Birds of Germany

I returned to Canada last Tuesday and have since been thrown back into everyday life, including calving, the last curling bonspiel of the season, and school. A definite change from the previous four weeks, which were filled with various trips to visit relatives a road trip to Rome with stops along the way in Lucca, Pisa, and Florence, and Parma. A cousin and I also took the train to Berlin for a two-day trip of sightseeing and a little shopping. I had a really lovely time in Europe and came home with so many wonderful memories.

I’m planning to publish some Europe posts throughout the month, mostly be about birds/birding, but with some non-bird photos from the various cities we visited as well.

Below are some of the bird photos I took in Germany, mostly taken in passing since I was travelling with my grandmother and other relatives. All these photos were taken with my Nikon D610 and the 200-500mm lens.

The photography conditions were not always ideal in Germany — full cloud cover, rain, and wind were common; however, this photo of a European Robin was taken on one A rare sunny evening,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/320, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

This Great Tit photo was taken the same evening as the Robin; you can see the pretty golden light shining on the tree branches,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/320, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

Another Great Tit in the same location in Oer-Erkenschwick, but taken on a cloudy morning,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/200, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

On the way to Italy we visited Schloss Nordkirchen (which translates as Castle North Church), located 34 kilometres north of Dortmund in Germany. The landscape and architecture are similar to Fontainebleau and Versailles in France, with big gardens and water features with several pairs of Mute Swans and Mallards.

One of the Mute Swans which was molting,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

One of the classiest looking jays around, the European Jay,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/1,000, ISO 1000, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

Common Blackbirds are certainly common, but I found them to be quite skittish,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/400, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/320, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

This Common Chaffinch was positioned perfectly in the sun and on the really lovely lichen-covered branches so I photographed it until it flew away,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

A European Starling,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/500, ISO 160, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

I found the Eurasian Nuthatches really fun birds to watch, and their song is very melodic,

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Nikon D610, handheld, f5.6, 1/1,250, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-500mm, natural light

Please stay tuned for more posts from my trip!

The Birds of Bourron-Marlotte, France

I went birding a few times around Bourron-Marlotte (population 3,000) along rue Renoult, where we stayed at a friend’s house; it’s about 90 minutes by car south of Paris. The neighbourhood is very good for birding since it borders the Forest of Fontainebleau, and many yards are well landscaped with mature trees and thick bushes.

A map of the area where we stayed,

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The three eBird lists for the birding walks I took on rue Renoult are here, here, and here. And here are some of my favourite photos from our stay:

It rained every time I went birding in Bourron-Marlotte, so many of my photos have water spots or smudges on them, and of course the sky is overcast,

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I saw two Crested Tits while in France. They’re very pretty little birds, but the ones I saw both stayed high up in the trees, so my photos don’t do them justice,

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In the forest, many fallen logs were covered in moss and fungi,

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Chaffinches were all over the forest floor looking for seeds,

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Down the road from our friend’s house is a thickly treed yard where I saw many good species. This bird is a Firecrest; it was very quick and difficult to see as it flitted about in the bushes,

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Woodpeckers were very common in the woods as there are many mature trees. This is a Great Spotted Woodpecker,

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Common Blackbirds are very common around the countryside in France. Although the species name is “blackbird”, this species is in the thrush family and closely related to the American Robin.

Adult blackbirds have an orange-yellow bill while first winter birds have an all-dark bill,

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Great Tits were one of the most common species I saw in the village,

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While Eurasian Nuthatches look very similar to the Red-brested Nuthatches here at home, they sound very different,

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Blue Tits get their name from the blue cap on their head,

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This woodpecker is a Middle Spotted Woodpecker, which is distinguished from the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker by the amount of white on the back,

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There are two species of treecreepers you can see in France. The one below is a Short-toed Treecreeper which can be identified by white spotting on the wing tips and a long bill, but the songs are probably the best way differentiate the two species.

A Short-toed Treecreeper scaling up a tree,

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Along with birds, I also saw some mammals in France including this Red Squirrel; other mammals I saw included Wild Boar, Red Fox, and lots Roe Deer,

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Stay tuned for more posts about birding in France and Germany!