Irish Bird Trip to the Frankfurt area in Germany; 16thMay-19th May 2014

Black KiteWe flew in from Kerry airport Ireland and landed at Hahn to met by Johannes Ferdinand from Bird-Lens our bird guide.  During our stay we had no rain, some cloud in the mornings and plenty of sunshine all day. We saw a total of 113 birds including lifers Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris), Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo), and adult Black-necked or Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) and Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica). Johannes had organised our trip to start at 5am and finished around 8pm. End to end birding.

Friday16th

After a brief hallo and welcome we headed off to our first destination at Bingener Rheinaue. On the way we noticed a Black Kite (Milvus migrans) soaring over a recently cut field so we stopped for a while. Soon we saw a Red Kite (Milvus milvus) as well. Bingener Rheinaue is an area of hedgerows and less intensive farming. From a hide we saw a pair of Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) and later a male Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) was being mobbed. Then a female Northern Goshawk shot across our path as was gone. Common Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) were heard every day was alas not seen. Our last stop was at a sand pit where a waiting European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) was resting on a bush.

Saturday 17th

We  awoke at 5am and headed for a nearby wetland nature reserve at Waghausel to be greeted by a dawn chorus of Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) and Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla). The mist hang over the water as we sat in our hide. Eventually we saw Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), Great White Egret (Ardea alba) and Garganey (Anas querquedula). Johannes could hear a Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) and we soon all had great views of it. Further as the sun came out we found a Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris), then Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca) and another Bluethroat. seeing a Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) on the nest was a memorable moment for me. Not what I was expecting. We went back for breakfast and then drove to a valley and found Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus). There was a nest box for a Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops), unfortunately Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) had been using it. The sun was hot during midday so we had a beer. While armchair birding we noticed a Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) land on a dead tree across the valley. So we grabbed the telescope for a look as it was a lifer for Roy and Michael. The evening finished at NSG Knoblochsaue/Schusterworth a riparian woodland. It did not take long to find a Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) and a Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla). We did hear a Grey-faced Woodpecker (Picus canus) but did not see it.

Sunday19th

Up at 5am we made a short drive to a sand pit that has been developed as a Nature reserve and is fenced off with hides for excellent views. However, thing were very quiet so we to a nearby wood to see Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) at the nest. After breakfast we made an extensive search for Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) in the woods near Bad Soden with no luck. In the Afternoon we went to Feldberg for another search and found two Wood Warblers (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) showing well.  In the evening we went back to the town and saw the Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) nestlings. The star bird of the trip watched over us while we had our meal in the local pub.

Monady19th [half day]

Up at 5.30am we went to another local woodland to find Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris), Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) and Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius). After breakfast we made a short stop at Rettershof to photograph a European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). Our last stop of the trip was at Schierstein to see the Great Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and a Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri).

Many many thanks to Johannes for a memorable trip that is highly recommended.

Geoff Hunt, Michael Flanagan and Roy lathwell

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