2022 – exciting times ahead

•May 6, 2022 • Leave a Comment

I will be able to have more time to blog again. I am really looking forward to this and sharing my best photos. follow #nr8to7 and/or https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/natalieraeber

2020 > 2021

•December 28, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Wishing you all a good rest of this special 2020 and a slow start into a great 2021!

See my sightings on iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/people/220172

The butterfly hike

•July 1, 2018 • Leave a Comment

There is a hike close to Lungern, Switzerland, that is called “Schmetterlingspfad” (butterfly path). We did it on the beautiful last day of June 2018. The hike was nice and it took us about double the time they suggested… There are not many seating possibilities and the downhill-parts were very hard on our untrained knees. The views and the diversity of animals and plants though were awesome.

We saw a lot of flowers, insects and a total of at least 20 butterflies. Because it was a little windy I couldn’t take photos of all of them. No photos from:

  • Schwalbenschwanz (Papilio machaon) Old World Swallowtail
  • Zitronenfalter (Gonepteryx rhamni) Common Brimstone
  • Schachbrett (Melanargia galathea) Marbled White
  • Kleiner Fuchs (Aglais urticae) Small Tortoiseshell
  • Distelfalter (Vanessa cardui) Painted Lady


Kleiner Würfel-Dickkopffalter (Pyrgus malvae) Grizzled Skipper


uncertain: kleiner Mohrenfalter (Erebia melampus) Lesser Mountain Ringlet


maybe Catoptria conchella


Hauhechel-Bläuling (Polyommatus icarus) Common Blue


Enzian-Art ? Gentiana ?


Die Berner Alpen – view into the Bernese Alps


Grüner oder Brombeer-Zipfelfalter (leider ohne Zipfel) (Callophrys rubi) auf einem Schlangen-Knöterich (Polygonum bistorta) – Green Hairstreak on a meadow bistort


Weibliche Alpine Gebirgsschrecke (Miramella Alpina) Green Mountain Grasshopper


Schnellkäfer-Art (Elateridae) Sort of a Click Beetle




Weisser Germer (Veratrum album) European White Hellebore


Sechsfleck-Widderchen (Zygaena filipendulae) Six Spot Burnet


Hornklee-Widderchen (Zygaena lonicerae) Narrow-Bordered Five-Spot Burnet


Dickkopffalter-Art (Ochlodes sylvanus) sort of Skipper


Sicht nach Nordern mit Sarnersee – View north with Lake of Sarnen


Kaisermantel (Argynnis paphia) Silver-Sashed Fritillary


Kommafalter (Hesperia comma) Silver-Spotted Skipper


Grosser Perlmuttfalter (Argynnis aglaja) Dark Green Fritillary


Braunwurz-Blattwespe (Tenthredo scrophulariae) Figwort sawfly ?


Mauerfuchs (Lasiommata megera) Wall Brown


Gefleckter Schmalbock (Leptura maculata) Spotted Longhorn


Brauner Waldvogel (Aphantopus hyperantus) Ringlet


and finally (almost withered) / zum Schluss (schon fast verwelkt):


Türkenbund (Lilium martagon) Turk’s Cap Lily


Lifer on a short trip to Italy

•May 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

It’s good to always bring camera and binocs – even when the purpose of your trip is not birding! On the long weekend in Southern Italy for supervision and exchange with our Wen-Do friends from “Rompiamo il silenzio” I was able to see 27 bird species and a lifer.

Lifer #636 Montagu’s Harrier – Wiesenweihe (Circus pygargus). I was actually observing a Common Kestrel as suddenly this female flew into my visual field.


A nice shot of the wonderful singing Sardinian Warbler – Samtkopf-Grasmücke (Sylvia melanocephala melanocephala). The Italian name is actually not so nice: occhiocotto. Meaning cooked eyes – but it is somehow true…SardinianWarbler2



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.


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).


•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 😉



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.


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


•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)

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!

A rare visitor

•December 27, 2015 • 1 Comment

This male Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris – Ringschnabelente) is visiting Zurich, Switzerland.



Spiderwebs in the fog

•September 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

On my walk in the fog I saw many spiderwebs. They stood out because they were outlined by tiny water drops.

I tried to capture them on film – which one do you like best? (click on the photo to enlarge)







Walk in the fog

•September 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Fall has started – and with it comes fog. Luckily it is eaten away by the sun after a while. (Please click on the photos to enlarge)

foggy morning

fog on the water

fog on the water

waterbirds in the fog

The time of the sunflowers is over:


Not really: the birds dive into the field to pick the seeds. This is my favorite photo of the day.Kleiber - Nut hatch

And there were the birds enjoying the sun – finally. There are Eurasian Teals (Krickente) and some Common Snipes (Bekassine) in the photo.the sun is out

Fire salamander in the morning

•June 23, 2015 • 1 Comment

What a start into the day!

I walked on my normal way to work, along the Lake of Lucerne. Yesterday I saw a big dead fish on the shore and a very green caterpillar on one of the trees. This is the reward for my habit of looking around.

This morning it was wet and gray. I was a bit sad that all the feathers of the swans, that they are loosing now while molting, were wet and so I couldn’t collect them.

But suddenly I stopped in my walk – and I’m glad I did. One more step and I’d have stepped on a fire salamander!

It was definitely in the wrong place: on the tarmac between traffic and the lake. Absolutely not the place for an amphibian besides that it was wet (at the moment).

So I lifted it up and called karch.ch (coordination for amphibians and reptiles in Switzerland). She told me, that fire salamanders need a little creek in a forrest or so. Nothing like that close bye.

So I took the beautiful salamander to the office and showed it to my colleagues. The were all surprised and fascinated.

the box outside my office window, where it had to wait


beautiful salamandra salamandra terrestris

After another call I decided to bring it to the Rootsee, where there is a hopefully perfect habitat.
The person I called did not forget to tell me, that fire salamanders are poisonous and I should wash my hands.


How lucky am I to see such a beautiful creature!


Songbirds and a lifer

•April 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The first part about my walk of last Monday was about waders and waterbirds. Today I show you some photos of songbirds and my lifer #499. (Please click on the photos to enlarge.)

The lifer #499 showed me once again how important it is to look at every bird – even when it looks like a common sparrow:

As soon as it lifted its head I saw it wasn’t a sparrow but an Ortolan Bunting (Ortolan – Emberiza hortulana)Ortolan

There were even two of them:

One I haven’t seen in years in Switzerland is a male Common Redstart (Gartenrotschwanz, Männchen – Phoenicurus phoenicurus):
Common Redstart - Gartenrotschwanz

And never in Switzerland at all the Yellow Wagtail (Schafstelze – Motacilla flava):Yellow Wagtail - Schafstelze

The Grey Wagtail is pretty common (Bergstelze – Motacilla cinerea):Gray Wagtail - Bergstelze

Pretty common but I still don’t have a good photo of it: male Common Chiffchaff (Buchfink, Männchen – Fringilla coelebs): Chiffchaff - Buchfink

Tree Sparrow (Feldspatz – Passer montanus) collecting stuff for the nest:Tree Sparrow - Feldspatz

Tree Sparrwo - Feldspatz

A Barn Swallow (Rauchschwalbe – Hirundo rustica):Barn Swallow - Rauchschwalbe

A female European Pied Flycatcher (Trauerschnäpper, Weiblich – Ficedula hypoleuca):Pied Flychatcher - Trauerschnäpper

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Buntspecht – Dendrocopos major) made some noise:Woodpecker

And there was also a frog:Frog - Frosch

Waders and Waterbirds

•April 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I took Monday off because I really wanted to do some birding this April. And the weather was just great. I went to the Klingnauer Stausee a very well known place to bird in the German part of Switzerland and not too far away from Zurich. So I started my trip shortly after 7am at the dammed lake. Over all I saw 59 species and a lifer.

Today I show you the waders (mostly passing through Switzerland) and the other waterbirds I saw. Some of the photos were taken early in the morning, therefor the light is not so great. Other birds were far away. (Please click on the photo to enlarge.)

Common Snipe landing (Bekassine am Landen) – Gallinago gallinago:Common Snipe - Bekassine

The Common Snipe in comparison with a Coot. (Die Bekassine im Vergleich mit einem Blässhuhn.):Common Snipe - Bekassine

Common Sandpiper (Flussuferläufer) – Actitis hypoleucos:Common Sandpiper - Flussuferläufer

Two Common Terns far out in the lake. (Zwei Flussseeschwalben weit draussen im See) – Sterna hirundo: Common Tern - Flussseeschwalbe

The Common Greenshank never came closer. (Die Grünschenkel kamen nie nahe.) – Tringa nebularia:Common Greenshank - Grünschenkel Common Greenshank - Grünschenkel

I’m not 100% sure if this is a Wood Sandpiper. (Ich bin nicht 100% sicher, ob das ein Bruchwasserläufer ist.) – Tringa glareola Wood Sandpiper - Bruchwasserläufer

The Little Ringed Plover breeds in Switzerland. (Der Flussregenpfeifer brütet in der Schweiz.) – Charadrius dubius:Little Ringed Plover - Flussregenpfeifer

A Spring Day

•April 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

For four hours we walked around the Flachsee, where the river Reuss gets broader like a lake. It was a warm and overcast spring day. Just perfect – before all the young green leaves hide all the singing birds.

Over all we saw 54 species: some migrating waders like the Black-Tailed Godwit (Uferschnepfe – Limosa Limosa)

or the Common Greenshank (Grünschenkel). But also a breeding colony of Yellow-Legged Gulls (Mittelmeermöwe _ Larus Michahellis) – at least 50 nests and almost 150 gulls.
Yellow-Legged Gulls

and at least four families of Greylag Geese (Graugänse – Anser Anser) with up to seven goslings.
Greylag Goose


Just as the sun came out there was a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Kleinspecht – Dendrocops Minor) picking away in the tree above us.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

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