I spent a few days in mid-September in the Harz village of Hahnenklee, near Goslar. Hahnenklee is at an altitude of about 1000ft on the northern slopes of the Harz, is surrounded by Spruce forests, and in the winter is a small ski resort.

When walking around the lake, I saw small flocks of shy little birds, sometimes feeding on berries, sometimes just proceeding slowly through the trees. Some appeared grey, others appeared reddish-brown, but in common was the rusty-red rump and tail as they flew away. It was only when I returned home and was able to compare my photos with my reference books that I realised that they were Redstarts, a mixture of the Common and Black variants.

A female or juvenile Common Redstart,

A Black Redstart,

A Common Redstart.

A Pied Wagtail

A Black Redstart preening.

Common Redstart

Common Redstart

One of the Warbler family, most likely a Chiffchaff.

Female Chaffinch

Female Chaffinch

Male Bullfinch


Male Chaffinch

A female White-Backed Woodpecker

One of the Warbler family, most likely a Chiffchaff

Blackbird (moulting).

That's it as far as the wildlife of Hahnenklee is concerned. I shall now deviate from the subject of wildlife for a moment, and record the results of another enquiry resulting from my visit.

The Miners' song (Gluck auf, Gluck auf!)

The tune played on the Goslar glockenspiel when the miners appeared was clearly of some local or national significance, as many visitors in the square sang along when it was playing. I have now established that as I suspected, it is a folk song about mining, and is a sort of miners' anthem throughout Germany.

Glück auf, Glück auf!
Der Steiger kommt,
|: und er hat sein helles Licht bei der Nacht, :|
|: schon angezünd't. :|

Hat's angezünd't!
Es wirft seinen Schein,
|: und damit so fahren wir - bei der Nacht, :|
|: ins Bergwerk ein. :|

Ins Bergwerk ein,
wo die Bergleut sein,
|: die da graben ja das Silber und das Gold - bei der Nacht, :|
|: aus Felsenstein. :|

Der eine gräbt das Silber,
der andre gräbt das Gold.
|: Doch dem schwarzbraunen Mägdelein - bei der Nacht, :|
|: dem sein sie hold. :|

Ade, ade, ade, ade!
Herzliebste mein!
|: Und da drunten in dem tiefen, finstern Schacht - bei der Nacht, :|
|: da denk ich dein. :|

Und kehr ich heim,
zum Liebsten mein,
|: dann erschallet des Bergmanns Gruß - bei der Nacht, :|
|: Glück auf! Glück auf! :|

Weitere Ulkverse:

Die folgende Strophe wird nur von Bergleuten gesungen:

Die Bergleute
sein kreuzbrave Leut';
|: denn sie tragen das Leder vor dem Arsch - bei der Nacht, :|
|: und saufen Schnaps. :|

Die nun folgende Strophe wird nur von Hüttenleuten gesungen:

Die Hüttenleut'
sein kreuzbrave Leut';
|: denn sie tragen das Leder vor dem Bauch - bei der Nacht, :|
|: und saufen Sekt. :|

Für andere Leute:

Wir andern Leut'
sein kreuzbrave Leut';
|: denn wir tragen gar kein Leder - aber saufen tut ein jeder, :|
|: ja wir könn's auch. :|

An English translation:

Glück auf, Glück auf!
the pit foreman comes,
|: and he has his bright light in the night, :|
|: already lighted. :|

Has lighted it!
It sends its rays,
|: and with it we descend - in the night, :|
|: down to the mine. :|

Into the mine,
where the miners are,
|: they who dig the silver and gold - in the night, :|
|: from the rocks. :|

One digs the silver,
the other digs gold.
|: But to their black-brown girl - in the night, :|
|: they are faithful. :|

Bye-bye, bye-bye!
My dear beloved one!
|: Down there in the deep, dark pit - in the night, :|
|: there I will remember you. :|

And when I come home,
to my dear beloved one,
|: then the miners' salute rings out - in the night, :|
|: Glück auf! Glück auf! :|

Additional joke verses:

Verse only sung by miners:

The miners
are most honest people;
|: since they carry the leather on their arse - in the night, :|
|: and booze spirits. :|

Verse only sung by steelworkers:

The steelworkers
are most honest people;
|: since they carry the leather on their belly - in the night, :|
|: and booze sparkling wine. :|

For other people:

We other people
are most honest people;
|: since we carry no leather - but everybody boozes, :|
|: yes, we can do it, too. :|

Historical Background:

The "Bergmannslied" ("miners song"), which is also known as "Steigerlied" ("pit foreman song"), "Steigermarsch" ("pit foreman march") or after the first line "Glück auf, Glück auf!" (literally: "Luck upwards", a traditional greeting of miners) expresses the hope of the miners to return home safe and healthy after the dangerous work in the mines.

Today, it can be found in all regions in Germany which have (or had) a mining tradition, such as the Ruhr Area (North Rhine Westphalia), Erzgebirge (Saxony), Saarland, Harz (Lower Saxony/Saxony-Anhalt/Thuringia) and Mansfelder Land (Saxony-Anhalt), and in many of them it has nearly the character of a regional or local anthem. It is played on the beginning of home games of the soccer club FC Schalke 04 (Gelsenkirchen) as well as of FC Erzgebirge Aue (Saxony).

However, miners are more and more becoming an endangered species in Germany; in many regions, like for example Erzgebirge, Harz and Mansfelder Land, all mines have been closed, and even in the Ruhr Area and Saarland you find only very few, due to the consequences of globalization and because most pits have already been exploited and the remaining seams are so deep that exploitation is no longer profitable. But the mining tradition still remains a strong part of local identity in many regions.


Down South: The Chilean Coast and Cape Hoorn.


A Sea-Lion dozing near the surface.

A Seal  or Sea-Lion dives as our ship approaches.



Fin Whale

Grey-headed Albatross (immature)

Grey-headed Albatross (immature)

Grey-headed Albatross (immature)





Fish escaping from a predator

 Giant Petrel
A flight of Pelicans

Down South: Valparaiso

This year's expedition took us from Valparaiso, down the Chilean coast, round Cape Hoorn and into Port Stanley bay, returning via Puerto Marin and Peninsula Valdes (Argentina) to Buenos Aires.

While in Valparaiso, we took the opportunity to visit a vineyard in the nearby Casa Blanca valley. The vineyard was also a popular place with Southern Lapwings.

A Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Valparaiso harbour provided a home for a variety of sea-birds, including Cormorants, Gulls and Terns.

A Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus tries to get airborne ....

..... and finally succeeds.

Probably a non-breeding South American Tern Sterna hirundinacea.
... and as we headed south out of Valparaiso, there was still plenty to see.

A Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus crosses paths with a Tern.

Two Pelicans Pelecanus thagus escorted by a Booby Sula variegata.
The Pelicans and the Booby were frequently changing places in the formation.

Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus.
Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus.