Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Europe Part 5 - Germany: Bavaria to Berlin

Murnauer Moos
Following our stay in Switzerland (see following post) we opted to travel to Germany through western Austria. Bad move. We were not aware we needed a tollway sticker to enter Austria as we assumed it would be like elsewhere in the EU - you pay tolls as you go along. We were waved through by the Austrian border guards (no warning signs that we could see) and then pulled over  by the Austrian police and hit with a 120 euro on-the-spot fine for not having the sticker. We were left with a sour taste in our mouths - Austria sucks!

Murnauer Moos
After leaving the neo-fascists following a brief drive through western Austria we entered Germany for a stay in the delightful Bavarian town of Murnau. Here I checked out the beautiful moors and grasslands of Murnauer Moos, with their dramatic backdrop of the Alps in that neo-fascist country to the south.

I looked unsuccessfully for Spotted Crake, including before sunrise and after sunset (when they are supposed to be more active at this time of year) with no success. I heard several Corn Crake, a species I had seen in Kenya, and although none showed, they were most interested in my tape recording of the Australian frog Psuedophryne coriacea.

Common Cuckoo
Plenty of Common Cuckoos were about.

Common Chiffchaff
Willow Warbler
Coming to grips with the Palaearctic warblers was a challenge. I eventually sorted out Willow Warbler from Common Chiffchaff - both plentiful.

Blackcap Warbler
As was Blackcap Warbler, Eurasian Reed-Warbler and Sedge Warbler. A couple of Western Bonelli's Warblers showed.

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker was about; no sign of the White-backed reported to be here.

A couple of Fieldfare were nice to see.

Long-tailed Tit

Marsh Tit
Marsh Tit was there along with plenty of Great Tit, Eurasian Blue Tit and Long-tailed Tit. An unexpected surprise was a Eurasian Beaver which surfaced within a couple of metres of where I standing on a creek bank in the early morning.

Nymphenburg Palace, Munich

Nymphenburg Palace, Munich
After leaving Murnau we headed north to Munich to visit the historic Nymphenburg Palace on the city's western outskirts. The elaborate collection of carriages was particularly impressive.

Greylag Goose
Among the waterfowl on the palace lakes were plenty of Greylag Geese and a few Common Pochards.

Common Pochard
We decided to overnight in the pleasant village of Schleiz before confronting Berlin's mayhem. We stayed in the Hotel Luginsland, where a wall of pictures is devoted to Australian motorbike rider Roger Barker, who died outside the hotel in a 1957 accident.

Fields outside Schleiz
From there we drove a short distance to the village of Modlareuth, one of many German towns to be divided by the old border between East Germany and West Germany. This fine site includes a museum and remnant stretches of the border wall that was dismantled in 1989.

Modlareuth - East German border post & fence

Section of original border wall that divided German village of Modlareuth
Here also were House Martins and Barn Swallows nesting in the old buildings.

House Martins on nest
From Modlareuth we had a tortuous drive to Berlin, where road repairs and a couple of spectacular motor vehicle accidents (no speed limits on the autobahns) meant it took 5+ hours to travel 240kms. We checked into our hotel and dropped the car off, having clocked up almost 4000km since leaving Rome 19 days earlier.

Brandenburg Gate

Checkpoint Charlie
Berlin is a delightful city. We indulged in the usual el fresco dining and beer-drinking. We took in sites including the Berlin Cathedral, Checkpoint Charlie, Alexanderplatz, the Reichstag (Parliament), Charlottenburg Palace and the Brandenburg Gate.

Berlin Cathedral
Charlottenburg Palace display



  1. Keep the blogs coming Greg. Love seeing all the 'different' birds and of your travels. Is that carriage all gold ?? Guess you wont heading back through Austria after being pulled over and fined.

  2. Wow, these photos are stunning! What an amazing trip. Thanks so much for sharing! pension frankfurt oder