International Bird observatory Conference in Eilat
This March, several special events took place in Eilat at the same time – the International Bird Observatories Conference along with the annual Spring Migration Festival, the Champions of the Flyway and the Arts and Nature community event. Through all these events, people were enabled to see birds and their habitats in a very direct and clear way.
A wonderful time with many positive outputs – for example, the Champions of the Flyway raised a record sum for one Birdlife partner, over 75,000$ for conservation of Vultures in Kenya. Never before so many birders came to watch the wonder of migration in Eilat and at the same time supported the efforts to keep it safe.
ZEISS Sponsors Grand Prize for the 2019 Kruger Bird and Wildlife Challenge
At the Kruger Bird and Wildlife Challenge 2019 eight teams with nine members of birders and bird protectors started in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. The funds raised from the event aimed to preserve the White-winged Flufftail, an endangered bird.
As a special highlight offered to the participants there was an encounter with the very rarely observed Golden Pipit. In total, over 300 species of birds as well as over 50 mammal species were observed. Learn more about the exciting competition and the winning team.
International Bat Night is already 22 years old. On the night of 25 to 26 of August, it unites all bat observers. With big events bat experts, nature conservationists and interested people celebrate the only flying mammal in more than 35 participating countries.
Now is the best time to observe bats individually or along with many other enthusiasts from all around the globe. Michaela Sulz is fascinated about the beauties of the night. Her current story tells you about some interesting myths of this impressive creatures.
Every year in November, birders from around the world celebrate the return of sandhill cranes and snow geese to the Bosque del Apache Refuge in New Mexico. The Festival of the Cranes is the oldest birding festival in the U.S.
ZEISS has been an integral part for the Festival of the Cranes for many years and will continue their support in the future. Stephen Ingraham tells you about the fascinating scenery and the stunning wildlife around the Rio Grande Valley.
Some feel a little bit unmasked, others just get amused about well-known habits and a few think the portrayal is too exaggerated: In the film „The Big Year“ David Frankel shows partly realistic and partly overdrawn how three US Americans run a Big Year. The Big Year of birding originated in the Anglo-Saxon countries and nowadays has different new variations across the world. For exactly one year, more specifically from 0 o’clock at the 1st of January local time until 31st of December 24 o’clock, you have to see or hear as many different species of birds as possible. It could become high performance sport, but in the original positive sense it is a sabbatical in nature or enough leisure time for a favorite activity. We show some variants and facts about a Big Year.
2016 was a record year worldwide as well as in North America. The Dutch Arjan Dwarshuis set the world record with 6,833 bird species in one year. The most well-known competition for a Big Year certainly is the one in the ABA-area of North America that is defined by the American Birding Association. Thanks to “El Niño“ 2016 was a perfect year to see rare species in Northern America you usually do not see. Besides the meteorological phenomena John Weigel’s success is also due to some few new splits in species taxonomy, which enabled him additional listings. John Weigel surpassed all his predecessors with 783 species as well as his competitor for the year, Olaf Danielson.
Introducing the New ZEISS Victory Harpia Spotting Scope
From 11 through 13 September, ZEISS Sports Optics invited visitors to come to the city of Hamburg and check out the new ZEISS Victory Harpia spotting scope that will be available starting in January 2018. Invited guests not only got to attend the product demo, but also heard from the Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten (DDA), an umbrella organization for bird lovers, and took a boat ride to the Carl Zeiss Bird Station in the Wedel Marsh run by the NABU Hamburg, an environmental protection group.
There, participants had the opportunity to try out the new spotting scope, with its revolutionary optical system featuring a three-stage wide-angle zoom, in real-world conditions.
A chalkboard at the entrance to the Carl Zeiss Bird Station headed by Marco Sommerfeld informs visitors which birds they might see in the Wedel Marsh currently.
How many species can be recorded during a 24h race inside the WP? At the end of 90’s and beginning of this century, scores were increasing, especially in countries like Finland, France and Estonia. In the latter country the European record was set up by a Finnish team, composed by Mika Bruun, Sampsa Cairenius, Jukka Hatva and Jan Nordblad on 25th May 1998 with a total a 190 species. After these scores, the Tramuntana Birding Team won the Spanish bird race organized by SEO/BirdLife, several time arriving for first time at 200 species in 2004, then 202 species in 2005, 204 species in 2006 and 217 species in the race of 2007. This was the absolute best European record for the last ten years.
They offer detailed information of their races at their blog (www.tbt.cat), where many pictures and the chronicle of each marathon for every year is available from that Catalan team, composed by Jordi Sargatal, Oriol Clarabuch, Deli Saavedra, Aleix Comas, Ponç Feliu and Joan Carles Gimisó. This high diversity of species recorded during spring migration is possible in Europe because in NE Spain a wide array of habitats and altitudes are present, from the sea and coastal wetlands to high mountains with alpine pastures, and steppes and different types of forests, allowing to find more than 200 species during a whole day.
Stefan Glowacz and Markus Dorfleitner take on the “black wall”
On the Höllental path to Zugspitze mountain is a northward-facing cliff that is 400 meters higher than the Höllentalanger Hut. This “black wall” is not in the same league as the famous north faces of the Alps, but it is a real feat for climbers in the lower 11th degree and thus offers what is probably the most demanding in the Wetterstein mountain range, where they already have climbing experience. But what Stefan Glowacz, one of German’s foremost climbers, and his friend Markus Dorfleitner from the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen have been planning for years but haven’t quite managed, goes far beyond that. Their dream route for this face is vertical, the line of the “falling water droplet!”
Alpinists call it a direttissima, the straightest route, which is unadorned and highly treacherous. This is known as redpoint climbing, a style in which people climb freely and the cable and bolt are only there to keep you safe. The two climbers have used binoculars and photos to study the structures of the cliff face in different lights and map their route. Unfortunately, the original date for the first ascent had to be called off on account of the weather – but on 4 July 2017 it was time to get climbing. A beautiful sunrise, blue skies, and a dry cliff with plenty of grip were a great way to start the day.