Brandenburg birding trip report 2 - 9 June 2012  -   John van der Woude
We (Nollie and me) operated mainly from Angermünde, a nice town 80 km NE of Berlin. Biosphere reserve Schorfheide-Chorin and national park Unteres Odertal (Lower Oder valley) were our prime targets, see nrs. 3 and 1 on the map below. On the way back we also briefly visited the Elbe valley (nr. 2 on the map).

To find the birding sites, we mostly used Wagner & Monings Vögel beobachten in Ostdeutschland (2009), and supplementary also White's A Birdwatching guide to Brandenburg and Berlin (2012). We both had brought a telescope and we often needed both. We walked quite a lot, and never worried about our car being parked just somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

At the start the weather was rather cool but warmer later on, and we had very little rain at day time. On the morning of the Venus transition we had brilliant weather so we could follow all of it, in total contrast to the clouds and rain in Holland.

Although we missed a few species (as noted below at some photos) we had a good trip, with many birds, great scenery, good hotels and nice food. And often Kaffee mit Kuchen in a Konditorei.

This report is just photos with captions, and a species list at the bottom of this page, plus sound recordings of some specialties like Barred Warbler.

Brandenburg is one of the five Länder (states) of the former DDR and harbours many natural areas, as this maps shows.

The Lanke marsh at Felchow, just East of Angermünde. Good for Great Reed Warbler, Savi's Warbler, and with luck Little Crake (we dipped it but had Whiskered Tern instead).

At Brodowin, c. 15 km S of Angermünde. A highly varied area of woodland, marshes and small open areas, and hence good for many bird species.

The agriculture around Brodowin is mainly ecological, which adds to the bird richness.

One of the first of many Red-backed Shrikes. In the Brodowin area.

West of Brodowin is good deciduous forest immediatly bordering a fen (Plagesee), a situation which is good for Red-breasted Flycatcher but we could not find them. Maybe the weather was still too cold.

In the Fiddichower polder of the Lower Oder valley NP. River Warbler should be easy at this spot. However, as we later learned at the NP visitor centre, they had summer high waters in both 2010 and 2011, which may have decreased the local numbers of this species and a few others.

Further on in this Fiddichower polder, in the northeast corner, we had both Common Rosefinch and Barred Warbler.

Young foxes in the Randow Bruch while we waited for Lesser Spotted Eagle to appear above the Blumberger Wald north of Passow.

Our Lesser Spotted Eagle in the Randow Bruch. It was attracted to a large gathering of other raptors (mainly Red Kite), Ravens and Storks at a field that was cleared of hay.

More pictures of the eagle.

One of the Cormorant nesting trees in the Criewener polder, another part of the Lower Oder valley NP.

More Barred Warblers in the bush at the small summer dike of the Oder river (visible left) in the Criewener polder.

Evening walk to where we finally heard River Warbler in the Lower Oder valley NP. Oder river on photo above. River Warbler spot at photo below.

Beaver activity in the Oder valley.

One of the three beavers we saw on the way back from the River Warbler spot.

On the morning 6 June 2012, there were no clouds! So we were fortunate to see the Venus transition. The last chance for all of us to see this.

While listening to Great Reed Warblers, we observed the Venus transition at the Lanke lake at Felchow, just W of Angermünde. We still had filters for our scopes from the last two sun eclipses.

Alder stand in the Melzower Forst (East of the upper Uckersee, well N of Angermünde) of mainly beech. This is another promising spot for Red-breasted Flycatcher but again we found none.

Near the upper Uckersee. Behind the pasture is an enormous reedbed covering most of the area between the lower and the upper Uckersee. A family of Crane was at the border op this reed bed (photo below). Penduline Tit was in the bushy border strip.

Fieldfare is a breeding bird in this region, but not in large numbers.

At Seehausen, between the upper and the lower Uckersee. River Warbler was singing at 100 m to the right.

We had our only Red-necked Grebes at this simple pond on our way to the site below.

When crossing over from the Uckersee area to Templin, we had a look at an unnamed nature reserve that was on the map (NSG, Naturschutzgebiet) but not in the books. It is a dry sandy area around an abandoned sand quarry, a little SW of Röpersdorf.

Sand Martin colony at a small (geological study?) pit in this nature reserve.

Interesting wave ripple structure in another small study sand pit here. Must be a great area for a sedimentologist who is also a birder.

In the bottom of the old sand quarry, we saw both Golden Oriole and Great Grey Shrike. The latter in a feeding family.

According to the books, the Kleine Schorfheide near Templin was a place for Tawny Pipit. I wonder, with this increase of pines, if this is still the case. To reach this viewpoint is a rather long walk, but good for forest birds.

Old oak in the former monastery forest immediately East of Boitzenburg. Middle Spotted Woodpeckers nearby.

At a brook in the Boitzenburg forest.

Remains of the monastery in the Boitzenburg forest.

Further West, we made a walk in the Hullerbusch forest on a steep moraine ridge full of boulders.

The Kesselmoor inside the Hullerbusch forest. The beech and oaks around it should be good for Red-breasted Flycatcher, but we got none.

Always many roedeer in the East of Germany.

At the Elbe river West of Wittenberge. We had both River Warbler and Barred Warbler in this area.

Species list

                   Fuut  Great Crested Grebe
           Roodhalsfuut  Red-necked Grebe -  scarce!
           Geoorde Fuut  Black-necked Grebe
            Aalscholver  Cormorant
               Roerdomp  Bittern  -  flying across the Lanke at Felchow
          Blauwe Reiger  Grey Heron
        Zwarte Ooievaar  Black Stork  -  one only, in Lower Oder valley NP
               Ooievaar  White Stork  -  common on pastures, esp. when just mown
           Knobbelzwaan  Mute Swan
            Grauwe Gans  Greylag Goose
               Krakeend  Gadwall
           Wintertaling  Teal
             Wilde Eend  Mallard
               Slobeend  Shoveler
              Tafeleend  Pochard
               Kuifeend  Tufted Duck
             Brilduiker  Goldeneye  -  a few families
          Grote Zaagbek  Goosander  -  1 group of females, 1 of males, along Oder
             Wespendief  Honey-buzzard  -  at Randow Bruch (above forest)
            Zwarte Wouw  Black Kite
              Rode Wouw  Red Kite
               Zeearend  White-tailed Eagle  -  several great views
      Bruine Kiekendief  Marsh Harrier  -  rather common above reed beds
      Blauwe Kiekendief  Hen Harrier  -  a pair in fields W of Lower Uckersee
      Grauwe Kiekendief  Montagu's Harrier  -  along Upper Uckersee
                Buizerd  Buzzard
          Schreeuwarend  Lesser Spotted Eagle  -  at Randow Bruch, see photos above
               Visarend  Osprey  -  with fish near the Lanke of Felchow
              Torenvalk  Kestrel
               Boomvalk  Hobby
                 Fazant  Pheasant
               Waterral  Water Rail
          Kwartelkoning  Corn Crake  -  one evening in Oder valley S of Schwedter Querfahrt
              Waterhoen  Moorhen
               Meerkoet  Coot
             Kraanvogel  Crane -  families at several spots
                 Kievit  Lapwing
              Watersnip  Snipe  -  displaying in Oder valley NP
               Kokmeeuw  Black-headed Gull
            Zilvermeeuw  Herring Gull
                Visdief  Common Tern
           Witwangstern  Whiskered Tern  -  once 2 at the Lanke of Felchow
           Zwarte Stern  Black Tern
              Holenduif  Stock dove
               Houtduif  Wood Pigeon
          Turkse tortel  Collared Dove
            Zomertortel  Turtle Dove  -  heard near the Lanke of Felchow
                Koekoek  Cuckoo
             Gierzwaluw  Swift
               IJsvogel  Kingfisher  -  one only, in Oder valley NP
         Grijskopspecht  Grey-headed Woodpecker  -  heard near Kleine Schorfheide
          Groene Specht  Green Woodpecker
          Zwarte Specht  Black Woodpecker  -  heard and seen a few times
     Grote Bonte Specht  Great Spotted Woodpecker
 Middelste Bonte Specht  Middle Spotted Woodpecker  -  several in old oak forests
    Kleine Bonte Specht  Lesser Spotted Woodpecker  -  in Oder valley NP and hotel garden Templin
          Boomleeuwerik  Wood Lark
          Veldleeuwerik  Sky Lark
            Oeverzwaluw  Sand Martin
           Boerenzwaluw  Barn Swallow
             Huiszwaluw  House Martin
             Boompieper  Tree Pipit
             Graspieper  Meadow Pipit
        Gele Kwikstaart  Yellow Wagtail
       Witte Kwikstaart  White Wagtail
           Winterkoning  Wren
               Heggemus  Dunnock
              Roodborst  Robin
     Noordse Nachtegaal  Thrush Nightingale  -  many heard. a few seen
             Nachtegaal  Nightingale  -  a few heard
      Zwarte Roodstaart  Black Redstart
   Gekraagde Roodstaart  Redstart
                 Paapje  Whinchat  -  once only, at Randow Bruch (and never a Stonechat!)
                  Merel  Blackbird
             Kramsvogel  Fieldfare  -  a few here and there
            Zanglijster  Song Thrush
          Grote Lijster  Mistle Thrush
       Sprinkhaanzanger  Grasshopper Warbler  -  several heard, also in Oder valley NP
           Krekelzanger  River Warbler  -  one only in Oder valley NP; also Uckersee and Elbe
                   Snor  Savi's Warbler  -  in larger reed beds
             Rietzanger  Sedge Warbler  - not as common as in Holland
          Bosrietzanger  Marsh Warbler  -  many heard
        Kleine Karekiet  Reed Warbler
         Grote Karekiet  Great Reed Warbler  -  many heard, some well seen at the Lanke
              Spotvogel  Icterine Warbler  -  several heard
         Sperwergrasmus  Barred Warbler  -  a few well seen, more heard, mostly in Oder valley NP
           Braamsluiper  Lesser Whitethroat
                Grasmus  Whitethroat
            Tuinfluiter  Garden Warbler
               Zwartkop  Blackcap
                Fluiter  Wood Warbler  -  several, in beech forests
               Tjiftjaf  Chiffchaff
                  Fitis  Willow Warbler
               Goudhaan  Goldcrest
           Vuurgoudhaan  Firecrest  -  one, in beech forest
   Grauwe Vliegenvanger  Spotted Flycatcher  -  e.g. near the Lanke of Felchow
    Bonte Vliegenvanger  Pied Flycatcher  -  remarkably few
               Baardman  Bearded Tit  -  a few in reed beds
             Staartmees  Long-tailed Tit
               Glanskop  Marsh Tit  -  several
                 Matkop  Willow Tit  -  a few
               Kuifmees  Crested Tit
            Zwarte Mees  Coal Tit
             Pimpelmees  Blue Tit
               Koolmees  Great Tit
             Boomklever  Nuthatch
            Boomkruiper  Short-toed Treecreeper
             Buidelmees  Penduline Tit  -  alongside Uckersee reedbed S of Zolchow
              Wielewaal  Golden Oriole  -  several heard, e.g. at Brodowin
        Grauwe Klauwier  Red-backed Shrike  -  common
             Klapekster  Great Grey Shrike  -  see at photo above
                   Gaai  Jay
                 Ekster  Magpie
                   Kauw  Jackdaw
           Zwarte Kraai  Carrion Crow -  a few just East of the Elbe
            Bonte Kraai  Hooded Crow  -  common
                   Raaf  Raven  - common!
                Spreeuw  Starling
                Huismus  House Sparrow
                Ringmus  Tree Sparrow
                   Vink  Chaffinch
       Europese Kanarie  Serin  -  several in villages, gardens
              Groenling  Greenfinch
                 Putter  Goldfinch
                   Sijs  Siskin  -  once heard
                   Kneu  Linnet
                Roodmus  Common Rosefinch  -  several in Lower Oder valley NP
               Goudvink  Bullfinch  -  several
              Appelvink  Hawfinch  -  a few
               Geelgors  Yellowhammer  -  common
               Rietgors  Reed Bunting  -  commonly seen flying over reedbeds
            Grauwe Gors  Corn Bunting  -  rather common

Some sound recordings from this trip:

Kwartelkoning  -  Corn Crake: 1  2  3 

Noordse Nachtegaal  -  Thrush Nightingale:  1  2  3 

Krekelzanger  -  River Warbler:  1  2 (both stereo)

Sperwergrasmus  -  Barred Warbler:  1  2   (and Tuinfluiter/Garden Warbler for comparison: 1)

Roodmus  -  Common Rosefinch:  1  2

Ortolaan  -  Ortolan Bunting:  1