Elbe and West Brandenburg 29 March to 1 April 2008

Roger White, Nick Ayers, Charles Stapleton and Gordon Youdale

29 March Evening flight to Berlin. Stayed at Lenzen.

30 March Pre breakfast walk. Crossed the bridge over the Löcknitz river and through open meadows with some hedgerow and trees. Marsh Tit, White Wagtail, Common Crane, Tree Sparrow, continental Bullfinch ( much larger and brightly coloured), Black Redstart, Red Kite, Black Kite and Rough-legged Buzzard.

Then a visit to the Elbe near Kietz. Extensive flooding beyond the dyke. Red and Black Kite, White Stork and large numbers of Pintail and other wildfowl.

Then further west to Klein Schmölen Dunes, Single Redpoll here by the car park. Took the path towards the look out with views right over the plain below. Pair of Woodlarks on the slope of the dunes. Siskins in the trees. AlsB3 Locknitz niederungo in the woodland were Black Woodpecker, Crested Tit and Treecreeper, Hen Harrier in the wet meadows below the hill.

Next stop Rambower Moor. An excellent site. Two White Tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Garganey (5m and 2f ) and 20 Great White Egret. Met two German birders who took us to see a White-tailed Eagle nest in Gadower forest.

31 March 7.0 am pre-breakfast walk – again over the Löcknitz river, Added Firecrest in a hedge, Dunnock (a rarity for me in Germany). Also a very close Great Grey shrike, large numbers of Fieldfares and our only Pheasant.

After breakfast took the road towards Wittenberge to the Gadower forest looking for Middle Spotted Woodpecker near the Gaststadt Unter den Linden, but failed. Brambling added to the list, Crested Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper. On towards via the Stepenitz river where there was a pair of Goosander.

B5 White Storks_001At Rühstädt, the Stork village, a lot of Storks were at their nests on the houses. On the return journey east, a stop at the tower between Havelberg and Jederitz was rewarded by good numbers of water birds on both sides of the road. They included Red Necked Grebe, Smew, Goldeneye, Shoveler. White Tailed Eagle also.

From the southern shore of Gülper See were Pintail, a few Whitefronts, Red Breasted Merganser, Goosander, a pair of Smew and Red-necked Grebe. At Parey there was no sign of the Red-breasted Goose that had been seen the previous week. On the flooded fields were large numbers of Pintail and Shoveler. Also here were two White Tailed Eagles, Great White Egrets, Ruff and Snipe. On to Belzig for overnight stay.

Red Squirrel at Belzig 31101 April. 7.0 am walk down to the Castle area, and checked the woodland around. Added Grey Wagtail, and a group of 3+ Hawfinches seen initially feeding on the ground. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, two more continental Bullfinches, Black Redstart and a Black Woodpecker. Red Squirrel dashing about the trees.

Called at the Great Bustard site (Belziger Landschaftwiesen). Very distant Bustard views in the heat haze – a couple of males. Red and Black Kite, and White Stork. Near Freienthal was a Male Hen Harrier and Great Grey Shrike.
Some difficulty in finding Strengsee, but eventually succeeded. Birds seen here included 38 Black-Necked Grebes a displaying pair of Red Necked Grebes, Great White Egret, Common Crane, White Tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Little Gull with good numbers of wildfowl. Also a Kingfisher.

At Stangenhagen an Osprey was on its nest on a pole in the middle of the lake. Also here were Common Crane (160), displaying Black Kite, Red Kite, and a calling Water Rail. About an hour to the airport. 10 mile static queue on the west bound autobahn. 9.15 pm Flight to Bristol left on time.

Total Species 111

Berlin 24 to 27 November 2007

Roger and Andrew White

This was short visit to Berlin looking at some of the sites.

Blankenburg Ponds
This small group of ponds is on Straße 44 near Blankenburger Straße. There was little to see on the water but there were excellent views of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the trees bordering a pond.

Karow ponds
Karow planA complex of ponds in the north east of the city. Good paths lead through the site. One of the ponds has dried out and is now a large reed bed. It is best in spring and summer but on this winter walk we saw Siskins. some nice white headed Long-tailed Tits, Marsh Tit, Tree creeper and excellent views of a Goshawk sitting in a tree about 50 yards away.

This large shallow pond close to Buch S-Bahn is considered by Berlin birders to be better than Karow. On this short ‘site visit’ there were few birds worth recording apart from a few Wigeon.
Hobrechts 1To do justice to this excellent site (a former sewage farm) on the north of the city, at least half a day is needed. As expected, it was quiet at this time of year but in spring the key species include Wryneck, Icterine and Barred Warbler.

Schoenow hideAgain this is a spring/summer site with breeding Hoopoe, Nightjar and Woodlark. It is best not to stray off the paths since it is a former military training area.

In summer the woodland here is good for Redstarts, and Little Bitterns breed at the eastern end of the lake. A surprise find was 3 Velvet Scoter. Apparently this is a good time to find them on inland waters.

Döberitzer Heide
Doberitzer Heide plan 2Another military training area has extensive woodland and open heath. In summer expect the usual heathland birds plus shrikes and warblers, but as expected it was fairly lifeless at this time of year.

Poel and the Baltic coast of Germany 21 to 24 Sept 2007

Roger and Christine White.

This was a brief visit to some of the sites in northern Germany.
21 September
Island of Poel. Gollwitz is a village at the NE tip of the poel beach neisland. On the approach road was a White-tailed Eagle and 3 Red Kites were seen. There is a car park on the edge of the village, then a 500 m walk to the beach where there is a small viewing platform with a fixed telescope. The view is of Langenwerder Island. On this island is a large Common Gull colony, and breeding Little and Arctic Terns. A lot of birds seen: Dunlin ++, Little Stint, Curlew, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Oyster Catcher. Also Red-breasted Merganser, Pintail, Wigeon, Mallard, and Brent Geese.
23 Sept
Karrendorf and Wampen.
These are both excellent coastal sites. Extensive marsh with pools at Karrendorf meadows and good shoreline with a reef at Wampen. A good variety of waders on the marsh. Huge karrendorf poolnumbers of Mute Swan and Greylag Geese off shore. On the pools were Wigeon, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Snipe and a couple of Spotted Redshank.
At Wampen, 14 Knot were resting on a sand bank. The only other bird of note was a Red-backed Shrike.
24 September.
East of Greifswald is the reserve of Struck. There is no entry but at that time we were able to drive along the border as far as the shore. There was grazed meadow and scattered bushes. 10 Wheatear, 2 juvenile Red-backed Shrike. A White-tailed Eagle in the distance. On a small pool were Wigeon, Dunlin and a Ruff.

A brief visit to Anklam on the return journey to Berlin.

Anklam and Schwedt, Germany 30 May to 3 June 2007

Roger White

Anklam 3 nights. Schwedt 1 night

30 May
Morning flight Bristol to Berlin Tegel. Drove to Anklam, and stayed at Schwarz hotel. (Am Stadtwall was full). Short evening visit to Johannishof polder. Greylags, Curlew, Lapwing, Reed Bunting, Savi’s Warbler.

31 May Sunny
8.15 am Johannishof polder again . Birds here included a pair of Marsh Sandpipers.

They flew around calling then landed in standing water. Very good views. Yellow Wagtails, Red Backed Shrikes, Marsh Harrier, Garganey, Gadwall, Cuckoo. Walked west for about 1 km towards Murchiner Polder. johannisdorf1Masses of Mute Swans and breeding Common Terns here. More Garganey and Bearded Tits here, giving very good views. A White-tailed Eagle flew in and perched in the row of trees. Warblers seen and heard included Sedge Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Reed Warbler, Marsh, and Savi’s. On the way back to the car a Crane and another Sea Eagle flew in. A couple of White winged Terns flew by calling.

In the afternoon went to Klotzow polder. This was an eventful journey through country roads adding Whinchat, a pair of Hobby, Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, and Sea Eagle. Also Wood Warbler, and heard a Willow Tit.

At Klotzow two White-tailed Eagles flew past, mobbed by Lapwings, a few White winged Terns here, and a Rosefinch was singing from a bush at the end of the track.

Early evening visit to Menzlin polder, looking for the Barred Warbler but faied to find any. However, a lot of birds to see. An Osprey flew over and other raptors were White-tailed Eagle, Red Kite and Honey Buzzard. Also seen were Marsh and Savi’s Warbler, Bearded Tit, Whinchat and Thrush Nightingale. A Quail was calling near the car park.
Evening visit to the Polder Gorke. It was only a short visit, More time would no doubt have resulted in a lot more birds. Red Kite, small groups of Black Tern, Crane, Wigeon and Pochard here.

1 June
Left at 8.15 for Usedom island, aiming for Peenemunde. Well over an hour to get there. Some quite good open fields on the islands with raptors – Buzzards, Red and Black Kite, and a White-tailed Eagle. A lot of pine forest along the coast and areas of mixed woodland, but not many birds, and nothing apart from Herring Gulls on the coast. Near Wolgast was a hilly and sandy area with a lot of tall bushes. A big parking area was near a mobile soup kitchen. On the hill were Red backed Shrikes and a Barred Warbler in repeated song flight. A White Stork circled overhead.Kolsow polder

A second visit to Klotzow polder in the afternoon. Whinchat and Red-backed Shrike near the car park. In the damp woodland on the left was a and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker giving excellent views. Two Eagles flew out of the polder, again chased by Lapwings. Also Marsh Harrier, Black and White Winged Black Terns on the south side. Garganey, Shoveler, Teal, Bearded Tits and Rosefinch singing from the trees at the end.

Decided then to look at the polders around Bargischow, east of Anklam. The road to there out of Anklam was dire. It was mostly teeth rattling cobbles. After Bargishow and towards Kamp there was some smooth road followed by concrete blocks. This was worse and I almost gave up. The meadows here were very quiet and looked very uninteresting. There was some work going on here which appeared to be restoration of the Kamp notice about Klamppolder. (see photo) Some new dykes were being constructed. Close to here was a large stretch of water with very few birds – some Bearded tits, a Common Tern, and a single Black necked grebe. A Cormorant colony was in the distance.

Johannishof 6.30 to 7.30 pm, hoping for crakes, but no luck. 8 Garganey, Marsh Harrier and 2 White-tailed Eagles. Red Kite and 3 Redshanks.

2 June
Morning visit to Bugewitz polder. Whinchat, Common Tern and 3 Black Tern. A group of 8 Whiskered Tern flew past. 2 Marsh Harrier and heard a Water Rail.

Decided then to visit Ahlbeck Seegrund on the way to Schwedt. This is a former inland sea which was drained 150 years ago for stock rearing. There was some very nice woodland with mature trees and Golden Oriole and Redstart were added to the list.

On the way to Schwedt I stopped near Teerofen Brücke. In the woodland were Wood Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. Along the track to the north of Teerofen bridge were singing Thrush Nightingales. A Black Woodpecker flew across in the open between some trees. I met a German Birdwatcher ( who was driving his Trabant). Saollik and TrabbyHe told me that he had found singing Aquatic Warbler near Schwedt, and gave me directions.

A lot of Yellow Wagtails and several calling Corncrakes. One actually flew a yards. A Black Tern flew by. Good views of Sedge Warblers. After 30 mins I heard an Aquatic Warbler singing. The song started with some churring and whistles. I did not see the bird but its identity was confirmed by a German birder who joined me.

Returned at 7.15 and stayed till 8.30 pm but did not hear any song this time. The National Park warden arrived with a small group to mark out the Aquatic area with posts.

3 June
Decided on a last effort to see the Aquatic Warbler and went to the polder between 6.0 and 7.0 am. It was very dull and all that was singing were Sedge Warblers and about 4 Corncrakes. 2 White Storks circled around.

Brief visit to Felchow See, but there was drizzle +. On the main lake there were about 10 Goldeneye, a Garganey and Black-necked Grebe.

On the way to Berlin I turned off the 11 at Bernau for a brief visit to Schönowerheide. It is obviously a popular walking place at weekends (today was Sunday). It is an old military range with signs warning people not to stray from the track. It is now a heathland area with scattered Scots pines. Within only a couple of hundred yards I found Tree pipit, Woodlark and Crested Tit and Golden Orioles were singing from the woodland the opposite side of the main road.

Next stop Schönefeld airport for the flight home.

East Germany 14 to 19 May 2006

Robin Prytherch and Roger White

Based on Hotel Am Seetor, Angermunde

14 May. Afternnon flight Bristol to Berlin Schoenfeld, then on to Angermunde. Black Kite and 2 Montague’s Harriers en route.

15 May 2006. Brodowin. Birds in the village included Serin and Black Redstart and White Stork at its nest. Then circular walk around Brodowinsee through woodland and open fields, and birds seen included Cranes in the field, Golden Orioles, Woodlark, Hen Harrier and very close Lesser Spotted Woodpecker views. Also Whinchat and Corn Bunting and a Red-backed Shrike, Garden Warbler, Lesser and Common Whitethroat but no Barred Warbler. From a hill on the esat side of the lake there were no lake views because of trees, but looking south west there was a distant displaying Honey Buzzard.

A walk back through the beech woods towards Chorin revealed Wood Warbler, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Black Woodpecker, GS and Green Woodpecker but no Middle Spotted Woodpecker.

16 May 2006. A day in the Lower Oder National park. Hired bicycles at the Wildnischule near Gartz. Good views here of Black and Middle Spotted Woodpecker. The stretch of path north from the Teerofen bridge was alive with birds. A lot of bird song in the bushes and swampy areas on the left from Thrush Nightingales and Garden Warblers. Also Red-backed Shrike, and white headed Long-tailed tits here. In the open areas of polder on our right the number of birds was quite disappointing considering the ideal terrain. Duck includedGarganey22mar06Frome Garganey and Gadwall. Lapwing was the only wader. Grasshopper Warbler singing.

Continuing north there was a fine Rosefinch singing from the top of a bush. Around the corner on the return circuit heading south east the terrain was different – a bit dryer, and we found Blue-headed Wagtail, Whinchat and calling Corncrakes. We cut back right along a rougher track to the bridge, north west. The round trip was about 8 km. The whole circuit on this polder is more than 20km. Raptors included Black Kites and Buzzard.

At Criewen during a walk through the polder were Serin and Black Woodpecker again. a Hobby flew over, and there was a Goosander on the canal. Black Kite again and 7 Cranes flew by. Across the river Oder over Poland was a pair of flying Lesser Spotted Eagle.

17 May 2006. Felchow see. at the small lake were singing Savi’s Warbler, and some new duck – including Shoveler and Pochard. Red-necked Grebe 3 Marsh Harriers, 4 Bearded Tit, Blue headed Wagtail and Woodlark. Cranes were calling from the woods on the hill. A short walk in the woods – more Golden Orioles (they seemed to be in every wood we visited) and elusive song birds among which were Marsh Tits and Spotted Flycatcher. On the main lake were 20+ Black-necked Grebes.
Headed then to the Blumberg wood for the Lesser Spotted Eagle site. On the way we stopped for a view and were diverted by a singing Icterine Warbler. After some patient watching a Lesser Spotted Eagle was watched drifting over the trees. Other raptors here were Black and Red Kites and 2 Honey Buzzards. On return to Angermunde a short stop at a muddy field pond was very rewarding: We stopped to view a White Stork but also found 2 Temminck’s Stints, and a Wood Sandpiper as well as a Little Ringed Plover sitting on its nest. (a visit here 2 years later was disappointing because it was overgrown with reeds).

Near Biesenbrow was a ring tail Montague’s Harrier and at the Hintenteiche (ponds) at Biesenbrow were breeding Common Terns and Little Ringed Plover on muddy islands and a Marsh Warbler. which provided telescope views as it sang on the edge of a reed bed in the middle of a ploughed field. Finally that day a stop at the fishponds near the Blumberger Muhle Naturschutz station provided a flypast by a couple of White-tailed eagles.

18 May Back to Brodowin to have another search for Barred Warbler and were rewarded with a singing male. It was elusive as it flew from bush to bush and sometimes to the top of a tree during its song flight. It gave brief views showing only a little barring and so was probably a first year bird. The white tail tips showed well in flight. Mosquitoes ++ here – even though it was quite cold. Left for the airport after this but the journey was slow because the Autobahn blocked by of an overturned oil tanker. Threaded our way through the suburbs of Berlin to arrive just in time for the 1.45 flight to Bristol.

Total species: 114.

Brandenburg Germany October 2006

Two back to back visits to Westhavelland. 15 to 18 and 18 to 21 October
Two groups of 8 from Bristol Ornithological Club visited the Westhavelland region of Brandenburg travelling by minibus, and based at Semlin and Zauchwitz.

Sunday 15 October
Late pm flight Bristol to Berlin Schönefeld

Monday 16 October
Tree Sparrow and a pair of Black Redstart were outside the hotel. On the way to Buckow, Crested Tit were seen during a short stop by the lake. Close to Buckow 12 Great Bustards were watched feeding in a rape crop. At the main hide were Buzzards, Merlin, ring tailed Hen Harrier, a Red Kite and distant White-tailed Eagle. 5 Golden Plover here and large flock of Lapwing. On the way to Rathenow we were distracted on the way by excellent views of a perched Rough legged Buzzard. At the pump house on the north shore of Gülper See were at least three Eagles. A fine adult patrolled the edge of the reeds and then perched in a dead tree. The first Cranes flew over. A new woodland area near Schollene revealed Marsh Tit and Siskin, but this diversion was not really worthwhile. A Great Grey Shrike was watched by the lake at Semlin.

Tuesday 17 October
Clear skies again. En route to the southern side of Gülper See, were flocks of small birds – mainly Tree Sparrow and Yellow Hammer and Corn Bunting, and a large flock of Cranes. From the main hide overlooking the lake were 2 Little Stint, Snipe and Dunlin. Also Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail, Tufted Duck and Teal. Further along the shore were views of hundreds of Bean and White-fronted Geese, 4 Barnacle geese and a couple of Ruff. In the afternoon headed for Zauchwitz, where we visited the large ponds at Stangenhagen where there were a lot of geese, but views were distant and the area was a bit disappointing – except for one member who saw a Black Woodpecker fly into the woodland.

Wed 18 October
Colder today, but still clear skies. We set off for a walk near Rieben at 8.30. On the way we were distracted by a very pale Buzzard sitting in a tree, which turned out to be Rough-legged when it flew. During the walk through fields there were large numbers of geese – mainly Bean. They suddenly all took off at the arrival of an Eagle which plucked one out of the air and there was the amazing sight of it flying a few yards with the goose dangling from it talons. The final bonus was a Great Grey Shrike sitting on a dead branch.
Left around 1030 for 1.50 flight to Bristol.

The second Bristol group of 7 led by Ken Hall flew in to Berlin 18 October and met Andrew White on arrival.

19 October
Black Woodpecker was the best bird during a lakeside stop. At Buckow was a Rough-legged Buzzard and Hen Harrier, but only a distant view of a single Great Bustard.

At Gülper See where we are confronted by an amazing spectacle – Roger’s pre-trip notes had promised thousands of Geese, but the reality far exceeded our expectations. As we walk to our lunch stop Greylags, White-fronted and Bean Geese at West Havelland Nick Ayers (2)Geese fly in from all points of the compass, Great White Egrets occasionally pop up from the reeds and a White-Tailed Eagle patrols the lake margins. By the time we leave, the centre of the lake carries a couple of acres (maybe that should be hectares?) of geese.

20 October
When we arrive at the Gülper See hide we have to wait while a platoon of chain-smoking European birders descend, each carrying a scope mounted on a wooden tripod which would have a Manfrotto salesman eating his heart out. With all the windows open the smell of smoke soon disappears and we can scope the ducks and waders which have already vacated the centre of the lake to leave room for the landing geese.

The light isn’t that good, and the ducks a bit far off, but as Ken reels off the plumage features by which he is identifying the birds I begin to wonder if I have the only monochrome telescope in the hide. Still, our walk takes us towards the birds and eventually I can identify the various ducks, Ruff, Redshank and Little Stint for myself. If we approach from downwind we can always tell and avoid the hides which are occupied by the other birders by the aroma of continental tobacco fumes. As we eat our lunch near an old windmill a light rain starts to fall, but eases off before we start on what will prove to be a spectacular afternoon’s birding.

Common-Crane-family_w4730[1]Stopping to look at a Ring-necked Pheasant, we see four Common Cranes in a corner of a recently ploughed field that had held Indian corn. A quiet exit from the minibus and we soon have them in the ‘scopes, only to discover that the field goes far beyond the corner and is covered in Cranes. The word must have got round that the feeding was good there, because soon Cranes are flying in from everywhere and we eventually are looking at well over two hundred birds – an amazing sight. It is easy to see that they tend to stay in family parties. We even manage to see one or two dancing.R-L Buzzard

Time to leave for our second hotel, but en-route Andrew takes us to another Great Bustard site. Again we are lucky, as we spot a dozen birds just before they disappear behind some long grass. Five minutes later and we would have discarded the site as empty. Knowing their location Andrew is able to take us much nearer to a spot where, sheltered from their view, we can view them through a gap in the hedge some four hundred yards away. Silhouetted against a grey sky, but lit by a strong evening sun behind us, they make an unforgettable sight and one that keeps the photographers busy. To add to the enjoyment some of them decide to do a fly-past so that we can better appreciate their plumage – truly an excellent day.

At dinner that evening we are joined by Roger and Christine and compare our list with that of the earlier party. They prove to be very similar, but we are now up to eighty three species which puts Ken on his mettle for our final day’s birding.

21 October
The group help with Short-toed Treecreeper and Grey Wagtail before we leave the hotel for a short walk through lightly wooded fields on a beautiful autumn morning. Brambling are heard, and Ken spots a distant Goshawk. The last bird of our trip however is a Great Grey Shrike sitting in full view and in full sun – a great way to finish a memorable short break. We just managed the magic ninety birds.

(Shortened report by Clive Leyman)

Brandenburg 11 to 14 October 2005

Tuesday 11 October.  Afternoon flight from Bristol to Berlin by 8 members of the Bristol Ornithological Club

Wed 12 October
Semlin.  Tree Sparrows and Swallows outside the hotel. Single  The first Bean Geese flew over. At the nearby lake Bearded tits calling. GC grebes and a distant Black-necked Grebe. On the way to Nennhausen there were 50+ Buzzards, one of them almost pure white. 4 Rough-legged Buzzards, 4 Hen Harriers and several Red Kites. A single Great Grey Shrike on a post near the main hide at Buckow and 6 Great Bustards.

Then back towards Rhinow via Rathenow. The first flocks of Geese (500+ Bean and White-fronted) were feeding in a field just past Graningen.Another Shrike at the pump house on the north side of Gulper See. Five immature White-tailed Eagles seen from here.  All  Stopped briefly at the hide near Havelberg where there was another Great Grey Shrike, and some distant Cranes.
Black Redstart on roof of Havelberg Cathedral. Left there at 6.0 pm and stopped to watch large flocks of Cranes flying to roost.
End of day score 56 species.

Thursday 13 October
Headed to Parey. Along the road were a lot of Meadow Pipits and White Wagtails, some Skylarks and 2 or 3 Corn Buntings. Near the track to the tower hide between Parey and Gulpe was a small pond with a couple of Wigeon, some Teal and and a Gadwall. Hen Harrier and Red Kite around. In the area south of the lake  a huge flock of Cranes were seen. Also a single Eagle, and along one of the drains some Shoveler and brief views of Bearded Tits. Along the south shore of Gulper See was a mixed flock of Yellow Hammers and Chaffinches. From the main hide overlooking the lake  there were hundreds of geese. Grey Lags, Whitefronts and BeaBean Geese_4732[1]n Geese in equal numbers, only a single Pintail among the large flock of mixed duck. A few Dunlin and Ringed Plover along the shore. In the woodland were Crested and Coal Tits, and Bramblings. Further east along the shore were thousands of geese, and 7 Great White Egrets.

Then, a short diversion to a new site – Dreetzer See  The lake itself was disappointing but a male Hen Harrier on the way there and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the trees on the south side of the lake made the diversion well worth while.  Headed for Lubben for the next night.

Friday 14 October
A morning walk along the fishponds from the sluice towards Schlepzig. A Black Woodpecker called and flew across the path. Long-tailed Tits, a lot of Siskins and a couple of Chiffchaffs.  Good numbers of Pochard and Goldeneye on the ponds. Total species count for the 2 1/2 days was 81.

Back to Schoenefeld airport for the 1350 return flight to Bristol

Brandenburg Germany 11/14 March 2005

Eight members of the Bristol Ornithological Club arrived at Berlin Schönefeld in the evening and drove west to Semlin for a 3 day birdwatching trip.

12 March. Grey, very cold with a strong west wind. We failed to find any Great Bustards at Buckow. Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier, 100 Cranes here. A lot of Gülper See was frozen, but there were Whooper Swans Smewand huge numbers of geese (20,000+). These were Bean, White-front and Greylag. 4 Smew, a lot of Goosander and many other duck. Two White-tailed Eagle.

13 March Very cold again, but less windy and brighter. It had snowed overnight. Travelled to the south shore of Gülper OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee. Five more Rough-legged Buzzards and Hen Harriers were added. Geese were everywhere. The tower hide gave good views of Whooper Swans and Bean Geese, and, and a distant Eagle. In the small pine wood were Crested and Willow tit, and superb views of an initially elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. In the afternoon headed south to Belzig and near Baitz we were rewarded by a group of 29 feeding Great Bustards. Also here were three Hen Harriers (2 male). Headed east to Lubben for the night.

14 March
Still very cold but sunny. Waxwings were seen on the pre breakfast walk, and the rest of the team caught up with them in a garden opposite the Toyota Garage. 29 were feeding here. At the fish ponds a Black Woodpecker arrived on cue, and another Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showed briefly. An Eagle appeared overhead as we walked south through the snow, and circled above us. After an excellent morning walk we headed north to Berlin for the 1405 flight to Bristol.

We had recorded 80 species in total.

Brandenburg 11 January 2005

Roger and Andrew White

This was a rapid one day recce east of Berlin in thick snow to check out a future itinerary. After an early start from Berlin we visited the ponds at Linum, Gartz, Gülper See, and Havelberg before getting to Berlin Tegel airport in time for the 1900 hrs flight to London

The 48 species recorded during the day included Whooper Swan (7), Bean and White-fronted Goose (1000+ of each), Goldeneye, Goosander, Kingfisher, 5 White-tailed Eagle, 6 Hen Harrier, 5 Rough-legged Buzzard, Common Buzzards (not counted), Red Kite, 150 Cranes, Great Grey Shrike, Black Woodpecker.