Lapland 2020

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Another June, another field season in Ammarnäs: we continued our Dotterel and survey work in the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve as in previous years. Clouds were very, very, very rare this year.

Instead we had a crazy heat wave and rather mediterranean than arctic weather. Offering less suitable light for photography. For that reason we entirely switched our rhythm from day to night to grasp some nice light conditions and walk under more pleasant temperature conditions.

Finally, I took some time in the birch forest to photograph Bramblings. One of the most common species in Swedish Lapland, which I never really tried to photograph. During a survey in the primeval forest we surprisingly found a Greenish Warbler and on the way back we could not resist checking out a Bluetail territory. I´ve been dreaming to see a singing male in the breeding grounds for many years.

Most of the time however, we always spend above the treeline with wader surveys and our Dotterel project.

On one of the ridges in Dotterel land were at least two singing Horned Larks. A magic song in the silence of the arctic midsummer night.

We spend nearly every night with the Dotterels on the mountain ridges.

In the clear nights I finally managed to get some more backlit pictures I was waiting for.

In the early, early mornings mist came up in the valleys accompanied by the dawn chorus of Bluethroats, Longspurs and all the wader calls. The magic of Laponia.

Lapland 2019

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Vindelfjällen

For the fifth time I went to Swedish Lapland in June to spend another field work season in Vindelfjällen to continue the research on arctic breeding birds, particularly Dotterels.

Vindelfjällen

This year we have spent quite some time in the birch forest for surveys and photographing forest birds.

Bluethroat - Blaukehlchen

The season has started with very good rodent numbers leading to very high abundances and good breeding success of predators. Around Ammarnäs we have counted 13 broods of Hawk Owls!

Hawk Owl - Sperbereule

Another great surprise was a pair of Three-toed Woodpecker

Three-toed Woodpecker - Dreizehenspecht

During a Great Snipe survey we have managed to see one individual always returning to the same spot to sing.

But as always, we spent most of the time above the treeline in the tundra.

Photoghraphing Phalaropes is always a great pleasure:

Long-tailed Skua - Falkenraubmöwe

Up in the tundra most of the Long-tailed Skuas were finally breeding again, causing close encounters 😉

Switching our rhythm from day to night revealed very nice light conditions during suitable weather.

One night it suddenly cooled down and started to snow…

… with an Arctic Fox barking at us.

We have continued our Dotterel research in the high parts of the tundra and spent many magic, endless arctic nights up in Dotterel country.

The highlight was a displaying flock of four females fighting for a male in midnight sun right in front of us.

Dotterel - Mornellregenpfeifer

Dotterel - Mornellregenpfeifer

Morocco

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Desert near Amerzgane

Once again, in February Jan, Lukas and I went south, this year we chose Morocco to explore some vast desert areas and mountain ranges for nice North African birds, particularly desert birds. It has been a very nice and straightforward trip with very friendly people, many dreambirds, fantastic sceneries and magic moments in the silence of the desert. We flew to Agadir and took a rental car to explore the country on our own. We mainly found our own spots with all target species and were mostly all alone. A detailed birding trip report will follow soon.

Moussier´s Redstart - Diademrotschnwanz

We started the trip in Massa and the Souss Massa National Park, south of Agadir, which proved to be a good choice to get into the country. We spent a lot of time just outside our accomodation with the first target species, such as Moussier´s Redstart.

Moussier´s Redstart - Diademrotschnwanz

From Massa we went South to the Sahara Desert near Guelmim. For sure, one of the highlights of the trip!

Moonrise - Desert near Asrir

Dusk and dawn with the dawn chorus of Wheatears and Larks were particularly magic in the desert.

Luckily we had some overcast hours as well, where we could photgraph during the day.

We encountered far more Desert- and Red-rumped Wheatears than expected.

Wistfully we left the desert and continued our journey to the High Atlas Mountains via the Souss Valley with displaying Red-necked Nightjars at Dusk.

Crimson-winged Finch, Horned Lark and Rock Sparrow were the targets in Oukaimeden, a famous Ski-village in the Atlas Mountains. The birds were easy to find but hard to fotograph in appealing surroundings.

The desire to return to the desert grew and grew although implying that we had to cross the Atlas Mountains once again…

Desert near Amerzgane

Definately proved to be the right decision, we went towards Ouazarzate and spent most of the time in the desert near Amerzgane.

Desert near Amerzgane

Lofoten

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In July we continued our journey from Swedish Lappland to the Lofoten islands. Exploring the Scandinavian Arctic coast has always been an avid desire for me.

Kittiwakes were breeding almost everywhere.

Hiking in the dramatic mountainous landscape revealed some nice birds as well.

We had the great chance to visit the small uninhabitet island Storfjell, west from Røstlandet which holds the stronghold of the Lofoten´s puffin population.

Arctic and Great Skuas were present on Røstlandet as well.

 

 

Lapland 2018

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In June 2018 I had the chance to visit Swedish Lapland for fieldwork in different projects again working with Long-tailed Skuas and arctic wader species. More details about the projects can be found on our overthetreeline blog.

Unfortunately most of the Long-tailed Skuas abandoned their nests but gathered in big flocks.

We started a new colour-ringing project on the Dotterel this year, which allowed me to spend a lot of time in the higher tundra areas in Dotterel land.

Fuerteventura

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In February I went with Jan and Lukas to Fuerteventura to to see and photograph some (desert) birds while escaping the cold German winter for a while. A detailed birding trip can be found here. We expected good birding opportunities but did not expect good conditions for photography at all.

We spent most of the early mornings and when the light was suitable throughout the day with Passerines in the different Barrancos of the island, where most of the passerines were present and easy to find.

During one visit of the Barranco de Rio Cabras we encountered a nice group of Black-winged Stilts, which we decided to visit again.

The evenings were alsmost exclusively spent with desert birds in the Tindaya plains.

It was surpringsingly hard to find Stone Curlews although we heard them regularly.

Cream-coloured Courser was definately our target species for the trip.

Fuerteventura offered some nice Coast Scapes as well.

Winter im Wallis – Bartgeier am Gemmipass

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Im Februar war ich zusammen mit Jan, Joachim, Lukas, Ralph und Torsten am Gemmipass, um Bartgeier zu fotografieren. Neben den imposanten Bartgeiern ließen sich auch Kolkraben, Alpendohlen, Schneesperlinge und Alpenbraunellen auf zum Teil kürzeste Distanz fotografieren. Wir hatten unglaubliches Glück mit den Bedingungen: Mehrfach flogen Bartgeier sehr nah vorbei und Alpenbraunelle und Schneesperling liefen uns förmlich zwischen den Füßen rum. Auch das Licht spielte die mesite Zeit mit, sodass wir die zwei Tage praktisch durchfotografieren konnten.