The Elbe Valley from December to February
In midwinter, the large flocks of visiting birds are especially conspicuous in the Elbe valley. Only when cold conditions persist or a lot of snow falls do they fly on to Western Europe. As the winter wanes, they develop a preference for the grasslands and floodplains. Tens of thousands of white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) then stop here to rest on their way back from Western Europe to their West-Siberian breeding grounds.
The extensive meadows offer opportunities to observe hen harriers (Circus cyaneus), rough-legged buzzards (Buteo lagopus) und great grey shrikes (Lanius excubitor) hunting for mice. The white-tailed eagle population (Haliaeetus albicilla) has increased thanks to migration from the east. Thousands of mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), widgeons (Anas penelope) and teals (Anas crecca) as well as goosanders (Mergus merganser) und smews (Mergellus albellus) also come during the winter.
When the spring high water comes, a large number of different kinds of duck, as well as geese and swans can be found along the Elbe. On the other hand waders such as lapwings (Vanellus vanellus), Eurasian golden plovers (Pluvialis apricaria) and Eurasian curlews (Numenius arquata) prefer the extensive marsh grasslands.
Smews come during the winter.