Birding northern Germany

  • Jeff Curnick
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9 years 9 months ago #7896 by Jeff Curnick
Jeff Curnick created the topic: Birding northern Germany
Greetings all,

I have recently returned from a short trip to Germany, where I visited my new in-laws. As this was my first summer trip to Germany, I even lugged my telescope all the way there, along with my bins.

Most of my time was spent in the small farming town of Rodenkirchen which is about an hour north of Bremen and just short of the coast of the North Sea.
My daily walk on the outskirts of the town took me down a small wooded lane, along a small stream which led to a small section of forest, and finally a few different fields on a farm intersected by small reed filled channels.

The birding along this short route provided me with hours of great birding. I eventually named the wooded lane leading out of town “warbler alley”, as it gave me a total of 6 warblers, with another 2 being easily found in the reeds close by.
The most vocal of these was easily the Common Chiffchaff which literally called all day, closely followed by the Icterine Warbler. Others present were Willow & Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat and European Blackcap. The 2 reed warblers were European Reed and Sedge Warbler, which were both extremely vocal and not that difficult to see.


Other birds in the area included European Siskin, European Linnet, Winter Wren and the magnificent European Goldfinch.
Once at the farm fields, some breeding waders gave away their presence when one of them flew up to try ward off a Rook flying overhead. With some careful scanning I picked up Blacktailed Godwit, Common Redshank and a lone European Oystercatcher.
There was also a resident Western Marsh Harrier, which gave me great scope views as it flew low over the fields.


The generally common birds which I came across in and out of the town were the tiny Blue Tit, Great Tit, European Blackbird (ridiculously common), European Magpie, White Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Jackdaw and the enormous Wood Pigeon, with the sky being full of Barn Swallow, Common House Martin and European Swifts.
And although the Common Cuckoo is seen here in SA, it was great to wake up to this bird calling everyday.

White Wagtail

My wife and I then spent a few days further south in the Harz National Park, which is not a park as we know it, but merely a proclaimed area to protect the environment.
Here we were based in the little mountain town of Altenau, from where we did day trips to some of the surrounding towns with a bit of birding in between.
The main habitat here was forest and, as is typical with forests, the birding was not that easy!

My four highlights from this area were: Red Kite, a magnificent pair of European Bullfinchs, the striking Black Redsart and Grey Wagtail, which were breeding on the small streams flowing through the towns.
Some of the other interesting and unusual birds around were Wood Warbler, Dunnock Accentor, Euro Jay, Euro Robin, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Firecrest, Euro Treecreeper and Crested Tit.

Grey Wagtail

European Jay


Back in Rodenkirchen, after some advice from a local birder, we went on a short trip to Jade Bay in the North Sea, which is a popular stopover for migrant waders.
The morning started out quite slowly at low tide (with the water being a few km’s away) with a handful of Blacktailed Godwits, Euro Oystercatchers, Common Redshank, Northern Lapwing and Euro Shelduck.
There were also quite a few Yellow Wagtails around as well as a pair of displaying Meadow Pipits.

Herring Gull

Black-headed Gull

We then went off for some lunch and came back a few hours later when the tide was coming in. This soon became the highlight of my trip and probably the biggest birding spectacle I have ever seen.
The bay in front of me was now filled as far as the eye could see with birds, birds and more birds. It was a case of ‘where do I start’??
Feeding in the mud were thousands of Bar-tailed Godwits (some in breeding others in partial breeding plumage), Common Redshank and more Euro Oystercatcher and in the sky, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
The noise made by all of these birds was quite unbelievable.
Unfortunately it was overcast and the light wasn’t good so I couldn’t pick up anything unusual or special for the area, but the sight alone made up for that.

Bartailed Godwits, Euro Oystercatchers (back); LBB Gull (left); Herring Gull (right); Euro Shelduck

As an aid, I used the PDA version of the Colins Fieldguide which I found extremely useful and in my opinion more user friendly than our own Roberts Mutimedia.

I ended the trip with a total of 82 birds which included 11 lifers and plenty of wonderful memories of a beautiful bird filled country.


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  • NickyO
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9 years 9 months ago #7898 by NickyO
NickyO replied the topic:
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I remember from one of my own trips to Germany, pre birding, were a heck of a lot of crow's/ravens all over the place.

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  • Doug
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9 years 9 months ago #7917 by Doug
Doug replied the topic:
Sounds wonderful.

I love birding in parts of the world new to as even the common stuff can be viewed with great excitement.

I never got tired of Rufous Sparrows in Kenya.

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  • Jeff Curnick
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9 years 9 months ago #7918 by Jeff Curnick
Jeff Curnick replied the topic:
A big yes to plenty of crows around, the most common being the Rook and Jackdaw.
And I think one of the most enjoyable things in a new place is getting to see the areas common species and getting to know them.
Some of the locals thought I was totally mad taking pics of the gulls, they just so common there nobody even gives them a second look.

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