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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

A Sunday Outing (1 Viewer)

Classick

Active member
Germany
Today was a day that seemed to not be a good day (for birding) in the beginning but actually turned out more than o.k. after all.

The weather here in south(west)ern Germany has not been the "best" in recent days (well, rain is of course good for nature, but I am not among those who like to go out during a rain shower), the last (really) sunny, even summery day having been Thursday -- and that was also the day when thunder and rain began. On that day, a holiday over here ("Fronleichnam", or Corpus Christi), I got out around 9:30 am. That might not be the best time to watch songbirds (which, at least here, is generally considered to be just after dawn) -- but it seems that songbirds have gotten quite "quiet" recently after all the mating hoopla of April and May. Most of them now seem busy taking care of their nestlings and slightly older young ones instead of singing to mark their territory and to make themselves attractive to potential mates. Also, the dense foliage makes it very hard to spot songbirds. But I was not out there for blue tits or European robins but for birds of prey. I had a hunch to take a different route that Thursday -- to where I expected Buteo buteo and Milvus milvus to (also) be because I had seen them in that general direction from my usual route. And I was actually successful, spotting several Milvus milvus and also, quite unexpectedly, Milvus migrans (and far fewer Buteo buteo than usual), with some Falco tinnunculus thrown in their as well. It was a real aerial ballet that day!

This morning, though, the weather was rainy and the sky overcast. It had rained during the night and seemed to start again any moment; according to the forecast, more rain was expected during the afternoon. It was not after my girlfriend convinced me to not be as gloomy as the weather and to "go out now before it starts to rain again -- you will regret it if you don't!" that I did go out. And I am happy she nudged me in the right direction. I took my usual route when I want to see birds of prey -- through an industrial park, across very monocultural fields, and next to a multi-lane highway (and not far away from a second one). It might not be the prettiest of places, but it is in the middle of a river valley about 2 kilometers wide, with hillsides and forest left and right and some agricultural fields in the middle. I have successfully spotted common buzzards, red kites (with a ratio of about 10 to 1), an occasional black kite, and frequently common kestrels there, so at least they seem to like it there!

And so it was today: while the sky remained overcast (and my camera at home), I spotted common kestrels hunting with their typical hovering technique (a female one was also successful and ate a mouse atop a lamp post in a hardware store parking lot), at least five common buzzards circling their way toward the sky, at least one red kite -- and also two black kites. I am pretty sure that one of the latter was a black kite I had already seen on Thursday because he looked kind of "plucked" and therefore very "individual"; the aerial distance between the two places is about 2 to 3 kilometers.

Once again, I am very happy that I was convinced to go out -- it was just the right time frame (it began to rain when I had almost reached home again) and I saw the birds of prey I could very likely expect there and which I like very much. It is always super interesting to watch them -- and also very calming.
 
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delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
That's such a lovely tale you've told here Classick. And well done your girlfriend kicking you out the door!!! 😁

It's seems you made the most of it in the end and had a grand time. You're lucky to have such great habitat locally.

Remember the camera next time though.;)
 

Green Sandpiper

Well-known member
Scotland
Today was a day that seemed to not be a good day (for birding) in the beginning but actually turned out more than o.k. after all.

The weather here in south(west)ern Germany has not been the "best" in recent days (well, rain is of course good for nature, but I am not among those who like to go out during a rain shower), the last (really) sunny, even summery day having been Thursday -- and that was also the day when thunder and rain began. On that day, a holiday over here ("Fronleichnam", or Corpus Christi), I got out around 9:30 am. That might not be the best time to watch songbirds (which, at least here, is generally considered to be just after dawn) -- but it seems that songbirds have gotten quite "quiet" recently after all the mating hoopla of April and May. Most of them now seem busy taking care of their nestlings and slightly older young ones instead of singing to mark their territory and to make themselves attractive to potential mates. Also, the dense foliage makes it very hard to spot songbirds. But I was not out there for blue tits or European robins but for birds of prey. I had a hunch to take a different route that Thursday -- to where I expected Buteo buteo and Milvus milvus to (also) be because I had seen them in that general direction from my usual route. And I was actually successful, spotting several Milvus milvus and also, quite unexpectedly, Milvus migrans (and far fewer Buteo buteo than usual), with some Falco tinnunculus thrown in their as well. It was a real aerial ballet that day!

This morning, though, the weather was rainy and the sky overcast. It had rained during the night and seemed to start again any moment; according to the forecast, more rain was expected during the afternoon. It was not after my girlfriend convinced me to not be as gloomy as the weather and to "go out now before it starts to rain again -- you will regret it if you don't!" that I did go out. And I am happy she nudged me in the right direction. I took my usual route when I want to see birds of prey -- through an industrial park, across very monocultural fields, and next to a multi-lane highway (and not far away from a second one). It might not be the prettiest of places, but it is in the middle of a river valley about 2 kilometers wide, with hillsides and forest left and right and some agricultural fields in the middle. I have successfully spotted common buzzards, red kits (with a ratio of about 10 to 1), an occasional black kite, and frequently common kestrels there, so at least they seem to like it there!

And so it was today: while the sky remained overcast (and my camera at home), I spotted common kestrels hunting with their typical hovering technique (a female one was also successful and ate a mouse atop a lamp post in a hardware store parking lot), at least five common buzzards circling their way toward the sky, at least one red kite -- and also two black kites. I am pretty sure that one of the latter was a black kite I had already seen on Thursday because he looked kind of "plucked" and therefore very "individual"; the aerial distance between the two places is about 2 to 3 kilometers.

Once again, I am very happy that I was convinced to go out -- it was just the right time frame (it began to rain when I had almost reached home again) and I saw the birds of prey I could very likely expect there and which I like very much. It is always super interesting to watch them -- and also very calming.

Thats a pretty good day's birding! Well done, its quite reassuring that I'm not the only person who gets shoved out the door to go birding sometimes!!
 

Classick

Active member
Germany
That's such a lovely tale you've told here Classick. And well done your girlfriend kicking you out the door!!! 😁

It's seems you made the most of it in the end and had a grand time. You're lucky to have such great habitat locally.

Remember the camera next time though.;)
Dear Delia,

Thank you for your kind words! Here are at least some photos from Thursday's outing. And yes, I feel very lucky to be able to enjoy what nature has to offer almost right at my doorstep!

Thats a pretty good day's birding! Well done, its quite reassuring that I'm not the only person who gets shoved out the door to go birding sometimes!!
And thanks to you too, Green Sandpiper! Yes, sometimes one needs that little push to happiness ...
 

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Classick

Active member
Germany
A fortnite later, another Sunday outing, this time almost the same route as on Corpus Christi but "prolonged." It had been a few days since my last birding tour. The weather conditions: hot and humid -- wipe-the-sweat-from-your-eyebrow-and-glasses-fog-up humid. One big change from two weeks has been the mowing of meadows -- as you can tell from the photo, white stork and carrion crows quite liked it. It is very likely that the first common buzzard I saw was the same one I spotted 16 days ago. There were also red kit but quite a distance away.

After I had made my way through a forest, I stepped out of it into the mowed fields dotted by some orchards. One fruit tree had a field sparrow in it; from others, I heard the familiar "wie-wie-wie-wie-hab-ich-dich-lieb" call (as we say in German) of the yellowhammer, but it took another kilometer or so before I actually saw one. By then, I had already been a bit unnerved, for one because I spotted very few birds. I had heard many bird calls in the forest but the foliage was too dense; in the fields, most birds were too far away. I was also getting upset with my camera because of its limited reach and because the overcast sky made for not-so-ideal light.

I followed an official hiking path that led through the fields and orchards and along the forest before it was going, for some time, between a village and the woods. There, I heard the begging call of a juvenile blue tit which was then fed by one of its parents. In another mown patch of meadow, I saw a movement and then the familar green and red of the green woodpecker, still somehow well-camoflaged in the cut grass.

The hiking path became more and more a narrow foot path and it continued closely along the forest, so I decided to get more into the fields again to receive a better view. A common kestrel flew from tree to tree, frequently annoyed by human passers-by; eventually, I could observe him quite well and took a few photographs. Above the village, I could see a red kite; common buzzards were circling their way up into the sky left and right of the fields, just above the woods, before diving down to not be seen again. I had a panoramic view of the Swabian Jura before venturing back into the forest.

While the foliage prevented me from spotting birds, it provided some well-needed shade from the sun which was now shining. I had been in this neck of the woods some years back but only had a general idea of the direction I was going. After a while, I arrived at the edge of the forest, a familiar sight in front of me: a little hill with orchards and on top one of the city's cemeteries. While the graveyard had been, during winter and spring, an oasis for birds and a great place for birding, it was now, as in the woods, very hard to spot any birds; one of the few I saw was a great spotted woodpecker.

I went along a familar route, again into the meadows and orchards and passing by little allotment gardens (Schrebergärten). Juvenile great tits were begging for food, common wood pigeons scoured the ground, and another common kestrel sat perched upon a tree -- a green woodpecker, out of my view, not being very happy but very vocal about this.

Passing through another allotment, I saw a red kite which, so I figured, was circling above the city but quickly disappeared from view. Walking through a residential area, I could spot the kite again before it disappeared once more, just to reappear a street later. All of sudden, the sky was now populated not only by the red kite but also by a Eurasian sparrowhawk and another common kestrel. Soon after, I returned home. It had turned out, after all, a very successful "hunt" for me.
 

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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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