Waders in North Germany

It has been a good autumn for wader numbers in the polders. Grosse Rosin polder has low water levels at present and in the last 2 weeks Ruff, Spotted Redshank and Snipe have all been present in double figures, and over 100 Dunlin, several Grey Plover and Curlew Sandpiper have added to the variety. During a brief visit on 28 September I found 3 Greenshank and 2 Green Sandpiper in addition to the above. There were 20+  Bearded Tits and 3 White-tailed Eagles.

Bee-eaters and waders in the north east

During the week a remarkable 49 Bee-eaters were reported at their breeding site in north east Germany. Wader numbers have been very impressive, particularly at Kamp polder, including over 50 Little Stints, Ruff and Wood Sandpipers. Also Temminck’s Stint, and Red-necked Phalarope. Caspian Terns also passed through.

Bee-eaters breeding in North Germany

Bee-eaters were first recorded as breeding in Germany about 25 years ago. During the last 10 years there has been a marked increase. The total number of breeding pairs now exceeds 1000, most of which are in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
In the past there have been records further north of single pairs in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, but this is the first year that there have been multiple breeding pairs. Currently 3 pairs are feeding young in an old sand quarry near Anklam in the north east of the State. There are single pairs at 2 other sites.
(Information given by Eberhard Frundt and from the Germany breeding bird atlas)

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.


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.