Archive for the ‘Austria’ Tag

14th – 18th May 2015: Alps trip part 7 – the wedding   Leave a comment

Late on the 14th we arrived at Dornbirn, the largest town in easternmost Austria. Margaret’s nephew Marc lives here (convenient as he works for a Swiss company), although her sister Cathy and husband Wolfgang live in easternmost Austria (see posts for July 2013). Photos of the birding and sightseeing we did whilst in this area have been uploaded in the last post.

IMG_6153 at Marc's flat

On arrival we assembled at the apartment that Marc shares with his bride-to-be Elizabeth. L-R: Rene’s fiancée Danielle; Rene, Marc’s brother; Wolfgang, Marc and Rene’s father; John, Margaret’s son-in-law now living in Essex; and with his back to the camera, Daniel, Marc’s best man. Note the neighbours are practicing their mountaineering techniques on their roof!

IMG_6152 from Marc's flat

Marc and Elizabeth have a superb view from their apartment balcony. The restaurant where the reception was to be held the following day can only be reached by cable car and is situated on the left hand most peak.

IMG_6157 Marc's flat

Marc and Elizabeth have a beautifully equipped modern apartment. L-R: Wolfgang; Margaret (back to camera); Marc; Daniel – John’s cousin and Marc’s friend, originally from SA now in Canada; John (back to the camera); Danielle; Roual (also back to the camera) – Daniel’s brother, also now in Canada; and Rene.

IMG_6171 Marc and family

In Austria the civil wedding ceremony is held on a different day and at a different location from the church ceremony. In the afternoon of Friday 15th we assembled at the town hall for the civil ceremony with many of the family wearing traditional Austrian costumes. L-R: Wolfgang; Cathy – Marc’s mother and Margaret’s sister, Elizabeth – Marc’s bride, Marc, Rene and Danielle.

IMG_6165 bridesmaid elizabeth marc daniel

L-R: Bridesmaid Christine, Elizabeth, Marc and best man Daniel (not to be confused with Canadian Daniel).

IMG_8024 civil ceremony

The civil ceremony.

IMG_8050 John with the ladies

John poses with the ladies. L-R: Christine, John and Elizabeth.

IMG_8109 Panorama restuarant

The weather was against us but fortunately improved for the church ceremony the following day. Margaret had been dreading the ascent to the Panorama Restaurant by cable car for the reception ….

IMG_8068 in the clouds

…. but by the time we got there the clouds had closed in and you couldn’t see a thing, much to Margaret’s relief.

IMG_8075 Margaret Cathy & Martin

Margaret with sister Cathy and older brother Martin (who flew here all the way from Australia). Her younger brother, Duncan, was unable to make it due to work commitments, which is a shame as the four of them haven’t been together since school days.

IMG_8087 Anita Roual & Cathy

We had a lovely meal at the restaurant and as you can see from the photo quite a lot of what John calls ‘personality’, ie alcoholic beverages. L-R: Anita – Margaret’s daughter; Roual – John’s cousin from Canada; Cathy and Danielle.

IMG_8094 view as we were leaving

When it was time to leave the clouds had cleared somewhat, revealing this view over Dornbirn, but in the dark Margaret made the descent without any problems.

IMG_8117 the wedding church

The following afternoon we gathered at the church in the nearby village of Bildstein for the church ceremony.

IMG_8121 the church

We were asked not to take photos during the service, an exception being made for the official photographer seen here, so I took this quick shot before we all went in. It was a Catholic service (which I have never experienced before) and of course was in German, so I had no idea what was going on, but the priest, a friend of Marc’s, did thank those who had travelled from Britain, Australia and Canada in English.

IMG_8138 Marc & Elizabeth

The bride and groom after the service.

IMG_8140 releasing doves - Copy

Bride and groom releasing white doves. I was a bit slow on the shutter button!

IMG_8135 post wedding

The 200 or so guests gathered outside the church for champagne and canapes 

IMG_8153 Jean Martin Caroline - Copy

Margaret’s brother Martin and his wife Jean were joined by their daughter Caroline, who flew out from the UK just for the church ceremony.

IMG_8157 reception

Another day, another reception and yet more alcohol.

IMG_8176 Marc & Elizabeth dancing

Marc is one of the most capable and organised people I have ever met. A company director and local politician by the age of 30, nothing seems to faze him, except perhaps having take part in the first dance (particularly when your wife’s hobby is ballroom dancing).

IMG_6185 Switzerland from the plane

Our activities on the following day, Sunday 17th, have been detailed in the last post. On the 18th we left early to drive back to Zürich and catch the plane to Heathrow. To conclude here are a few shots from the plane of northern Switzerland ….

IMG_6190 from the plane

…. the neatly patterned fields of Germany ….

IMG_6193 London from plane

…. and the cloudier conditions as we descended over the London Eye and the Palace of Westminster.




Posted June 22, 2015 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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13th – 18th May 2015: Alps trip part 6 – Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany   Leave a comment

From Lucerne we headed for the principality of Liechtenstein before arriving in Dornbirn, Austria for a four night stay. The purpose of coming here was to attend Margaret’s nephew Marc’s wedding and to meet up with other members of the family. Photos dealing with the wedding and associated social events will be uploaded in the next post. This post concentrates on our sightseeing and birding in the three countries mentioned above.

IMG_7983 Vaduz

Before we arrived in Austria we spent a few hours looking around Vaduz, the capital of the tiny principality of Liechtenstein.

IMG_7985 Vaduz

I was last in Vaduz in 1975, a brief visit as part of a long coach trip around Europe. All I can recall from that visit is seeing the castle perched high above the town. Well that looks just the same ….

IMG_7997 Vaduz modern art

…. but the pedestrianised centre is now populated with examples of modern art ….

IMG_8001 Vaduz modern art

…. such as this representation of businessmen riding pigs.

IMG_8011 Vaduz modern art

I particularly liked this jet of water confined between two narrow, high walls. Not a drop fell on you as you stood below. By varying the shutter speed and your position with respect to the sun you could create modern art of your own.

IMG_8018 Vaduz modern art

After a tour around the various statues and pieces of art we drove to Dornbirn, the largest town in western Austria.

IMG_6162 Donbirn

Our first visit to the centre of Dornbirn on the morning before Marc and Elizabeth’s civil ceremony was in heavy rain but ….

IMG_8098 Donbirn market

…. the following morning the weather was much better and the local market was in full swing.

IMG_8128 Black Kite

The Dornbirn area was good for raptors and over the next three days we saw a number of Black Kites ….

IMG_8129 Red KIte

…. Red Kites ….

IMG_8196 male HB

…. and even a few Honey Buzzards.

IMG_8307 meadow

In surrounding meadows ….

IMG_8308 White Stork

…. we found a few White Storks.

IMG_8239 Fussach

We originally thought that some of Margaret’s relatives would still be around on the Sunday following the wedding but it transpired that most had to head for home. With a day mostly to ourselves we drove to Fußach on the shore of the Bodensee for some birding.

IMG_8214 Bodensee

The Bodensee itself was host to a number of Great Cormorants and Red-crested Pochards

IMG_8225 Great Reed Warbler

…. and in the reed beds Great Reed Warblers were quite numerous and their guttural kara-kara-gurk-gurk  song was a feature of the area.

IMG_8301 RFF

The highlight for me was views of five Red-footed Falcons, in particular this male which showed well. these birds are long-distance migrants and have just arrived from their wintering grounds in southern Africa and are pausing on route to their breeding grounds in easternmost Austria eastwards through the steppes of eastern Europe to central Asia.

IMG_8326 Anita & Margaret

We returned to Dornbirn and spent the afternoon with Anita and John, Margaret’s daughter and her husband. We visited the area of Rappenlochschlucht ….

IMG_8336 Rappenlochschlucht

…. a picturesque area with elevated walkways, narrow gorges ….

IMG_8340 Rappenlochschlucht

…. waterfalls ….

IMG_8343 Rappenlochschlucht

…. and lakes.

IMG_8199 Fussach

On our final evening we drove around the east end of the Bodensee and into Germany.

IMG_8379 Lindau

Our destination was the picturesque town of Lindau

IMG_8381 Lindau

We headed for the harbour, the entrance guarded by a lighthouse and an imposing statue of a lion.

IMG_8389 Lindau

From the lion statue we had a great view of the harbour and ….

IMG_8395 Mute Swan on nest

…. and could look directly down on an incubating Mute Swan.

IMG_8405 Lindau

So we concluded our trip with this lovely view of the harbour at Lindau. All that was remained was to drive back to Zürich and fly home. Over the last 17 days we covered 3000 km and visited seven countries and saw some of the best scenery in the world.

20th May 2015 – Red-footed Falcon Wareham   Leave a comment

Margaret and I have just returned from a two week trip to the Alps and the south of France which culminated in attending Margaret’s nephew’s wedding in Donbirn, in western Austria.

One of many bird species we saw whilst in the area was the beautiful Red-footed Falcon, a species that breeds from easternmost Austria eastwards across the steppes of Central Asia. Little did I expect that within a day and half of returning to the UK I’d be watching one just seven miles from my home at Wareham.

With most of my gear still unpacked I left the house without my camera, after all I reasoned it was going to be a spot in the distance and hardly worth photographing. How wrong I was as it gave wonderfuly close views at time, but Ian Ballam has kindly allowed me to use a selection of his shots.

Red-footed Falcons tend to migrate further to the west in spring than in autumn and turn up in Britain with some regularity in late spring. That said, although I have seen eight in the UK, it is 23 years since I last saw one in Dorset and this was my first one in the Poole Harbour area.


Red-footed Falcon. Second calendar-year female. Wareham Dorset 20/5/15 – Photo by Ian Ballam


Red-footed Falcon. Second calendar-year female. Wareham Dorset 20/5/15 – Photo by Ian Ballam


Red-footed Falcon. Second calendar-year female. Wareham Dorset 20/5/15 – Photo by Ian Ballam


Red-footed Falcon. Second calendar-year female. Wareham Dorset 20/5/15 – Photo by Ian Ballam


Red-footed Falcon. Second calendar-year female. Wareham Dorset 20/5/15 – Photo by Ian Ballam

And just for comparison here is a shot of an adult male I photographed at the Bodensee in westernmost Austria on 17/5/15


IMG_8301 RFF

Red-footed Falcon adult male


Red-footed Falcon adult male


Red-footed Falcon adult male


The trip to the Alps was a photographers dream and of course I have many hundreds of photos to edit. I managed three ‘ticks’ a new bird, a new mammal and a new country. I’ll be posting more on that soon.

Posted May 21, 2015 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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