Bean Geese on their wintering grounds near Berlin. The Havelaue west of Hohennauen – north of Rathenow – is a vast plain of the North German lowlands. In January, the landscape was – at temperatures around 0 ° Celsius – under a thick blanket of foggy clouds. The air was humid and cold, and the country is very quiet. Abundant rains in recent days have flooded the meadows. Some parts of the meadows and pastures are under a thin layer of crumbling ice. The river Havel flows in the background.
End of January some 100 Geese, mainly Bean Geese (Anser fabalis) could be seen not far from the road from Hohennauen to Parey. Obviously, the geese came in search of food to the fields and meadows. The preferred resting grounds must surely be in the polder of the Grützer Bogen (Gruetzer bow) and south of the small village of Parey. Anyway, flocks of geese flew loudly calling across the vast rural landscape to the north. The Havel country is far away from densely populated country. There is less interference by joggers or people who take their dogs than as in the south-western part of Germany. So the situation is quite different from that which was described in the blog “Cranes & Geese in winter“. Among the geese observed most were White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons) and Greylag Geese (Anser anser) of course. But the peculiarities were single Taiga Bean Geese (Anser fabalis fabalis) in the geese flocks. Of course, it could be seen here too, that the Taiga Bean Geese are significantly less numerour than the Tundra Bean Geese (Anser fabalis rossicus) is. The proportion is likely to have amounted to no more than 10% of the total number of Bean Geese (Anser fabalis) this morning. For the occurrence of Taiga Bean Geese in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, however, Thomas Heinicke examined in an article in Orn. Newsletter Meckl.-Vorp. Vol. 45, H. 1, pp 3-18, 2004 3 the timing of occurrence of Taiga Bean Geese. He found out that large flocks of Taiga Bean Geese are only to be expected in between December and February. Large wintering grounds inland in Germany are e.g. in the Friedländer Großen Wiese (Friedlaender Great Lawn) or at Güstrow, Malchin.
The Havelaue is located in the north-western part of the state of Brandenburg, some 10 kilometers northwest of Rathenow and 70 kilometers west of Berlin. In the north, the Guelper lake lies. Another excellent hotspot with its bird life. Other good areas for the observation of Bean Geese in the east of Germany are the open fields west of Ladebow near Greifswald, the Bargischower meadows, then the Nature Reserve “Nonnenhof” in Neubrandenburg and the Nature Reserve “Ribnitzer Great Moor” in Dierhagen.
Let´s hope, that this blog give you a brief glimpse of what is possible birdwise even in densely populated Germany.
Feel free to contact me via Bird-lens.com. I am always interested to get feedback from foreign ornithologists before and after their visits to Germany. All Birder can help to increase our knowledge of the local and wintering birds. In general, we have a good overview of some species. In some species, the data situation – as described above – is still meager. Information on large numbers of lay-bys, curiosities, beautiful photos can always be very interesting.
A short blog in the series, “Best birding sites in Germany”, the one for the Guelper See, is already published. Other site descriptions are in preparation. Bird-lens.com can provide more information about what to see when and how to get there. Just contact via the Contact form, if you need more information or even need some guiding.