May in the juniper heath

Normally, May is an exciting month for birdwatching: many birds are busy with breeding activities, bird migration reaches its peak and the chance to find a rarity increases from day to day. Consciously, I say "normally", since May is in fact rather slow and very rainy in this year. The only real highlights were the three White-winged Black Terns I've seen at the barrage of Bertoldsheim three weeks ago, but apart from that there has been little of note. Especially, the season at the Altmühlsee isn't going well at time, although this site is usually a good place for finding something special


As the last two visits there were slightly disappointing, I visited a completely contrary site this morning. For some time now I've planned to focus more on the lower valley of the Altmühl, which is only seldom visited by birders. I decided to visit the "Gungoldinger Wacholderheide", which is an examplory juniper heath close to Eichstätt. Since the site isn't large, it took me only an hour to walk through the whole area. As expected, I found typical species of this habitat like Tree Pipit, Woodlark and Common Whitethroat. However I was surprised to find furthermore five Red Crossbills, which seem to breed somewhere in the surrounding area. As I often go birding at lakes, I seldom see crossbills in breeding season, because they are rather seclusive birds breeding in large coniferous woods. Finally, the highlight of the day were altogether five Red-backed Shrikes, although there are certainly more than just these, which were additionally very confident and photogenic as you can see below. All in all I'm very pleased with this walk. It's really sad that not more birders go there or to similar sites.

Kommentar schreiben

Kommentare: 5
  • #1

    Jan (Dienstag, 05 Juni 2018 19:28)

    Are Red backed shrikes common in Franconia.

  • #2

    Birding Franconia (Dienstag, 05 Juni 2018 19:47)

    There are good chances to see Red-backed Shrikes in the right habitat in Franconia. It's definitely not a scarce species, though it's definitely declining.

  • #3

    Jan (Dienstag, 05 Juni 2018 19:52)

    Thank you for the information I will keep on following your website.

  • #4

    Jan (Mittwoch, 06 Juni 2018 16:26)

    Do Red backed shrikes also live on wooded farmland or arable fields.

  • #5

    Birding Franconia (Freitag, 08 Juni 2018 12:21)

    Normally, Red-backed Shrikes need something to pierce their food on them. So I'd pay attention on the shrikes, where there are hedges or bushes.