As my parents live in Bonn in Germany, I have been birding a few times in some spots surrounding the city when visiting them over the last few years, including the Siegaue (riverine and grassy habitats) and the Siebengebirge (mainly forest). Having recently started an internship in Bonn, I hoped to have some more time to explore the surroundings for some birding opportunities. Unfortunately, the internship turned out to be more busy than expected and so far, I have not been able to explore any new areas. However, I occasionally had the chance to take a walk in the quite Rheinaue park, a quite extensive green space along the Rhine, which although mainly hosting common birds, is a welcome opportunity to watch birds when the time is not there for a proper birding outing.

The lakes usually have quite a few waterbirds, with Mute Swans and Egyptian Geese, Greylag Geese, and Canada Geese being abundant. At one time I counted over 60 individuals from each goose species from a single spot. This seems quite ridiculous and I’m not sure of their effect on the soil and other organisms (at least there is no need for mowing the lawns). Very rarely, Barnacle Geese are also seen feeding on the lawn, probably on passage. Other standard waterfowl including Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe are also around. Black-headed Gulls are also common, and sometimes a Common Gull is also around. I am still waiting to be surprised by a rarer species, such as Greater Scaup (which have been seen by others).

Black-headed Gull

Raptors are also around occasionally, and I have seen Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, and Common Kestrel. I have also heard Tawny Owl and Eurasian Eagle Owl at night. In terms of passerines, I the park can also be quite interesting. Although generally only common species are in evidence, I always enjoy watching Long-tailed Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Green Woodpecker, Eurasian Siskin, Common Chaffinch, and Eurasian Nuthatch. I have seen Hawfinches a few times but unfortunately, it is hard to get a good look at these shy birds. I still hope to one day get a nice photo of this species, as their coloration and bill are just amazing.


I will try to get outside more often and to explore more areas around Bonn. I got to know a few days ago that an absolutely crazy bird in the form of a Wallcreeper was found in December and which seems to still be present at the Drachenfels. This is at the same location as a local Rock Bunting population, which I also never got to see. The thought of seeing both species, but particularly the Wallcreeper, is rather mouthwatering so I am aiming to visit this location this weekend.

Written by Luca
Family holidays to nature reserves and the abundance of nature books including bird guides at home paved the way for Luca Feuerriegel to be a committed birder by the time he was in his early teens. Growing up in Namibia, South Africa, and Sri Lanka provided the perfect setting for this interest. Luca recently completed his BSc in the Netherlands and currently spends his time working (and birding!) before starting his MSc.