Normally the nature reserve "Garstadter Seen" is a top destination for observing waterfowl of all kind, at least until the temperature drops under 0 °C like on this 29th December. Almost the
complete front part of the lake which is visible from the observation tower was frozen and offered therefore virtually no birds. Despite of this real disappointment I decided to take the 4 km
circuit walk in the hope of maybe finding a Great Grey Shrike or something else good.
At first it looked just as disillusioning as in the beginning but finally I encountered some water birds in the backpart of the reserve, mostly Tufted Ducks but also a couple of Goldeneyes and Pochards. Not great but definitely better than nothing.
Fortunately, these weren't the only birds: Just a few hundred meters from the last view on the lake the high pitched calls of several Tits, Goldcrests and Treecreepers attracted my attention. I only needed to wait a short time until the tiny songbirds got used to my presence and allowed me to get very close to them. Additionally, the golden evening light was perfectly illuminating the bushes creating a wonderful atmosphere.
So the great birding year 2016 ends silently without a rarity or something similar. However, considering the many cool birds that I could observe this year like Germany's first Syrian Woodpecker, the Pygmy Cormorant of the Goldbergsee or my first Caspian Tern, there can be no doubt that 2016 has been an exceptional birding year. Now I hope to return soon on this blog in 2017 with new sightings from Franconia and other interesting stuff like new sites or difficult birds. Unfortunately, there will certainly be fewer posts than 2016 but I try to keep the blog regularly up to date. Let's see what the next year brings.