I have always enjoyed my walk through the park or the regular strolls around my favorite cemetery. Those where the green spots around my house when we still lived downtown Berlin. And I sure miss them since I was so familiar with. all the hidden corners, some of the wildlife inhabiting the spaces and I knew the flow of the seasons. But living at the water now I have a whole different wildlife at my doorstep and its is fascinating to discover and experience.
Today I want to share the things I have discovered in the past seven months living here.
Ducks and smaller water birds
It goes without saying that you can’t live by the water without some ducks. But it’s not just the – at least in Germany – regular mallard duck that swims by. Right around the corner a breeding area was established for the Great Crested Grebe as well as Coots.
Now the Great Crested Grebe apparently only has 1-2 eggs and many of the ducklings dont make it to adulthood. I have seen them breeding and then suddenly the nests were empty and they started again. I think this one couple tried three times this breading season. So when I finally saw a duckling peeking out behind the mothers wings I was elated. I observed and a few days later a second one already. Just when one was taking a swim for the first time a pike made an appearance. Luckily the small one managed to get back to mothers wings.
The coots however where more “productive” they had 5 and more offsprings. Of course not all made them but in the end there were definitely more. Did you know that the coots appear to be the bitches of the water? They do make trouble when ever they can and chase each other like crazy. And their cackle does annoy at times.
Other sightings have been mandarin duck and pomeranian duck – apparently the oldest duck species in Germany.
Staying with the duck family I have to mention the many geese that live in the harbor area as well. For the first time in my life I have actually seen goslings. They wear grazing at the shore and I was able to get rather close to have a look.
Now during fall they start to group and fly by the balcony and give their recognizable sounds. One of these days I need to lay in wait to catch those flocks passing by. One downside though the leave a lot of poop everywhere.
I have a thing for grey herons. I find those birds majestic and at the same time a bit goofy with they stick legs that look like the can go either way.
We have one living somewhere around here and he often flies by our window. until now I didn’t know they made such screeching noises. It’s a bit eerie. I can see that it makes great stories of old when hearing such a sound in the foggy early mornings.
The other day the great heron sat mere 3 meters from my window on a pole and was hunting. I got out the big camera and snatched a few shoots. One day I try to catch one getting a fish.
The swans are probably the wildlife I have looked and followed most closely in the past month. There are a lot of swans in our lake. One swans pair territory is right in front of our balcony. I haven’t figured out exactly where their nest was but suddenly they swam by with 8 littles ones rather quickly that number was cut down by half. I assume the pikes and maybe the foxes hat a meal. I have watched the swans grow. I have watched them venturing out more and more on their own. But most fun of all was watching them when they tried to learn how to fly. It took a few attempts but when one of the young swans flew by the video during a video call I couldn’t stop my grin.
One of the nights of bad insomnia I walked around the apartment at 4 am and ended up standing at the window. What I saw made it worth being up at this hour. Two fox cubs where playing catch up running around the lavender bushes and jumping over the rose bushes. The next night I was up I saw it was three and the mom walking by too. I have seen them on occasion but for whatever reason the cubs I never have after those two nights. I don’t have any images as I just enjoyed their play.
Edit: a couple weeks ago I was sitting in the forest when a fox peeked around the corner. It was close to dusk and he apparently was making his rounds. I came really close and the started marking his territory. Since I kept sitting still I could observe him for about 15 minutes. Also our neighborhood fox has reappeared over the past weekend. I have seen him three times. He is always walking his territory and I start to know his routs. One day I will wait with the camera.
Neighbors told us when we moved in that there is a white koi living in the sea here. I wouldn’t believe it. Until I spotted a white shade in the water and it really was a huge fish. It does look small and its only a shot with the phone camera but look at it. I have sighted him twice. Always with a dark partner.
Other than that there are many many fish in this pond. I mentioned the pike. I have yet to clearly see one but they are here. And a tone of other fish. Lots of fishermen out on the water on the weekends too.
One of the best sightings was the little turtle. Again neighbors told me – and I instantly believed them as turtles are so badasss they can adapt to living almost everywhere. I was eager to see it and then one day it swam round directly under my balcony. Lucky me. hope to see it again.
As you can image there are all sort of birds living here as well. I dont habe images of them all – maybe I should since I can just sit one the balcony and the wildlife come to me and I dont need to go searching for it. Here is a list of bids I have spotted so far: sparrows – so many, green and spotted woodpecker, king fisher – another insomnia discovery, common starlings, doves, magpies, jay birds and crows. For the last two I have a story.
When we moved into the apartment like moving day and the following days we often had across sitting on the balcony railing looking curiously in. He was definitely checking us out. When we moved through the rooms he would follow and observe us. We have named him Melvin. He lost interest in us by now. We still observe him and his friends though. in the summer he raided a doves nests. And right now they drop walnuts on the pavement to crack them open. Smart birds but also fierce and mean.
A little later in summer I had the windows open and a sparrow flew in. Luckily he found his way out quickly. A few days later I was in the kitchen – again windows open when I heard a loud bump. Fearing another bird flew in I went to check and there was a sparrow on my balcony stunned as it apparently flew against the window. Just when I was wondering how to and where to put the dead bird and jay bird came and picked him up to eat. While I was glad I hadn’t to get rid of it I was also a bit taken back by the closeness of reality I had just come. Apparently the jay bird was chasing the sparrow fledglings and this one was just not experienced enough.
Not directly at my doorstep but not far away there live raccoons. I have come from the groceries and biked by the hospital entrance and saw a cat. I thought what a big one it was until I realized it must have been a raccoon. So when I walked that area on one of my morning walks I paid a bit more attention. You could see the trash littered and signs of neighbors asking to lock trash and foods up for not attracting them. And the at daylight I saw this raccoon strolling around in the garden.
I also caught one when biking through thee forest. It came out of nowhere crossing my path and then lining a tree. Once peeking around to see if I was still there.
At the same forest bikeride I came a cross a herd of deer that was moving through the trees until they came to the clearing that was lined by pear and apple trees. They gathered underneaths and nibbled away. I stopped and watched until another bike rider came by blaring his music on speakers (why?! But let’s get not into it today…). I have never seen an entire herd with young one and it was a wonderful experience.
Ok, now this post gotten way out of hand and I would probably find a few more sightings I could mention but I leave it at this. Now tell what kind of wildlife lives at your doorstep?