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Rock Thrush and Wallcreeper recommendations?

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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 11:03   #1
nowhereblue
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Rock Thrush and Wallcreeper recommendations?

Hi everyone

Have been wanting to see these two species for a while but never had any success. I note from the opus article that the forest fire area around Leuk and the Hohe brucke areas near to Leuk are meant to be good for both species. However, searching the ornitho.ch website for these species in Leuk hasn't revealed sightings recently (though i know that they partially restrict publication of wallcreeper sightings during the breeding season).

We are based in Zurich but are flexible as to where to go in Switzerland to see these species.

So if anyone has had any luck recently seeing these two species and are happy to pass on any information to us that would be greatly appreciated :-)

Many thanks

Michael
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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 11:25   #2
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As the forest fire area is slowly overgrowing, Rock Thrushes have left the area and are no longer found there.
Last sightings from Wallcreepers from Hohe Brücke are from 25th and 18th May, so the pair seems to breed as usual.

Another good place for both species is the region around Beatenberg (near Thun, Bernese Oberland). Wallcreeper can be found around the Beatushöhlen, often in the cliffs visible from the entrance to the caves.
Rock Thrush can be seen on the Niederhorn, however this species is generally not easily found (the song can help a lot while searching for them).

When are you in Zürich? There is a Collared Flycatcher and a Flamingo near Zürich at the moment.....

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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 11:43   #3
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Hi Andre!

That's so incredibly helpful and valuable for us to know - really grateful for your help or we could have been on the train for 3 hours down to valais and no rock thrushes ! Thun is closer and really convenient for us especially as my girlfriend's mum lives nearby so we can stay round there - swiss accommodation is very expensive for us english people !

I'm over in Zurich at the moment and will be here for another 10 days or so - very interested in the collared flycatcher - whereabouts is this?

Maybe even catch you for a beer and a black woodpecker at some point in zurich!

All the best and thanks again for all your help

Michael
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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 12:00   #4
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Hi Michael,

The Collared Flycatcher is at the Unterer Katzensee, north of Zürich. If coming by car drive in direction Regensdorf. You will see a restaurant on the right and just after the lake the Gut Katzensee. Go left there and park. Go back over the main road, following the yellow sign, pass the gut Katzensee and go up a little hill. On top of the hill there is a fire place and to your right an orchard. That's where the Collared Flycatcher is trying to find a female for almost two weeks now. He's usually somewhere on the top of a tree. There is an illegal path into the orchard. Don't use it as you can see the Flycatcher from the normal path.
By public transport it's easiest to take the S6 to Regensdorf. Leave the station to the left and go back, more or less along the tracks (passing a jail). You will get to the small road from Altburg to Katzensee, go left there to the Gut Katzensee and continue as described above.

Depending on the weather I will go to the Niederhorn next Tuesday (I organized a weekend up there for my local society on the 9th and 10th June, so I would like to go there and check things out). The weather forecast is mixed right now, but it should be more clear on Sunday if it is possible to go. You can join me if you like of course. I have to check out the rooms at the hotel up there (but this will not take a lot of time) and I would like to find some species like Rock Thrush, Wallcreeper and Ptarmigan. There are also Rock Partridges up there, however they are really difficult to find. Just give me an email or a pm if you're interested.

André
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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 12:01   #5
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And btw there are also Grey-headed Woodpeckers at Chatzensee....

André
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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 17:41   #6
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That's great thanks Andre !

We were probably going to go this weekend as my girlfriend is working during the week otherwise we would definitely have joined you. We will possibly be trying to see the areas most likely by public transport. the beatusholen looks ok I think to get to as its a touristic site. But if we are going up to see the rock thrushes where would you recommend we go to access niederhorn ? It looks like you can access it from different sides !

And those directions for the collared flycatcher and grey headed woodpecker are brilliant. We will definitely check those out too :)

Michael
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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 17:42   #7
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I now see there is a cable car up to the niederhorn...
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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 19:15   #8
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And that cable car you should take. It's best to be up there as early as possible and then walk along the ridge to Burgfeldstand and on to Gemmialphorn. Be careful, it's an alpine path and you need good walking boots. I had Rock Thrush around Burgfeldstand and behind Gemmialphorn in the last year. There is also a picture of one sitting on top of the Berggasthaus Niederhorn.
Have fun!

André
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Old Saturday 2nd June 2012, 08:13   #9
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Fantastic Andre. Those directions are really really helpful. We are off today and will let you know how we get on !

Michael
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Old Monday 4th June 2012, 13:50   #10
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hi everyone

well we had a really good go for rock thrush and wallcreeper but alas we weren't in luck this time. I think we needed a bit more time and needed to plan things a bit better - we walked quite slowly from Niederhorn to Burgfeldstand and then once we got to Burgfeldstand I realised that this was probably the best habitat for them around this peak and on to Gemmialphorn but we had to turn around almost as soon as we go there as the last cable car back down was at 17.40 - so no enough time ! We did get Golden Eagle, citril finches, crossbill, water pipits and several pairs of ring ouzel so not a bad day at all. Next time we will stay the night at the Guesthouse on the top of niederhorn so we have more time to look.

We only had about 30 mins at around 7pm before the last bus back from Beatus holen to Thun so sadly not enough time to catch up with the Wallcreepers. We are determined to come back again soon and hopefully we will have a bit more time / luck !

Thanks for the offer of coming on Tuesday Andre but I won't be able to make it sadly :-( but wish you the best of luck and let us all know how it went. Hope the weather will be good enough for you to go !

All the best

Michael
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Old Monday 4th June 2012, 14:26   #11
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Just as a consolation: many Swiss birders spend years to find their first Rock Thrush (and decades for the first Rock Partridge). The weather looks good for tomorrow (and hopefully also for the weekend), so I will be up there in the morning.

Good luck for the next time
André
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Old Tuesday 5th June 2012, 16:22   #12
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Thanks andre - good luck today !
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Old Saturday 23rd June 2012, 17:25   #13
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Hi Michael,

Andre's suggestions are excellent but anyway here are some possible sites near where I live.

I saw a Wallcreeper this morning on the Spychenfluh in Bern. It appears to be a regular enough site for them. It also has the added bonus of Snowfinch. There were five there this morning.

The area can be accessed via Engstlenalp (bus service from Meiringen) or from Melchsee Frutt in Obwalden (bus service from Sarnen). Engstlenalp is closer, about 20 mins walk, while Melchsee is a leisurely 90 mins or so. If driving from Zurich, Melchsee is considerably closer than Engstlenalp.

A Rock Thrush was also seen in the area about 10 days ago but I didn't see it today unfortunately. Have a look at www.ornitho.ch for this record and indeed the others.

Nearer to Melchsee is another Wallcreeper site or at least it was last year. Look for the minor peak called Gross Hohmad on a map. A pair were present last year and were very easy to see. No birds there today. Also has Snowfinches. Melchsee and Tannalp also have Alpine Accentors year round but they are much easier to see in winter.

Try this site for maps. Really excellent. Especially if you can't access the map function on the ornitho website.
http://map.geo.admin.ch/?lang=de&zoo...isibility=true

Hope this helps,
Tom
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Old Monday 25th June 2012, 17:58   #14
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It's difficult to see these birds in Europe, they are more of Asia. Wallcreeper are more probably in Europe.

I have recently written an article on the White-throated Rock Thrush.

http://rusticwoodenbirdhouses.com/bl...d-rock-thrush/
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Old Wednesday 17th July 2013, 19:46   #15
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Hi.
My husband and I are heading for Switzerland around the end of this month and I´d love to see a Wallcreeper.
We will be staying in Zug. Are any of the areas mentioned above still worth visiting or do you have any other recommended areas?

Thanks in advance

-Mette
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Old Wednesday 17th July 2013, 20:15   #16
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Originally Posted by Brosnabirder View Post
Hi Michael,

Andre's suggestions are excellent but anyway here are some possible sites near where I live.

I saw a Wallcreeper this morning on the Spychenfluh in Bern. It appears to be a regular enough site for them. It also has the added bonus of Snowfinch. There were five there this morning.

The area can be accessed via Engstlenalp (bus service from Meiringen) or from Melchsee Frutt in Obwalden (bus service from Sarnen). Engstlenalp is closer, about 20 mins walk, while Melchsee is a leisurely 90 mins or so. If driving from Zurich, Melchsee is considerably closer than Engstlenalp.




Try this site for maps. Really excellent. Especially if you can't access the map function on the ornitho website.
http://map.geo.admin.ch/?lang=de&zoo...isibility=true

Hope this helps,
Tom

I saw a Wallcreeper in the same place last Sunday (14th of July). It's possible to drive to Engstlenalp but if you're not used to mountain driving it's best to take the bus. The last 12 km is a single track road which is quite steep in places. There are passing places however. I've tried for Wallcreeper twice here and seen them both times. I like going there because it's relatively close to where I live. Perhaps Andre will have a better site to suggest. The map site is still good.

P.S. As an added bonus the walk from Engstlenalp to Spychenfluh should get you several Marmots. Just scan the rocky areas and you'll definitely see one if the weather is ok.
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Old Wednesday 17th July 2013, 20:18   #17
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Here's a pic of a Marmot I took on Sunday

P.S.
http://www.engstlenalp.ch/en/
This is the website of the Engstlenalp Hotel. They have directions and tips on the local area there.

Tom
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Old Thursday 18th July 2013, 12:33   #18
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Originally Posted by Mette L View Post
Hi.
My husband and I are heading for Switzerland around the end of this month and I´d love to see a Wallcreeper.
We will be staying in Zug. Are any of the areas mentioned above still worth visiting or do you have any other recommended areas?

Thanks in advance

-Mette
Hi Mette,

If you have a bit more time: the Wallcreeper at Feschelschlucht (Valais) is very easy at the moment. They have bred very close to the bridge and are often seen easily feeding their young!
However, it's quite a long way from Zug. Details here: http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Leukerfeld

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Old Thursday 18th July 2013, 15:05   #19
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Lovely, thank you so much.
I have 5 days to go birding so I think I´ll give it a try. Young Wallcreepers - that must be a sight :)

-Mette
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Old Thursday 18th July 2013, 15:54   #20
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Aberdeenshire's quite good for Rock Thrush at the moment!
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Old Sunday 21st July 2013, 17:18   #21
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How common are they in Scotland? There are only 7 findings in Denmark.
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Old Sunday 21st July 2013, 19:00   #22
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How common are they in Scotland? There are only 7 findings in Denmark.
Rock Thrush is an extreme rarity in Scotland. There just happened to be one found in Scotland around the time you posted your request hence the comment from the person above.

André's site for Wallcreeper is excellent by the way. There have been multiple sightings there in the last couple of months.

My sites if I can call them that are a little trickier to get to and will not have as many sightings posted on ornitho.ch for them purely because they are not visited as much as the site suggested by André. In any case I would go for his one.

The birds may have fledged by the time you arrive but hopefully will still be in the area. Keep an eye on ornitho.ch. Click on recent sightings on the home page and then VS for Valais and look for Hohe Brücke.

All the best,
Tom

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Old Tuesday 23rd July 2013, 20:39   #23
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Thank you so much Tom.
We´re leaving for Switzerland in 2 days, and I´ll be sure to keep an eye on the recent sightings and will definitely visit the Leukerfield area.

Thank you all for your advice, you´ve been most helpful.

-Mette
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2013, 17:21   #24
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Thank you so much Tom.
We´re leaving for Switzerland in 2 days, and I´ll be sure to keep an eye on the recent sightings and will definitely visit the Leukerfield area.

Thank you all for your advice, you´ve been most helpful.

-Mette
You're very welcome. I hope you enjoy it. The Valais is a fantastic area if you've never been there before.
If you're interested there are also easily seen Blue Rock Thrushes in the French speaking part of the canton. Near Chamoson there's an area of cliffs called Sex de Gru. Rock Bunting also possible here although there haven't been reports for just over a month. I went there in February last year and the birding couldn't have been easier. I guess Rock Bunting are also found around Leukerfeld though.

Best of luck
Tom
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2013, 21:10   #25
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I´m certainly interested :). Wallcreeper is my main target but I´d love to see a Blue Rock Thrush as well. Snowfinch and Citril Finch would also be awesome.
It is my very first visit to Switzerland and I´m really looking forward to it. My husband will be participating in the Ironman Zürich on Sunday, but afterwards we´ll have the rest of the week to enjoy the country and the birds, not to mention your wine and cheese :)
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