Saturday, May 22, 2010

Some Colorful European Birds

I just got back from my trip to my hometown of Hamburg in Northern Germany. The weather was quite changeable - dark clouds alternating with bright sunny skies. The main purpose of the trip was to spend some time with my 98 y/o mother who lives very happily in an assisted living home, a converted villa in a park on the River Elbe. Hamburg is an old merchant city, beautiful in an austere way, with none of that southern German charm.

 It has a large botanical garden near the city center where I got this photo a European Coot with those strange lobed feet:

I also managed to do some birding in local parks, cemeteries and gardens. I came back with photos of some colorful garden birds taken with my Panasonic Lumix FZ28 camera which didn't perform too badly as long the birds were fairly close.

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker (Buntspecht)

Eurasian Jay (Eichelhaeher) whose favorite foods are acorns

(European) Bullfinch (Gimpel) eating dandelion seeds

(European) Robin (Rotkehlchen)

Long-tailed Tid (Schwanzmeise)

This one shows the long tail which appears to be quite worn

Great Tit (Kohlmeise) the largest of the tits

The cemetery was the home of several Dunnocks, a  bird I had never noticed before while living there, perhaps because it looks so nondescript. The quiet cemetery appears to be the perfect habitat for them, as they are quite shy and prefer dense brush and shrubs

Dunnock (Heckenbraunelle)

My walks were accompanied by the songs of the Common Blackbird, with the males singing from every roof top, every tree or shrub

I'll end this post with a snippet. The slurred notes in this recording are a bit atypical, but it was the only fairly clean recording I managed to get.


  1. Hi Hilke,
    Nice set of pictures. My favorite are the dunnock and the bullfinch, these are gorgeous shots! I guess you enjoyed this trip!

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  3. Hi Hilke
    Beautiful pictures of beautiful birds! wow! I think the bullfinch is my favorite, he looks so sweet!

  4. Great shots and a neat assortment of birds! I loved that recording, too. Sounds like you had a terrific trip home.

  5. Fabulous shots Hilke. Looks like you had a great trip.

  6. Hilke,
    I like how you captured an ominous tone in Hamburg with the rolling gray sky. Are those tropical trees on the right-hand side?
    I was also interested in the robin.

  7. Thanks for your comments! LV asked about the trees on the Hamburg shot: those are potted palms in front of one the premier cafes on the Alster Lake. What intrigued me was the bright sun illuminating the scene with thethreatening sky overhead, giving the scene an ominous tone. The clouds receded - no thunderstorm that day and all was well.

  8. Really beautiful birds there..
    I played the recording and didnt expect a blackbird to sound like that ...beautiful

  9. Thanks, Dawn. The Common Blackbird is an amazing songster. Walking down any suburban street in the morning or at dusk you pass from one bird's singing to the next almost seamlessly. They start at 4 AM though to the annoyance of people being aroused from sleep


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