From Koblenz to Döttingen

•April 3, 2016 • 1 Comment

I started in Koblenz at 8.15 close to the Klingnauer Stausee. I have been to this “lake” (that is really the river Aare shortly before it flow into the Rhine) many times before. Starting in Koblenz was new and I was very happy with my choice. The little forest in the “Giriz” was beaming with bird songs. Unfortunately the promised sun didn’t show up.

I passed over a railway bridge to the next nature conservation site, the “Gippinger Grien”. I’m looking forward to visiting that place again, when the butterflies are here.

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At noon when I reached the Klingnauer Stausee the sun still didn’t come out and I only took photos with my iPhone. But for the last hour of my walk I did use my big camera, because I was able to take my first photos of Garganeys (Knäkente – Anas querquedula) after ten years:three Gargeneys

Luckily I had my camera still out, because this Water Rail (Wasserralle – Rallus aquaticus) was pretty close and not so shy:20160402-15

During the five hours it took me to do this walk from Koblenz to Döttingen (only about 3 Miles) I was able to see 51 bird species (eBird checklist).

Baldeggersee

•March 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Saturday before Easter Sunday was a beautiful spring day here in Switzerland. We decided to have a look at a site we have never been before: the south end of the Baldeggersee in the canton of Lucerne (infos in German by ProNatura).20160326-15A view up the lake:20160326-16Some frogs (Pelophylax kl. esculentus) also liked the warm spring sun:20160326-10

20160326-11There is also an “open hide” where you can observe a small tidal pool. Unfortunately the light here would be better in the evening.20160326-17A White Stork (Weissstorch – Ciconia ciconia) was looking for food and was chased away by two Greylag Geese (Graugans – Anser anser).20160326-12

Bumblebees were also enjoying the sun – on a Dead-nettle (Lamium, Taubnessel).20160326-13

March 13

•March 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

It is probably some years since we last visited this beautiful place at the beginning of Lake Zurich: Kaltbrunner Ried. It’s the last little piece of a big swamp that has been dried for industrial reasons about a 150 years ago.  

We spent only two hours since it was very windy and cold. 

Some of the migrant birds were still here, like the Northern Shoveler or the Tufted Ducks. Some were returning like the big flock of Northern Lapwings (almost 70 birds).

Great Egret

This female Northern Shoveler was injured on the wing – she couldn’t fly. We didn’t really know what to do and that didn’t feel good. 

Shoveler female

White-winged Snowfinch

•February 21, 2016 • 1 Comment

The White-winged Snowfinch (Schneesperling – Montifringilla nivalis) is my lif bird #508. I saw it in Italy on top of the skiing mountain “Kronplatz” (South Tiroly) – what a surprise. I’m glad I had my camera with me😉

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A bad picture but a nice look of the wing pattern in flight:20160218-12

The usual Alpine Choughs (Alpendohle – Pyrrhocorax graculus) were around too.

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At one point in the afternoon there were about 50 of them circling in the sky.20160218-14

And also the mountain view was very nice!20160218-15

Hazel

•February 21, 2016 • 2 Comments

About two weeks ago I read a short note about the pollen of the hazel in the magazine “ornis” of BirdLife Switzerland. It was about the pollen that are now, in February, being blown from the male catkin. Their goal is the little red stigma of the female flower. Hazel  doesn’t need bees to pollinate the wind is enough, but bees need the Hazel. Their pollen is one of the nutritious food they need for the first bee larvae of the year. 

The next day I was walking by the river suddenly remembering this info about the hazel. I know that there are hazel along the path. When I saw the bush, clearly full of catkin I started looking for the female flowers. Were they on the same bush or not? I was looking, but it took me a while before I saw them: some of the them right next to the catkin, little buds with those red stigmas. I never saw them before and was quite impressed. 

I walked home to get my zoom and microscope lenses for the iPhone. 

 The female flower (10x zoom)female hazel  

The female flower next to the male catkin (10x zoom)
female and male  

The tip of the male catkin (150x magnified with my-icros)male catkin  

The stigma of the female flower (150x zoom)
female  

The female flower and the hairy twig (150x zoom) 

January water bird count

•January 22, 2016 • 1 Comment

This year the weather for the water bird count was difficult. Actually it was nice with the first real snow fall of the winter – the landscape was beautiful.
snowy water fowl count
But counting the birds was impossible at times. Have you ever realized that the snow fall is even denser when looking through the binocular? There were also waves on the lake that made half the birds on the water disappear – and the next second the other half.

With some breaks to warm up we still managed to finish the count and even take some photos.

Common Reed Bunting – Rohrammer – Emberiza schoeniclus:Rohrammer

Gull in the snow, probably a Yellow-legged Gull – Mittelmeermöwe – Larus michahellis):snowy

Common black-headed Gulls and snow flakes (Lachmöwen – Larus ridibundus):Schnee

Yellow-legged Gull – Mittelmeermöwe – Larus michahellis:Mittelmeermöwe

Can you see the Water Pipit – Bergpieper – Anthus spinoletta?Lachmöwen und Bergpieper

Common black-headed Gulls – Lachmöwen – Larus ridibundus Lachmöwen

Me after the last snow shower…
a snowy waterfowl count

 

Birding Blogger Shout Out

•January 12, 2016 • 1 Comment

Yesterday I was looking at some birding blogs. I follow most of them for many years now. There were years when I posted much more bird photos (and I would like to do it more often in 2016) – but looking at this fabulous posts of others made me smile. Therefor I thought of doing a shout out today.

Here they are – in no specific order:

Two podcasts I love(d) to listen to: (but I’m having problems downloading them: used to have them on iTunes but they don’t seem to load anymore. Any hints?:

Enjoy and happy birding in 2016!