Baltic coast of Schleswig Holstein 22 to 25 April 2016

This was a short visit by Roger and Christine White to see some of the sites on and around the Baltic coast that had not been visited in November 2015.

April in North Germany is often not very productive as far as bird numbers and variety are concerned. In April, many of the migrants have yet to arrive, and most of the winter visitors have departed.

 We based ourselves at Großenbrode, a seaside holiday resort on the Baltic coast just south of the island of Fehmarn. Visits made included GP1010753raswarder peninsula at Heiligenhafen,  Sehlendorfer See, Oldenburger Bruch, Barkauer See, Neustadt, the coast near Grömitz, and Rupersdorfer See at Lübeck.

Graswarder is a unique narrow peninsula with a sandy shore on tP1010765he Baltic side and salt marsh on the ‘inland side.’ It is a NABU protected site, where breeding species include Common Gull, Little, Common, Arctic and Sandwich Tern, Avocet, Redshank. A tall hide gives views over the reserve. Sehlendorfer See is a wetland west of Heiligenhafen close to Lütjenburg. Viewing is better than at Graswarder and there is a good observation platform from where breeding Avocets, and a Common Tern platform can be viewed.White-tailed Eagles breed nearby.

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Oldenburger Bruch, is a flat, wet valley through which a small waterway, Oldenburger Graben flows into the north sea. In later spring and summer there will be good numbers of birds, including Red-backed Shrike and wetland warblers. Barkauer See, south of Eutin,  was well worth a visit. Bluethroats were singing and there were several warblers, including Reed and Savi’s. Cranes were calling and Marsh Harriers were overhead.

Rupersdorfer See at Lübeck was full of duck, mainly Shoveler and Gadwall. Also Goosander, Egyptian Goose, Black-necked Grebe, Great Egret and a White-tailed Eagle, being chased by a Raven.

All these and other sites will be included in the next book describing bird sites in NW Germany.

Geese and Duck etc in Northern Germany

Recent reports from the polder areas and meadows near to Anklam in North East Germany, include Whooper Swan,  flocks of White-fronted Geese numbering several thousand and  good numbers of Tundra Bean Geese and Barnacles. Off shore have been at least 2 flocks of around 10,000 Scaup and several hundred Long-tailed Duck.  Smew have been off shore, in the flooded polders and at Galenbecker See. Other birds of interest are several Rough-legged Buzzard, and the usual White-tailed Eagles. The sought after woodpeckers: Black, Middle Spotted and Lesser Spotted have all been recorded in the last week or two.

The February visit to Schleswig Holstein has now been published.

Schleswig Holstein 4 to 7 February 2016

A long weekend exploratory trip by Roger and Christine White to a part of the North Sea coast of Schleswig Holstein that was not visited in November 2015. It was mostly wet and windy, but milder than usual for February. Here are some of the highlights.

P1010735After the evening flight from Bristol to Hamburg (BMI) we travelled north to Tönning which is an attractive old harbour town on the River Eider. This was the base for the next 3 nights. Nearby, and just inland from the North Sea is Katinger Watt, a large wetland reserve. Among the wildfowl were 5 Smew (4 drakes) and a raft of Goldeneye. There is a large barrier across the mouth of the Eider as it P1010664enters the North Sea. The tide was low and on the extensive mud were Shelduck and Curlew. The first geese in any numbers were found on the coast just north of St Peter-Ording. Several hundred Barnacle Geese with a few Greylags were feeding in the wet meadows. The beach and the dunes here are a protected site for breeding waders, especially for Ringed and Kentish Plover.

The village of Bergenhusen to the east of Tönning is known as the Stork Village. Most of the nests were on the roofs of old thatched houses. Sometimes a few White Storks remain for the winter but we did not find any. The rough fields and marshes in the P1000281surrounding lowland are protected areas for breeding waders, the most threatened being Black-tailed Godwit. In some meadows nearby was a flock of 70+ Whooper Swan together with a mixed flock of geese. These were mainly Greylags but in addition were, Barnacles, White-fronts and a few Bean Geese. Next stop at The P1010721polder areas around Beltringharder Koog, north of Husum was where goose flocks were now in thousands, and Brent Goose was added to the list. There is a large observation tower here. Suddenly P1010718there were huge numbers P1000259of geese, duck and waders – mainly Curlew, Grey and Golden Plover – in the air. A search for the cause quickly revealed a juvenile White-tailed Eagle flapping slowly north.

The tide was high during a short visit to the Eider barrier. Little was seen out to sea but a Short-eared Owl flapped slowly along the shore and settled briefly on a rock before continuing south. Speicher Koog is another coastal reserve extensive rough ground, marshes and open water. there was little to find either on the sea or inland on this wet , blustery day, but it was nice to see a Rough-legged Buzzard which we disturbed from the side of the road.
A final stop at St. Margarethen on the way to the airport where there was yet another flock of Barnacle Geese.

The first Year

In its first year this website has been viewed from 50 different countries. Most visitors are from UK and Germany, with USA not far behind. This shows the increasing worldwide interest in Bird-watching in north east Germany.

I wish all visitors a happy and healthy new year.                  Roger White

November Trip report

A short report of a November weekend in Schleswig Holstein has been posted on the Trip Reports page. Since then, there have been increasing reports of Rough-legged Buzzards along the north sea coast, There have been further sightings of Short-eared Owl, and on 8 December a Snowy Owl near Dagebull.

Schleswig Holstein 13 to 15 November 2015

This was a weekend visit by Roger White, Robin Prytherch, Ken Hall and Chris Adams to the northern part of Schleswig Holstein up to the Danish Border.  As can be seen from the photos the weather was generally dull and there was a fair bit of rain. We flew from Bristol to Hamburg where we picked up a car and drove to Gelting which is on the Baltic coast near Kappeln. This is a commentary on the main sites visited on the Baltic and North Sea coasts.

Geltinger Birk is a large peninsula with muddy shores, marshland, some woodland and a large lake with islands. A single Waxwing was at the car park P1010512near the mill. On the large lagoon and the adjacent shore were large numbers of waterfowl, which included Greylag Geese, Eider, Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail. On the eastern side of the P1010528peninsula were more EiderCommon Scoter, Mergansers, Goldeneye and good numbers of Barnacle and White-fronted Geese on the wet meadows. Lapwings were the only waders.

Schlei Fiord is best viewed from the north shore, and it is possible to walk towards the spit of land that encloses the large lagoon. Duck on the water included Goldeneye and Merganser. There were Barnacle and Greylag Geese and a very large flock of Golden Plover on the muddy shore.

P1010542The whole of the North Sea coast from Husum to the Danish border is flat with a long dyke, behind which are the polders (Koogs), a lot of which are preserved wetlands, with marsh, reedbeds and extensive stretches of open water.  We looked at Rickelsbüller Koog, Hauke Haien Koog and Beltringharger Koog. As weP1010540ll as huge numbers of geese, and a lot of duck,  there were large flocks of waders. The highlights included 20,000 + Barnacles, Whooper and Bewick Swans, Pink-footed and Brent Geese, Smew, and enormous wader flocks coming inland on the rising tide, mostly Dunlin, Grey and Golden Plover, Oystercatchers, Avocets. On the salt marsh were small flocks of Twite.

The reported Gyr Falcon was not seen but there were several Hen Harriers, and close view of Rough-legged Buzzard

On the return P1010562journey to Hamburg during further stops on the Baltic coast we added , Slavonian and Red-necked Grebe, Goosander, more Smew, Long-tailed Duck and a Short-eared Owl which flew in from the sea.

The total of 88 species in 3 days was a lot more than expected.  Further information on this and on other trips can be obtained from Roger on roger.white4@virgin.net