Today was the first full sunny day in as long as I can remember. We have had a few hours of sun here and there over the past few weeks, but it has always passed quickly and never seems to totally dispel the gloom. But today was different, and I took advantage of it by taking a meandering route on my errands. First I stopped by the gathering in the Spree, to check on the usual crowd. I didn’t see the little grebe this time, but everyone else was there. A man on the opposite bank was throwing bread in the water, so the whole mass of birds slowly moved into his vicinity, making quite a ruckus on the way. The coots are very funny when they decide to fly. They begin by running along the water, kicking it up behind them, and flapping their wings like mad. When they finally alight it seems a marvel that they can fly at all. Above is a photo of one of the coots about to take off.
I then headed in the direction of the Tiergarten, walking by my apartment on the way. Just by the S-Bahn tracks I spotted a European goldfinch (Stieglitz) perched in a bush. These birds are supposed to be very common, but this is only the third time I have seen one. In the Tiergarten I really had the feeling that spring is coming, as the songs of the male birds have become so much louder. There I saw and heard innumerable tits, and wished that I could distinguish the other songs. I am going to make a real effort to learn as many songs as I can this spring. I think it will be a fantastic talent to have: to know that something is there without actually seeing it! I also saw a European robin (Rotkelchen) for a fleeting second as it stopped on a fence. These are also common birds that I never manage to see. And then as I approached my destination I managed to see some Canada geese and a Cormorant near the canal and an unidentified bird of prey overhead. In all, I managed to spot 20 species in just an hour’s walk, without really trying very hard. This is what I find the most remarkable thing about learning something like birdwatching: one’s everyday world can take on new and fascinating aspects as soon as one learns to spot the details.
Here is a list of all the birds I saw today on my walk: