Archive for the ‘Bodensee’ Tag

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.

9536RFF5IanBWareham

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

9515RFF1IanBWareham

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

9521RFF2IanBWareham

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

9523RFF3IanBWareham

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

9525RFF4IanBWareham

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

IMG_8299-RFF

Red-footed Falcon adult male

IMG_8271-RFF

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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