Combe Pilouvi – the witch’s bath

•August 23, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Close to the beautiful medieval village of La Neuveville at the Lake of Biel is the entrance to the “Combe Pilouvi”. The beautiful canyon did not have that much water (since there was not much rain this summer), but nevertheless it was beautiful. And they say, that witches used to take their bath here…

Even though I was much faster than normally (my colleagues walked their normal pace…) I was able to see some interesting fauna and flora. Some were pointed out to me by my colleagues ūüôā

1st row: Timarcha, member of Leaf Beetles (Tatzenk√§fer – Danke Dani!) / A Horsehair worm (Saitenwurm – Nematomorpha – Danke Astrid!) / Vernal Shield Bug (Fr√ľhlings-Baumwanz – Peribalus strictus ssp. vernalis)

2nr row: European Cyclamen (Alpenveilchen – Cyclamen purpurascens) / the caterpillar of a Festoon (Raupe des Grossen Schneckenspinners – Apoda limacodes) / a young Common Slowworm (eine junge Blindschleiche – Anguis fragilis) /

3rd row: Hornet Mimic Hover Fly (Hornissenschwebefliege РVolucella zonaria) / Four-spotted Moth (Ackerwinden-Trauereule РTyta luctuosa) / Small Blue (Zwerg-Bläuling Рcupido minimus)


The very old linden tree

•August 17, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Probably the biggest tree in the Canton of Aargau is a linden tree close to Linn on the Bötzberg. The tree stands 20 meters tall with a circumference of 11 meters Рprobably older than 350 years. A beautiful tree and a nice starting point a short roundtrip.

The short hike is along old pathways used some hundred years ago. The stories are written on panels along the “Natur- und Kulturweg Linn”. We walked on over the crest of the hill, through beech and pine forest, past waterfall, quarry and pond.

Even though it was rather hot, we managed to see some insects and some birds, like Goldcrests (no photo). Small heath (Kleines Wiesenvögelchen РCoenonympha pamphilus) being surrounded by a Common Blue (Hauhechel-Bläuling РPolyommatus icarus); A Eurasian Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Taubenschwänzchen РMacroglossum stellatarum) feeding on a dry flower and the camouflage of a Sloe Bug (Beerenwanze РDolycoris baccarum)

The rest of the animals as always on iNaturalist.

Information about the linden tree and the walk are here in German and here.

A surprise: Club-legged Grasshopper

•August 11, 2022 • Leave a Comment

After finding a new Lady Beetle for my list (see Blog post here) I was lucky again only some days later. A friend showed me a grasshopper and I took some photos. Only when I was processing the photos at home I got aware of the ‚Äúballoons‚ÄĚ on its legs: a Club-legged Grasshopper (Sibirische Keulenschrecke Gomphocerus sibiricus). I have to remind myself of always taking the photos, sometimes interesting details are just not seen in the field.

I like the composition of this photo of a little Setina aurita (Kleiner Flechtenbär). It sat on a rock on the Parpaner Rothorn at about 2860 m.a.s.l (9511 ft)

More photos of the day at Parpaner Rothorn on my iNaturlist page.

Lady Beetle #13

•August 11, 2022 • Leave a Comment

It was just a short trip up the Stockhorn (Bern, Switzerland) with visiting friends on the beginning of August. I didn’t really have time to take photos. The view was spectacular and my out-of-focus zoomed-in take on a lady beetle sitting on a Monkshood (Blauer Eisenhut – Aconitum napellus) turned out to be a Notated Lady Beetle (Berg-Marienk√§fer – Ceratomegilla notata) – a first for me, and my number 13 on my Lady Beetle list.

Probably Field Gentian (Feld-Fransenenzian – Gentianella campestris); Alpine Pasqueflower (Alpen-K√ľchenschelle – Pulsatilla alpina); Probably Large Ringlet (Weissbindiger Bergwald-Mohrenfalter – Erebia euryale); Alpine Chough (Alpendohle – Pyrrhocorax graculus)

my own benchmark

•July 31, 2022 • Leave a Comment

All the sightings that I have posted to iNaturalist will be my benchmark for the coming year (August 11 – July 23). I just realize that I have uploaded 1700 species (animals and plants) – isn’t that a good number!? ūüôā

all my observations on iNaturalist up to July 31, 2022

In the last year I posted 445 species and 748 observations.

observations from August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2022

It is my goal (no pressure at all) to see more species. Wish me luck!

And another cool view that iNaturalist provides, is the Tree View Life List (all observations):

natalieraeber’s Life List – July 31, 2022

Moths in the underpass

•July 23, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Somehow I didn’t expect finding that many different moths in the underpass of a suburb of Zurich, Switzerland. I saw a few last summer and fall but really started to realize how many there were this spring.

In April it started with three, in May seven more and another eight in June and so far in July another seven. In total there were 23 different moths and a lot of them lifers for me (=I have never seen them before). Thanks to the incredible AI and the real people in the iNaturalist-Community all but three of them are identified to the species level.

You can see the whole list with photos on iNaturalist. Here are some of there rarer ones and some of the beauties :

June around HAFL

•July 1, 2022 • Leave a Comment

HAFL is the abbrevation for the “School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL” where I work. During breaks or after work I like to have a little stroll around the meadows and woods (especially the permaculture garden and wood garden). Those are the insects I saw in June 2022, I uploaded them on

  • 13 different Beetles (Coleoptera, K√§fer) link on inaturalist
  • 10 different Flies (Diptera, Zweifl√ľgler) link on inaturalist
  • 12 different True Bugs and Hoppers (Hemiptera, Wanzen und kleine Zikaden) link on intauralist
  • 4 different Ants, Bees, Wasps, Sawflies (Hymenoptera, Ameisen, Bienen, Wespen, Pflanzenwespen ) link on inaturalist
  • 15 different Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera, Schmetterlinge und Nachtfalter) link on inaturalist)
  • One (dead) Dragonfly (Odonata) at the station and one teenaged Grasshopper (Orthoptera)

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

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:

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 W√ľrfel-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


Gr√ľner oder Brombeer-Zipfelfalter (leider ohne Zipfel) (Callophrys rubi) auf einem Schlangen-Kn√∂terich (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):


T√ľrkenbund (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-Grasm√ľcke (Sylvia melanocephala melanocephala). The Italian name is actually not so nice: occhiocotto. Meaning cooked eyes – but it is somehow true…SardinianWarbler2



From Koblenz to D√∂ttingen

•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 (Kn√§kente – 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 ūüėČ



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 РMittelmeermöwe РLarus michahellis):snowy

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

Yellow-legged Gull РMittelmeermöwe РLarus michahellis:Mittelmeermöwe

Can you see the Water Pipit РBergpieper РAnthus spinoletta?Lachmöwen und Bergpieper

Common black-headed Gulls – Lachm√∂wen –¬†Larus ridibundus Lachm√∂wen

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)