Birding in Eastern Germany and Prague
Late last summer and early fall I traveled in eastern Germany from Berlin to the Baltic Sea, back to Berlin and onto Prague via the Spreewald and Dresden. Berlin, Dresden and Prague are treasure chests of history, art and archetecture. The public tranportation system of Berlin is one we would do well to emulate. Rather I should say "systems" for Berlin has trains, streetcars, buses and subways making every part of the city accessible.
The behavior, the general outline and vocalizations of a bird are important keys to bird identification even before getting close enough to see markings or colors. I could identify nearly every bird on my trip based on behavior and outline and yet when I got close enough to see its colors and markings nearly every bird was excitingly new. Everywhere on my trip was rich in birdlife, in the cities and countryside.
Trees filled with chickadee like birds revealed Coal Tits, Parus ater, and Willow Tits, Parus montanus. The colorful and noisy Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus, was a delight. The Great Tit , Parus major, found feeding on the ground more often. The kestral hovering over the farmers field is marked differently than our American Kestral. I check off Falco tinnunclulus on my list. My list of new sightings increased daily with almost every bird sighting in eastern Germany. The herons, egrets, gulls, raptors and even crows were new. The Rook and the Hooded Crow with its grey body and black wings and head were fascinating. The Magpies in Berlin were so common I think of them as Berlin's official bird.
On any trip abroad take your binoculars and buy a region specific birding book for all your new sightings. I don't remember enjoying a trip more than this one to Berlin, Dresden and Prague with its mix of great birding and history and archectecture. Check out this website for information and photos on storks www.storchennest.de. In the spring and summer the site has a live webcam on nesting storks.