Springtime in Germany
My parents and I spent about a week and a half in Germany, visiting
friends and relatives, and seeing some of the beautiful sights.
species -- bird list is at the bottom of the page
thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.
Days 4-12: Kaufungen, Steinhuder
Meer, & Bielefeld
On Thursday the 18th we spent a day with my Aunt Lotti and Uncle
Horst in Bielefeld. We walked around the castle and a
promenade high above the city. Then, as we had some cake and coffee at
a cafe, we watched a couple of black & white birders coming out of
this little door on the 2nd floor of the restaurant. At
Uncle Horst's home, I watched a Great Tit bring caterpillars to
its young, nesting in a birdhouse above their flowerbed.
On Friday the 19th, Christa and I took an all-day trip north to Steinhuder
Meer, a shallow lake in the lowlands at the edge of the Lueneburger
Heide. As we drove north from Kaufungen we eventually
descended from the rolling foothills on the northwestern edge of the
Harz mountains to the
flatlands and canals surrounding Hannover. The Audi's
navigation system led us around the traffic of this major city and
put us on a course for the town of Steinhuder, directly on the lake.
Common Swift, Steinhuder
It was raining once we got there, so we bought some coffee and an umbrella
at the visitor center. Then we walked a short trail over a bridge to
a little island close to the shore. From the bridge and the
shoreline we spotted Tufted Ducks, Shovelers, Gadwalls, and Pochards.
There were also lots of Mute Swans, looking most elegant as they floated
and fed in the water.
The most common water bird here, as in many of the lakes of Germany, was
the Great Crested Grebe. Later we were also to see a Dabchick, or
Little Grebe. Several of the grebes did some head-bobbing & neck-weaving, but we never saw them do their full-fledged courtship dance.
We drove on to the southeast end of the lake, which turned out to be the
most productive area for birding.
Great Crested Grebe
Barnacle Goose, Steinhuder
As we got started hiking down to the nature
preserve and blinds, I saw my first Common Cuckoo, and got some
far-away photos as it flew away. A wet meadow close to the
woods had dozens of Greylag Geese and this solitary Barnacle
Goose, another lifer for me. Another fifty yards took us to
an observation blind overlooking a wonderful set of shallow,
reedy ponds, chock-full of duck species. In addition to a
"lifer" Gargany were Eurasian Teal and all the waterfowl species
we'd seen so far!
The final stop along the northern shore of Steinhuder Meer proved good for
swifts hawking insects in the sky, and fieldfares feeding on the resort
lawns. In the reeds along the shore we also heard and glimpsed
several Marsh Warblers. After a two-hour trip home, we picked up
Christa's dog from the "doggie hotel" and joined several
dinner at a local restaurant.
On Sunday Christa prepared a fine "birthday" breakfast for us all (it was
her birdthday!), and after visiting a few more hours we headed south
towards Frankfurt. We made one final tourist stop at Alsfeld to
tour the beautiful old city and have a light lunch. The next morning
we flew home, and then drove back from St. Louis to Carbondale.
to Page 1 : Bad Kreuznach & Kaufungen