Birding and Bird Photography Blog by Leander Khil

One day birding on Hallig Hooge

During a last visit to the North Frisian Wadden Sea in 2014, Barbara and me also visited Hallig Hooge for a one day birding trip. Although we didn’t score a notable rarity (despite the valuable and pleasant company of local expert and friend Martin Kühn, who joined us for parts of our stay) and migration wasn’t in full swing, we saw a satisfying total of 73 species. Besides typical Wadden Sea species, migrants and some first winter guests, we recorded some local scarcities at last, such as Common Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris), Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) and White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).

Hooge is the second largest of the unique Halligen, a group of ten small, extremely flat islands. The lack of a proper dyke leaves them flooded many times a year. The only flood-safe areas are the so-called „Warften“, small man-made hills, which host few houses and their 103 inhabitants.

„Lost“ migrants are attracted to the few bushes and trees around the houses and so, a birding trip to Hooge can pay off not only because of the magnificent bird life of the Wadden Sea but also for the occasional vagrant.

Hooge can be reached by several ferries from several ports, e.g. the „SeeAdler“ from Schlüttsiel (75 min.).

Usually, visitors return to the mainland on the same day, only very few stay overnight (which results in caf̩s opening not before 11 a.m. Рbeware!). As a typical one-day visitors, you will have around four hours on Hooge, which allows you to visit three or four of the inhabited hills and some other parts of the eastern half of Hooge. The map in the gallery below points out some of the more interesting sites for birdwatching of east Hooge, includes some images taken by Barbara and also some shots from Amrum, visited two days later. Thanks to Schutzstation Wattenmeer for hosting us!

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