torsdag den 29. december 2011

Ivory Gulls 2008

In May/June 2008 I got the chance to participate in aerial surveys in North-eastern Greenland. The main objective of the surveys was to find hot spot areas with birds or mammals. The surveys were conducted throughout the world's largest national park ranging from Scoresbysound in the south all the way to the northern most tip of Greenland. Highlights were plentiful with Narwhals, Polar Bears and lots of Ivory Gulls. The following pictures have all been taken at Station Nord at 81°36' North 16°40' West (making it the world's second most northerly lying constant settlement) where there is a breeding colony.

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

Station Nord June 2008

fredag den 23. december 2011

Spoon-billed Sandpiper 2011

As a christmas present we have uploaded a video of two out of the four Spoon-billed Sandpipers that we saw at Pak Thale, Thailand on the 9th of december. Birders wanting to see this species better start booking tickets to Thailand/China before it gets to late. It is truly one of the best birds around and by far the highlight of our recent tour to Thailand.


lørdag den 17. december 2011

The Dirty Dubai Tour (DDT)

Having planned a trip to Thailand to catch up with Spoon-billed Sandpiper before it gets to late Stephan found tickets with a one-day stopover in Dubai at a very reasonable price. UAE have some very good birds that are rarely found at other places. Crab Plover, Plain Leaf Warbler, Hume’s/Red-tailed/Variable Wheatears, Socotra Cormorant and Persian Shearwaters were the main targets.
We contacted Mr. Tommy "Ambitious" Petersen about the possibility to guide us for a single day. Tommy runs the great site Fortunate for us Tommy had the day off from his work as a pilot with Emirates. We arrived in Dubai at 2300 on the 29th of November. A room was booked at the nearby Holiday Inn in order for us to get a few hours of sleep. We tried to walk to the hotel and even though we could see it from outside the airport we ended up taking a shuttle bus. It took 10 minutes to drive to a hotel that is about 300 meters from the airport!
We got picked up by Tommy at 0550 at our hotel and we quickly left Dubai heading north with the sight of the Dubai Skyline including the impressive Burj Kahlifa. At Umm al-Qaiwain Breakwater we ticked the first of our target species Socotra Cormorant. Other good birds included Pallas Gull (3). At nearby Khor al-Beida Stephan got his Crab Plover (35) offering quite good views alongside loads of other waders while the drier areas had Desert Warbler and Daurian Shirke.

30/11 Crab Plover at Khor al-Beida. A total of at least 35 birds was seen at this site only 30 km from the Dubai City Centre. Notice the Orientalis Curlew in the background.

30/11 Asian Desert Warbler at Khor al-Beida. This little beauty followed a Desert Wheatear.

Wamm farms are located in the northeast corner of the UAE. It is one of the prime locations for rarities in the country. We found Red-tailed Wheatear (2), Variable Wheatear, Pin-tailed Snipe (2) and Masked Wagtail. A supporting cast of Long-billed Pipit (6), Richards Pipit (4), Tawny Pipit (6), Blyth’s Pipit (1), Citrine Wagtail, Eastern Black RedstartDuarian Shrike and Steppe Grey Shrike. A wintering White-throated Kingfisher (4th record for the UAE) made Tommy very happy as it made a short appearance (see Tommy's account).
30/11 Masked White Wagtail at Wamm Farms. A regular wintering site for this species/subspecies.

30/11 Variable Wheatear at Wamm Farms. Only one bird seen here. A scarce winter visitor to the UAE.

30/11 Redtailed Wheatear Wamm Farms. 2-3 birds seen here.

Masafi Wadi is a regular wintering site for Plain Leaf Warbler, a species that can be very tricky to connect with outside the UAE and Oman. We found one bird but more birds can be found if one spends more time there.

30/11 Desert Lesser Whitethroat in Masafi Wadi. Seen at many localtions. All birds giving a chattering call. 

30/11 Stephan with his head in the bushes documenting Plain Leaf Warbler.

30/11 Plain Leaf Warbler in Masafi Wadi. We walked the wadi until we found one bird and then turned around.

Fujairah Port Beach situated just north of Fujairah is a good place to sea watch. We quickly found a Persian Shearwater our main target here. A big flock of Socotra Cormorants was foraging quite close to the beach offering good scope views. As with many of the other localities more time could easily have been spend here. Good numbers of terns and gull passed continuously throughout our stay.

30/11 Persian Shearwater at Fujairah Port Beach. At least 20 birds were seen in 30 minutes.

30/11 Socotra Cormorant at Fujairah Port Beach. A big flock of at least 150 birds was foraging in the area. Notice the Bridled Tern flying right in the middle of the image.

30/11 Green Bee-eater. Commonly seen

Khor Kalba is an area of mangroves in the southeastern corner of the UAE right on the border with Oman. It is the only place in the world to see Arabian collared Kingfisher which is quite easy a high tide when they come out to forage. 10 minutes at the bridge to the area gave good views of at least three Green Turtles. Other good birds in the area were Sooty Gull (3), Steppe Grey Shrike and Daurian Shrike.

30/11 Arabian Collared Kingfisher Khor Kalba. The only site for this subspecies of Collared Kingfisher. We saw 3-4 birds out of a total population of 40 birds!

30/11 Steppe Grey Shrike at Khor Kalba. Two birds seen during the day.

Our tour of the UAE ended in Dubai International Airport at 1900. We connected with most of our target birds during a very busy day. A more relaxed visit to see Hypocolius and other good birds is definitely something for the future!! If you only have a restricted amount of time don't hesitate to contact Tommy!!


søndag den 13. november 2011

Rødhovedet And i Egå Engsø

Lokale HLL fandt lørdag d. 12/11 hele tre Rødhovedet Ænder i Egå Engsø. Efterhånden også lang tid siden, der har været noget ordentligt i kommunen. Det drejer sig om det første fund for Århus Kommune og måske de samme fugle som set i Østerild Fjord 9-10/11.

13/11 Rødhovedet And 2 hanner + 1 hun/1k Egå Engsø

fredag den 11. november 2011

Bonaparte's Gull, Hirtshals Harbor 10-11/11-2011.

This adult Bonaparte's Gull represents the 4th danish record and more amazingly the third from Hirtshals Harbor.

mandag den 7. november 2011

Lesser Whitethroat ssp? part two

The bird was refound at Grønningen on sunday the 6/11 by HKR and FSH. The bird was frequenting the same bushy area as on the day before. The bird was heard several times always giving the same chatter reminiscent of a mixture between Tit and Sardinian Warbler.
A permission from the Zoological Museum in Copenhagen to try and ting the bird was obtained and a net was placed between its two favourite bushes. Several birders were now on site all having succesfully twitched Denmarks third ever Black-eared Wheatear (second record of ssp. hispinica, a potential split from the eastern race melanoleuca) at Thorsminde first. The bird went missing for an hour before Martin Søgaard relocated it in its favourite bush. The two bushes were sourrounded and soon after a bird flew into the net, a Wren.... The disappointment was enormous. That only lasted for five seconds as the Lesser Whitethroat flew out of the bush and into the net. The bird was quickly secured and put in a bag. What seemed to be an impossible task had turned out just as we wanted it. The bird was taken to Blåvand Fuglestation for measurements and photos whereafter it was released at the same spot as where it was caught. A feather was taken for DNA-analysis. The following day the bird was still present in the same area (OA).
Please do comment on the bird
6/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Blåvand Fuglestation. The eye-color was a bit less dark than on the picture

6/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Blåvand Fuglestation
6/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Blåvand Fuglestation. A wing of 59 mm and hp2 = hp 8. I will try and get all the measurements from the ringers.

6/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Blåvand Fuglestation. Clear white outer tail feather with white also present on the second and maybe also the third tail feather. The extent of white on the second outermost tail feather maybe indicating ssp. halimondendri?

6/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Blåvand Fuglestation. The sandy brown back clearly extending into the "hood".

6/11 Henrik Kristensen at Blåvand Fuglestation

lørdag den 5. november 2011

Lesser Whitethroat ssp?? Grønningen, Blåvand.

This interesting Lesser Whitethroat was found by Henrik Kristensen on Grønningen near Blåvand in the afternoon on 5/11. It gave a very sandybrown overall impression. The bird was seen foraging on the ground several times and flicked its tail often when seen foraging in bushes.
The bird only called once with a rattling chatter. Six birders manage to see the bird before darkness.
Please do comment on the bird.

5/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Grønningen, Blåvand. Note small size, small bill, overall sandy color (wing giving the impression of an Desert Wheatear).

5/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Grønningen, Blåvand. Note short primary projection and sandy brown back extending onto the head

5/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Grønningen, Blåvand.

5/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Grønningen, Blåvand. Note short primary projection, small size and sandy brown back extending onto the head

5/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp?. Note small size, big head, short bill and "cute" face.

5/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp? Grønningen, Blåvand. Note small size, short primary projection, sandy-brown back and small size. When seen without the overall sandy color of the bird was very obvious.

5/11 Lesser Whitethroat ssp??, Grønningen, Blåvand.


fredag den 4. november 2011

Israel 7/3-13/3 2010

Left Neot Hakikar at 0530 to eat breakfast at little lake just south of the Dead Sea. The lake is situated one kilometre north of the Harava Junction on the eastern side of the road. Reedbeds surround the lake and these need to be scanned thoroughly in order to find Clamorous Reed Warbler and Dead Sea Sparrow. We found a big flock of Dead Sea Sparrows roosting in the south-western part of the reed beds. The birds flew out of the night roost at 0615-0630. Clamorous Reed Warbler sang during the entirety of our visit but we had to work hard to see one. The lake should also be a good place to spot spotted/little crake though we did not see any during our visit. A Ferruginous Duck was a nice find though.
Some big cliffs extending for kilometres along the south-western shores of the Dead Sea holds a large breeding colony of Pallid Swifts and we saw 1000’s of birds as we passed going north during the morning.
A small lake near Nehe Sowar (there is a gas station) should be a good place for Dead Sea Sparrow but we did not have time to check this.
En route to Wadi Mishmar we passed several small wadies and added Tristams Starling, Blackstart, Rock Swallow, Nubian Ibex and Dorcas Gazelle but do not use time here even though it might be hard. These species were all common later on.
Wadi Mishmar is probably the best and most unspoiled of the wadi’s south of Ein Gedi. Be sure to go the end of the dirt road to park the car next to a small fenced area. Fan-tailed Raven, Arabian Babbler, White-Crowned Black Wheatear, Cypress Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Bonelli’s Eagle, Scrub Wabler, Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Hyrax. Half of our group also saw Mountain Bunting. The Wadi should also be good for Sinai Rosefinch.
Ate lunch at the visitor centre at Ein Gedi which did not produce anything new. Did some shopping in the Kibbutz and headed southward. Near Masada we found two Pale Rock Sparrows.
In Shizaf Reserve we met up with Oded Kenyan. Shizaf Reserve has several breeding pairs of Arabian Warbler. On our way to the warblers Oded showed us a Spiny-tailed Lizard which was truly amazing. Unfortunately we could not locate any warbler maybe do to the fact that we arrived late in the afternoon. Remembering Odeds youtube-videos that he had send us while we were still in Denmark we quickly decided to give it a go again the next morning.
In the evening Oded gave us spotlighting trip around the Shizaf area. It was quite productive with Arabian Wolf (probably of the small desert subspecies), Cape Hare and Lesser Egyptian Jerboa 2 being the highlights. Spent the night at Harezeva

Fan-tailed Raven, Wadi Mishmar
Cypress Warbler, Wadi Mishmar
Blackstart, Wadi Mishmar
Tarucus rosaceus, Wadi Mishmar
Golden Spiny Mouse, Wadi Mishmar
Sand Partridge, Wadi Mishmar
Southern Grey Shrike, Shizaf Reserve
Near Masada we found two Pale Rock Sparrows.
Nubian Ibex
Rock Hyrax, Wadi Mishmar
Tristams Starling, Ein Gedi
Yellow-vented Bulbul, Ein Gedi
Just south of the Dead Sea
Arabian Wolf (probably of the small desert subspecies)
Dead Sea
Pallid Swift, Dead Sea
Together we will find everything!
Text RDN and photos SSL