Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Germany, 14th-19th April 2011

Wolfsburg! The city of VWs and also the place of residence of my girlfriend's very lovely german friend, with whom we went and spent six days in April.

For a first holiday away together I was determined to break in the birding, but with something of a velvet glove approach. A couple of trips to the very lovely surrounding forests in the evening sunshine (or cloudy, overcast-shine. Everything's nice when you're on holiday!) was a more than suitable way of getting myself some decent birds.

The trip started off well with a mahooosive White Stork over the car on the drive from the airport at Hannover, but it was surprisingly the only one seen the whole trip. I was sort of expecting to be tripping over the huge, gorgeous white things, babies in bill.

On arriving at the very very nice house (we were actually staying just outside of Wolfsburg in Flechtorf) it was nice to be greeted by a stunning male Black Redstart in the garden. I don't understand why as Black Reds seem so common throughout suburban areas in Europe they haven't yet realised they can leave East London, Birmingham and other generally rubbley places for a gentler and more prosperous life in the suburbs. The beaugoise black redstart is yet to have reached Britain's shores.

Croissant for Breakfast, Couscous for Lunch, Dinner at the Theatre.

When the female Black Redstart (for there was a pair, and they probably are breeding nearby and I can say that without having SCHEDULE 1 screamed at me) was joined by a Tree Sparrow I nearly actually had a heart attack.

Garden birds in England are shit.

The big forest right behind their house clearly had a population of Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers but I didn't hear any other species. It provided a very pleasant walk with the likes of Hawfinch, Chaffinches, infinite numbers of ChiffChaff and a couple of Willow Warblers, Marsh/Willow Tit (only seen very briefly at a distance), Buzzard and Tits. Fieldfares seem to replace Mistle thrushes as being the big, noisy local thrushes and raptors included a flyover Marsh harrier (again from the Garden!) and a couple of Red Kites.

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