Embryo & shell

This common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) and sibling did not make it past their embryo stage of development. The broken eggs were found this morning shortly after falling from the nest.

Eurasian jays may be to blame: these large birds are particularly active and efficient predators in the area. It is common to Continue reading

Jay the ripper

Eurasian jay

Meet “Jay” the ripper… Credit: Yalakom

The past couple of days have been rough for the great tit couple that nests in front of my apartment building. An Eurasian jay viciously hunted down several of their fledglings, killing at least two and injuring three. Knowing Eurasian jays prey on great and blue tit chicks is one thing, witnessing the brutal hunt is another. I had never suspected my spring watch would take such a dramatic turn.

The great tits built their nest inside a street lamp post, 2.5 meters off the ground, a smart choice in an urban environment where nesting cavities are scarce. I kept an eye and ear on the nest to try guessing when the chicks would fledge, always a special moment to attend.

Two days ago, I was awoken by a concert of alarm calls. Two great tits were flying in circle around a high branch of the large oak tree that stands across from my window. A jay soon came in sight Continue reading

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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Fischland-Darß-Zingst: a land of flats and contrasts

Germany has a small coastline in proportion to its land size. The few seaside resorts found along the North and Baltic Seas are therefore highly prized by the Germans. One of them is the Fischland-Darss-Zingst Peninsula, on the Baltic coast.

Fischland-Darss-Zingst Peninsula

A postcard map of Fischland-Darss-Zingst

This 45km-long peninsula belongs to the Nationalpark Vorpommersche-Boddenlandschaft and is a prime wetland area which attracts many bird species and other wildlife. Situated a 2h train ride from Rostock, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, this popular destination is a must-see for nature enthusiasts who enjoy a picturesque blend of nature and culture.

Continue reading

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