Berlin and Uckermark 25 to 30 May 2008

Roger White, Robin Prytherch, Richard and Rosemary Brown, Jane Cumming,
Phyl Dykes, Ken Hall, Margaret Searle.

This is a brief account of a 6 day tour, starting in Berlin, then visiting some of the sites to the north and east.

Sunday 25 May Started at the NSG Niedermoorwiesen am Tegeler Fliess, in the north of the city. As soon as we parked we immediately saw our first Red-backed Shrike. Walked IMG_0908 Kopchen from SEover the railway and turned right through open area with scattered bushes. A Barred Warbler was singing and gave brief views. At the eastern end of the lake was our first Black Kite. On the lake, seen from the west viewpoint were Red-necked Grebe and Goldeneye. A variety of warblers seen and heard: Icterine, Reed, Great Reed, Marsh, and Garden Warbler plus Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. Nightingales singing.

Next went east to Buch forest. We did a clockwise work through the forest. Some Swans with white cygnets here ( the so-called Polish Swan), Short-toed Treecreeper and Spotted Flycatcher.

A few km north of here is Hobrechtsfelde. The best parking area is on the left hand side of the road. Walked through some of the tracks, and past some ponds, covering only a small part of the area. IMG_0911 HobrechsheideBirds included Tree Pipit, and Woodlarks, and excellent views of singing Icterine and Marsh Warblers. Honey Buzzard mobbed by a Buzzard, and Red Kite. Hawfinch flew back and forth at the lunch stop at the car park.

Final stop for the day at Schönower Heide, north of the road between Schönwalde and Bernau, and is an old military training area, with heath and scattered trees. Woodlark and Tree pipits and a Red-backed Shrike seen from the observation tower.

Stayed at Landhotel Wensickendorf.
Monday 26 May Left soon after 9.0 am and drove south a few km to Briesetal, a wooded valley with a stream running through. Parked on the right of the road and walked at right angle to the road through the trees, which opened out to a view across the valley to the woods the other side. Brief view of Red Squirrel here. Golden Orioles calling there and Wood Warblers. Excellent of a circling Honey Buzzard.

Dropped down to the Berlin ring road and headed west to Linum. Some new-laid paths and new hides and towers. DSC00561Common Terns were nesting on some platforms, there was a pair of Red-crested Pochard, and views of Penduline Tits including a nest. Male Bearded Tit gave good but brief views to one of us. A Willow Tit was watched at its nest hole. Warblers included Great Reed and Marsh and Savis. A Stoat gave us very good views. White Storks in the village had young.

Then to Zehdenick Clay pits. The ponds themselves were a bit disappointing, because they were disturbed, but there were Great Crested Grebes and Golden Orioles here. Also two Kingfishers, Linnets and Common Terns. Stayed the night at the Hotel Klement where Giselda gave us a very cheerful greeting and played us her party trick with a ceramic-coated lead beer tankard.

Tuesday 27 May Headed for Boitzenburg Tiergarten. This is an area known for its woodland birds We took the road east out of Boitzenburg towards Gollmitz and just before Berkholz turned right down a rough track which led us to a fish hatchery and a millpond. Took the path east from here. Birds included a Pied Flycatcher and brief views of Black Woodpecker. Grey Wagtail, Black Redstart, our first Robin and a Firecrest was singing. Headed instead east to the town of Prenzlau, As we approached the town we passed a large pond at Stromtal. This was well worth the stop because there were good views of a couple of hunting Hobbies, and nearby were two Osprey nests on Pylons. After Prenzlau we took a narrow cobbled road south towards a view point overlooking extensive reeds between the two large lakes (upper and lower Uckersee). Before we got there, a quiet bushy area was a good spot for lunch, and our first Thrush Nightingale was singing deep in a bush. Also Icterine Warbler here. The view point gave extensive views of the reed bed the other side of the railway. A pair of Cranes had fledged young. A male Montague’s Harrier quartered the edge of the reeds. The next aim was an observation tower known as Biber Blick (Beaver view). The directions were not good, except that it was situated between the villages of Annenwalde and Beutel. Before reaching Beutel there was an area of shallow water on the left. Garganey here and an old, overgrown Beaver dam. In Beutel we took a path which went north by DSC00594the Glockenturm. Good access to open water down a path through the trees on the left. At one stage the Gruppenleiter started to have doubts as to the correct route, but words such as “fier hundert meter” and “funf minuten” from some cyclists were encouraging and just after the turn to the left to Annenwalde, stood the tower overlooking a large area of reed, and tree fringed open water. It was about 1 km from Beutel. No beavers but a good view of a fishing Osprey. One of our ‘speck’ specialists picked up a probable Black Stork, several miles away, and the diagnosis was confirmed as it drifted nearer to us. Quail heard nearby. On the way back via Templin to Zehdenick, a sympathetic and understanding policeman appreciated our difficulties in coping with speed limits, and gave what sounded like kind advice.

Wednesday 28 May East towards the Schwedt. At Reiesdorf (about 4 km before Friedrichswalde) there was a small observation hide overlooking extensive open meadows. Whinchats here, and Red Kite. A Pied Flycatcher was singing in the wood the other side of the road. Next stop the Fish ponds at Blumberger Mühle, situated just NW of Angermünde. A busy visitor centre here. Did the standard trail first, seeing Pond Terrapins and a swimming Grass Snake. Excellent vieDSC00613w of Honey Buzzard overhead, and several White-tailed Eagles. Good lunch spot overlooking the ponds at the view point “Leben am See”. Goldeneye with young and Pochard on the lake. The last stop of the day was at Felchow see, which lies between Angermünde and Schwedt. The expected Black-necked Grebes were here and several hundred Swans. Water Rail heard. An Osprey flew in and another Red Kite. Stayed the next two nights at Oder-Hotel Zuetzen.

Thursday 29 May. Schwedt. Crossed the canal and parked on the road to Poland, and walked in on the right.. Lots of Sedge Warbler and Yellow Wagtails. Also an unexpected sighting of 3 Black Storks, and a few Black Terns. Snipe were drumming overhead. 3 White-tailed Eagles were sitting in trees. DSC00629Hired bicycles at Butske and cycled to the east, aiming for a tower hide at the end of the polder about 7 km away. On the way we heard Corncrakes, and there was a wealth of other birds. These included Yellow Wagtails, a brief Barred Warbler, Hawfinch and a Black Woodpecker. The latter did not get the attention it might have expected because nearby there were views of a singing Thrush Nightingale – a ‘lifer’ for at least one of the team. The most excitement though was a Lesser Spotted Eagle flying over us. As we reached the river Oder, Black Terns started to show, and they were also seen from the observation tower. a Marsh Harrier was pestering a WT Eagle. It was dwarfed by the Eagle, who showed its disdain by ignoring it and then plucking a fish from the river, before flying off. Returned the bicycles four hours later, having completed a circuit of 15 km without injury or spills (at least not any that were admitted to).

An early supper before an expedition looking at a Spotted Crake site at Gatow. This is situated a few km north of Schwedt. A swimming mammal was eventually identified as a Rat. Walked south along the tarmac path, with the polder on our left, and after one km arrived at a marshy area with pools. Thrush Nightingale heard. A number of duck here including Shoveler, Teal and Garganey. Singing Savi’s Warbler also, and in the distance some Black Terns. Further south a River Warbler was tuning up and then slipped into top gear with its sewing machine song. A Savi’s singing nearby provided the perfect comparison. The River Warbler was watched through telescopes as it sat on top of a wild rose, and obliged by showing us front and profile views. No crakes but a very special evening stroll.

Friday 30 May. To the Backerei in Angermunde then south to the beech forest near Chorin. Took the road to Eberswalde and then a sharp left at Chorin just before the main road takes a sharp bend to the right. This is a rough forest road which leads through the Beech woods to Brodowin. We stopped around at intervals along the road and did short walks, listening for Red-breasted Flycatcher. Eventually heard one, but it did not sing for long. Returned to this spot and it was singing again, but only gave brief views to two of us. A Firecrest was heard. Then via Brodowin to visit to a place at the southern end of Parsteiner See. Just past the village of Pehlitz there was a parking area by the road and a small road leading to a camp site. A circular walk was signed but we finished up going through the tents and caravans to the lake shore. Good views of Black Terns flying by to a site in the south east corner of the lake. Our attempts to complete the circuit were thwarted by a large display of flesh on an airbed, and we retreated. Back to Brodowin and then took the cobbled road through the beech forest towards Liepe. Again, stopped and walked at intervals. Some team members were starting MS Woodpeckerto flag, but were instantly revived by the sight of a Black Stork standing amongst the trees in a shallow pool. Just before some crossroads a pair of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers were feeding their young in a rotten tree stump. Finally a detour to a well known Barred Warbler site SE of Brodowin. A bird was singing but refused to do a song flight and only a silhouette in the bushes was offered to us. Left here around 4.30 and after a stop for repacking, the assistant Gruppenführer coaxed the mini bus gently back to the aiport for the 2115 Bristol flight.

Total species 125. The ones that got away: Dunnock, Sparrow Hawk, and Turtle Dove.

Roger White 17 06 2008

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