tirsdag den 7. marts 2017

Cat somewhat similar til Wildcat in Białowieża



During a spotlighting session in the Białowieża Forest on March 3, 2017, we found a cat with phenotypic characteristics similar to European Wildcat Felis silvestris, at least somewhat similar to individuals seen in northeast France earlier.

According to IUCN, the Polish wildcat population forms a continuum with Slovakian and Ukrainian populations and the current Carpathian population, mainly found along the borders with Slovakia and Ukraine, constitute the current northernmost distribution in Poland. Wildcat used to have a population in Białowieża, but is believed to have gone extinct.

We acknowledge that domestic cats may appear very similar to Wildcats and we are not claiming that we have seen a European wildcat in Białowieża. Nevertheless, we found our sighting sufficiently interesting and decided to distribute the photos so that other mammal watchers can have it in their mind when visiting the area. We will see what the future brings. Recolonization has already occurred in Belgium, Czech Republic and Slovakia, France, Germany, and Switzerland.

Please feel free to comment on the subject or the photos.


The tail was bushy with clearly divided black rings around the tail (the tip of the tail being completely black).

søndag den 13. november 2016

Possible Siberian Accentor (Prunella montanella), 13.11.2016, Glatved Beach, Norddjurs, Denmark

Today was my second day searching for Siberian Accentor at Glatved Beach on Djursland. The habitat is indeed very similar to other places in Scandinavia from where sightings have been reported during this massive influx. After one hour of using playback of Siberian Accentor call, there was a bird responding with the right tone to its call. There had been several Dunnocks responding to the playback, but this one was different. I immediately stopped using playback and began recording instead (two of the best recordings are available here and further down).

The bird was calling from within dense bushes and was not visible. After several minutes of waiting without anything happening I used playback once again. This made a bird fly from the busk from where the putative Siberian Accentor call was heard; the flying bird was less than twenty meters away and looked like a Siberian Accentor with obvious black mask and broad yellow eyebrow and yellowish underside. However, even though it was seen in bright sunlight it was only seen very briefly and without binoculars. When it dropped down it was immediately gone as it went streight into another very dense bush.

I waited from almost half an hour without it showing itself again. Then I went closer and eventually ended up standing few meters from where the bird had dropped into the bush. I suddenly flushed a bird which went out on the other side of the bush and flew further away into an even much larger thicket. In this second sighting I only managed to see that it was a Donnock-type with a streaked reddish-brown back. Unfortunately it was not seen or heard again even though I waited until after sunset.

As the two sightings were only very brief, the only documentation that I have is the two recordings below. However, I am not sure that a positive ID can be made based on sound recordings alone. I will search for the bird tomorrow as I hope to be able to document the record with photos.

The best recording of the call are these two: XC342620 and XC342622.

lørdag den 5. november 2016

Eastern Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros phoenicuroides) on Djursland

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016.

On 5 November 2016, a first-winter male Eastern Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros phoenicuroides was observed at Boennerup Harbour, Jutland, Denmark. It was actively feeding on and along the granite blocks bordering the harbour. It has turned out that it had already been present and photographed (photo unfortunately deleted) on 25 October when it was considered to be a late Common Redstart P. phoenicurus by the finder and local bird photographer John Mortensen who also managed to relocated the bird yesterday on 4 November. After the first photos were published on Facebook, it was re-identified as an Eastern Black Redstart.

Eastern Black Redstart is a long distance migrant from its central Asian breeding grounds to wintering areas in central India west to northeast Africa. Its breeding and wintering distribution is comparable to species that occur regularly in northwest Europe, including Desert Wheatear and Isabelline Shrike (Slack 2009).

When encountering an Eastern Black Redstart the possibility of a hybrid needs to be ruled out. The best way to assess if the bird is a hybrid is to take a look at the wing formula. Steijn (2005) proposed differences based upon the emarginations on p3-6 for phoenicuroides and a ratio for spacing between p5-6 and p6-7. The set of photos below provides a good indication that the bird in question is not a hybrid

There is an interesting paper on the taxonomy of Black Redstarts by Ertan (2006) which concluded that Eastern Black Redstart, phoenicuroides (and rufiventris) were the most divergent subspecies in the Black Redstart complex, and that they appear to be more closely related to Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni than Western Black Redstart gibraltariensis (and aterrimus) and as such may warrant full species status. Steijn (2005) also suggested there might be merit in treating phoenicuroides (and rufiventris) as a separate species. This is also reported in Slack (2009).

In summary, this very smart, distinctive bird represents potentially the first record of Eastern Black Redstart in Denmark.

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016.

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016.

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016.

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016.

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016.

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016.

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016. The wing formula looks spot on for (Eastern) Black Redstart. Some hybrids Redstart X Black Redstart have wing formula closer to Common Redstart.

1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Boennerup Harbour, Djursland, Denmark, 05.11.2016. The Eastern Black Redstart can be aged as a 1cy bird due to the pattern on the outer tail feather which has a dark patch on the outer webm a pattern which lacks in adult plumage, and due to the colour of the feather shaft tip which is black in a larger extent than in adult males.

As seen in the photos the lower belly is cream/whitish, a character shared with hybrids Redstart X Black Redstart which have quiet extensive white here - male Common Redstart character. However on checking the character on live DNA-tested birds, it seems normal for young male phoenicuroides to have a white patch between the legs.


1st winter male Common Redstart, Vesteroe Harbour, Laesoe, Denmark, December 2014. It is shown her for comparison with the Eastern Black Redstart. Note the differences in wing formula where there is no emargination on p6 and were the spacing ratio p5-6:p6-7 = 1:1 in the Common Redstart.

fredag den 21. oktober 2016

Sortstrubet Bynkefugl, 21.10.2016, Anholt

blev fundet i regnvejr og hård vind, så den var meget svær at arbejde med. Virkede langvinget i felten, og muligheden for en mørk stejnegeri gjorde, at vi brugte ekstra tid på den.


mandag den 19. september 2016

Storpiber, 17.9.2016, Feldballe, Djursland

Lørdag morgen var en god morgen. Vinden var svag fra øst og tiltagende i styrke igennem dagen. Hele formiddagen lå skyerne forhold tæt og lavt, så de trækkende småfugle kom forholdsvis lavt ind over området og kunne således høres i modsætning til på højtryksdage, hvor de ofte kommer så højt, at deres kald ikke kan høres, men fugle blot ses mod himlen.

Vi har oplevet det så mange gange før, at fuglene følger kanten af plantagen øst for Feldballe, når østenvinden presser dem væk fra kysten. Allerede i det tidligste morgenlys hørtes trækkende Jenspurve og Sangdrosler, og igennem det meste af dagen kom der trækkende fugle. Dagen gik derfor med at flette kratlusk og trækobs ind i imellem diverse byggeopgaver på grunden.

Klokken 09.47 stod jeg i genboens have med kamera over skylderen og kikkert i hånden, da jeg hørte en Storpiber kalde. Det blæste endnu ikke ret meget, så kaldet gik rent igennem. Da fuglen sekundet efter kom henover et læhegn, så jeg fuglen komme trækkende ret lavt i dybt bølgende flugt. Igennem håndkikkerten kunne jeg bekræfte, at det var en stor piber. Herefter greb jeg efter kameraet og inden jeg nåede få det slået over på videofunktion og fik begyndt at optage, kaldte den ydereligere to gange. De næste par sekunder kaldte den ikke, så jeg slog video fra og begyndte i stedet at tage nogle billeder for at have en eller anden form for dokumentation. Den fortsatte på ruten lavt henover Friland, hvor den kaldte endnu en gang imens jeg tog billeder. Da den nåede ud over den høstede mark syd for Friland, slog den om (det ene billede, hvor den tipper til siden med strakte vinger) og det så ud til at den tabte højde. Desværre forsvandt den ned bag et træ og jeg kunne ikke afgøre om den gik ned på marken eller fortsatte. Jeg satsede på det første og gik straks derover med hunden i håb om at kunne få den på vingerne og få en optagelse af kaldet, men den var tilsyneladende ikke gået ned eller så var den hurtigt trukket videre, for den kunne ikke trædes op.

Da piberen var tættest på og jeg stod med kameraets videofunktion slået til var den omkring 15-20 meter oppe og blot 25-30 meter væk. I flugten var det en stor piber med lange vinger, fyldig og front-heavy krop og pukkel fortil på ryggen. Flugten foregik i lange og dybe bølgende buer som en vipstjert. Imellem vingeslagene blev det til 4-5 billeder med vingerne pakket ind til kroppen, hvilket svarer til godt et sekund og det underbygger således den langsomme og dybt bølgende flugt.

Igennem dagen blev det til følgende trækfugle: Lærkefalk 2, Tårnfalk 7, Spurvehøg 2, Rød Glente 2, Hvid Vipstjert 17, Bjergvipstjert 7, Engpiber 210, Skovpiber 4, Storpiber 1, Landsvale 145, Bogfinke 480, Grønsisken 55, Rørspurv 4.

Til sammenligning har jeg indsat en serie flugtbilleder af en rastende Storpiber jeg fandt ved Syrsig på Læsø den 10. oktober 2010. Ligeledes kan billeder af flyvende Storpiber ses her: RømøSkagen og birds-in-flight.


Her er billeder i deres højeste opløsning