Germany: Birds & Art in Berlin & Brandenburg Sep 29—Oct 08, 2017

Posted by Rick Wright

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Rick Wright

Rick Wright, a native of southeast Nebraska, studied French, German, philosophy, and life sciences at the University of Nebraska, where he worked in the bird collections of...

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“Orkanartige Sturmböen.” Not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

Low pressure tropical storm systems aren’t usually a feature of our autumn visits to eastern Germany, but halfway into this year’s tour, hurricane-force winds drove us out of the usually bird-rich gardens of Charlottenburg Palace. Had this been “just” a birding tour, the day might have felt like wasted time—but the itineraries for our Birds & Art excursions let us make lemonade out of even the most extreme meteorological lemons. We simply walked across the street to the safety of the Berggruen and Bröhan museums, marveling over the Picassos and Matisses and admiring masterpieces of the art nouveau while outside leaves and branches and trees tumbled and swirled in the most powerful storm the region had experienced in ten years. We would make up for it later in the tour, when most of us enjoyed a chamber concert in Charlottenburg’s White Salon, the perfect setting for an intimate and peaceful evening of fine music. 

Happily, the weather over the rest of our ten days in Germany’s great metropolis and the surrounding countryside was more welcoming. Intermittent mist and occasional sprinkles kept our rain jackets close at hand, but we also had periods nearly every day of beautiful blue skies, none more heart-rendingly lovely than an afternoon at Frederick the Great’s palace of Sans Souci, where over-the-top baroque gardens and the fanciest of rococo architecture provided the cultural backdrop for our encounters with a dazzling Common Kingfisher, noisy Middle Spotted Woodpecker, surprisingly abundant Hawfinches, and snowball-headed Long-tailed Tits.

Read Rick’s full report in his Field List.