Blue Tit, Bad Kreuznach


Springtime in Germany
10-21 May 2006
Narrated by Henry Detwiler

My parents and I spent about a week and a half in Germany, visiting friends and relatives, and seeing some of the beautiful sights.
species -- bird list is at the bottom of the page
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.   

Days 1-3: Bad Kreuznach

Bad Kreuznach

We arrived in Frankfurt on the morning of May 10th, after a night-flight from the states.  We were upgraded to a nice Audi Quattro station wagon, and then drove off to Bad Kreuznach to visit my mother's life-long friend.  We spent a few days in this lovely ancient city on the River Nahe, touring the Roman museum & ruins, window shopping, dining, and visiting with Helga.

I took a couple of early-morning walks along the river, and Helga took us for a nice walk along the Kurpark promenade.  At one point a Sparrowhawk made a beeline up the river--it was my first "lifer" for the trip.  Other common birds during these first were Great & Blue Tits, numerous Chaffinches, this flashy Goldfinch, Blackcaps, and a few Robins.

Goldfinch, Bad Kreuznach

Robin, Bad Kreuznach

One nice thing about visiting Germany in May is that, like in the states, most of the birds are singing.  While on the grounds of the Roman ruins, I heard my first Nightingale, and found that it was much easier to find and see them if they're calling first!  In one of the gardens for a long-deceased prince was a beautiful little pond with many of these elegant red damselflies.

Damselfly, Bad Kreuznach

Days 4-12: Kaufungen

On Friday we headed north to Kaufungen, my mother's birthplace and home for many years.  Lots of traffic on the autobahn in some areas, but it gave me a chance to spot a Peregrine Falcon along the Fulda River.  It was great to see my godparents and my cousins again after 14 years--and Klaus and Ulrich both had new kids for me to get to know.


It was raining when we got there, and it stayed pretty damp most of the week--this blackbird was on the chimney just outside of my balcony--singing in the rain. 

Eurasian Coot, Kaufungen

A couple of early mornings I went out to a local nature preserve, Steinert See, with my cousin Christa.  It was exciting to watch this Great Crested Grebe chase the fish about 20 feet  under water, and then surface with its prize. 

 Great Crested Grebe, Kaufungen



In the courtyard of the 11th century Stiftskirche (church) and convent, a couple of Magpies were hopping around and chasing each other.  50 years ago my parents were married in this church!

The "Eye", Stiftskirche Garden

Stiftskirche, Kaufungen

Magpie, Kaufungen

In one corner of the churchyard was a rock carved with an all-seeing eye.  Think of the stories it could tell of the sights that it's seen!

Over the course of the week we visited lots of friends and relatives, and saw lots of the town and surrounding area.  Black Redstarts were in a number of urban areas, catching flies and other insects. 

White Wagtails, Kaufungen

Black Redstart, Kaufungen

Other common city birds were Barn Swallows, House Martins, and White Wagtails.   Along one of the streams in Helsa, I caught a glimpse of a White-throated Dipper flying out of sight.


Blackcap, Kaufungen

In the hedgerows and countryside, Yellowhammers, Blackcaps, and more tits were quite common.  Close to the Steinert See we found Sand Martins (Bank Swallows) in a quarry, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers in a small woods.  In the forests surrounding Kaufungen lived other birds, including Firecrest, Goldcrest, and Mistle Thrush.  The best bird here in Kaufungen for me was the Long-tailed Tit, which I'd never seen before.

Both Ulrich and Christa have gardens just outside the city limits.  These pretty plots of land each has a cabin on it, along with various fruit trees.  Here we heard Common Cuckoos calling, and looked at the beautiful flowers and the bugs with the young cousins.

Kellner Garden, Kaufungen


Continue on to Page 2 : Steinhuder Meer

Germany, May 10-21, 2006

Photos Henry Detwiler