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Michael´s Third Year


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This will be a relaxed Big Year for me - I don´t have any specific goals, number-, quality- or species-wise, and with my travel plans I don´t expect to come close to my numbers from the last two efforts. But I fully expect to have fun again, being out chasing birds and being excited about finding some nice feathered friends. I´m starting with one of our most common ones, as @TonyQ once put it, for a very long time this was the only Duck I knew.


1/E1.) Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) / Stockente


All from Chiemsee, 14/2/2018






First time I´ve seen them mating - quite a tricky act in the water, especially for her!






Mallards often cross-breed, this must be the product of a liaison with a Duck:





Edited by michael-ibk
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2/E2.) Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea) / Birkenzeisig


Gaisau, Tirol, 3/2/2018. Not a bird I see very often (I had none in my BY2017). This year they´ve been around in big numbers in the East of Austria and got some birders excited - there were some Northern specimen among them and even a few Arctic Redpolls - first record for Austria. Here in the Alps we only get the subspecies "cabaret". This one was very confiding and let me approach extremely closely - unfortunately the weather was not very favourable.






Not an upside down picture - this was the bird´s posture.



Edited by michael-ibk
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3/E3.) Long-Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) / Schwanzmeise


Gaisau, 12/2/2017. Very cute little Tits.





Edited by michael-ibk
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4/E4.) Red Kite (Milvus milvus) / Rotmilan


Münster, 14/2/2017. A very rare bird of prey. Fortunately, with the third BY running, I now know where to find it - at a motorway restplace! The nearby compost works attract a great number of Gulls, Crows and Ravens - and quite often also Kites.





Edited by michael-ibk
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5/E5.) Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) / Blaumeise


A favourite of mine. Frequent guests at the feeders but I try to avoid "balcony shots" this year - natural surroundings are more pleasing.


Gaisau, 3/2/2018






Chiemsee, 14/2/2018




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6/E6.) Great Tit (Parus major) / Kohlmeise


And Big Brother - Austria´s most common bird - in winter at least.


Gaisau, 17/2/2018







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Dave Williams

Good to see you have kicked off at last Michael!

Red Kites are fairly common in Wales having been successfully reintroduced a good few years back. You see them in Southern England particularly flying over the M40 motorway looking for road kill.

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7/E7.) Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) / Feldsperling


Gaisau, 17/2/2018. They used to be common guests at the feeders but not this year - don´t know why they don´t care for our food anymore.



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8/E8.) Water Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) / Wasseramsel


Gaisau, 17/2/2018. Very cool birds who seem to be able to run underwater - though the biologists say that´s not really true. Breeding season is already on for these, hope to see some results later in the year.







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9/E9.) Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) / Reiherente


Chiemsee, 18/2/2018. Around in huge numbers in winter especially but also a reasonably common breeding duck in Austria.




As so many putative "black" birds full or surprising colours:





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10/E10.) Common Coot (Fulica atra) / Blässhuhn


Chiemsee, 14/2/2018. Probably nobody´s favourite water fowl - poor unloved Coot!



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Good to see you off to a good start Michael.

Some nice 'Banker' photos there. Long-tailed Tits come high up my list of favourites.

As you say "black" is rarely truly black. Even the non favorite Coot is shot with colour in the right light.

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Might not be the same quantity as before, but for sure it will be the same quality ... if not even better, judging by these photos! 

Tufted Duck is so hard to nail the exposure, yours showing the different colours are exceptional. And the Dipper ...


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@michael-ibk, easing in gently with some some pretty little local Birds and a very handsome Red Kite IF.

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Magnificent start Michael!

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Thanks, @lmSA84, @Dave Williams, @Galana, @xelas, @TonyQ, @Peter Connan and @elefromoz!


11/E11.) Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) / Amsel


One of our classic garden birds.


A male from Chiemsee, 14/2/2018.




And a female from Kalterer See, Italy, 24/2/2018. We successfully escaped the Siberian Cold here in Austria (- 20 ° degrees at night, a good thing I´m off to Africa in a few days) by going just 100 km to the South yesterday.



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12/E12.) Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocops major) / Buntspecht


Our default Woodpecker in Austria, and one which you can expect to find quite easily in the right places. We have some very similar-looking - and much rarer - species (Little Spotted, Syrian, Middle Spotted and White-Backed), the closed cheek-bar always tells it´s the common woodpecker.


Gaisau, 14/1/2018. A female - no red patch on the nape.




And a male - Gaisau, 17/2/2018




Another male, Gaisau, 11/2/2018



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13/E13.) Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) / Waldbaumläufer

14/E14.) Short-Toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla) / Gartenbaumläufer


Two extremely similar species really difficult to tell apart. In the area where I´ve taken the photos Short-Toed is more common and I´ve learnt to ID it by song. Eurasian is normally more of a pine forest bird and was a bit of a more unusual finding here, but one of Austria´s premier birding guides confirmed it´s one (on FB). Tricky birds!


First the Short-Toed, Gaisau, 19/2/2018






And Eurasian, Gaisau, 11/2/2018










So what are the differences? The lower belly of a Eurasian is a bit whiter, the supercilium a bit more pronounced, the hindclaw a bit longer, the bill marginally shorter, there´s a subtle difference in the wing pattern (black and buff steps more even with Short-Toed), and Short-Toed has slightly more white in the outer primaries.


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15/E15.) Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) / Haubentaucher


Kalterer See, 24/2/2018. One of my favourite water birds. They are already getting in the mood.







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16/E16.) Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) / Kleiber


Gaisau, 12/2/2018. The German name refers to the fact that Nuthatches plaster their entrance holes with mud and other materials.



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17/E17.) Black-Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) / Lachmöwe


Chiemsee, 14/2/2018. A two-year gull, so not too many plumages to give aspiring birders a headache. Adult birds have redder bills and legs, first winter birds have more orange/yellow colours, and more contrast in their wings. The black mask only develops later in the year.











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18.) Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) / Tafelente


Chiemsee, 14/2/2018. One of our more common ducks.




Here with a Tufted Duck entourage.




And the females:



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19/E19.) Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta) / Bergpieper


Chiemsee, 14/2/2018. A very familiar bird from high up in the Alps in summer - they are everywhere then (but very tricky to get close to). In winter they vacate the mountains and fly down to lakes and rivers. In nuptial plumage the males have a somewhat rosy look.



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