• Michael Heinz

Photographing purple herons in Wagbachniederung

I was spending 2 days beginning of June 2021 in nature reserve Wagbachniederung nearby Karlsruhe, which is famous for being one of the few breeding grounds of purple herons in Germany.


I spent the night in Hotel Waghäuseler Hof, which was about a 30min feet walk away from the nature reserve. The trip in the nature reserve is best started from the pilgrimage church of "Mutter mit dem gütigen Herzen". The colony of purple herons is not that hard to find. It is located in a rather small lake or pond in the very Western part of the reserve. You cannot miss it, because the heron colony is accompanied by a colony of black-headed gulls, whose screaming can be heard from far. I learned there were about 40 heron couples breeding in the season of my visit. Photographing conditions during my 2 days stay were not ideal, as most of the time the herons sat in their nests in the reeds, offering little chance for a nice background separation. Neverthetheless, I was satisfied with some of the shots I could take.


Herons besides, the nature reserve really is a very beautiful one, giving the chance to watch and photograph a huge variety of other birds. Nightingales are to be found literally in every bush, I could watch among others the little egret, great egret, the gray heron, white stork and a marsh-harrier. Bearded tits could be observed in the reeds of the small ponds eastern of the purple heron colony. I could see blue throats, but distance did not allow for a great picture to post here.


Overall, it is such a beautiful reserve and highly recommended to visit for both ornithologists and nature photographers alike.




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