Some people go ice-skating to Berghain these days during CTM festival, some prefer to escape the centre to face the nature. The longer I live in Berlin, the more I admire how many species live in the city and how easy it is to spot within and outside of its vast borders.
I especially like escaping to the seaside, as Pablo Neruda said ‘I need the sea because it teaches me’. After leaving behind my flat at the beach in Barcelona almost five years ago, even living in the greenest place of Berlin can’t give me the same thrill of being connected to the natural wonders. It’s possible to visit a cold, beautiful beaches of Rügen or Polish side of Pomerania pretty easily though.
I do appreciate the winter breeze and fresh, cold air which you can experience not that far away from the city either. A train to the Baltic Sea coastline can take you there in approximately 3 hours, so it is truly feasible for a day trip.
What is great about sea in the winter is its remoteness, lower prices than usually during the high season, but also being able to spot unusual bird species that come down from the Arctic areas for the coldest months. So if you are lucky, you can bump into endangered species of ducks pretty much anywhere in the Northern coast nearby Berlin, including e.g. eiderdowns.
Seagulls squeaking, swans dancing, empty landscapes in the winter breeze can truly make the winters magic. This year everyone’s complaining about the particularly dark and grey light since four months already. From my experience I can recommend staying as much outside as possible, getting out from your winter sleep mode and you will see the world in a gradient ranging from other colours than shades of grey.
By the way, the day lasts almost 9 hours by today, yay!
Spring/summer feeling in Berlin has been very special this year. After a very cold winter, it’s been mostly sunny and balmy since April and the perceived quality of life brought smile to even the most gloomy Berliners. Even though I could not make the most of it this year’s outdoor activities such as dancing in the open airs, biking to the lakes, as I was injured for a few weeks, I decided not to FOMO about it.
Trying to find a bright side of this situation, staying at home or in the nearby parks, it helped me appreciate the nature in the city. The sheer abundance of bird songs sparked my curiosity in search of who stays behind their beautiful voices.
Unfortunately (or fortunately to the birds themselves), they hide very well deep in the trees and bushes that has also grown wildly during the past weeks, turning Berlin into a green city jungle. I was lucky enough to portrait some of the (un)usual neighbours in the city though. You can have a look at some better or worse attempts of capturing their presence below.
The biggest and the most colourful pigeon in town, love it or hate it: a ringdove (die Ringeltaube):
The true hunter-gatherer of the city, always hungry sparrow (der Spatz):
Monogamous mandarin ducks (die Mandarinente):
Heroic heron in the park (der Reiher):
A sullen swan in Strausberg (der Schwan):
Inspired by Birdhain, I even tried to welcome the birdy neighbours in those little huts. It proved that it only attracted ringdoves, which couldn’t obviously get in to this club due to their size, and frustrated enough, destroyed them. Or at least this is the version of the story I made up for the sake of this blog post. Didn’t caught any of them red handed.
My passion for birds emerged in my childhood when I tried to pursue a scientific dream of becoming an ornitologist. Funnily enough, when I started sharing my quirky passion with friends, it proved that I am not alone. One of my best friends, Krajonek, has even started a literary blog (you can only witness the wittiness of it in Polish only though) a while ago. Not only he writes amazing stories and research on the bird population in Greater Poland, but is a talented photographer too.
And even when the winter comes, Berlin is not empty – there are thousands of birds from the Northern Europe awaiting the springtime here, not only at the city murals. Additionally, there’s a plenty of literature on birds for long winter evenings I can honestly recommend, including Noah Strycker’s ‘The Thing with Feathers’, Bernd Heinrich’s ‘The Mind of the Crow’ or chapters from Peter Wohlleben’s ‘Spiritual Life of Animals’.
There is one more project I wanted to mention, as I recently backed it up on Kickstarter and could see it growing from scratch: a global sound installation called Birdhouse, check this out!
Just a quick note on the inventory that made my heart melt today: das Birdhain. Now my troubled mind can rest, as I know where will hyperactive Vögelchen go after party. Maybe for once, they will stop bothering me at unearthly hours of the day (5-6 am?) when I normally try to sleep like an usual, full-time working person.
Melte Jansen – the author of the Birdhain, cared so much about the little bros’ comfort that the birdie replica of Berghain has a lot of room to offer, including the darker spots or the main floor with some awesome lightning. Not sure about the menu inside though.
It went viral today in Berlin and I am positive that in this utterly caring city, no one should be deprived of socializing- and party spots. Wait, but speaking of which… who will replace the infamous Sven in the birdie’s reality?