Thanks to some great advice on this forum I have just had a brilliant visit to Switzerland. Highlights on the birding front were Black Woodpecker, plenty of Nutcracker, Alpine Swift (at Bern just as you said), Citril Finch, Alpine Chough, and the icing on the cake - a juvenile Lammergeier.
I just have a few of questions;
1) At Neiderhorn at about 8:30am there was a small flock of bunting sized birds numbering 6-8 feeding in the grass. They immediately looked like Twite but obviously could not be. They were darker overall than twite but did have similar steaking on their chests. They would not allow me to get close enough to get any detail. They had a call that was a 'sip sip'. The bill was narrow and pointed and from the rear they were reminiscent of House Sparrow but less red. Alpine Accentor? But this seems too low down at this time of year. Can anyone help?
2) On the way up to Neiderhorn on the cable car just below Mittelstation Vorsass there was a very pale grouse sized bird sitting on bottom branch of conifer on outside edge of copse of conifer trees. The only thing I can think of is Hazel Hen. It appeared more pale than the Collins Birds Guide book suggests for Hazel Hen. I am familiar with Ptarmigan and know it was not that. Any suggestions?
3) On the last night I was walking through the woods at the back of Manor Farm, Unterseen, and came across two owls in the dark. They were perched about 10 meters up in conifers and were about the size of a Jay/Nutcracker. Their wings were not overly long and were pale on the underside when flying. Their tails had a slight point to them as they flew. When perched they had some dark streaks on the chest. There were some calls just before I found them which were not Tawny Owl (I am familiar with them) so I have narrowed it down to Long-eared Owl (too big?) or Tengmal's Owl (too light?) I have attached a very poor picture if that helps.
Thank you for all your help - in anticipation.