Thursday, 4 April 2013

Back to Germany

For Easter my parents decided to go to Germany and of course I, my brother and Sister all came along to. This was my second great birding opportunity after last time when we (me and my brother) had seen Red-backed Shrike, Black Stork, Middle-spotted Woodpecker and many other good species. We were ready to see as good stuff as we had last time but unfortunately the first two days were disappointing and we saw little to nothing. On our third day Saturday it was time to head off to a reserve where we had a bigger chance to get some decent species instead of the occasional Black Redstart (which are very common on the continent). We started of the trip on a good foot which was a nice showing male Wheatear my first for the year but we had no time to lose and headed on quickly. On the way we connected with at least 4 Black Redstarts. The cycle path which we took to get to the reserve lead through many woods and fields so my brother decided to get his binoculars out just in case of seeing any birds. This proved to be useful when we managed to get a female Crossbill in one of the mixed woods. As we came closer to the reserve we heard a Willow Tit. When we did eventually arrive at the reserve all that was to be found were winter wildfowl, 2 Chiffchaff and a very probable Willow Tit. After getting over the disappointment of the lake where we had seen Wood Sandpiper and Osprey last time we headed over to the woods hoping for at least a Crested Tit. Unfortunately we didn’t get that but instead we managed to connect with Marsh Tits, Treecreepers, Nuthatches and Goldcrests. This again was a little disappointing but when we found the exit to the woods after an adventures excursion through the woods I had my first glimpse of a GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER while my brother was socialising with the locals. The good stuff was eventually coming. Outside of the woods my brother heard a Grey-headed Woodpecker which confirmed my sighting and he tried tracking it down with me but unfortunately we were fruitless and just as we were about to leave my brother saw some grey blob in a bush he instantly called out “Great Grey Shrike” to mostly get my attention and confirmed it a few seconds later. I had wanted to see a GREAT GREY SHRIKE this year very badly and this one was showing on top of a tree very well. It performed well for scope views but pictures were out of the question other than record shots.

Great Grey Shrike

We tried going a little closer to the shrike but it was very shy and flew off. We than saw something fly into a tree at a close distance to us. We looked at it through our binoculars and saw it was a Grey-headed Woodpecker Samuels first and my second for the day. This one showed good for record shots and scope views but left soon after with us in pursuit.

Grey-headed Woodpecker

That was the last we saw of it but we still saw other birds on the edge of the woodland such as 2 Bullfinches and Marsh Tits.

Marsh Tit in flight

We thought we would head back to get our bikes and were stopped in our tracks when we heard some cranes we looked all around us but they were nowhere to be found and I suspected that they were behind the clouds but then I glimpsed up above our heads and there they were at the time I thought an approximate of 50 Cranes but on later inspection we counted 73

Common Cranes

This was now time to go and we headed back to get our bikes which were by the hide. We met someone in the hide and thought we would stay for a little longer with him and see if we could find anything else. Low and behold after a small chat we had a male Hen Harrier fly right in front of us at eye level which would have been a spectacular photo if my camera had been on the right setting. After beating myself up me and my brother stayed a little longer to see if anymore cranes would come and perhaps stop off at the reserve which had the perfect habitat for them. No more came so we went and agreed it had been a very successful day.


  1. Hi Ephraim , what a great trip , the Gey Headed Woodpecker plus the Black Woodpecker ( in a later trip ) would be lifers for me plus seeing all those Cranes must of been awesome . Atb Rob

  2. Oops i meant to have said Grey not Gey