field note

Scorched Earth

July 2019
The naturalist’s year is more or less structured by the life cycles of the natural world.
Living in a life cycle mostly alienated from nature, it brings with it that only partial
insights into the former are possible.

At least once a year, I usually visit a former military training area south of Berlin in
order to enjoy the nocturnal behaviour of the peculiar Eurasian Nightjar and the
sandy landscape and seclusion it lives in.

This year, however, it was very unusual: the entire forest and the entire lower aufwuchs
was burnt. The extreme heat resulted in a forest fire that affected an area of 700 hectares.
The consequences of climate change were shockingly plastic and concrete.

Had I been able to make fantastic sound recordings in the forest two years ago, now the
walk was fairly surreal. Only individual birds were present and the general soundscape
was just silence. Here is a sound recording I made back in 2017.

PFR13045, European Robin Erithacus r. rubecula, AD, M, song
Jüterbog-West, Germany