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Birding trip to Germany

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Hezu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Birding trip to Germany
    Posted: 23 November 2022 at 21:36
Earlier this autumn I participated on a birding trip to Germany that was organized by Helsinki region's ornithological society Tringa. The main focus was in Wadden Sea coast in Schleswig-Holstein and this was entirely a surface travel trip as we would travel by sea to Germany and back and then travel the longer distances within Germany on cars. The plan included also two island visits: Hooge and Heligoland.

So, on Friday September 30th, our group of eight met in Vuosaari harbour in Helsinki and we crammed ourselves and our luggage into two cars and after check-in and fairly long wait, we drove into M/S Finnmaid, which was goint to transport us to Travemünde. In Germany, we would have slightly less cramped conditions in the vehicles as the ninth member of our group and one more car would join us there as she had only this autumn returned to Germany after spending 20+ years in Helsinki.

Obviously, as birders the first thing to do after dropping luggage into the cabins was to head to...

1. Sun deck

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/10, 1/160 s, ISO 125

2. Somewhere around those islands there happened to be few birds

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/9, 1/160 s, ISO 100

Eventually the ship departed and started its about 30 hour journey towards Germany

3. The other Finnlines ship on the next pier

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/10, 1/160 s, ISO 250

4. Sailing past a small island

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/10, 1/100 s, ISO 160

5. Archipelago towards Sipoo

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 27 mm, f/11, 1/160 s, ISO 125

6. Dramatic skies

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/11, 1/160 s, ISO 125

7. Central Helsinki skyline as seen from the sea

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 800

8. Evening light reflecting on the windows of skyscrapers

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 1000

9. Silja Symphony had also departed Helsinki and was sailing towards Stockholm

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 800

10. During the dinner time sunset coloured the clouds

Sony RX10 IV @ 34.7 mm (35 mm eqv. 95 mm), f/4, 1/640 s, ISO 800

Most of the next day was spent at sea with no big events, even the weather was quite dull...

11. Sun trying to shine thru the thick cloud cover

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 27 mm, f/13, 1/200 s, ISO 160

In the evening we arrived at Travemünde and headed directly to the nearest hotel and soon it was time to go to bed since the next morning we would have an early start as we were going to travel from the Baltic Sea coast to the North Sea coast, so we could catch the ferry to Hooge at 10:00.

Thus in Sunday morning we started the journey around 6:30, made a quick stop at a gas station to grab some breakfast (as the hotel would have started their breakfast service only at 7 am) and soon were driving on the autobahns in conditions that showed the weather pattern for the next couple days.

12. Already in somewhat smaller road

Sony RX10 IV @ 12.6 mm (35 mm eqv. 34 mm), f/4, 1/1600 s, ISO 400

And eventually we did arrive to Schluttsiel to catch the ferry to Hooge.

13. One of the other nearby islands

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/11, 1/250 s, ISO 100

14. Hallig Langeneß
(if I'm not mistaken)

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 68 mm, f/11, 1/400 s, ISO 160

15. I wonder if there would be treasure...

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 200

16. Rainbow

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/11, 1/400 s, ISO 200

17. Our destination: Hallig Hooge

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 105 mm, f/11, 1/400 s, ISO 200

We didn't take the cars to Hooge and as our accomodation was over kilometer away from the harbour and we had quite a lot luggage, there was question how we can haul those, but quickly we found some help:

18. Pferdebus

Sony RX10 IV @ 8.8 mm (35 mm eqv. 24 mm), f/4, 1/1600 s, ISO 125

Although in the end, I think 2/3 of us (including yours truly) decided to not ride the horse bus and walk to get better first look on this interesting island.

The walk allowed to make some bird observations, eg.

19. House sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Sony RX10 IV @ 220 mm (35 mm eqv. 600 mm), f/4, 1/1600 s, ISO 200

20. Song trush (Turdus philomelos)

Sony RX10 IV @ 220 mm (35 mm eqv. 600 mm), f/4, 1/1600 s, ISO 250

21. Another example of the local transport

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 57 mm, f/11, 1/400 s, ISO 400

To be continued...

And yes, RX10 IV is not α-series ILC, but at times, it was easier to wield than the "big guns".
 



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Fred_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2022 at 19:12
Well, the majority is with formally allowed gear
Youcertainly had some nice skies and rainbows underway Heikki.
And I know at leasst one Dutch member whow will be happy with #18 and 21 too
TFS, and looking forward to the rest of your trip.
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Harm vb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Harm vb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2022 at 19:26
Nice start!
But, how many camera's did you take with you???
Harm, with A7iv+A7iii plus 6-400mm glass.
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Hezu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2022 at 19:53
Originally posted by Harm vb Harm vb wrote:

Nice start!
But, how many camera's did you take with you???
Four: α1, α7R III, α7R IV and RX10 IV. And then there was also my Swarovski ATX 95 fieldscope, although luckily one person in our group didn't own a fieldscope, so I got some help carrying that.
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Hezu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2022 at 20:57
After settling in our accomodation at the Hooge Seminar House, it was finally time to start doing some serious bird watching, although the first destination for the afternoon walk was a cafe... ;)

22. Young oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) on a cow field

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 105 mm, f/11, 1/200 s, ISO 160

23. Horses

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 83 mm, f/11, 1/200 s, ISO 160

Hooge and many nearby North Frisian islands go by term Hallig and common feature on these flat lowland islands is that the population is concentrated on the artificial mounds called Warft, which helps to keep houses intact in the case there would be a storm tide that would cause flooding on the lower parts of the islands.

24. Our accomodation was located on Hanswarft

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 92 mm, f/11, 1/200 s, ISO 100

25. Backenswarft hosted the cafe we visited

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 103 mm, f/11, 1/320 s, ISO 500

26. Ockenswarft

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 104 mm, f/11, 1/320 s, ISO 100

Ok, enough about the landscape for a while, we were there on a birding trip and on the east coast of Hooge, we did see quite decent amounts of birds:

27. Common greenshanks (Tringa nebularia)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 200

28. Snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 640

29. "Few" ruddy turnstones (Arenaria interpres) and dunlins (Calidris alpina)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS + 1.4× TC @ 840 mm, f/9, 1/1600 s, ISO 800

30. Common ringed plowers (Charadrius hiaticula)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 500

31. Ruddy turnstone in flight

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 500

32. Starling in flight

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 1250

33. More rainbows

α7R IV + Sony Carl Zeiss FE 4/16-35 OSS @ 16 mm, f/10, 1/160 s, ISO 100

34. End of rainbow

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 200 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 640

35. Gulls, wigeons, oystercatchers, cormorants

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 640

36. Some oystercatchers (+ gulls and wigeons etc.)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 640

37. Yet another rainbow

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 38 mm, f/11, 1/320 s, ISO 320

38. Gulls (and shrimp cutter)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 640

39. One more rainbow

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 200 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 800

40. Light rays

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 268 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 3200

And as the light was dimishing it was time to retreat to our accomodation, have a dinner and head to bed.

More to come...
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mariuszlo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mariuszlo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2022 at 23:30
Those oystercatchers in #36 look like a 19th century army. very nice!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 November 2022 at 18:58
We started the Monday morning by taking a walk around Hanswarft to look for birds, especially small ones that might be hiding in the bushes.

41. Nationalpark-Seminarhaus Hooge

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/200 s, ISO 6400

42. Sunrise

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 105 mm, f/10, 1/125 s, ISO 100

And eventually we found some birds...

43. Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1000 s, ISO 12800

44. European robin (Erithacus rubecula)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1250 s, ISO 12800

45. Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 3200

46. Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1000 s, ISO 500

There was also couple ponds within the village:

47. Common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1000 s, ISO 12800

48. Hooge landscape

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 105 mm, f/11, 1/160 s, ISO 125

Later in the morning, closer to noon, started the most memorable part of whole trip: a hike to Japsand, a sandbank island in middle of Wadden Sea. This obviously needed a low tide as we were going to wade in the sea.

49. Wadden Sea

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/13, 1/160 s, ISO 100

50. Hallig Hooge

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/13, 1/160 s, ISO 100

On our way to Japsand we did see some birds:

51. Wigeons

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 400

52. Dunlins (and wigeons in the background)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 400

53. Mudflat hikers

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/13, 1/160 s, ISO 100

54. Almost there

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/13, 1/160 s, ISO 100

55. Japsand

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/13, 1/200 s, ISO 100

56. View towards the direction where we came

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/11, 1/200 s, ISO 125

57. Japsand beach

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/13, 1/320 s, ISO 125

We did make few wildlife observations on Japsand:

58. Dead seal

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 49 mm, f/13, 1/200 s, ISO 250

59. Living seal heading towards sea

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 500

The background of the previous photo proves that there was few birds on the shoreline, but the bigger masses were clearly at sea between Hooge and Japsand. Perhaps in summer there might been more birds on Japsand as I understood that there would be a tern colony. Although, I think that then it would be also prohibited to go there to protect these birds. But in early October, all terns had already migrated away.

So, after spending about hour on Japsand, it was time to start the journey back to Hooge.

60. Mudflats

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 29 mm, f/13, 1/320 s, ISO 320

As I said the bird masses were at sea...

61. Wigeons flying over Wadden Sea

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 105 mm, f/13, 1/320 s, ISO 250

62. Eurasian wigeons (Mareca penelope)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 200 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 100

On the left side behind the birds, you can see Hallig Norderoog, a tiny island with just pair of buildings that in summertime house the bird counter whose task is to keep count on the birds that nest thereabouts. And yes, the easiest way to go there is by hiking thru the mudflats.

63. Brent geese (Branta bernicla)

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 640

64. Dunlins in flight

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 200

65. Dunlins

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 400

So, after quite exhausting hike I finally made back to firm land. In retrospect I think this passion ornithological tour might been slightly less demanding if I had had different (= lighter) equipment: rubber boots were not the best choice of footwear (some sort of neoprere socks/boots might been better) and perhaps I also had slightly too much clothing on, especially as while hiking I had rather heavy camera backpack in my back. And obviously while hiking on mudflats, you can't take the backpack off as there is no dry surface to place it.

On way back to our accomodation I found few photogenic subjects:

66. Chickens

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO
3200


67. White sheep

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 404 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 1250

68. Black sheep

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 379 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO
4000


69. Sheep

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 362 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 1600

70. At least from this view point it looks like the ships at sea on the other side of Hooge did collide...

α1 + Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS @ 426 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 s, ISO 200

71. Clouds over Hooge

α7R III + Sony FE 4/24-105 G OSS @ 24 mm, f/11, 1/320 s, ISO 160

After spending the rest of the afternoon recovering from all the hiking, we had a dinner at T-Stube near our accomodation and after finishing the evening meal it was already dark. As there is little light pollution on Hooge, you could easily see stars in the sky. Thus I decided to take my chance on astrophotography...

72. Nightsky

α7R IV + Sony FE 1.8/14 GM @ 14 mm, f/2, 20 s, ISO 3200

My original idea was to take a picture of Milky Way, but sadly the moon happened to be in the same direction! Despite this I think the result was quite interesting. The moon would have set down in few hours later, but somehow I didn't want to stay up late as we were going to take the morning ferry back to the mainland at 8 am.

Stay tuned for the next installment...
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