Gray woodpecker inside Beech forest of Kriebstein Castle

A high-pitched laugh echoes through the morning chorus of songbirds. The male of the Gray woodpecker or Gray-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) obviously wants to interest a female in himself and his nest opportunities. The deciduous forest, dominated by the European Beech (Fagus sylvatica), on this steep slope between Kriebstein Castle and the dam of the same name is well worth seeing and close to nature. Thick beeches in (almost) all stages of life enrich the natural balance. Older, thick beeches, some of which are already dead, are an important part of the ecosystem as they serve as shelter, food and shelter for many animals. The gray woodpecker is also interested in it. At the imitation of the drumming, a gray woodpecker comes flying silently and sits exposed on a broken branch stump in the crown of a thick beech. Luckily, this is lower on the slope and is therefore nice to see from the ridge.

The Gray-headed Woodpecker is a female. It sits on the stump for several minutes and listens – only interrupted by a few head movements – to the drumming and also to the calling of a male not far away. Finally, the male gray woodpecker comes flying in. It is significantly more aggressive and flies over the observer. Finally, the female Gray-headed Woodpecker follows its partner-to-be and flies away.

In sparsely managed forests of northern latitudes, European Beech are common if allowed. Either way, European Beech are large, tall trees that stand out with their mighty trunk and imposing crown. They can grow up to 30 meters high and live for several centuries. One of the most interesting features of the thick European Beech on this particular slope are their woodpecker holes. Woodpeckers are birds that nest in tree cavities. They hack holes in the bark of trees and build their nests there. These holes are easy to spot as they follow a regular pattern. They are quite large and mostly round. They offer woodpeckers and other animals in the trees protection from natural dangers such as predators.

The area around Burg Kriebstein and Waldheim in the Mittelerzgebirge is home to mesophilic Beech forests. In Saxony, these are mainly found on brown earth over loess, basalt and diabase. They are characterized by a species-rich, well-developed herbaceous layer with numerous spring flowers and vigorous stocks.

The Easter excursion this time led to Kriebstein Castle. High above the Zschopautal, the castle sits enthroned on a steep rocky spur surrounded by the Zschopau on three sides. The castle, which changed hands a good thirty times in its more than 650-year history, is one of the best-preserved castles in Germany and is a popular destination. Structurally, it is a ring castle with an oval floor plan. The castle gets its special charm from the little bay tower and the roof turret on the 45 m high residential tower. was already very successful in the Zschopau valley. Thus the ornithologist’s ear was drawn to the clear, hard-hit, raucous calling of a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) in courtship mood. A Peregrine Falcon had apparently chosen one of the viaducts as a lookout, if not a breeding ground. He flew around the impressive technical structure, shouting loudly, and then sat down on one of the offset steel constructions directly below the parapet.

The spring season is a particularly exciting time for bird watchers as birds of all species migrate, return to their breeding grounds and attract attention with courtship displays. Some of the impressive birds to spot over Easter are the peregrine falcon and the gray woodpecker.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic.  Trips to remote places like this one to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.


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