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Michael´s Fourth Year


michael-ibk

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michael-ibk

Ok here we go! Very very sloooooooowly I might add - Winter has us firmly in its grip here in the Alps. Good for our skiing tourism industry, we have snow about six metres high up in the mountains but not so good for birding. Today was the first time of the New Year I´ve actually seen the sun. So, what to expect from this Big Year? Well, the same old Austrian suspects as every year, some stuff from Botswana and Gabon (if things don´t spiral out of control down there), and I do hope I will be able to return to a few other favourite spots in Europe. Let´s see. No numbers projections this time - I was absolutely wrong last year so I won´t even try.

 

1/E1.) Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus) / Erlenzeisig

 

Fulpmes and Gaisau, 12/1. A forest bird normally but the weather conditions drove them into Austria´s gardens in incredible numbers. Bird Life Austria asks everybody to count birds in the garden each January (about 20,000 people participate), and normally the Siskin is somewhere around Nr. 15. This time they came out Nr. 2 here in Tirol! Siskins are not shy but tiny and restless, and in the forest they tend to stay up higher so they are not always the easiest subjects.  Much more so today - the first three were taken lying on the living room floor. :)

 

 

Fulpmes_24_Erlenzeisig.JPG.f664e5eadc84fba0dbea5a59a0902fb2.JPG

 

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Gaisau_3_Erlenzeisig.JPG.e5c68c4d5af46d61b15c7891183d4c07.JPG

 

Fulpmes_19_Erlenzeisig.JPG

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-/G46.) African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris) / Afrikanischer Scherenschnabel   ASIB, but only a distant lousy sighting there. Gabon was far more generous, Skimmers seem to be doing well o

422/G52.) Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) / Riesenturako   Another magnificent rainforest species. A few seen flying over (like 1st picture, from Akaka) but all very shy and never p

424/G55.) Mozambique aka Square-Tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus natalensis) / Welwitschnachtschwalbe   Two sightings in Loango. I stumbled upon the bird photographed on the beach by accident. F

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Kitsafari

Great start! Quite interesting how weather plays a major part in influencing these tiny creatures’ movements.

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Starting and setting the quality bar once again so high, @michael-ibk ! It will be another display of excellent bird photos on your Big Year for which I am so looking forward to learn from.

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PeterHG

Impressive start of your BY, @michael-ibk ! Great Siskin photos and , like you say they are usually fairly high up in the trees and difficult to get a good shot of ( I'll show you a perfect example of that later on:P). Good plans, also, for this year, so beautiful things to come.

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Dave Williams

Good to see you off the mark Michael. You could post a nice snow scene for me, I'm envious although I guess you get fed up of it after a while. Here in North Wales we have had sun on only 2 days this year, the rest of the time it's very dull, grey and depressing. We don't have the cold at the moment although they are forecasting the temperatures will drop soon. It will be interesting to see how the seasons pan out this year. We have had  blossoms on trees that are still full of berries, our daffodils are going to open in to flower as soon as we get some sun. I'm wondering how the breeding season will be effected. My planned visit back to the Isle of May in Scotland is designed to coincide with the  Arctic Terns bringing food back to the nest but if it's anything like last year when the breeding cycle was weeks out from normality I might be disappointed.It's all part of the game though, if everything was predictable it wouldn't be as interesting would it!

 

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A great start in difficult conditions.

Keep warm!

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Great start! Good luck for the year! I will be fascinated to see what you find in Gabon

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Zim Girl

Great start. Lovely photos of the siskin, a bird I don't think I have ever seen.

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michael-ibk

Phew, the race has started, and I feel like the runner left at the starting line, trampled into the dust by all the others who are already many many leagues in the front. But - Unbowed, unbent, unbroken, I will get up and put up a fight to catch you all. Just give me time. Lots of time. :D

 

2/E2.) Blackbird (Turdus merula) / Amsel

 

Fulpmes, 12/1. Still ubiquitious and one of our most common birds. But declining, it has disappeared from one out of five gardens in the last four years. A new outbreak of the African "Usutus" virus is hitting them hard.

 

Fulpmes_2_Amsel.JPG.e408e1aad4ed4b74346db1c699d5bc74.JPG

 

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3/E3.) Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) / Blässhuhn

 

Chiemsee, 20/1. Finally we enjoyed some sun yesterday after a January of snow and snow and snow, and finally got an opportunity to do some birding. An extremely confiding species but not really much fun to photograph.

 

519510141_Chiemsee_76_Blsshuhn.JPG.819ea4e98ec52ac2636059089cbe6b03.JPG

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michael-ibk

4/E4.) Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) / Blaumeise

 

Chiemsee, 20/1. This, OTOH, is a firm favourite for birders visiting Europe, and for us locals as well of course. Definitely one of our prettiest species, and seeing them at our feeders always makes me smile.

 

Chiemsee_113.JPG.a58c1c63c3305c2a2f635c6211dea666.JPG

 

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Chiemsee_145_Blaumeise.JPG.44947efc9fba3fa0ab30a8919f8db22b.JPG

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5/E5.) Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla) / Gartenbaumläufer

 

Chiemsee, 20/1. Always very tricky to tell this species apart from the extremely similar Eurasian Treecreeper but the not very distinct supercilium, quite long bill, short hindclaw and the amount of brown on the belly and flanks (among other things) allows a positive ID.

 

1695946292_Chiemsee_8_Gartenbaumlufer.JPG.f084f4c84d7ac30e925f2c5d08a25d73.JPG

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6/E6.) House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) / Haussperling

 

Fulpmes, 19/1. A true conqueror which has made most of the planet its home. Their global populations is estimated at more than half a billion birds. Even so the classic Sparrow is rapidly disappearing from many areas of Western Europe especially.

 

Fulpmes_39_Haussperling.JPG.84183707b6f89f8a85ad672760ebd4e5.JPG

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7/E7.) Great Tit (Parus major) / Kohlmeise

 

Chiemsee, 20/1. I remember that I refused to believe my ears when I first heard the English name of this species. :)

 

Chiemsee_112_Kohlmeise.JPG.30e672f3583c50d246a199ce0f174561.JPG

 

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Chiemsee_120_Kohlmeise.JPG.249cf9a1f0b9df7e237503e469bc33a8.JPG

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8/E8.) Common Teal (Anas crecca) / Krickente

 

Chiemsee, 20/1. Seen at exactly the same place as last year, and again two females, so I guess these must be the same individuals. All the others are much shier at this location and tend to stay  quite far away. A pity, the males are much more striking.

 

Chiemsee_60_Krickente.JPG.ee15a0d5badf40a08d02dfc3f89fd47a.JPG

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9/E9.) Black-Headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) / Lachmöwe

 

Chiemsee, 20/1. Our most common Gull, found at all lakes of a certain size. Confusingly it´s "Lachmöwe" (Laughing Gull) in German, and the Mediterranean Gull is "Schwarzkopfmöwe" (Black-Headed Gull) in German. As you can see unfortunately sun was gone in the afternoon.

 

682372733_Chiemsee_166_Lachmwe.JPG.f0219c2582005620da9deea4b253ffd7.JPG

1115675261_Chiemsee_80_Lachmwe.JPG.231daf77c125ae07d44994d64b7021f8.JPG

234825811_Chiemsee_184_Lachmwe.JPG.ee88bd19f00b013232f365d7a6874d5e.JPG

 

 

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Dave Williams

Good stuff Michael, thanks for the Treecreeper info, very informative when you have a good picture alongside to see for yourself.

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michael-ibk

10/E10.) Mistle Thrush (Turdus miscivorus) / Misteldrossel

 

Chiemsee, 20/1. Our largest Thrush, and normally one of my bogey birds, they never allow a closer approach. Normally. This year one was just waiting for me, and put on his best "Hi Michael, my good old friend, long time no see, so happy to pose for you in the sun."

 

Chiemsee_163_Misteldrossel.JPG.a402a89aadf1641660245a5d68a094eb.JPG

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Great start Michael.

I am struggling with the Tree Creepers. They are very shy around here.

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PeterHG

That's the spirit @michael-ibk ! A really good set of photographs and some sun at last, the ball is rolling!

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Good to see you racing forwards.

We have had little sun so far, but we keep hoping!

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With your previous records, @michael-ibk, it is only fair to give us, mere mortals, a head start into the new season :D. But I know that these days will not last for long, so I will enjoy them more.

 

Your photos are again on the very top of the quality ladder. 

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Peter Connan

Beautiful birds, beautiful photos. 

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Zim Girl

Really good Treecreeper and Mistle Thrush, Michael.

Well. you've caught me up already:)

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Galana

Some lovely shots @michael-ibk and good to see you through  the starting gate. The Tree Creeper guide was very much needed for me on some of my trans Europe trips. 

I was amused by your reaction to Parus Major' 'English' name. I got the same feeling in Uganda with the Dusky Tit. Well most of them will be in Africa. Better stop right there!!

Even funnier when you know that the T word is often used in vernacular English as a term of friendly abuse to someone being silly or stupid.

As to the Gulls, as see we both need to talk to "The other Michael" @mvecht soon.

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