Monday, October 31, 2011

more Helgoland

Some more images from a very nice visit. Saturday started good as I recieved the message by AT of a late Yellow-browed Warbler as I left the ship. Within a minute I watched it, but we soon lost it as it was moving quickly through Sudhafengelande. Belegfoto below;

It was clear that many birds had arrived, Robins and Goldcrest were everywhere! Especially the Goldcrest were very cooperative;

And amongst the Goldcrest were several Firecrests, this one showed well at Kringel;

4 Pallas's Warblers had been seen last days but today only one bird was seen, and it was not easy as it was cruising around Nordseehalle. I was just discussing with CB how nice it would be if the Pallas' would join the Goldcrests feeding in the small bush next to us as I saw a bright pale-yellow rump of a hovering bird. There it was!
It stayed only for a few seconds and managed to hide both the rump and crown on the picture, but what a great bird!

A Rough-legged Buzzard was stuck on the island and must have had a hard time finding prey and avoiding attacks from the local corvids.

And some more images from migrant Chiffchaff, Robin, Song Thrush and Blackcap;

In last light on saturday, CB found a Bluetail on Ostklippe. The bird showed well as it made small flights to catch insect. The last time we saw it was when a Sparrowhawk catched prey at the the same bush...

The Siberian Stonechat was still present at the beach. The "sit-down-and-wait" technique worked as it usually does with Wheatears;

On sunday afternoon if finally connected with the long-staying Sabines Gull on Kringel, what a beauty! (And compare the size to the Great-Black-backed...)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


A short but intense weekend visit; I cannot remember so much action in such a short period.
A fall of Robin, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff was accompanied by Pallas' Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Red-flanked Bluetail and a red-throated Red-breasted Flycatcher! Siberian Stonechat and Sabines Gull were the "left-overs" from last week. More images soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Entertaining migration today with a local record of Rough-legged Buzzard (8), 5 Red Kites, 4 Hen Harriers, Merlins, Peregrines and many Buzzards and Sparrowhawks.

A remarkable Common Buzzard might have had some Rough-legged genes; note the striking white tail with clear-cut dark tailband on upperside and pale upperwing-coverts;

And a very dark individual;

And some more impressions of the day;

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Birding Sein

Birding was extremely exciting although we did not see a single major rarity.
The well known potential of Sein and the fact that migrants were coming in from the sea during the whole day guaranteed action and boosted motivation.

On friday we saw 2 Balearic Shearwaters and many Gannets from the ferry. During the first days there were only few migrants around (Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat, a Reed Warbler and both Firecrest and Goldcrest). A Red-breasted Flycatcher, Wryneck and 2 Snow Buntings were the highlight.

And I did not even see the Flycatcher because we did not want to waist the precious morning birding time on twitching. Here we are waiting for it not to reappear because it had moved to the bushes behind the wall were Jan refound it later:-)

So we were enjoying the more common migrants; Robins and Dunnocks were everywhere, very nice to see them in this untypical habitat.

There were 100's of waders on the beach and although American Golden Plover, Buff-breasted and Pectoral Sandpiper were recorded last weeks we could not find any yank. Probably because we did not try hard enough to pull out that Semipalmated Plover, other priorities!

The beach is a great place in the afternoon, just like on Helgoland the kelp weeds attract many migrants and I spend several hours photographing Turnstones, Pipits, Wagtails and Wheatears in a colourfull setting.

My personal favorate was the Yellow Wagtail which showed it's subtile beauty often within few meters distance.
In fact, there were so many birds around that they had a small argument sometimes:-)
Some more Wrynecks turned up but shy as always, oneday I will meet that 1 in a 1000 tame one...
And then, on our last morning, things were looking really good. More migrants than previous days and action everywhere! The first surprise was a Corncrake walking over one of the paths near the lighthouse, of course found by Jan. It walked slowly into the vegetation and never showed again despite a thourough search:-) ;
I then noticed a Wryneck next to the small chapel. It flew into the single bush and as I lifted my binoculars I noticed another bird in the same bush; Barred Warbler! It showed very well for a few seconds before it flew towards the lighthouse where the other birders managed to connect with it. This is indeed a rare bird on the island and not recorded every year.
A Richard's Pipit flew over, landed next to the same chapel for a minute and disappeared into the sea.

A last check on our feeding station revealed that all Sein's House Sparrows had found the easy meal.
On monday afternoon it was time to leave the island. On our way back the GPS guided us the shortest way through Paris, which turned out te be through the centre along the Notre Dame! :-)

We will be back next year, Sein is magic!