Helgoländer Vogeltage 2011

Arrival

I arrived on evening of Thursday 20th Oct. after fairly long day’s travel. Spirit boosted as got ready to board little 6 seater plane (flying lawn mower) and met Eckhard Moeller, one of the most enthusiastic people you could hope to meet, who gave me a lovely warm welcome.

I had been invited as guest speaker on the Helgoländer Vogeltage 2011 (Helgoland Bird Days) by Jochen Dierschke and co. This is the biggest event in the calendar for keen birders in Germany and over one weekend in late October, annually attracts over 300 folk (virtually all the keen German birders apparently!).

Little 6 seater to Helgoland. Travel there involved car, plane (to Amsterdam), plane (to Bremen), tram, train (to Bremerhaven), taxi, plane (to Helgoland), bus, ferry (from Dune Island to main island), feet…arrive at B & B/ hotel!

Flying north over Bremerhaven. They have certainly embraced wind farms, with loads of them reaching into distance as well as bit’s of windmills wrapped in (what looked like) giant plastic shrink-wrap on the ground.

Helgoland ahead! Main island on left, but landing on smaller Dune Island on right. Bit rainy and windy and sometimes scary in such a little plane.

Landing strip ahead on ‘Dune Island’- and yes he actually came in at an angle that suggested we were going to ignore the runaway altogether.

Landed and got little bus/ taxi thing to the ferry. From the ferry the outline of the main island clearly visible and one very noteworthy features. A huge crater (or double crater) at the southern end. A massive gouging out of earth and rock. What caused it? The British made massive bombing raid in 1947 nicknamed ‘The Big Bang’. Result: really excellent migrant and rare bird habitat! Strange thing is, it used to be part of the British Empire. Bit more here.

Helgoland main island from Dune island’s harbour. The bomb craters can be seen left of the radio mast.

Helgoland: The 2 islands from above (off Wikipedia site)

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  1. Pingback: Helgoland: Day One Birding | Birding Frontiers

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