Eifel, Germany - May 2022
From 3-5 May 2022, I drove my car from Hilversum to the Eifel in Germany to spend 3 days to look for birds and butterflies.
It's only a 3 hour drive and I had never actually been to the Eifel to look for wildlife, so it was about time to do this.
Tue 3 May: Hilversum to Breinigerberg/Schlangenberg (2,5 hours), Mayschoss, Urfttal; night in Eifel Retreat;
Wed 4 May: Mützenicher Venn (Belgium), Monschau, Perlenbach- und Furhtsbachtal, Paulushofdamm (Eifel NP) ; night in Eifel Retreat;
Thu 5 May: Paulushofdam (Eifel NP), Dreiborn Highlands (Eifel NP), Schafbachmühle (Eifel NP); Drive back to Hilversum
Eifel Retreat (50.567927, 6.366548)
Owned and managed by Dutch birder Leo and his wife Egle.
Next to the B&B they have a bird photography hide. Common species are Marsh, Great and Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch and sometimes Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Haw- and Bullfinch. Other visitors are Nort American Raccoon, Red Fox, Yellow-necked Mouse and Bank Vole. The forest around the house hold interesting birds as Lesser Spotted, Green and Black Woodpecker, Red Kite and Tawny Owls. Up to 30 bird species have been recorded at the hide. On both 3 and 4 May, after 22:30, I found 2-3 North American Raccoons feeding from the food at the hide.
Breinigerberg / Schlangenberg (GPS: 50.736433, 6.244253)
Parking: GPS: 50.739941, 6.243168.
This nature reserve is definitely worth a visit. The following butterflies may be found here: Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (zilveren maan), Niobe fritillary (Duinparelmoervlinder), Queen of Spain (Kleine Parelmoervlinder), Small Blue (Dwergblauwtje), Silver-studded Blue (Heideblauwtje), Mazarine Blue (Klaverblauwtje), Purple-edged Copper (Rode Vuurvlinder), Sooty Copper (Bruine Vuurvlinder), Green Hairstreak (Groentje), Wood White (Boswitje), Small Skipper (Geelsprietdikkopje), Pearly Heath (Tweekleurig Hooibeestje), Orange Tip (Oranjetipje) en het Ringlet (Koevinkje). As far as birds are concerned, you should think of Red-backed Shrike, Tree Pipit, Black Redstart, Blackcap, Greater Whitethroat, Woodlark and Bullfinch.
When I visited on 3 May, as far as butterflies concerned, I found Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Queen of Spain, Wood White, Orange Tip and a Dingy Skipper.
Nationaal Park Eifel
The Eifel National Park is a 11,000 hectares protected area located in the west part of Germany, close to the Belgian border. The wood-covered Kermeter mountain range gives the area its charming scenery, but the park doesn’t just consist of woods. In fact, the Dreiborner plateau and its meadows and gorges are one of the reasons why the park is so special. Through its valleys flow many watercourses. On the banks of these rivers, you can take pictures of Wagtails and White-throated Dippers. The water streams meet into two large reservoirs lakes: the Urft and the Rur dams. Their steep shores add even more magic to the Eifel Park’s landscape.
At the two dams, the range of bird species is widened. Paulushofdamm (GPS: 50.607354, 6.388603). There are numerous picturesque hiking trails and viewpoints, such as the Hirschley on the Rur. The regular birds are the great Crested Grebe, Canada Goose and Herons.
The open lands of the Dreiborn Highlands (GPS: 50.545971, 6.360631) are the best places in the park to observe bird species. Eurasian Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Yellowhammer are common. Among them can also be found more rare specimens such as the Wheatear and the Whinchat. Red-backed Shrike is fairly common and Melodious Warbler hide in the bush. In springtime and autumn, the Dreiborn plateau is a great place to watch Cranes. Black Stork fly over the area to get from their breeding places to their feeding areas and vice versa.
Urfttal (GPS: 50.513533, 6.608336)
20km East of Eifel National Park.
This is a great place for birds and butterflies. There is a nice educational Butterfly Trail (Schmetterlingspfad) which is merely a 1 km paved bike road through grassland. Along the verge of the path I found many butterflies and several Red Kites flew over.
Perlental and the Fuhrtsbachtal (near Monschau)
The area surrounding the beautiful town of Monschau is known for its many butterflies. For a walk through the valley of the Perlenbach it is best to go to the heart of the area and start at the hotel Gut Heistert (GPS: 50.504594, 6.246644) near Kalterherberg and the German/Belgium border. Walk into the valley of the Jägerssief (GPS: 50.499229, 6.262122) with its special flora. At GPS: 50.501214, 6.255225, take a left and follow the path with the river Perlenbach to your left back. At the Unterer Steg, you can climb back up to Gut Heistert (you are walking a loop counter clockwise). On 4 May, I found here a White-throated Dipper, a Coal Tit, a Eurasian Linnet and the rare Violet Copper Butterfly (Blauwe Vuurvlinder).
Mayschoss (Ahr Valley) (GPS: 50.524136, 7.024515)
Slightly out of the way, because more to the east, but in the Eifel. If you look carefully, you are sure to have a chance at the beautiful Rock Bunting. Visit Mayschoss and walk up the mountain slopes lined with vineyards. You will find them there. When I visited on 3 May, there were just no Rock Buntings to be seen. The river through the town held some Grey Wagtails.
Het Mützenicher Venn/ Nature Reserve Hoge Venen (GPS: 50.568471, 6.180624)
This raised moor area is located in Belgium. Here you can see the Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Zilveren Maan) and the Cranberry Blue (Veenbesblauwtje). When I visited on 4 May 2002, there was not much activity. Only a Red Kite, a Garden Warbler, some Willow Warblers singing and a Roe Deer that was startled by me when I passed by.