This was my 4th trip to Europe in search of a Corncrake, hoping for an image. I’ve heard them, had them at my feet calling but had never been able to get one in the open, for a photo. This time I planned to spend a full day at Murnauer Moos, in Bavaria. Website http://www.birdinggermany.de/murnauermoosenglish.htm My internet research, suggested that this was a good spot to find the elusive Corncrake…but after a full day walking, listening and playing calls until near dark. A Corncrake calling back was my only success.
So I decided to go for Plan B the next day. I had been in touch with the curator of the Augsburg Zoo. When I contacted Herr Moeller, the zoo had a female and two male Corncrakes, in seperate enclosures, he said I’d be welcome at the Zoo and photograph these birds.
I arrived as the zoo was opening and waited eagerly for Herr Moeller. He showed up on his bike, took me over to the Aviary area of the zoo and introduced me to his staff. All the while I was thinking, how I was going to get a decent image through the mesh in the cages. Then to my surprise he grabbed a crate, opened the door and ushered me inside, told me that someone would check up on me from time to time and left me with the Corncrakes.
I thought to myself, how easy this was going to be, in a 15′ x 15′ enclosure, with two corncrakes… lolol… 1 hour went by, in 35C weather before I even got a look at one, let alone take a photo. These are some of the wariest birds, I’ve ever encountered. I did catch glimpsed of them from time to time, I began to notice they were panting due to the heat. Realizing, I was too close to their water supply and they weren’t going to drink, while I was there. I moved my crate to a dark spot, furthest away from the water but with a clear line to get an image. My idea worked and soon they were coming to the water regularly. They even came closer a few times, sensing I was no threat. I took a series of image of them drinking. Below is my best image…still can’t count it on my life list, it being a captive bird but I did get a lovely photo.
I spent the rest of the day wandering around this wonderful Zoo, the animals that can be seen rival any north american Zoo, I’ve been to:
Lions, Tigers, Chimps, Mandrills, Black and White Rhinos, African, Indian Elephants, Causcasian Tur, Mountain Goat and Ibex just to name a few. A lovely aviary with european and african birds. If your ever near Augsburg, near Munich. This is well worth the visit. One of my favourite’s is the Mandrill.
I also manage a lovely improvement image..they had a pair of Red-Whiskered Bulbuls (a bird I’d managed to see and photograph in Miami, Florida), I got a lovely new image.
I spent the rest of the day walking the zoo, meeting with the staff for afternoon break, some of the better images are below:
European Brown Bear
White-face Whistling Duck
I would like to sincerely thank Wilhelm Moeller and his staff, for all the help they gave me and the tours they took me on…I will never forget my day at the Augsburg Zoo.