21 April 2013

A Walk With Unexpected Sightings

Today me and my first mate took advantage of the sunny weather and rose early to take a walk in the Botanic Garden in Hamburg. The first thing we noticed was that it has been recently renamed to Loki-Schmidt-Garten. This was not at all unexpected because the wife of former chancellor Helmut Schmidt was very dedicated to environmental protection - especially concerning the local flora.

The first birds we saw that one might not expect to find in an city were two Eurasian Oyster-catchers. For us it was not that unusual. We had seen one there last year. Also it is not at all unusual to find sea-birds in Hamburg.


During our walk we saw and heard lots of Great Tits and Blue Tits. These little buggers were to evasive for a decent photo. But they are common enough to get other opportunities to catch them on camera.

As we walked on we saw a group of pigeons feeding on the grass when a loud noise startled them. As they flew away we also noticed another bird evading from a patch of grass a little further away. It was green and from the way it landed on the trunk of an nearby tree we were really certain that this mast have been a European Green Woodpecker. But it few further away. Hence we were unable to follow it.

After a little while we heard another bird calling. We knew we had heard this bird before. But we were unable to identify it. But we were lucky. It came towards us and was very cooperative. So we could easily identify it as a Eurasian Nuthatch and take some photos of it.

Eurasian Nuthatch (hunting)
Eurasian Nuthatch (calling)

After having left it to his own business we heard the call that could only be that of a bird of prey. We saw it gliding above us. And it was immediately clear that this was no buzzard, which you see quite often in Hamburg. I was lucky enough to have the camera ready for some in-flight shots. It was a Northern Goshawk. A few years ago I had read that in the last years some had migrated to Hamburg. But this was the first time I had actually seen one here.

Northern Goshawk

The garden became more and more crowded. So we decided to leave for breakfast, as we heard a call that could only belong to the woodpecker we had seen earlier. And a moment later we so it coming down from a tree and landing on a nearby patch of grass. We decided to go after it. And we came close enough that I could take a photo. I tried to get nearer, but then there came two walkers from the opposite side, we couldn't stop. The either hadn't noticed the woodpecker or they didn't care. Anyway, they were closing in to fast and by it scaring it away before I could take a better picture of the Green Woodpecker. But at least the first one was good enough to see that it was a female.

European Green Woodpecker

But all in all it was a good yield for a lazy Sunday morning walk.

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