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Post Info TOPIC: Swiss Alps

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Swiss Alps

Spent five amazing days walking in the Berner Oberland last week/weekend based at Grindlewald. The priority was the walkiing, using the (eyewateringly expensive!) gondola and rail uplift to get high. Fantastic walking of great variety.

Birding highlights were:

1. The sheer number of Black Redstarts around - pretty much the default small bird! Not for nothing is the German name "Hausrotschwanz" - House-redtail. But not only around the buildings, we saw a lot around the mountainsides too, in and out of rocks especially, and a lot of juveniles.

2. Water and Tree Pipits - in good numbers, the Water Pipits in the rocky places - but also plenty of Meadow Pipits too.

3. Nutcrackers - fairly plentiful especially in areas with Arolla pines such as the valley down from Kleine Scheidegg.

4. A single, juvenile Lammergeier around the area of the Faulhorn above the First gondola. Awesome bird - and great to know they are breeding in the area after being reintroduced.

5. A single Wallcreeper on a rock face above the Gletscherschlucht (glacier gorge) on the path to the Baeregg hut. A path that is somewhat dizzying in places - I was rubbernecking along the cliffs the whole time looking for Wallcreepers and when I finally spotted just one, it was really hard to see against the similar coloured rock. Watched for some time and it scrabbled up and down the smallest cracks and undulations in the rock.

6. Good numbers of Crag Martins and two Alpine Swift in the same area.

7. Big flocks of Alpine Chough, especially at the top of the Eiger Trail around the Eigergletcher buildings, hanging around for pickings from people's packed lunches! A flock of about 100 was the biggest.

Not essentialy a birding week, but 4 lifers nevertheless!

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