Many tour companies focus on the state of Brandenburg for obvious reasons this area holds the last remaining population of Great Bustards in northern Europe, with just over a hundred birds. In autumn and winter through into early spring, there are also impressive numbers of geese (sometimes numbering more than 50,000 birds): mostly Russian White-fronts, and Tundra and Taiga Bean Geese, but often a few Barnacle Geese too. The odd Lesser White-front and the occasional Red-breasted Goose also turn up most years. All this concentration of birdlife attracts a good population of raptors. Visiting White-tailed Eagles augment the local breeding birds and can be seen most days in autumn; Rough-legged Buzzards patrol the rough grassland areas from October through into March; and Hen Harriers and Merlins are usually about, too. Goshawks are surprisingly numerous.
Common Cranes breed here and a few stay behind for the winter. But spectacular numbers also pass through Brandenburg every October on their migration south to Extremadura in Spain. Brandenburg's woodlands hold Black, Middle Spotted and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, and Hawfinches too.
Great Bustard © Ron Marshall
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