker. Zu Beginn der Brutsaison finden Kiebitze auf Ackerflächen oft gute Bedingungen vor und legen dort ihre Nester an. Das rasche Wachstum der Kulturen ändert die Qualität dieses Lebensraumes für die Kiebitze aber schnell. Sie finden in den dichten Pflanzenbeständen keine Nahrung und fühlen sich nicht wohl. An offene Habitate angepasst, verlassen die Vögel mit ihren frisch geschlüpften Jungtieren die Äcker, wo meist übergangslos Verkehrsflächen angrenzen.

Season's greetings

Landender Engel / Angel landing, Lachmöwe / Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) | Salzburg, December 2015