Saturday, 30 July 2011

Mountain birds

Of course the best birds in Switzerland are those of  the high peaks and I was fortunate to catch up with most of them. Failed to see any Wall-creeper despite checking one spot twice where I had them in 2007 and at another site where they have been seen before. The weather was pretty wet during all attempts which certainly did not help. However most of the other birds were much more co-operative.

Water Pipit - Saw this species on 6 different mountains

Alpine Chough - Quite common on the mountain tops, especially around the
mountain restaurants, a bit like me.

Citril Finch - this was one of 4 on Mannlichen, I saw another one
at Schynige Paltten. Smashing birds.

Snowfinches - Another restaurant inhabiting species - these were at Allalin
Lesser Whitethroat, Lesser Redpoll and Linnet, all familar species at home, were also seen, but in Switzerland these species only occur at high altitudes. The Lesser Whitethroats for example were nesting above the treeline in stunted Mountain Pines, so different from here at home. I've been to the Alps many times before but only once before have I seen Ptarmigan, so I was very pleased to see one along the Eiger Trail.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Some of the Birds

The first week we stayed in the Saas valley in South Switzerland, not too far from the Matterhorn, at 1400m above sea level. Over the holiday I managed to see 67 species.

Common Redstart - a garden bird in Switzerland
On the way there from Geneva, there were dozens of Black Kites as well as a few Red Kite, Common Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harriers.

Black Redstart - common in the mountain villages
In Saas Fee, many Black Redstarts and a few Common Redstart  in the gardens and several Fieldfare. I still find it strange to see this 'northern' winter thrush to be hopping around with Blackbirds in central Europe in summer.

Summer plumaged Fieldfare
More typical of the Alps around the village were  a few Crag Martin, plus lots of House Martin and Common Swift, White Wagtail, Crested Tit, Serin and Crossbill as well as the more 'British' birds such as Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Carrion Crow, Great Tit, House Sparrow (no Starlings) and a good population of Spotted Flycatcher.

A rather ragged Black Kite

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Switzerland or what I saw on our holidays

Spent two and a bit weeks in Switzerland in mid July 2011. The weather was pretty rubbish with rain on most of the days. This reduced to a small degree the amount of natural history recording I could do, particularly with the butterflies. It snowed several times on the tops and I can confirm its not much fun standing on a 3500m mountain in a snowstorm wearing shorts and a tee-shirt.

I thought what I'll do is add a bit of what I saw together with a photo or two over the next week or so..