Germany Dec '09 - Jan '10

  • Jeff Curnick
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7 years 9 months ago #24005 by Jeff Curnick
Jeff Curnick created the topic: Germany Dec '09 - Jan '10
Hi all,

I’ve finally forced myself to sit down and get this out: a short report from my last visit to the in-laws in Northern Germany over Christmas.
This was my fourth visit and third in winter so I had a pretty good idea what I was heading into but wasn’t quite prepared for one of the coldest and whitest European winters in a very long time.
The first week of snow was great but it eventually got a bit much and didn’t help my birding at all – snow flakes landing in your binoculars eye-piece is a serious pain and as you can imagine there isn’t that much around, especially since the temperature never climbed above zero!! <!-- s:no: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/no.gif" alt=":no:" title="Disagreement" /><!-- s:no: -->

(and yes, I did pose for this pic)

But I persisted and I’m sure the local’s are still talking about that mad Englishman going for walks in the snow carrying a telescope and camerabag! <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

Most of my time was spent in the small farming town of Rodenkirchen which gave me most of the common birds like Black-headed & Common Gull, Greylag & Barnacle Goose, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Great & Blue Tit, Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Robin, Chaffinch, Wren, Common Buzzard, Mute Swan, Wigeon and Common Coot.

Adult Black-headed Gull (non-br)

Mallards on ice

Common Coot

Mute Swan



I also picked up a few birds that I haven’t seen regularly in the area or are just nice to see. These included Sparrowhawk, Collared Dove (only 2nd sighting), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Jay, White-fronted Goose, Teal and Reed Bunting. (the last two being German lifers)

The highlight for me in Rodenkirchen came on my last full day when I went for a walk to the dike and very unexpectedly picked up a Common Kingfisher! A lifer in a place I’d been to many times before.

A view of the canal from the top of the dike (mostly Mallards and Wigeon in the water)

A day trip to the Marine Zoo in Bremerhaven just after Christmas gave me my first lifer for the trip. While looking into the Polar Bear enclosure, my sister (who joined us for a week from the UK) pointed out a “wagtail” walking along the rocks which turned out to be a Rock Pipit!!

Rock Pipit (excuse the poor quality)

I was also able to do a few trips to the coast, mostly to Jade Bay which is fantastic for waders in the summer. Here I got Herring and Great Black-backed Gull, European Oystercatcher, Common Redshank, European Shelduck, Goosander, European Curlew and Turnstone plus my third lifer for the trip, a small group of Smew, a smart little diving duck.

Smew (picture taken in Zoo)

Euro Shelduck

Common Redshank

A few other birds seen in the Bremerhaven Marine Zoo, not seen in the wild though:

Common Eider


Gannet from below

The only other really interesting sighting was a group of 6 Egyptian Geese which were most likely escapees but seemed to be doing ok in the snow.

So, a great 3 week trip with 51 birds. Not great when compared to SA in December but good fun with the family and some amazing food, good beer and way too much schnapp’s.



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