#531 Mistle Thrush

I’m in Munich for a week starting today. I got to my hotel room about 1:00 PM and took a quick nap. I woke around 2:00 and, while still jet lagged, didn’t feel especially sleepy so I checked my map and decided to walk over to the English Garden. However I went by way of the little known Alter Botanisch Garten. No life birds there, but some nice reviews of common European park species including Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, and Carrion Crow.

I eventually found my way over to the English Garden. The first pond had a nice selection of waterfowl including Mallard, Tufted Duck, Bar-headed Goose, and Greylag Goose. Most likely these are either kept or feral. There were also some European Coots and one Common Moorhen. Those are more likely to be natural.

For about a mile after that I really didn’t pick up anything new, just more Blue Tits, Carrion Crows, Chaffinchs, and the like. I was getting discouraged (and hungry) but then I heard something unrecognized up ahead in a tall tree with few leaves but much mistletoe. And then a fairly large bird (flew out of one of the mistletoe clumps to the next tree. I got my binoculars on it and it looked spotted and thrush like. It did not immediately seem to be a Fieldfare or a Redwing (no color) but that could just be the late afternoon light. Song Thrush maybe? Before I could see more the bird flew back into the mistletoe and vanished.

I backed up down the path and so I’d have front lighting instead of backlighting if the bird reappeared. I didn’t see it, but I did see two Greater Spotted Woodpeckers fly into the same level in the tree, and interestingly they looked noticeably smaller than the first bird had looked. Whatever this was it was a pretty big bird.

The bird still wasn’t coming out so I risked a quick look at the Thrush section of my field guide, and what did I find on the same page as Song Thrush, Fieldfare, and Redwing but a bird I’d never heard of before, a Mistle Thrush. The book didn’t say why this bird was called a Mistle Thrush, but the name sounded very suggestive.

And then, a couple of minutes later, the bird finally flew out of its Mistletoe clump back to the neighboring tree where this time I got s really good look at its underparts with all the field mark fresh in my head. Dark, distinct spots. Check. Long tail. Check. High in tree. Check. No yellow or red wash visible anywhere on the breast. Check. Mistle Thrush it is! #531.

No pictures though. I was jetlagged enough that I didn’t want to carry more than my binoculars and field guide with me today. However to really nail down the ID, twenty minutes later I found a Song Thrush closer to the ground, and noted that the yellow wash on its breast was obvious and visible. Also the tail was indeed noticeably smaller as the book said.

By this point I was getting quite hungry, but fortunately I had arrived at the back of the Beer Garden so I celebrated with a Schweinshaxe, pommes frites, and water. (I do drink beer but as jetlagged as I was, I thought a liter of German beer might make me pass out. Maybe tomorrow.) After dinner, the jetlag was really starting to reassert it self, so I found the closest U-Bahn stop and rode back to my hotel.

Overall the English Garden was less than ideal for wildlife, but that may be because I didn’t actually get that far in. It goes on for several miles past where I explored. It may be like a German birder exploring Manhattan’s Central Park starting at 59th Street, walking north, and stopping a block or two short of The Ramble. I’m going to pick up where I left off tomorrow. I also want to try Olympic Park. I have to work through the week (that’s why I’m here in Munich) but next weekend I’d like to try to reach some further out locations such as Ammersee. If I came all the way across the Atlantic, I want more than one life bird. :-)

One Response to “#531 Mistle Thrush”

  1. Tor Says:

    Would recommend a visit down to the alps while you’re there, it’s only about an hour away with car. There’s also the Neuschwanstein castle which is very picturesque, and not to forget Salzburg, Mozarts birthplace.

    Come to think of it, you could use more than a week once you’re there, since you don’t want to forgo a visit to all the sites marked by the second world war. There’s the Konigsplatz, the Haus der kunst (look at the swastikas up in the ceiling when standing outside under the entrance), the Buchenwald concentration camp… There’s students doing guided walks around the city, meeting point is outside the Neue / Alte rathaus.

    If you’re up by the olympic park, go up in the tower, and try visiting the BMW expo that’s across the street from it as well.

    And don’t forget to have some weissbier either at the Weisses Brauhaus or the Hofbrauhaus, maybe with a meal of Schweinehaxe.

    Not much about birds though..

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