Birding around Berlin: former lignite mining lakes in southern Brandenburg

SterntaucherLignite mining has a high impact on bird habitats and during the process of mining vast areas are devasted. After exploitation, the question how to deal with the moon-like landscape is often answered by filling the holes with water. Some of these waterbodies represent valuable habitat for endangered bird species as well as for other animals. Several lignite mining lakes are located in the southern part of Brandenburg.

On 15/11/14 a report in Ornitho.de – a birders alert website – from the Stossdorfer lake made curious. Visiting the lake south-east of the town of Luckau sighting of a migrating (or wintering) Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) could be made. The bird could be observed and photographed in bad light for some hours in the afternoon. A non-breeding individual was swimming upon it not as wide lake. After the Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) from Lake Neuendorf already the 2 message from the Spree area around Lubben. While the Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) from Lake Neuendorf but pretty close Schwomm on the shore, was the red-throated diver (Gavia stellata) from the Stossdorfer lake but always at a respectful distance from the shores of the west bank, which is however also used extensively by anglers.  Then luck happened. The bird appeared a little later on a distance of 80m from the shore of the western section of the lake. There, too, he did not stay long.  Only documentary photo could be made.

The contrast with the behavior of the congener – Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) – from Lake Neuendorf was striking. While the Black-throated Diver came very close to the jetties of the southeastern shore of the Neuendorfer lake near a local campsite, the Red-throated Diver swam much more in the open and avoided the shores.

Lignite mining lakes between the towns of Luckau and Luebbenau in southern Brandenburg produce rarity sighting every winter. A local birder, Bastian Fuchs, was dedicated enough to observe Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) and Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) the last winter on the following lakes:

Schoenfelder See – 2 Red-throated Diver at the same time

Lichtenauer See – 1 Red-throated Diver

Stossdorfer See – 1 Black-throated Diver

Bischdorfer See – 1 Black-throated Diver

On the Neuendorfer Lake, Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) and Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) could be observed last winter as well.

There are already many airlines which use the Airport of Berlin. An alternative is to take a flight to Frankfurt/ Main, the international hub for Germany, and drive with a rented car in roughly half a day to Berlin and enjoy the landscape while almost flying over the autobahn.

Access to the reserve is not difficult. There are other places in the nearer surroundings where access is a bit tricky. Please contact via the contact form if I can give further directions or even guide you!

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