All Sanderlings?

•May 20, 2013 • 3 Comments

I appreciate your help on this one: are these all Sanderlings? Photos were taken from May 7th to 16th on Sanibel Island, Florida. You can click on them to enlarge.

I am neither sure of the white-ish nor the brown-reddish ones. Thanks for your help!


Black-bellied Plover in the background.





Life bird #477

•April 6, 2013 • 2 Comments

My world life bird #477 is also my Switzerland life bird #157, and already my 3rd new bird in Switzerland this year.

The new one looks a lot like a House Sparrow (not on the close look of course) and I’m somehow sure that I’ve seen it before but not noticed for what it is. It’s the Dunnock or the Hedge Accentor (prunella modularis; German: Heckenbraunelle)

It even posed for just enough time to get a decent photo:

Dunnock - Heckenbraunelle

First Black Kite of 2013

•March 31, 2013 • 1 Comment

That one sunny day ten days ago (yes, it has been snowing again since…) it was also the first day this year that I saw a Black Kite (milvus migrans – Schwarzmilan). The details of the head are a bit better in the enlarged photos.

Soaring above the Lake of Lucerne…

Black Kite

milvus migrans

attacking …

trying to get a fish…
Black Kite - milvus migrans

And a Jackdaw (Corvus monedula – Dohle) with a nice contrast of its eye and the orange feet of a male Mallard.Jackdaw - Dohle

The lonely Pintail

•March 24, 2013 • 4 Comments

For the first time this winter, to be exact since October 2012, there was a female Pintail sitting down town Lucerne with all the Mallards, Mute Swans, Black-headed Gulls, Coots etc. Down town is where the lake ends and the river starts and I pass every day when I go to work.
The female Pintail looks very similar to the female Mallard. But she is a bit smaller, has a slimmer beak and a hint of a pin tail. She was there almost every day, lately trying to flirt with one of the male Mallards – but it didn’t work out.

Last Friday was a beautiful sunny spring day and therefor I decided to bring my camera to take a photo of her. I have no nice photo of a female Pintail yet. She wasn’t there! Probably decided to spend that beautiful day somewhere else…
So here are some photos of the other ones hanging around.

20130322-10 Red-crested Pochard Mute Swan Coot Mallards

A cold and sunny winter’s day

•February 13, 2013 • 7 Comments

This Sunday was cold but sunny and this European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis – Distelfink / Stieglitz) was getting food at this natural bird feeder.

European Goldfinch


Early Courtship display

•February 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Those Great-crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus – Haubentaucher) were already showing off and displayed their very nice courtship. It was yesterday on January 31st and this is very early in the year.
It was early in the morning and I was happy catching it – even though it’s only an iPhone video.

My life bird #154

•November 25, 2012 • 4 Comments

My life bird #154 for Switzerland is the Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis; German: Wiesenpieper)

And indeed, it was sitting in the grass:

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit - Anthus pratensis - Wiesenpieper

This bird blends in so well – it’s very hard to see. I am certain I have seen it before thinking it was a House Sparrow…

Results of the National Waterfowl Count

•November 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The second weekend in Switzerland is National Waterfowl count. For the Swiss Bird Association “Vogelwarte” I’m doing this count for the third year along “my” stretch on Lake of Zurich.

This time the weather forecast wasn’t as sunny as the last two years, but at least it wasn’t raining. I shouldered almost 10kg of stuff (scope with tripod, binoculars, camera etc.) and marched 14 km in a bit more than 5 hours.

I only saw 22 species (I had 28 before) for the count and nothing really outstanding. As always the European Coot (Blässhuhn) got the first place with 918. The Tufted Duck (Reiherente) is usually among the first five, got second this year with 282. They outnumbered the Black Headed Gull (Lachmöwe), which normally take second, this year I counted 240 of them. And the Mallards (Stockente) took place four with 178.

Always great to see are the Eurasian Curlews (Grosser Brachvogel) only a small group this year, the Common Goldeneye (Schellente) and the ones on the photo. Can you guess what they are?

I did see another life bird as well, but one that doesn’t count for the Waterfowl Count, so I’ll tell you in my next post.



More Panama Birds from around Panama City

•October 28, 2012 • 3 Comments

It’s already more than half a year that we have been to Panama but I still haven’t posted all the birds we saw. While it’s snowing here in Switzerland today for the first time this season, I’m thinking back to warmer times…

Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearia – German: Kahnschnabel)

Streaked Saltator (Saltator striatipectus – German: Strichelsaltator)

Western Slaty-Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha – German: Westlicher Tropfenameisenwürger)

Carmiol’s Tanager (Chlorothraupis carmioli – German: Carmiol-Tangare)

And one of my favorite birds:
Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus – German: Fischertukan)

Two birds with uncertain ID – solved…

•October 14, 2012 • 4 Comments

update on October 19: Thanks to Liam over at I found the IDs (see bold names above photos) – thanks again!


I still have two (well actually more*) birds from Panama, where I’m not certain about the ID. Of those two I have photos where it should be possible to id them. Any help is appreciated!

This falcon is a Forest Falcon – it was chasing a Toucan on Pipeline Road. It just doesn’t match any in my field guide. Is it a Barred Forest Falcon? But where are the bars?
Collared Forest Falcon – Micrastur semitorquatus

And this one looks like a Brown Jay – but there seems to be no Brown Jays in Panama City, where the photo was taken; Amador, close to the canal to be exact.
Tropical Mockingbird – Mimus gilvus

Alpine meadow and a life bird

•August 12, 2012 • 4 Comments

A two hour train ride, a two hour hike a and up we were on an Alpine meadow 1700 meters above sea level (~5600 feet).

I had a great time looking for the bugs in the grass … Hover the mouse over the photo to see the names and click to enlarge.
Many Grasshoppers:

A tiny bee on a heart-shaped flower:

A – what I call – techno bug (but really is a shield bug nymph) :

This beautiful caterpillar of a Spurge Hawk-moth (Hyles euphorbiae – Wolfsmilchschwärmer)

And my life bird of the day was a Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis – Habicht). I might have seen one before, but was never able to identify one. Here it is… far away.. but still 🙂

Waterbirds along the Lake

•August 1, 2012 • 2 Comments

My morning walk along the Lake of the four cantons (Vierwaldstättersee) in Lucerne, Switzerland was great. I was able to take some nice portraits and saw a lot of juvenile birds.

Enjoying the morning sun:

A Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus – Lachmöwe)

A Common Coot (Fulica atra – Blässhuhn)

A resting Mute Swan (Cygnus olor – Höckerschwan)

And the parents feeding their off-springs:

An Eurasian Reed or Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus sp. – Teich- oder Sumpfrohrsänger)

A bunch of juvenile Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos – Stockente) not totally ready for the day yet:

Two stages of the Common Coot. In the second photo you can see that the shield has already developed.

And a female Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina – Kolbenente) with her little one – at most some days old:

Black birds in Panama

•July 6, 2012 • 4 Comments

For today’s look at birds from Panama I decided to show you some black ones, even though the females of the species are brown.

Here is a portrait of the Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus -Rabengeier)

They were everywhere, cleaning up

The Great-Tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus – Dohlengrackel) were abundant, too. The female is brown…

… and the male is black and shiny. (Click to enlarge – the photo is better big.)

We also saw to kinds of Cowbirds.

Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis – Seidenkuhstärling) – female

Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus – Rotaugenkuhstärling) – male

Birds of Prey in Panama

•July 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Besides the Black and Turkey Vultures I wasn’t able to take many or good photos of birds of prey. The day we went up on Ancon Hill in Panama City they were counting raptors who were migrating (Ancon Hill Spring Hawk Watch).

So one of the observers told me, that I was just photographing a “shorty” and looking at the photo at home, I think I “found” a Swainson’s Hawk. Please tell me, if I’m wrong – if you can tell by this not so perfect photos…

Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus – Kurzschwanzbussard)

Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni – Präriebussard)

One that wasn’t migrating but fleeing before I could take a decent photo was the

Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima – Gelbkopfkarakara)

Shorebirds in Panama

•June 30, 2012 • 3 Comments

The Whimbrel and the Spotted Sandpiper where life birds for me in this set of shorebirds. We’ve seen them all on the shores of Panama City. You can click on the photos to enlarge.

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus – Regenbrachvogel)

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia – Drosseluferläufer)

Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus – Schlammtreter)

Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla – Aztekenmöwe) – mostly juveniles

Pipeline Road – birding in Panama

•June 3, 2012 • 16 Comments

On March 17 we had a great day birding on Pipeline Road, near the Panama Canal. One of the great birding locations in Panama. Our guide Jacobo Ortega was amazing. He called the birds so we could see them – no, not with taped songs, but by whistling.

On this half-day tour we were able to see at least 30 bird species and even Howler Monkeys, Anteater, Sloths, some reptiles and insects.

I am not used to take photos in the Jungle, so some of the photos are a little dark, but you can still click on them to enlarge. 🙂

Spotted Antbird (Hylophylax naevioides) – Rotmantel-Ameisenwächter

Forest Falcon (after he was chasing a Keel-billed Toucan) – but I’m still not sure, if this is a Barred Forest Falcon

Dot-winged Antwren (Microrhopias quixensis) – Tropfenflügel Ameisenfänger, male

and female:

Purple-throated Fruitcrow (Querula purpurata) – Purpurbrustkotinga

Scarlet-rumped Cacique (Cacicus uropygialis) – Scharlachbürzelkassike

The nest of the Cacique:

Rufescent Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum) – Marmorreiher

Great Jacamar (Jacamerops aureus) – Riesenglanzvogel

Black-striped Woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus lachrymosus) – Schwarzrückenbaumsteiger

Chestnut-backed Antbird (Myrmeciza exsul) – Braunrücken Ameisenvogel

White-necked Puffbird (Notharchus macrorhynchos) – Weisshals-Faulvogel

The photos of the other birds we saw at Pipeline Road can be found on the past posts:
Red-lored Parrot, Squirrel Cuckoo > see Cuckoos and Parrots
Black-Throated Trogon, Black-tailed Trogon, White-tailed Trogon, Rufous Motmot > see Trogons and Motmots
Crimson-crested Woodpecker > see Woodpeckers
White-necked Jacobin > see Hummingbirds

And more birds from our trip to Panama:

For more great Birding Blogs visit World Bird Wednesday

At the pond

•May 27, 2012 • 2 Comments

Nature and diversity at its best! Please make a comment if I’m wrong with a name.

A Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus – Gemeiner Bläuling):

Broad-bodies Chaser (Libellula depressa – Plattbauch):

Northern Damselflies or Spearhead Bluet (Coenagrion hastulatum – Speer-Azurjungfer):

Common Water Frog (Pelophylax esculentus – Teichfrosch) If you look up the latin name in wikipedia they give the main name as “edible frog” – how horrible is that…

Unidentified dragonfly:

And to our surprise a Leeche (Blutegel) – surprise, because we have never seen one before.

Blue Tits – hard work for fluff balls

•May 23, 2012 • 6 Comments

Last saturday at least ten little Blue Tits left their nest – never to be seen again.

But before they were able to take that little leap into the big world, it was hard work for their parents.

Flying to the nest more than once every minute – and of course off again:

The little ones waiting for the next protein delivery:

et voilà

and after taking the leap – another part of life has started.

For more bird posts from around the world – visit WorldBirdWednesday

Flycatchers – Old World and Tyrant

•May 16, 2012 • 7 Comments

A Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata – Grauschnäpper) made a surprising visit in front of the kitchen window today. This is an Old World Flycatcher. (Please click on the photo to enlarge).

It reminded me, that I haven’t put up the Flycatchers we saw in Panama – which are all Tyrant Flycatchers. (And for those who understand German, please note those amazing German names…)

The cute little ones are the Common Tody Flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum – Grau-Gelb Todityrann)

and the Southern Bentbill (Oncostoma olivaceum – Gelbkehl-Krummschnabeltyrann) – I was so happy that I got a decent photo of this fast little bird.

One with a very funny “hair-do” is the Yellow-bellied Elaenia (Elaenia flavogaster – Gelbbauch-Olivtyrann). It’s crest is divided in the middle, therefor the head on the photo looks like it’s out of focus. (Click on the photo to enlarge).

Definitely not such a good photo is the one from the Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher  (Myiobius barbatus – Gelbbürzeltyrann), but the sulphur rump is visible.

The Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana – Gabelschwanzkönigstyrann) was never very close, but close enough to see the impressive tail:

The Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus – Südlicher Fleckenmaskentyrann):

The Rusty-margined Flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis – Rotschwingen Maskentyrann):

The Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis – Rotscheitel Maskentyrann):

The Piratic Flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius – Kurzschnabel Maskentyrann):

And these are the rather common Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus – Schwefelmaskentyrann):

and the Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus – Trauerkönigstyrann):



Lixus bardanae – or the Pinocchio Insect

•May 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There are of course many different insects of the Curculionidae family (“true” weevils or snout beetles), but this weekend I discovered this one: Lixus bardanae. Since I was in Italy and wanted to show its beauty to people otherwise not interested in insects, I called it “Insetto Pinocchio” – they will remember 🙂

German information on the insektenbox-Site