Late Winter Birding in Munich

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I spent a weekend in Munich recently to visit my girlfriend and my brother. As South Germany always has different birds on offer to the area around Bonn, I had to take my camera with me. While I usually only take my binoculars on trips where birding is not really a part but I just want to make sure. I’m sure every birder knows that feeling when some bird flies past and you think to yourself, “I was thinking about whether to take my binoculars and in the end decided not to – I just knew I would regret it. Next time I’ll definitely bring them”. However, my main thought was that perhaps we could take a look at the Tawny Owls which roost in some trees in the Nymphenburger Schlosspark in the city, as they are very close (no bins needed!) and I would like to take good photos of this species.

We did visit the park but unfortunately the owls were nowhere to be seen. However, the weather was spectacular (it felt like summer!), and we simply enjoyed taking a walk and lying down on the lawn. The waterbirds were fun to watch, as they often are at this park, and all the standard species were there particularly Mallard, Common Pochard and Tufted Duck (you might have noticed I mention Tufted Ducks a lot in my posts – I’m not sure why but I really like this species!) and Goosander. I was a bit surprised to see a few Barnacle Geese – they were not ringed but they must’ve been escapees since they were very tame. A few Red-crested Pochards were also fun to watch, although I felt a bit ridiculed when I was very happy to see them (having previously only ever seen them at great distances) and they swam up to me as I took a photo. I’ve had several of these moments when I realize that a species is very common and tame at a place after I had been very excited when I previously saw that species after some effort for the first time somewhere else.

Red-crested Pochard
Tufted Duck

We also went on a walk along the Isar river just South of Munich, which was also very enjoyable. In addition to a large number of Goosanders, I saw Bar-headed Goose, Mandarin Duck, Yellow-legged Gull, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White-throated Dipper, Eurasian Wren, Common Chaffinch, and Great Spotted Woodpecker, and heard a Black Woodpecker.

White-throated Dipper

Back in Munich in the evening, I was happy to come across a few Common Goldeneyes that were actively in courtship. The male randomly stretched his neck and then threw his head backwards over the back, while producing an odd nasal sound – great fun to watch.

Common Goldeneye

Unfortunately the light was bad and the Common Goldeneyes were quite far away (I knew that I should’ve taken my bins!). At the same time, I was happy that I had my camera, as these were the first acceptable photos I took of this species. I was surprised at how many photos I had taken on the weekend – usually the same amount as on a week-long trip. But I really enjoyed the great weather and the photogenic birds (unsurprisingly as most of them thought I would feed them…) meant that I had few reasons not to take photos.

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