Great Bustards, Cranes and White-tailed Eagles in Germany
Please note: for this tour we can pick you up in The Netherlands or we can start in northern or eastern Germany (e.g. Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover or Bremen). From the pick up point we drive to an area just west of the German capital Berlin.
This tour is best from the end of September to the end of October when the number of Cranes reaches its peak.
We stay three nights in a hotel 50 kilometers west of Berlin and will take daily trips to look for groups of dozens of Great Bustards (about 25% of all Great Bustards that survive in northern Europe), Europe’s largest raptor, the White-tailed Eagle and tens of thousands of Common Cranes.
In the area we will also be looking for geese, especially Greater White-fronted Goose, Taiga Bean Goose, Tundra Bean Goose, Barnacle Goose and sometimes also Lesser White-fronted Goose and Red-breasted Goose; roughly 50.000 geese are present in autumn.
Ducks (Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Pintail, Mallard, Common Pochard and Tufted Duck) and large groups of Lapwings and Eurasian Golden Plovers feed in the fields, attracting a variety of raptors: White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buzzard, Northern Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Kestrel, Merlin and occasionally Red Kite and Black Kite come to feast on the many smaller birds in the area.
In the surrounding forests we will look for e.g. Black Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker and Hawfinch and we will regularly check the bushes in the more open areas, hoping to find a Great Grey Shrike.
This tour has a slow pace, without any long walks. The hotel we stay in is excellent, as is the German cuisine!
We drive to Brandenburg in Germany, about 50 kilometers west of Berlin. If we start the tour in Holland, the drive may take about six hours, if we start in Berlin the drive will be a little over an hour. Our first stop in the area will be to look for the last remaining Great Bustards in Northern Europe. About 120 of these magnificent birds survive in the grasslands of former Eastern Germany. The area is well protected, although some farmers are allowed to work the land. We have some excellent spots where we have a succes rate of over 95% in seeing the Great Bustards in autumn.
At the end of the afternoon we leave the area and drive a bit east to go to a huge concentration of migrating Common Cranes that spend a few weeks here on their way south from the breeding grounds. The sight, but above all the sound of tens of thousands of Cranes coming to their roost is truly unforgettable!
Day 2 and 3
On at least one of the days we will visit the core area of the Great Bustards again. Although the area is fully protected, two roads go through it, reaching a bird tower at the end. At the eastern end of the area is a vantage point from where the bustard can regularly be seen from a few honderd meters.
Another destination is a 600 hectare protected lake where we will be looking for Whooper Swan, Bewick’s Swan, Wigeon, Common Teal, Pintail, Barnacle Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose and occasionally a Great Bittern.
When panic strikes among the waterfowl, it will be a good time to look up: White-tailed Eagles regularly come to hunt here.
The nearby forests are a good spot for woodpeckers, especially Black Woodpeckers are quite common here.
After breakfast we leave the hotel and drive to the Great Bustard area, where we will be looking for the bustards, but also for Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzard and groups of finches and larks that feed in the stubbles.
Depending on your choice we can either drive back to drop you of in Holland or northern Germany or we can stay in the area for another day, looking for birds we may have missed.
Day 1: Drive to Brandenburg in Germany
Day 2: Explore Brandenburg province
Day 3: Explore Brandenbrug province
Day 4: Brandenbrug province in the morning, drive to drop off point in the afternoon
Please note that both pick up and drop off for this tour can be in Holland or Germany.
Please contact us for more info.
Just some of the species we hope to see (depending on the time of year):
- Great Bustard
- Common Crane (up to 120.000 birds!)
- White-tailed Eagle
- Black Kite
- Red Kite
- Rough-legged Buzzard
- Eurasian Sparrowhawk
- Northern Goshawk
- Great Gray Shrike
- Greater White-fronted Goose
- Lesser White-fronted Goose (rare)
- Bean Goose
- Eurasian Teal
- Eurasian Golden Plover
- Black Woodpecker
- Green Woodpecker
- Great Spotted Woodpecker
Please contact us for a detailed quote for this tour.