Season’s goslings

Some greylag goslings (Anser anser) from a nearby pond. The parents are impressively relaxed among humans and even approach those who sit on the benches, begging for food. Here are some photographs of this lovely family of seven taken with a 55-200mm Nikkor lens.

Location: Bayreuth, Germany

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Life & death at the fieldfare corner

Adult fieldfare

One of the parents. Credit: Yalakom

Each spring, millions of fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) migrate to Germany to breed after spending the winter months in Southern France and Italy. In Northern Bavaria, the birds can be seen from late March and are presently busy raising their first brood. A couple of them built a conspicuous nest up on a leafless tree across from my apartment block. I had the chance to observe the five chicks fledge, an experience I find worth documenting here due to some peculiar circumstances.

Fledging is a decisive moment in the life of a bird, one without a second chance because once out the young never return to the nest. It is a bold leap into a ruthless unknown and many chicks don’t make it past Continue reading

Prerow’s swan star

Prerow, a sea resort situated on the Fischland-Darß-Zingst Peninsula (German Baltic coast), hosts its share of mute swans (Cygnus olor). In the spring, the birds breed on the reed beds that stretch along the coastline.

But while some are busy hatching their eggs, others have different concerns. One imposing swan was on its best behavior to get the tourists’ attention the other morning. Not the least bothered by Continue reading

The snake trail

On a recent trip to the Fischland-Darss-Zingst Peninsula (German Baltic coast), I came across various specimens of grass snake (Natrix natrix), a glorious sighting. Concealed under the dry ferns bordering the trail, the non-venomous snakes were busy mating and let me take a few pictures of them from a very close distance.

Location: Fischer-Darss-Zingst Peninsula, Germany

Duck Threesome

Mallards ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) excel at coexisting with us, so sighting them in urban areas or elsewhere is often a dull encounter, until they do something remarkable that changes your opinion of them—forever.

Put a lone male together with a mating pair and you may witness a chaotic aerial chase followed by an odd threesome forced on the female. Apologies for the poor image quality (due to fast motion and the birds moving towards or away from me), but you get the idea.

The tumultuous chase repeated several times, though only once did the lone duck manage to get to the female.

This is not unusual duck behavior, on the contrary. Forced copulation in mallards is so common that a term was coined for it, i.e. “intent-rape flight” or “attempted rape flight”. Continue reading

Evening with a buck

Roe deer are a common sight in the German countryside, especially in these early spring days. Take a train ride and you’ll see groups of them foraging in the open fields where crops are just starting to sprout, so it is not so much about how often but how close you encounter them.

During a recent trip to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, I managed to get relatively close to a few individuals that were grazing in a field at sunset.

I wasn’t concealed, merely quiet and still as a rock, my camera glued to my eye for about an hour. To my greatest excitement, a little buck split from the group and slowly walked in my direction until he stood 20 m away, still unsuspicious of my presence despite the awfully loud sound of my camera’s shutter…

Location: Greifswald, Germany