Friday, 17 August 2012

Pantenburg, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany (6th August)

We stayed at my grandma's house for the whole of the holiday, during which time I also helped her do some of the gardening, cutting grass, etc.  Whilst in the garden, 1 Black Redstart was flitting through the lower branches of a tree, 1 Redstart was on the fence-line, 1 Hobby flew over, mobbed by the locally breeding House Martins.  I also made a visit to the local football pitch, neighbouring some extensive woodland in hope of connecting with some woodland specialties.  Treecreepers, Nuthatches (the continental subspecies) 1 Marsh Tit and 1 Red Kite were the first birds of note along with several butterflies, including 1♂ Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Red Admirals, 5 Speckled Woods, 2 Wall Browns, 2 Commas and several Green-veined Whites.  Back near the football field, the wood suddenly came alive with birds and within a period of a few seconds, I had 3 life ticks!  CRESTED TIT was the first to appear, shortly followed by at least 1 SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER (climbing the lower stem of a conifer tree, with its diagnostic shorter hind claw and white tips to the primaries) and lastly an elusive MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKER, giving brief views a little further into the wood.  I returned to the same spot once again after lunch and was pleased to connect with the Middle Spotted Woodpecker once again but the rest had all gone.  The surrounding farmland was also rather productive and at least 1 Tree Sparrow was of note, using an electricity pole as a nest site, whilst a Red Fox was hunting in the open fields.  It did catch a large brown rodent but it was too disguised to tell what it was.  The last stop for the day was at a little hut (Altenberghutte) which overlooks a deep wooded valley an ideal place for watching raptors.  2 Buzzards were present and a single Peregrine also paid a brief visit but it was only by 16:15pm that the highlight arrived, 2 BLACK STORKS came gliding through from the north, bypassing the hut providing some excellent views and a brilliant end to the day!

wooded valley, view from the Altenberghutte

2 Black Storks, flypasts at the Altenberghutte

Red Fox

Wall Brown

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