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Terns in Germany - the best sites?

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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 10:19   #1
HermitIbis
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Terns in Germany - the best sites?

My New Year's resolution for 2018: to see terns and photograph them in flight. In my place (Black Forest) I've only met 4-5 individuals during migration, too far away. It would be great if members could recommend good sites for terns at the coast or close to the German coast. Waders are a welcome extra, not a must.

So what is your preferred site if you want to shoot terns in flight in Germany? Checking the three books "Vögel beobachten in..." by Moning & co-author I've got the idea that spending 2-3 days on the island Neuwerk in late April would be a good start to see at least three species: Common, Little and Arctic tern. Sandwich: no guarantee. - Other proposals?

For rarer tern species (whiskered, white-winged, Caspian, Black tern) it seems better to visit sites in Meck-Pomm, perhaps later in the year. Moning's books are valuable sources, often mention floating nest platforms. Yet I'd appreciate very much to hear your experiences. I don't want to disturb birds. Some colonies might be more familiar with human visitors than others.

Any advice welcome. I wish a Happy New Year to everybody!

Last edited by HermitIbis : Monday 1st January 2018 at 10:28.
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 22:59   #2
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There used to be a breeding colony of Gull-billed Terns between Freiburg (Elbe) and Cuxhaven, the only one in Germany. I think it's still there.
Regarding MVP, you could try the extensive reserves at the mouth of the Peene, around Anklam. Good place to see Caspians, as well as some others. Even Whiskered or White-winged if you're lucky.
Black Terns can turn up in a lot of places, particularly in wetland reserves near the coast.
Sandwich Tern is probably easiest in the SH-Wattenmeer national park.
The eastern promontory of the Kieler Förde is a very reliable place to see Little Terns, as there usually is a breeding colony between Laboe and Wendtorf (as a bonus, the site also has a colony of Sand Martins and some pairs of Rosefinches).
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 11:49   #3
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The Gull-billed Tern colony can be found between Neufeld and Neufelderkoog west of Brunsbuettel:

https://www.google.de/maps/@53.89725...4215,14z?hl=en

Caspian Tern should be easy to see in August to early September in the Karrendorfer Wisen near Greifswald (birds will fly past quite close):

https://www.google.de/maps/@54.16472...5337,14z?hl=en

For Marsh Terns (Chlidonias), a visit to the Untere Odertal around Schwedt in June is a good idea. I think Ornitho is a good resource to check for sightings of these closer to the time.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 13:32   #4
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Originally Posted by Captain_of_Crunch View Post
For Marsh Terns (Chlidonias), a visit to the Untere Odertal around Schwedt in June is a good idea.
I'm not so sure if that's still the case, though. I visited the place in June and found only Common and Black Terns there. A local birder told me that the other two marsh tern species had become rare in the place due to habitat changes, although they might be found further downstream (particularly the delta area across the border). FWIW, they weren't reported in the National Park in great numbers on ornitho either.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 19:26   #5
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Terns very close, I suggest island Langenwerder.
Artic Tern usually is very close.
Little Tern and Sandwich Tern nearly 100 % chance.
Caspian Tern, very high chance near Greifswald.

Also for White winged and wiskered Tern are breeding place in Mecklenburg Vorpommern ( looks at Vogelbeobachtung in Ostdeutschland ).

Buy the way, Lesser spotted Eagle is almost 100 % chance at river valley Recknitz.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 19:33   #6
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On the way to north Buckow/ Nennhausen Great Bustard almost 100 % chance.
Broad billed Sandpiper near Greifswald, end of August high chance,
Langenwerder sometimes to.
Marsh Sandpiper at Langenwerder and Greifswald high chance.

Trush Nightingale in MV almost 100 % chance im May/ June.

Barred Warbler Havel river area e.g. Guelper See and MV good chance in spring.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 19:39   #7
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Originally Posted by HermitIbis View Post
For rarer tern species (whiskered, white-winged, Caspian, Black tern) it seems better to visit sites in Meck-Pomm, perhaps later in the year. Moning's books are valuable sources, often mention floating nest platforms. Yet I'd appreciate very much to hear your experiences. I don't want to disturb birds. Some colonies might be more familiar with human visitors than others.

Any advice welcome. I wish a Happy New Year to everybody!
Near Greifswald Caspian terns near swimming place.
So birder will not disturb more than daily visiters for swim.
At Langenwerder a small part can be visited.
People swim around pools where are sitting Artic terns.
Usually pass the pools with tern about 20 meters is no problem.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 22:50   #8
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Many thanks for all your suggestions! Lots of food for thought...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_of_Crunch View Post
The Gull-billed Tern colony can be found between Neufeld and Neufelderkoog west of Brunsbuettel:

https://www.google.de/maps/@53.89725...4215,14z?hl=en

Caspian Tern should be easy to see in August to early September in the Karrendorfer Wisen near Greifswald (birds will fly past quite close)
Sounds promising - this region (Greifswald, Anklam, ...) seems to get a more than fair share of tern visits. Thanks for your hint at ornitho.de, it will be a valuable tool, as already a quick glance at the 2017 tern sightings shows.

Last edited by HermitIbis : Tuesday 2nd January 2018 at 22:53.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 23:24   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
There used to be a breeding colony of Gull-billed Terns between Freiburg (Elbe) and Cuxhaven, the only one in Germany. I think it's still there. [...]
Black Terns can turn up in a lot of places, particularly in wetland reserves near the coast.
Sandwich Tern is probably easiest in the SH-Wattenmeer national park.
The eastern promontory of the Kieler Förde is a very reliable place to see Little Terns, as there usually is a breeding colony between Laboe and Wendtorf (as a bonus, the site also has a colony of Sand Martins and some pairs of Rosefinches).
For Sandwich Terns, I had already considered Heligoland in late April/early May. Ornitho.de has the bird as a regular guest, e.g. this photo from Düne-Nord. However, you are right that the bird can be found in the whole Nationalpark Wattenmeer, and other islands seem to offer more tern variety (e.g. Norderney, Borkum).

Maybe a two-stage approach is best: spending 2-3 days at a place with the more common terns in April/May. Where? Not 100% sure, yet there is a sufficiently recent issue of "Der Falke" (4/2015) for Euro 2.50 covering "Seeschwalben Neuwerk" that I plan to buy. - This island holiday can be combined with a day-trip to Eidersperrwerk with its colony of Arctic Terns.

And a second trip, later in the summer, to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for the rarer marsh terns (black, whiskered, white-winged) and Caspian Terns. Maybe as a bicycle tour, always keeping an eye on ornitho.de...

Last edited by HermitIbis : Tuesday 2nd January 2018 at 23:29.
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Old Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 23:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albatross02 View Post
Near Greifswald Caspian terns near swimming place.
So birder will not disturb more than daily visiters for swim.
At Langenwerder a small part can be visited.
People swim around pools where are sitting Artic terns.
Usually pass the pools with tern about 20 meters is no problem.
Langenwerder is an excellent suggestion, thank you very much. I see access is restricted to a few guided walks with a maximum of 15 participants (August...). I'll check this out.

I love to photograph swallows during migration. Light rain in April, 500 birds hunting insects over the river. Terns might be a similar challenge. Or perhaps not - but I am willing to try it out.
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Old Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 18:58   #11
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This is wrong information.
Most part ofisland Langenwerder is registricted.
A small part, which offers good view is accessible !

You can go until the fence, which You see on the picture
https://i1.wp.com/www.baumloewe.de/w...08/DSC2899.jpg
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Old Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 22:06   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albatross02 View Post
This is wrong information.
Most part ofisland Langenwerder is registricted.
A small part, which offers good view is accessible !

You can go until the fence, which You see on the picture
https://i1.wp.com/www.baumloewe.de/w...08/DSC2899.jpg
Many thanks for putting things straight. As I prefer to watch alone, and not in a group, your description makes a visit more attractive for me.
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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 07:33   #13
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Some terrific tern shots in the flickr account of a user named bmse, like this one. Beautiful photo! Looking at some videos of hunting terns, it must be a challenge to keep these birds in the viewfinder.

I'll go through the ornitho.de data to work out the best places. Thanks again for all the valuable suggestions above. The Banter See (Wilhelmshaven / Jade) also seems to be a good destination. If you have another hint, please post.

Spring cannot come soon enough!

Last edited by HermitIbis : Saturday 6th January 2018 at 07:39.
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