Ruddy and non-ruddy shelducks and hobby

Grey heron, 21 April 2014

Just after the two little ringed plovers of my earlier blog post, on 21 April 2014 in the “Baillon’s crake reserve”, this grey heron.

Greenfinch, 21 April 2014

A greenfinch on a small tree.

Northern lapwing chick, 21 April 2014

Then, three still very small northern lapwing chicks on a muddy shore.

We hear the lesser whitethroat, but don’t see it, unlike two days ago here.

Ruddy shelduck, 21 April 2014

In the northern meadow, a rare bird: a ruddy shelduck. It grazes. eventually, an Egyptian goose drives it away.

Hobby flying, 21 April 2014

A hobby flies past. Also, an unusual species here.

As we go back along the other side of the southern lake, we see barnacle geese. And a muscovy duck.

Shelduck male, 21 April 2014

In a lakelet, a shelduck couple. While a redshank wades between them.

Shelducks flying, 21 April 2014

Later, the shelducks fly away (with the female on the foreground of this photo).

Hare, 21 April 2014

Not far away, a hare.

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Long-tailed duck spring hunting now banned in Finland

This video is called Long-tailed Duck, (Clangula hyemalis).

From BirdLife:

BirdLife Finland succeeds in court battle over endangered species

By Rebecca Langer, Tue, 15/04/2014 – 10:35

The Long-tailed duck is classified worldwide as endangered. In southern Finland, a license for spring hunting of the species was authorized in year 2011, further threatening the survival of the population. BirdLife Finland and its local member organization are working to save the species and lodged a complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland. The complaint proved successful as the Court found the license for spring hunting illegal.

The court decision was based on the unfavourable conservation status of the species and the fact that there is a satisfactory alternative to spring hunting since Long-tailed duck occurs in the area also during the autumn.

Pursuing the complaint required considerable work by the NGO´s: the appeal documents were lengthy and were supported by numerous expert statements, boat research expeditions and long-term monitoring data collected by volunteers at bird research stations. Results of Long-tailed duck counts carried out by neighboring BirdLife Estonia also helped to prove that the population had decreased considerably.

The majority of the long-tailed ducks breeding in northern Europe and western Siberia spend the winter in the Baltic Sea. These birds occur on the coast of Finland especially during spring and autumn migration. What happens to the birds during spring migration in Finland has impacts on the entire Eurasian population of the species.

The BirdLife Partnership hopes that the positive decision by the Finnish Court helps to preserve the species, not only in Finland, but everywhere it migrates.

Legality of spring hunting under fire in Malta and Brussels: here.

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Mallard ducks feeding, video

This is a video about mallard ducks feeding at a bank in the Netherlands.

Twelve-year-old Niklas Haverkate made this video.

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Long-tailed duck, video

This is a video about a male long-tailed duck, swimming in Dutch waters.

Jan Terreroo made the video.

Most Eurasian long-tailed ducks don’t winter in the Netherlands, but in the Baltic Sea.

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Diurnal wintering behaviour of the Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) in north-east Algeria

Originally posted on North African Birds:

Aberkane, M., Maazi, M.-C., Chettibi, F., Guergueb, E.-Y., Bouslama, Z., & Houhamdi, M. (2014). Diurnal wintering behaviour of the Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) in north-east Algeria.Zoology and Ecology (in press). doi:10.1080/21658005.2014.889870


The Marbled Teal, Marmaronetta angustirostris, is a globally threatened species, especially in the Western Mediterranean. Its numbers are currently following a downward trend. The population size and status of the Marbled Teal are well estimated in some areas of its geographic range, but in others, such as Algerian wetlands, they are still not known. Population and time-activity budget estimation of the species were carried out in the semi-arid Ramsar wetland Garaet Timerganine located in north-east Algeria in the course of two subsequent wintering seasons. The wintering population showed a significant decrease in numbers from the first to the second year with peaks of 763 and 270 individuals, respectively. This variation was probably due…

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Giant yellow duck explodes in Taiwan

British daily The Guardian says about this video today:

A giant yellow duck designed by Dutch artist Florentjin Hofman has exploded for the second time, eleven days after it went on display in a northern Taiwan port. The 18m-tall duck was supposed to be the star attraction for local New Year’s Eve celebrations but instead burst without explanation to the surprise of onlookers.

Dutch pintail duck news

This video is called Northern Pintail courtship.

Translated from Birdlife in the Netherlands:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Last Sunday, November 10th, near Den Oever a whopping 3664 migrating pintails were seen. This is a record number, never before have so many migrating pintail ducks been observed. There were many pintails elsewhere as well. Probably ​​the combination of clear atmosphere, falling temperatures and northerly winds made the pintails go south massively.

Birder Bob Woets is a happy man. On 10 November he counted at his usual migration site near the beginning of the Afsluitdijk at Den Oever 3664 migratory pintails (source: This is a Dutch record. Earlier, on October 11, 1981 at Maarsseveen (Utrecht province) 2710 pintails on migration had been observed.

November 2013: Northern Ireland’s Lough Neagh, the largest lake in Britain and Ireland, has lost more than three quarters of its overwintering water birds say researchers at Queen’s University Belfast. The study, by Quercus, Northern Ireland’s Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, found the number of diving ducks migrating to the lake for the winter months has dropped from 100,000 to less than 21,000 in the space of a decade: here.

Tufted duck video

This video is about a male tufted duck bathing.

The video is by Heleen de Jong from the Netherlands.

Female tufted duck photo: here.

Shoveler ducks in Svalbard

Northern shoveler couple, Svalbard, 7 June 2013

On 7 June 2013, I saw a male and a female northern shoveler duck.

Northern shoveler male, Svalbard, 7 June 2013

They were in the marshy area near the estuary of the Adventdalselva river, opposite the common eider colony at the dog cages, just east of Longyearbyen town in Spitsbergen.

Northern shoveler male, Svalbard, 8 June 2013

This bird species is rare in Svalbard. The book Birds and Mammals of Svalbard, page 187, says less than twenty individuals have ever been seen on this Arctic archipelago.

Northern shoveler couple, Svalbard, 8 June 2013

So says the site It adds that recently, shovelers have only been seen in Svalbard in 1996, 1997, 2007 and 2013.

Northern shoveler male flying, Svalbard, 8 June 2013

We saw the shoveler couple again, on the next day, 8 June 2013, at about the same spot. Eventually, they flew away.

Northern shoveler male still flying, Svalbard, 8 June 2013

Northern shoveler couple flying, Svalbard, 8 June 2013

But later that day, they were back again.

Northern shoveler couple swimming, Svalbard, 8 June 2013

The day after 8 June, 9 June 2013, Ole Edvard Torland made these photos of a shoveler couple, very probably the same couple, in Adventdalen valley. Ole Edvard Torland writes the ducks were disturbed by a great skua. There are no records after June 9 of these two birds. Did they decide that after all, Svalbard was too Arctic for them?

Talking about common and rare birds in Svalbard: we did not see any greater black-backed gulls in Svalbard, though, according to, they are “common but dispersed breeders”. On the other hand, we were lucky to see a smaller relative of them, a lesser black-backed gull, which is rare in the archipelago.

We were also privileged to see a pectoral sandpiper, also rare in Svalbard.

There is a post on this blog on rare songbirds of Svalbard. On 30 June 2013, this photo was taken of a male Lapland bunting in Adventdalen valley.

Svalbard long-tailed ducks

Long-tailed duck male, Adventdalen, Svalbard, 5 June 2013

5 June 2013. As I wrote, we went back to Adventdalen in Spitsbergen, to see whether the long-tailed duck couple was still swimming in the narrow ice-free channel along the road. They were.

Long-tailed duck male and female, Adventdalen, Svalbard, 5 June 2013

Sometimes, the male and female duck swam to the east.

Long-tailed duck female and male swimming, Adventdalen, Svalbard, 5 June 2013

Sometimes, they swam to the west. As long as the ice would not break up more, these were the only directions where they could swim.