Thursday 14 November 2013

GA part 4: Simularities and Differences

Birdwatching in Germany, and in all the countries we traveled through to get there, is not so different from in the UK- after all, they are not that far apart. But I did see some similarities and differences, which I will now describe.

The same:

Buzzards and Red Kites- Just like at home, Buzzards were a common sight, soaring over the roadsides and perched on fences and trees, and Red Kites were a slightly less common but occasional sight.

Carrion Crows- Most of Europe has Hooded Crows (including northern Scotland and Ireland), but Lemgo had Carrion Crows like the rest of the UK, including the part where I live, does. I’d thought that Germany had Hooded Crows because I visited Berlin one winter several years ago and saw my first ever Hooded Crows, which seemed to be all over the city. But looking at distribution maps, Carrion Crows are found all year round in Germany and Hooded Crows are winter visitors. I never really thought of crows migrating, but there you go! So that was interesting.

There were less...

Large gulls- In the UK you always seem to see large gulls, like Herring and Lesser Black-backed, flying over roads or feeding on fields. Once we got away from Calais there just weren’t any more! It’s easy to forget sometimes that the UK both (a) is not very large, and (b) has a large amount of coastline compared with other countries. Black-headed Gulls were the only gulls seen on fields or following ploughs, but there didn’t seem to be quite as many. 

Collared Doves- I didn’t see a single one around Lemgo, not even in the suburban area where my sister lives, and the suburban areas are where you’ll normally see Collared Doves. Maybe the large amount of woodland nearby affected this?

There were more...

Kestrels- I really feel like it’s now hit home to me that Kestrels are declining in Britain, because my family quite often drives from the south to Newcastle and you see maybe one Kestrel in that entire 6 hour drive. The equivalent drive across the Continent had several Kestrels ever hour, it was really great and wonderful to see the ‘motorway falcon’ in numbers again, hovering by the roads.

Starlings- Flocks of Starlings were often seen flying over the road, more than you’ll see from a car in the UK, where it would probably be Woodpigeons you’ll see. That may just mean there are more Starlings near the roads though.

..And, as I’ve already written

Red Squirrels- None of these in my garden at home! *sobs* You don’t see ‘park’ squirrels in Germany, by which I mean those cheeky Grey Squirrels in urban parks that are very tame because people feed them from the hand, so you have to really catch your views of the Red Squirrels before they disappear, but it’s well worth it, especially for us sad Brits who miss our reds.

Goshawks- It was so weird to be in a place where these hawks that are so sought after in Britain are so common! I read an article ages ago that said you can even find them in the centre of Berlin, eating the Feral Pigeons. If I’d known about that on my trip you’d probably have had trouble getting me to stop sitting in parks looking at flocks of pigeons and hoping a Goshawk would come, and missing all the history and art and things. ^^

This last one isn’t a wildlife thing, but...

Small Ponies!- In the Netherlands, they really seem to go in for tiny ponies, and we saw several whole herds of them in fields and even in woods that we passed. I hesitate to call the, Shetland Ponies because they may well be a totally different Dutch breed, but that’s the sort of size and build they were. And they were soooo cute!

So that’s the last of my German Adventure tales, thanks for sticking by me if you read them all, and tell me about your travels! I’d love to know what wildlife you've seen, whether it’s at the other side of the world or a couple of counties over. :)

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