Monday, 1 August 2011

Walk up the Saas Fee valley

On the 15th we walked higher up the Saas Fee valley having come down early from Allalin early due to the poor visibility. It was still raining on and off but proved to be a good day for birds. Walking up on the main path I twice glimpsed a bird in the riverside bushes without putting a name to it. There was only one way to find out what it was and that was to approach closer. The meadow between the path and river was still full of tall grass and unlike many had yet to be cut. That meant getting very wet walking through the rank soaking grass. But it was worth it as the unknown bird turned into not one but three Rock Buntings, two adults and a fledged juvenile. I only had my macro lens with me so apologies for the very poor one and only shot of one of the birds before they all flitted off.

There was a very nice bench just a little further up the hill which was ideal to view the meadows in case they returned and also to have a nice little snack and drink. Another good choice as it was not long before I heard a very surprising but unmistakable call. A crek-crek call from the next field, Corncrake! It called several times and by sheer luck I got a few glimpses of it as it moved through the field due to our elevated height. How's that for luck, especially as the Corncrake is a very rare bird in Switzerland, mainly confined to the Alps above 1000m (this was just below 1500m) . It has disappeared as a regular breeding species.
The wooden seat we were sitting on, a mile or so from any habitation, was one of those that had a plaque on dedicating it to deceased local. We were just settled down when a Swiss man appeared from nowhere and asked up to get up as he needed to take some photographs of the seat to sent to the relatives. Ten minutes later he was still composing his shots so we left,

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