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Old Friday 4th August 2017, 17:21   #1
DutchSparrow
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Birding in The Alps

Hi,
I've got a question about birding in The Alps in September.

I'm going on a holiday for 2 weeks in September. We are planning to make a large round trip by car through the Alps. We haven't booked anything yet nor decide on the route, but it will be in multiple countries.

I am a dutch birder, my girlfriend likes nature and walking, but we will not be doing whole days of birding or long, hard hikes. We will just be driving around, getting out of the car to see the views, visit villages and nature and see as much of the mountains as we can. We will be making short walks, look around at easy accessible viewpoints in the mountains and maybe take a few cable cars up the mountains. Of course I will be keeping a sharp eye on birds and take my binoculars with me, so some light birdwatching is definitely planned but not like you would do when birding is the main priority.

- What I really would like to know is which species of birds you will come across in 2 weeks, after driving around in the alps a lot, without extensive searching and twitching them for hours on specific locations?

- And if more effort is necessary, do you know great locations with a high chance of encountering these species or locations with a larger amount of those species, possibly with multiple species on the same location?

- what height (above sealevel, or below/above the treeline etc.) or biotope do I have to look for which species?

- For species that can only be found higher in the mountains, is it possible to to get to a good location and travel high enough with a car or by cable car?

My absolute must-see targets are:
- Rock Ptarmigan
- Bearded Vulture
- Golden Eagle
- Alpine Swift (still possible in September?)
- Eurasian Crag Martin (still possible in September?)
- Alpine Accentor
- Spotted Nutcracker
- Alpine Chough
- Citril Finch
- Rock Dove (when are they considered wild and pure?)
- White-winged Snowfinch
- Italian/Iberian Yellow Wagtail (cinereocapilla)

What I also would like to see or hear but may be too difficult in the Alps in September(?):
- Western Capercaillie
- Hazel Grouse
- Rock Partridge (are the reintroductions considered wild?)
- Tengmalm's Owl
- Grey-headed Woodpecker
- Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker
- White-backed Woodpecker
- Cirl Bunting
- Rock Bunting


Hope you can help me out!
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Old Thursday 10th August 2017, 15:44   #2
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If you have not birded in the Alps before, be aware that weather conditions can change very quickly, from a bright sunny day to snow showers. Always check weather beforehand and have suitable clothes/food/drink/navigation gear etc with you.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps would make a good base for a couple of days and would give you a good shot at some of the target species. There are lots of cable cars, and walks for any suitability.

You have a very reliable site for Ptarmigan + Snowfinch + Wallcreeper + Alpine Accentor nearby (Westliche Karwendelspitze). The Wank mountain beside Garmisch is good for Citril Finch + Nutcracker. The latter should be very obvious as they will collecting seeds for winter. Golden Eagle is possible anywhere so keep an eye on the skies. There should be lots of migrants passing through as well. WB Woodpecker is reliable at the Murnauer Moos. TT Woodpecker is present in low densities, but has eluded me in 6+ trips so far.

For Bearded Vulture, you will nee to go to Switzerland, I think the Valais region has some reliable spots. Here you will also find Alpine Swift and Crag Martin. Alpine Swift also breeds in Germany at Freiburg/Breisgau, and can easily be seen in the city centre if you are driving along this way. They leave in early October.

Cirl and Rock Bunting both breed in the Rhine valley from Frankfurt south, but I don't know how easy they are to find in September. Try Ruesesheim/Rhein for Rock Bunting, and Deidesheim for Cirl. Grey-headed Woodpecker is also widespread in the Rhine valley.

Capercailie will be very difficult, and Hazel Grouse not much easier. Tengm Owl will be very difficult as they won't be singing (start again in October) so you will need a guide. They (and other woodland birds such as the grouse + woodpeckers) occur in very low densities. The more you hike in suitable woodland, the higher a chance you will have of finding these birds (early morning best).
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Old Monday 14th August 2017, 12:52   #3
DutchSparrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_of_Crunch View Post
If you have not birded in the Alps before, be aware that weather conditions can change very quickly, from a bright sunny day to snow showers. Always check weather beforehand and have suitable clothes/food/drink/navigation gear etc with you.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps would make a good base for a couple of days and would give you a good shot at some of the target species. There are lots of cable cars, and walks for any suitability.

You have a very reliable site for Ptarmigan + Snowfinch + Wallcreeper + Alpine Accentor nearby (Westliche Karwendelspitze). The Wank mountain beside Garmisch is good for Citril Finch + Nutcracker. The latter should be very obvious as they will collecting seeds for winter. Golden Eagle is possible anywhere so keep an eye on the skies. There should be lots of migrants passing through as well. WB Woodpecker is reliable at the Murnauer Moos. TT Woodpecker is present in low densities, but has eluded me in 6+ trips so far.

For Bearded Vulture, you will nee to go to Switzerland, I think the Valais region has some reliable spots. Here you will also find Alpine Swift and Crag Martin. Alpine Swift also breeds in Germany at Freiburg/Breisgau, and can easily be seen in the city centre if you are driving along this way. They leave in early October.

Cirl and Rock Bunting both breed in the Rhine valley from Frankfurt south, but I don't know how easy they are to find in September. Try Ruesesheim/Rhein for Rock Bunting, and Deidesheim for Cirl. Grey-headed Woodpecker is also widespread in the Rhine valley.

Capercailie will be very difficult, and Hazel Grouse not much easier. Tengm Owl will be very difficult as they won't be singing (start again in October) so you will need a guide. They (and other woodland birds such as the grouse + woodpeckers) occur in very low densities. The more you hike in suitable woodland, the higher a chance you will have of finding these birds (early morning best).
Thank you very much!

Will Rock Ptarmigan, Snowfinch, Alpine accentor on Karwendelspitze be most easy with the cable car up their? Or hike needed from there as well?

Do you know of any reliable spots for Bearded Vulture in Valais?

Will White-backed Woodpecker be hard in Murnauer Moos in september?






I will focus most on
Alpine Accentor
Alpine Snowfinch
Alpine Chough
Alpine Swift
Rock Ptarmigan
Snowfinch
Golden Eagle
Bearded Vulture
Citril Finch
White-spotted Nutcracker
Rock Partridge

So any specific reliable locations would be much appreciated as well
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Old Monday 14th August 2017, 13:12   #4
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Originally Posted by DutchSparrow View Post
I will focus most on
....
White-spotted Nutcracker
Anywhere with Pinus cembra forests. Aletschwald (Valais; cablecar from Mörel to Riederalp, then 1.5-2 km walk) is one such site that is very good for them.
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Old Tuesday 15th August 2017, 09:44   #5
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On the Westliche Karwendelspitze, take the cable car from Mittenwald (€25 return I think). At the top, there is a hollow area with a circular path around it. The Ptarmigan favour this hollow, and can be quite approachable. Please don't climb down into it - it is a nature reserve even if it is only c200 metres across.

Snowfinch and Alpine Chough should be around the cafe at the summit. Alpine Accentor should be along the track around the hollow. Check any cliffs for Wallcreeper, and walking through the tunnel to the Dammkar is good as well. Finally, taking the first cable car in the morning is a good idea, plus it should ideally be clear skies. Avoid days with rain/heavy cloud.

I have seen WB Woodpecker at Murnauer Moos only in may so I am not sure how easy they are in September, but it is well worth trying in any case. Park here:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@47.66.../data=!3m1!1e3

Walk west, crossing over a small bridge by the Aehndl restaurant. Follow the gravel track west, south-west:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@47.66.../data=!3m1!1e3

Check trees carefully for woodpecker from here for the next 3-4 kilometers. Mornings best, and avoid weekends, especially Sundays when the track can be very busy with walkers and cyclists.
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Old Sunday 10th September 2017, 16:19   #6
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Citril finch for me the best is Moosenalm at Schafreuther 40 km south of Lenggries.
Hike takes 2 h from parking place.

https://www.hoehenrausch.de/berge/schafreuter/

This year I was not so successful with Citril Finch.


Citril should also at Wank near Garmisch Patenkirchen.
There is a lift to the peak.

http://zugspitze.de/en/summer

http://zugspitze.de/en/sprachen/niederlaendisch/wank
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 15:27   #7
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I wanna thank you for your help. We had a wonderful time in the Alps with 9 of 10 targets seen and 1 bonus!

Species I saw:

- Alpine Accentor: Säntis and Gornergrat
- Snow Finch: Säntis, we loved this mountain. fog was thick as soup when we ascended, but the clouds broke after 2 hours when we were on the top and the views of the clouds rolling against the mountains with the late afternoon sun were magnificent!
- Alpine Chough: Everywhere
- Golden Eagle: Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse
- Nutcracker: Ebenalp and lots at Riederalp/Aletsch forest
- Citril Finch: Riederalp
- Rock Ptarmigan: 2, after searching for hours at Karwendelspitze, 2 of them came very close and I got one of them on a photo, flapping its wings!
- Eurasian Crag-Martin: A few different places
- Alpine Swift: A lot above the city of Bern

We missed Bearded Vulture on Gemmi because the weather was bad and foggy.

- But Grey-headed Woodpecker at Ebenalp and Grindelwald was a bonus!

Next to that we also saw Alpine Chamois and Alpine Ibex

Kind regards,
Theo

Last edited by DutchSparrow : Friday 6th October 2017 at 15:30.
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Old Wednesday 11th October 2017, 09:54   #8
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Alpine Accentour is usually also on Karwendelspitze.
Also Snowfinch and sometimes Golden Eagle.
In September I saw also twice Montagus Harrier from Karwendelspitze.

In Switzerland come in September Dotterel to Cassonsgrat near Flims.
There are not shy, come close until 2 meters.
There is a lift up to this place.

Last edited by albatross02 : Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 09:56. Reason: add info
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