Sunday, May 17, 2015

Germany Trip

My family took a week-long trip to Bavaria in Germany during my daughter's spring break.  We went over the week after Easter looking to spend a few days in Munich and a few more in the Alps.  Birding wasn't a goal of the trip, but I did bring my binoculars and got a few chances to see some birds.  I had a couple of species that I really wanted to see, but I would only end up seeing one.
    I was surprised at the density of birds present.  We took secondary roads from the airport to our hotel (thanks to whomever had the car before us and had "avoid highways" checked deep in the car's SATNAV settings).  I saw a Kite, a Falcon and some Buzzards in just a short amount of time.  Once we were set in the hotel, we decided to get some lunch at the Hofbraukeller, which was within walking distance to where we were staying. As we were sitting outside enjoying liters of delicious beer and fantastic pretzels, while our kids were playing in the most convenient playground ever, I heard some drumming coming from the nearby park.  I looked around and saw a Woodpecker high up looking for some food.

Great-Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Munich Germany
I was floored, I had seen 2 in Ireland, but they were both quick, fly-over looks. After our lunch we explored the wooded park that adjoined the biergarten and saw some Chaffinches and even some Eurasian Jays at someone's feeder.
     Our 3rd day in Munich we stopped by Nymphenburg Palace. The scale of the palace was amazing, but the grounds were also impressive.  Mute Swans, Greylag and even Barnacle Geese were everywhere.  I was hoping to see Short-Toed Treecreepers or Eurasian Nuthatches there.  I did see some Treecreepers, but they flew off before I could determine which type they were.  But I did get to see a Nuthatch, and had really wonderful looks at it too.

Eurasian Nuthatch
Eurasian Nuthatch - Munich Germany

Eurasian Nuthatch
Eurasian Nuthatch - Munich Germany
What a great looking bird, maybe my favorite looking one.  My first "ice cream bird" of the trip and one that I wished would live in Ireland.
Our next stop after Munich were the German Alps.  I got to see some nice birds near our hotel in Oberammergau, but nothing that I got good photographs of. I added Siskin and Common Redstart as ticks.  We also visited the beautiful Castle Neuschwanstein, which was about an hour from where we were staying.
It was quite busy but I still manged to see some birds and even get some more lifer ticks. There was a beautiful lake there, the Alpensee which had some Great-Crested Grebes swimming on it.

Great-Crested Grebe
Great-Crested Grebe - Bavaria, Germany
I would also see a Eurasian Nutcracker while we were riding a horse-drawn wagon to Castle Neuschwanstein and some Alpine Swifts flying around the towers of the castle.  But no Wallcreepers like I had hoped.  We were also supposed to take a tram to the top of the Zugspitze (Germany's tallest peak), but we spent way too much time at Neuschwanstein to do anything else but drive back to our hotel for dinner.
We had a really late flight home to Ireland from Germany, so we decided to spend another day in Munich.  We had planned on visiting the BMW Museum, but it happened to be closed on the day that we were there.  So we explored the nearby Olympiapark instead.  The buildings from the Olympics, 40 years ago, were really impressive.  There were lots of trails and paths, but it was a bit colder than we were expecting.  So we decided to take a road-train tour of the park.  As we were touring along I saw an odd duck swimming from the window of our car. It was a Garganey, and a beautiful male in breeding plumage. I really wanted a photo, so after the tour was over, on the far side of the park from the duck, I jumped out and ran back to where I saw it leaving my wife and kids to jump on some giant trampolines.

Garganey - Munich Olympiapark, Germany
There were quite a number of nice birds in the area, and we had a few hours before our flight.  So I went into photography mode for an hour or so.

Great-Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Munich Olympiapark, Germany

Graylag Gosling
Greylag Gosling - Munich Olympiapark, Germany

Mute Swans on nest
Mute Swans at nest - Munich Olympiapark, Germany
And another scarce bird in Ireland that was just hanging out in a public park.

Common Merganser (Goosander)
Common Merganser/Goosander - Munich Olympiaprk, Germany
Germany was a great trip. The food and beer were wonderful, the roads were a pleasure to drive on.  People were friendly and I only saw a fraction of the birds that were there.  I would really like to go back and visit some day.  Maybe when my kids are much older, or even with just my wife and I.

1 comment: