The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Priwall Nature Reserve

Priwall Naturschutzgebiet (NSG) – Priwall Nature Reserve

I had to change a fishing reel as it had a missing part (important as it was the screw that attaches the handle to the drum), so as I left I decided to kill two birds with one stone and visit the Nature Reserve on the isthmus of Priwall at the mouth of the Trave (Travemunde).

First a little about the history of the Isthmus during the cold war the Priwall could only be reached by the ferry from Travemunde (the mouth of the river Trave) and belonged to the Gemeinde
(municipal district) Lübeck in Schleswig-Holstein. It was during WWII a testing ground for some of Adolfs dreams, flying boats, U-boats and also a slave labour camp. During the Cold war a small part came under the GDR Regime, the east side, but the rest was still West but could only be reached by a small ferry, this meant that large parts were off limits to much of normal Joe public, therefore it was allowed to return to nature. The one time airfield, returned to a salt mash after a high summer tide and the rest a natural forest full with wild life. They are at the moment building a smashing Nature Centre at the start of the wanderweg (8.5km long), this will not be finished until 2016, but will encompass an information centre, education facilities and a conference hall.
I had my packed lunch, a small baguette filled with sliced frikadelle and Kohl Slaw, a bottle of water my camera and binoculars, so off I jolly well went.

I took the long road way round, because it passes through some wonderful open countryside and small untouched villages of West Mecklenburg, I saw a pair of Black Kites playing in the sky and as I travelled along the shore of the Dessower lake, high in the sky a Fish Adler (white-tailed eagle ) was patrolling its territory, the roads full of darting white wagtails as they picked the flying insects from the verges.

I crossed onto the Ismuth and parked up, it was a work day so only people out looking at nature, at weekends there is a nudist beach in the near so many that would be carrying cameras and bino's are looking at other birds.

The woods were full of song, many I could not recognise ( I must take a recorder next time), but I was only about 100mtr down the track and I heard the alarm call of a blackbird. I turned and saw a stoat scurry across the path,

I carried on along the track, admiring the colour and heady scent of the Hawthorn and Wildroses until the path met the shoreline of the Pötenitzer Wiek  (Wiek comes from the old German and means a bay connected to a larger body of water (in this case the Baltic), by a narrow opening, in this case theTrave)).

A Chirping Great Tit

This is where I had aimed to have my lunch at a rest area with tables but it was taken by a cyclist group (they get everywhere don't they, worse than dog poo on the streets of Berlin).

My lunch table haven been taken, I walked a little further, found a break in the undergrowth and discovered a washed up tree branch that made a smashing seat. I unpacked my lunch and got out my water bottle, when a cheeping, chirping flotilla came into sight, a Red Breasted Merganser with 9 chicks in tow, what a wonderful sight.

Out on the Wiek I watched another pair fishing and swans bobbing in the sunshine.  All of a sudden, with quite a flurry the mother herded the chicks into the reed beds, up above a pair of raptors (I think a pair of Kites, too far away to tell with any certainty) were patrolling the skies.

Alarm over out she came with her brood astern. 

On the other side a Baltic Trader (alas not the sailing vessels of yesteryear) was making ready for sea, I watched with a longing eye, as during the 70s I had done a six month tour on Chemical Tankers plying there trade on the Baltic, this was while having a break (birth of son number two) from the Far East and Pacific Rim.

Lunch finished, the track followed the lakeside and through the reed beds over a wooden walkway much bird song coming from within. I caught sight of a few fluttering movements but nothing that I could get a clear shot at.

I walked along the river and watched a ship setting off on its journey to Helsinki with a cargo of VW cars and passed a flock of swans paddling in the opposite direction, a cormorant decides that it was better to get out of the way and took flight towards the Wiek.

I walked a while along the shore path but got a bit sick of looking across the river towards Travemunder, watched a river pleasure cruiser heading towards the river mouth and that was it.

So turning into the woods at the earliest opportunity and was at once rewarded by a flash of red in the trees and managed to get a couple of good shots and I do believe it was a female Red Start- Phoenicurus phoenicurus (Rotschwanz)

I wandered along the path until it joined Fliegerweg the original road to the now overgrown airfield, now being allowed to return to salt marsh encouraged by the grazing of ponies and horses. This is now a breeding place for all manner of ducks, geese, waders and sea birds.
Grey Heron, lapwing, Sheldduck, Grey lagged geese and many more waders
Along the tracks and trails NABU- Naturschutzbund Deutschland (Nature Protection Association of Germany) have positioned nesting boxes, I stopped at a couple hoping to get a sight of some bird or other, as I was nearing the end of the trail, I saw a movement above nest box number 63, it was a pair of blue tits bearing food in their beaks, I stood and watched, the birds were a bit wary so I moved back a little way and was rewarded by mummy heading to the box with a cranefly in her beak, she then proceeded to feed the young through the hole, while dad looked on with another tasty morsel clamped in his beak, still not certain what to do, he was a bit of a wimp. I decided to leave them to it.

I then walked to the start of the route and back to my car, I had parked right at the start of the walk and there are a limited number of free parking slots on Helling and adjacent to the soon to be new Nature Workshop complex (hopefully to be opened in 2016 and fully functional in 2017). I think that if you try to get parked at weekends during the summer months you had better come early or leave your car in Travemunde and go across as a foot passenger on the ferry; it is just a short walk to the start of the nature trail.

Alexander Vin Humbolt II

I caught the ferry (you never have more than a few minutes to wait) across the Trave which is very narrow at this point and then decided to travel along the coast to Scharbeutz before turning inland to visit my storks in the small village of Böbs.

As I approached along the road from Schwenkenrade, I couldn’t see anything sitting on the nest, but as I stopped my car at the entrance to the property, I saw a shape getting larger as it approached the nest from over the fields, it was daddy Stork returning with afternoon tea. Up popped heads and daddy proceeded to feed mummy and the young.

All in all a very successful day, most enjoyable and I got loads of nice wildlife photos.