Birdingpals Trip Report

Birding with a Pal in Germany near Nennhausen
by Birdingpal Daniel L. Marks M.D.,Ph.D.

Sunday, 7. 12. 2003 The highlights:
North and south of of Buschow village (by kind arrangement of Heinz Litzbarski who runs the Brandenburg protection project) 2 groups of Great Bustard. The first of some 16 males grazing in a rape field. Their female counterparts, some 25 – 27 in number were grazing to the south of the village.
From the observation tower/hide near Garlitz we observed, i.a.:
6 Grey Herons amongst a flock of grazing cows
6 -10 Common Buzzards – mostly on the ground or on low posts (these were the forerunners of the large number of individuals we saw in the course of the day – mostly at very close range.
The first Rough-legged Buzzard of the day. A useful study aid for further identification.
Two large flocks of Fieldfares and smaller flocks of Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers. Here, as elsewhere, we saw many groups of finches with Greenfinch most commonly represented.
Near Nennhausen
Male Hen Harrier hunting over the meadows.
Hohennauener Lake
Family groups of Goosander and many ducks, mostly mallard.
The Grosse Grabenniedrungen (on the bridge – the extremely dry summer has left it’s mark and here, as overall, the water meadows were dried up)
1 Rough-legged Buzzard
Several small groups of Whooper Swans on the ground and flying. Here again the lack of water everywhere, which usually provides the geese and swans with a form of security, meant that we were unable to ‚scope’ swan or geese flocks. Usually one can reckon on Bewick’s Swan among the Whoopers. We heard a rumour of one Red-breasted Goose in the area.
Between Parey und Guelpe 12:30 Uhr
1 Great Grey Shrike hovering. A great sight which we enjoyed at no great distance for 3 – 4 minutes
1 Rough-legged Buzzard
Guelper Lake
1 Sabine’s Gull (Black-headed, Herring and Lesser-blackback also present (SK) At least 5,000 Geese in the middle of the Lake. Lots of ducks (about 1,000 nad more) including Mallard, Goldeneye, Wigeon and Tufted. 30 Whooper Swans on the fields south of the lake In the woods bordering the lake many mixed troops of Chickadees (sorry – Tits) with Goldcrest. Also Short-toed Treecreeper and several Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
Sadly our attempt to drive the direct route to the North of the Guelper Lake was thwarted as the road was closed. It would be nice if local birders could report such problems, in a popular birding area, in the Internet. I hope that the re-opening of the road can be announced.
I decided, in order to get to the Common Crane roost (usually several hundred) near Vehlgast, to drive south to cross the River Havel in Rathenow and then travel north on the Saxony-Anhalt bank. I hoped for one or two nice sightings along the Have water meadows. Although these, as reported above, were completely dry, we were not entirely disappointed and saw:
A flock of Bean Geese, with some Whitefronts, on the Ground near Strohdene
A final Rough-legged Buzzard and a Great Grey Shrike.
Sadly the dusk fell very rapidly and we didn’t get to see the Cranes (although there are still a couple of hundred in the artea according to other reports). We called it a (successful) day and drove bach to Berlin in the Die Dämmerung holte uns schnell ein nach Havelberg und, um ein Fahrt im Dunkel über Plattenwege (und schlimmer) zu vermeiden, beschloss unser sonst schöner und erfolgreicher* Tag zu beenden und nach Berlin zurückzufahren.
David Conlin (local Birdingpal), Daniel & Mary Marks (USA), Mark Hows (England)
*PS Daniel and Mary were new to Europe (Dan had been in Paris for a day once before) so both had some lifers; and birds such as Long-tailed Tit (and they were A. c. europaeus) Greenfinch and Tree Sparrow were (almost) as exciting as the Great Bustard.
David Conlin was an exceptional host. He had excellent knowledge not only of the birds, but also of the local geography and history. He even supplied lunch! The weather was perfect, we saw alot of birds, and had a nice pint of beer in a small town pub to finish the day. I hope to return the favor some day.
Daniel L. Marks M.D.,Ph.D.

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Last update 24/11/2012