While I love this blog, I now pretty much only write on my other two blogs: BirdingBlogs.com and 10,000 Birds - I would love to see you there!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Alpine Chough on winter altitudinal migration

We are in the middle of a cold-ish spell here in Tirol - the mountain peaks surrounding Innsbruck are all covered with snow down to about 1700m. Changing weather conditions always make birdwatching a little more interesting as the dramatic changes in temperature that we experience here in the Alps force birds - especially - to move a little.

Looking out of my window now, I can see a flock of about 40 Alpine Choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus, Alpendohle) moving around Innsbruck. They are fairly common down here in the city during winter, when they move down off of the high peaks in to the relative warmth of the Inn River valley. Having said that, they seem to take readily back to the mountains as soon as it warms up a little. Sunday is likely to be a warm enough day for at least most of the snow on the mountains to melt, so I dont think the choughs will be hanging around for too long. But before long, the peaks will be under solid snow, and the beautiful little choughs will be spending more and more time gracing our city skies.

Their call is beautiful and I love hearing it as I walk around town... it reminds me of the mountains.

Here are a couple of photos of them from GroĂźe Bettelwurf, taken last year September. Inquisitive creatures. And rather photogenic with a typically stunning backdrop.

Happy birding
Dale Forbes


joanmac said...

Thanks for the info on where the chough's hang out in the winter. I am used to seeing them hanging out and soaring about in the Dolomites. One of these days I'll write a story about them. In the meantime, I have a painting of Giacomo who I met at the refugio on Monte Cristallo. They are such fun to watch dancing around on the deck in the sun.

Dale Forbes said...

nice painting joan. and i would love to hear your story some day...