13th EOU Congress 2022
March, 14 - 18, 2022
photo: Gerald Reiner
The mid-conference excursion is a traditional element of EOU meetings. The excursion is included in the conference fee. A choice of four excursions is offered and ech one will be held in English. More excursions will be added soon.
A spacious meadow landscape runs through the valleys of the Wetterau. The “Auenverbund Wetterau” has a total size of approx. 7369 ha and conservation areas embedded in the network with Europe-wide importance form the core zones of the Wetterau floodplain landscape. They offer numerous types of resting places, winter quarters, living space and home for a great variety of species. While floodplain valleys and agricultural areas dominate in the heartland, mixed beech forests, extensive beech forests and hedges interspersed with pastures and orchards dominate further to the east. One of the most important areas is the Bingenheimer Ried, the core of which is an 85 hectare marsh. Through the changing water levels and year-round grazing of cattle and horses, it was possible to maintain the natural dynamics of this swamp and wetland area. In 2km distance, two former coal mining areas created the lakes Teufelssee and Pfaffensee. The neighboring floodplains (Mittlere Horloffaue) is characterized by old cultural and open landscape and especially through shallow water areas. To protect meadow breeders from ground predators, fences have been set up in some of the areas mentioned. Particularly noteworthy is this measure on a compensation area at the Reichelsheim airfield, on which a permanent electric fence was installed in 2018. Possible species include the greylag goose and bean goose, shoveler, wigeon and golden gray duck, great crested grebe and little grebe, great egret, white stork, red kite and black kite, lapwing, wood sandpiper species, curlew, common snipe, common tern, kingfisher, green woodpecker, black woodpecker, bluethroat and pochette.
Participants arrive by bus at around 9 a.m. at the Echzell municipal administration (Lindenstraße 9, 61209 Echzell, 50.391164, 8.884562), where other participants can be collected, a short toilet break and directly further into the area: depending on the current situation / water level, we will visit a marsh and nearby lakes (Bingenheimer Ried / Teufel- and Pfaffensee) and the lapwing protection fence. After that we will have lunch and continue the excursion in the floodplains (Mittlere Horloffaue) around 2 p.m. Our return trip is planned for 4 p.m.
photo: Walter Schmidt
photo: Manfred Vogt
Senckenberg Natural History Museum & the Messel fossil pit
The Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt am Main is one of the largest and most important natural history museums in Europe. Several thousand exhibits on various natural history topics are presented on an exhibition area of 6,000 m². The museum contains a large and diverse collection of birds with 90,000 bird skins 5,050 egg sets 17,000 skeletons and 3,375 spirit specimens. Other attractions include large collections of animal exhibits from every epoch of Earth’s history, especially dinosaur fossils, and since 2003 the new reptile exhibit addresses both the biodiversity of reptiles and amphibians and the topic of nature conservation.
In addition, this excursion will visit the excavation site “Grube Messel”, a fossil site, that was the first German natural monument to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995. It provides unique information about the early evolution of mammals and documents the evolutionary history of the earth 48 million years ago when, after the end of the dinosaur age, explosive changes determined the flora and fauna.
photo: Senckenberg – Sven Tränkner
photo: Fritz Geller-Grimm
The Kellerwald National Park
Since 2011, the beech forest area of the national park has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Primeval Beech Forests and Old Beech Forests of the Carpathian Mountains and other regions of Europe. After an expansion in 2020, the national park now comprises a total of 76.88 km² of protected beech forest of the low mountain range and its natural dynamics. The national park is home to a great variety of mammal, bird and insect species. Overall, 75 species of breeding birds live in the national park. The largest breeding bird in the area is the black stork and the eagle owl breeds in the rocky slopes. Other species of owl are tawny owl, long-eared owl, rough-owl and, more rarely, the pygmy owl. The common raven has been breeding in the national park since 1989, and there are still tree-breeding jackdaws. Stock dove and woodcock can also be found. Pied flycatcher, redstart, red-backed shrike and gray shrike are other special features of the national park.
The excursion will start at the Affoldern reservoir. It was created in 1929 to generate energy and declared a nature reserve in 1975. It is 165 hectares in size, is an EU bird sanctuary and has been part of the Kellerwald Edersee National Park since 2020. During the excursion we will have the opportunity to see the world of water birds at two locations. Possible species include little grebe, great crested grebe, red-necked grebe, mallard, pintail, teal duck, red-breasted merganser and goosander, as well as various other species.
Then we hike to the Peterskopf (300 meters in altitude) and take a break there (bring your own food). If there are participants who cannot accept the strenuous ascent, there is a bus available, that takes this group to the rest area. The excursion will then head into the old beech forests and with a bit of luck we will hear and see the typical forest birds (gray woodpecker, black woodpecker, medium-sized woodpecker, small woodpecker, green woodpecker and great spotted woodpecker). On the Daudenberg, a stone slope from the ice age awaits us and the excursion ends at Christianseck with a view of the park.
photo: Nationalpark Kellerwald-Edersee
photo: Christian Höfs
Giessen & Lahnaue
This excursion focuses on Giessen and the surrounding landscapes and will start at the Schiffenberg a hill close to Giessen. The hill is covered with deciduous forest and known for its colorful blooming aspects in spring. After a short hike through beech forests we arrive at the former monastery situated on the top of the hill to have a break. The well preserved monastery dates back to medieval times and is used as an event location nowerdays. Possible bird species on the way: woodpeckers like Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Stock Dove and other typical forest birds like tits or treecreepers. After that we visit breeding sites of Eurasian Eagle Owl, Peregrine Falcon and Grey Heron in urban environments of Gießen. Our last stop will be the Lahnaue, just outside of Giessen.
The Lahnaue is one of the largest nature reserves in Central Hesse. It is situated in the valley of the river Lahn between the cities of Giessen and Wetzlar. Regularly flooded meadows, shallow water, ponds and small lakes as a relic of former gravel mining, riparian forest, orchards and arable fields form an extremely structured mosaic of valuable habitats for numerous animal and plant species. More than 200 bird species have been seen here and more than 80 bird species breed here. In March the nature reserve is a good place to observe ducks and geese like Pochard, Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall, Smew, Greylag Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Bean Goose and Canada Goose. Other interesting bird species include lapwing and other waders that can occasionally be seen in the flooded areas of the Lahnaue, white stork, gulls, grebes, rails, little owl, kingfisher and songbirds like pipits and thrushes. Even though the area is a nature reserve conflicts concerning landuse and high visitor pressure are visible and can be discussed during the excursion.
photo: Matthias Korn
photo: Maik Sommerhage