Waterfowl count – January 2015

•January 25, 2015 • 3 Comments

As every year, the weekend mid-January is reserved for the international waterfowl count (here is the link in German). The Saturday before the temperature was very mild. The weekend of the count it was raining or snowing all over Switzerland for Saturday. The weather forecast for Sunday was so much better that I decided to do the count on Sunday.

Over all I saw 56 bird species (not only waterfowl) and counted about 2220 birds that are included in the count.

While doing the count I don’t have too much time to take photographs. But now and then I take the big camera out – please click on the photos to enlarge.

Taking the train to the upper Lake of Zurich took me through a wonderful foggy morning landscape:
foggy landscape

The sun was rising behind the fog…

… and gave a beautiful light:morning light

I think it’s the first time that I saw a frozen freshly cut marsh:marsh

Mew Gull  (Laurs canus – Sturmmöwe)mew gull

Yellow-Legged Gull (Larus michahellis – Mittelmeemöwe):yellow legged gull

To get an impression of the different sizes: left Yellow-Legged, two bigger Mew Gulls in between the Black-headed Gulls (Larus ridibundus – Lachmöwe)gulls

Can you spot the Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta – Bergpieper)?water pipit

The Gull and the Starlings take advantage of the holes that the Curlews make with their big beaks.

European Curlew (Numenius arquata – Grosser Brachvogel)eurasian curlew

I also counted the birds at a little pond…landscape

…where I digiscoped (no real gear) this beautiful male Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus – Sperber)


Warm and Stormy January Day – part II

•January 11, 2015 • 3 Comments

This female Great Spotted Woodpecker (Buntspecht – Dendrocopos major) was going for food. She sat very close but behind some other sticks, so the photos are not perfect. But I was able to see how she got that fat maggot (3rd photo) and a photo with her tongue (4th photo). In case you haven’t seen that great post of Laura Erickson about bird tongues – go see it.
Click on the photos to enlarge.

Dendrocopos major

Dendrocopos major

Dendrocopos major

Dendrocopos major

Those photos give a little impression, on how windy it was.

Mandarin Duck (Mandarinenente – Aix galericulata) in the wind:
aix galericulata

Black-headed Gull (Lachmöwe – Larus ridibundus) haning in the air:Larus ridibundus

The Lake Greifensee with waves

I also saw this female Northern Pintail (Spiessente – Anas acuta):

Mew Gull (Sturmmöwe – Larus canus)Mew Gull

Eurasian Chiffchaff (Zilpzalp – Phylloscopus collybita):Chiff Chaff


Warm and Stormy January Day – part I

•January 10, 2015 • 1 Comment

They announced warm 14°C (57°F) weather for today and I decided to take my camera and go for a long walk along a lake (Greifensee) with lots of nature. Here are my impressions (click on the photos to enlarge).

I started around 8.30am just when the sun came out behind the clouds.

morning sun

Walking along the little river I suddenly saw a beaver (Biber – Castor fiber) – I probably have never seen one that close.
Beaver - Biber - Castor fiber

Some of the birds I saw:

Red Kite (Rotmilan – Milvus Milvus) – there were many of them dancing in the wind.


Northern Shoveler (Löffelente – Anas clypeata)2015_01_10-11

Grey Heron (Graureiher – Ardea cinerea)2015_01_10-12

European Blue Tit (Blaumeise – Cyanistes caeruleus)2015_01_10-16

Califera – Grasshoppers

•September 12, 2014 • 3 Comments

Here are some of the (what I think) identified grasshoppers (califera – Kurzfühlerschrecken)

Pezotettix giornae – Kleine or Rossis Knarrschrecke:Pezotettix giornae

Pseudochorthippus parallelus – Gemeiner Grashüpfer:Pseudochorthippus parallelus

Egyptian Locust – Anacridium aegyptium – Ägyptische Wanderheuschrecke:Anacrididum aegyptium - Egyptian Locust

Sort of pygmy locust – Tetrix Kraussi – Kurzflügel-Dornschrecke:
Long-horned Groundhopper – Tetrix tenuicornis – Langfühler Dornschrecke
Tetrix Kraussi

Immature grasshoppers

•September 12, 2014 • 1 Comment

update: Thanks again to the expert Florin at orthoptera.ch for the id help! These are not only immature ones.

Another post with unidentified (probably immature) grasshoppers. Every help welcome!

Photos taken end of August/beginning of September in the Ticino (southern part of Switzerland).

Grown up female Pezotettix giornae – Ausgewachsene weibliche Kleine Knarrschrecke:


different individual but same kind:Larve-12

The structure of the adult wing is good to see:


Chorthippus sp. last nymphe phase:Larve-11

as well:




•September 12, 2014 • 1 Comment

update: thanks to the expert Florin from orthoptera.ch he helped me with the identification where possible.

(I made this post for the experts from orthoptera.ch to help me identify the grasshoppers I photographed. That’s why the text is in German.)

Danke für die Hilfe! Alle Fotos wurden Ende August/Anfang September im Tessin gemacht.
Zum Vergrössern drauf klicken.

deutlich einwärts gebogene Halsschild-Seitenkiele ohne weisses Flügelfeld:

Chorthippus sp. – female:


Chorthippus sp. (if male Chorthippus mollis ignifer – Verkannter Grashüpfer or  Chorthippus brunneus – Brauner Grashüpfer):


Male Common field grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus – Brauner Grashüpfer, Männchen):
slender long wings and coloring are typical. Schmale lange Flügel sowie die Färbung sind typisch:


Most probably a female Common field grasshopper:Gomphocerinae-12

Most probably a Woodland Grasshopper (Omocestus rufipes - Buntbäuchiger Grashüpfer).


Chorthippus sp. (maybe a female from the Chorthippus biguttuls group)

Very difficult to identify without seeing the wings.Gomphocerinae-15

Also a female from the Chorthippus biguttulus group:


Two unsure Chorthippus brunneus grasshoppers:



female Mecostethus parapleurus – Weibliche Lauchschrecke:Gomphocerinae-20

Chorthippus sp. female (maybe Chorthippus mollis ignifer – evtl. Verkannter Grashüpfer):


Maybe male and female Common fiele grasshopper (evtl. Männchen und Weibchen des Braunen Grashüpfers):

Gomphocerinae-14 Gomphocerinae-13

Ensifera – Bush Crickets and Katydids

•September 10, 2014 • 3 Comments

I have done more macro photography lately and so I’ll post some insects photos over the next time. Please click on the photos to enlarge. All photos taken in the southern part of Switzerland.

Starting with “long antenna Grasshoppers” or better the ensifera (bush crickets and katydids – Langfühlerschrecken in German). Please feel free to correct me on wrong identifications!

Great Green Bush Cricket – Grosses Heupferd – Tettigonia viridissima:
Great Green Bush-Cricket

“Conehead bush cricket” – Grosse Schiefkopfschrecke – Ruspolia nitidula
Ruspolia nitidula - Conehead

Katydids / Phaneroptera falcata – Gemeine Sichelschrecke
Phaneroptera falcata

Nymph of Phaneroptera (either falcata or nana):
Phaneroptera falcata

Phaneroptera falcata

I really like the look of this one:
Phaneroptera falcata

Phaneroptera falcata

Phaneroptera nana – Vierpunktige Sichelschrecke
Phaneroptera nana

Gryllomorpha dalmatina – Stumme Grille
Gryllomorpha dalmatina

Also a Gryllomorpha dalmatina (Stumme Grille) found at night in the bath room:

Thanks for extra info Florian at http://www.forum.orthoptera.ch/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=431#p1285


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