Birds / Ornithology /

Birdwatching

Bird photography


From watching birds to taking shots of them.

Great Crested Grebe

Great crested grebe
Great crested grebe wildlife
Great crested grebe wildlife

Little grebe

Little grebe
Little grebe
Little grebe
Gannet in flight
Gannet in flight
Gannet in flight
Greylag geese in flight

Osprey hunting over a lake

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Austernfischer Haematopus ostralegus

Oystercatcher with chicks

Profile: Sanderling

Sanderling

The Sanderling, species Calidris alba, is a small wading bird and belongs to the Order Charadriiformes. The most essential behaviour shown by the Sanderling is erratically running up an down the beach while feeding, the bird is extremely active. On the beach the bird races after the retreating waves and races back to the wet sand. This behaviour is also shown in the Wadden Sea during low tide when the bird races to and fro between puddles. During feeding it can happen that the Sanderling gets as close as 20 cm to people standing quietly  on the beach.

Length: 18-20 cm
Size: Similar to the Dunlin though plumper
Breeding: In the High Arctic areas of North America, Europe and Asia, thereby covering a substantial part of the Palaearctic
Behaviour: generic racing along the retreating waves on the beach and running back to the wet sand, erratic behaviour, very fast. Systematic picking with the beak in the sand.

Bird Photography / Animal Photography

This section is all about bird photography and animal photography respectively. Here you will find a number pics for every species listed in this section. Pics will be added over the time. Also Information on all species will be added and extended over time.

About Techniques

For my bird photography I only use DSLR cameras and the respective lenses. First of all I work with Canon cameras and lenses. Admittedly, there are two Sigma lenses.

Tripod

When using super tele lenses you definitely need a tripod capable of carriying a substantial weight. The weight you need to put on the tripod consists of the tripod head, the super tele lens, the DSLR and maybe even your Flash with fastening equipment (Flash photography is a Special chapter in bird photography). Having said that, the Minimum bearing load for your tripod should be at least three times the intended load.

The work angle of the tripod legs should be at least 80 Degrees, if possible look for material that allows 90 Degrees. Considering all of the above, the tripod required could be made of Aluminium or carbon fibre. Forget the idea of buying something cheap because the cheap material will never live up to expectations and you will have to invest again, paying up more than would have been necessary. 

The Head

There are several types of tripod heads available such as ball heads, 2-way heads, 3-way heads, Video heads and fluid gimbal heads. Different photographic subjects required different heads. So, why not using ball or 2-way heads. Because the ball head cannot be fastened to keep the weight of the equipment at all, the 2-way head can possibly be fastened well enough, though because the weight of the super tele lenses, the head will either tilt backwards of forwards, meaning you will end up having difficulty with your AF focus.
So it will be the fluid gimbal head, which gives the best operative options available. 

Where are the Common Snipe and how many are there? Can you find them?

Common snipe Gallinago gallinago

The Basics of Birdwatching

Like many things in life, either you like it or you don't. As simple as that. Some start birdwatching very early in life others come to it at various stages in their life. When you go out birdwatching you will find it calms you down. In our hectic times this is very good news for stressed people. However, you are also urged to start looking at things from nature's point of view.
What equipment is necessary?
Of course you will need a field guide. I believe that Collins Bird Guide by Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström and Peter J. Grant,  is still a very good field guide to take out.
For German readers I recommend "Der Kosmos Vogelfuehrer", Author Lars Svensson. Both books have brilliant drawings of all species, also maps show regular breeding, wintering or migration. Both books are still pocket size and have extensive information for field recognition of birds.
A good pair of binoculars is required with magnification 8 X 56 for use even in twilight; also possible is a glass with magnification 10 X 42. What suits you and your eyes best, please find out for yourself.
As for clothing, you should not go out wearing strong Colours such as yellow or red. Outdoor clothing is fully suitable and the cloth should not make a rustling noise. 

Have you got it all? Then start birdwatching. Look at the above pic. Where are they? There are three common snipes hidden in the gras. They do their best to hide them from us human. With patience you can spot them anyway. 

The rest is going out and look what there is to see for you. Make notes, maybe mark maps with your findings. It makes sense to join a club. In the UK the first choice is the RSPC in Germany it would the Nabu or Naturschutzbund. 

Blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus

The Wadden Sea

Lighthouse Heversand

The Wadden Sea is situated in the coastal region of the North Sea and lies between Skallingen in Denmark to Den Helder in The Netherlands. In between are the Dutch islands of Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland, Schiermonnikoog and Rottumerplaat.
On the German side there are the Frisian islands of Borkum, Memmert, and Juist; the East Frisian islands of Norderney, Baltrum, Langeoog, Spiekeroog and Wangerooge. At the German coastal area of Schleswig-Holstein there are Koogs and Halligs and the North Frisian islands of Pellworm, Amrun, Föhr and Sylt.
The Danish part of the North Frisian islands are Fanö, Mandö and Röm.

Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea makes up the direct coastal area between Den Helder in The Netherlands and the Danish Skallingen. Because of the are being part of the coastal line the region is affected by the tidal system which floods the area twice a day with the high tide and also twice a day the low tide let the ocean withdraw up to 40 km from the coastline.

The entire area of the Wadden Sea is said to cover about 9000 km², the coastal length is about 450 km.
Through tidal creeks or tidal trenches water comes in with high tide and also recedes during low water.

The Wadden Sea is no more than the direct sea bed. This sea bed is habitat for birds, fishes, shells, worms, insects and specialised plants

Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea is directly connected to the river estuaries of Ijssel / Ijsselmeer, Ems, Elbe and Eider (near the German town of Tönning). There are a number of smaller rivers also entering into the North Sea / Wadden Sea.

The Wadden Sea is also one of the largest coherant wetlands. It is the largest wetland in Europe and only second to the Amazon Delta. A specific feature of the Wadden Sea are the so-called salt marshes or saltmarsh or tidal marsh, which is basically wetland between the coastal intertidal zone and the land. Saltmarshes are flooded regularly by the tides. On tidal marshes only specialised plants can grow and survive because of their salt-tolerance. The usual plants are herbs, low shrubs and mostly grasses.

The Wadden Sea is the stepping stone for birds during migration in spring and autumn. Also, it is a famous wintering site for birds.

Waders, ducks and geese use the Wadden Sea for migration stopover or as a wintering site. During that time there are thousands of them at one spot at a time. The birds are very shy but can be watched over a certain distance without disrupting the animals. 

Bird Species in the Wadden Sea

Waders

  •  Dunlin
  • Oystercatcher
  • Curlew
  • Golden Plover
  • Red Knot
  • Northern Lapwing
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Whimbrel
  • Common Redshank
  • Pied Avocet
  • Sanderling
  • Common Ringed Plover
  • Kentish Plover

Gulls, Terns and Skuas

  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • European Herring Gull
  • Mew Gull
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Black-legged Kittiwake
  • Common Tern
  • Little Tern
  • Great Skua

Ducks and Geese

  • Common Shelduck
  • Common Eider
  • Mallard
  • Common Scotter
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Greylag Goose
  • Barnacle Goose
  • Brant Goose

Barnacle Goose feeding on a field behind the dunes

Barnacle Goose

Other Species in the Wadden Sea

  • Norther Fulmar
  • Cormorant
  • Horned Lark
  • Eurasian Skylark
  • Snow Bunting
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • White-tailed Eagle