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, 12 March 2010

Rare migrating birds in the Alps

The Alps is not a rarity hotspot. It is not now. It will never be. That's just how it is and I have found my peace with it.

But yesterday, TWO people phoned me to tell me that there were some Ferruginous Duck (Moorenten; Aythya nyroca) down on the River Inn between the Innsbruck Airport and the village of Völs. Some of us had to work so dashing off to the river for a country tick yesterday afternoon was just not going to happen.

But I did pray for bad weather overnight (to keep them from migrating on...)

I awoke to cloud and snow - yippee!

Needless to say I was late for work, but I did get a couple of horrible photos ;-)

Male Fudge Duck showing off his white eye

The ducks are somewhere there in the background. The Innsbruck Airport is 2m behind me.

After that start, I was in a bird mood and so took the afternoon off to go birding with Paul and my father in law. We picked up two male Goosanders and a female as well as lots of wagtails hawking over the River Inn in Mils and a single Chifchaf. A search for the Great Grey Shrikes Paul had seen in the morning was fruitless, but we did pick up a flock of 49 Lapwing, 5 Golden Plover and a Common Gull (all three being Tirol ticks for me) on the fields in Thaur. We also picked up our first swallow of the spring (a Crag Martin)

Here is a photo of a Golden Plover a very very long way away. If you want to see real photos of Golden Plovers then you should visit Chris Photo Nature.

A shot of the fields in Thaur where the Lapwings, Golden Plovers and Common Gull were. This gives you an idea of the power of digiscoping because the plover shot above was taken at this same point and the birds are in the lighter brown area between the first white field and the white field behind it - way too small to make out on this photo.

Spring is in the air!

Happy birding,


Chris said...

HI Dale,
Spring is in the air!!! Mate, in case you did not see it, you still have snow on the second shot ;-) Talking about snow you could have sent some, we only got 5 days with snow in the whole winter...
I'm happy you got ticks, cause it's usually giving a nice birding mood as you said... I'd like to have one myself over here but this is gonna be hard as I have reached now 115 species in Iceland and we only have 72 breeding over here!!
Thanks for the link to one of my golden plover message, it is much appreciate!!!

The Early Birder said...

Twitching a 'Fudge' in bad weather! Nice one Dale.

eileeninmd said...

Your male Fudge duck is a beauty. I wish I had the equipment for digiscoping. At least I can enjoy looking at everyone else photos. The Golden Plover is a pretty bird too. Great shots!

mick said...

Great photos and you certainly have some interesting birds passing through.

gwendolen said...

LOL @ the 'horrible' Ferruginous Duck photo. Well done. :)

Great to hear the swallows are on their way. It'll still be a while before we see them though.

Larry said...

Great shot of the "Fudge" duck Dale. Having never seen or heard of a Ferruginous Duck, calling it a "Fudge Duck" was funny for me.

Thanks for all your insight into digiscoping. Your tips are really helping me learn the technique.

Dale Forbes said...

Chris, you are the demigod of Golden Plover photos. When I hear of one or think of one, I see one of your many photos pictured in my mind. It is just how it is...

Frank, the great thing was that the weather was poor overnight, but really nice and sunny the next day, making for a great (but still cold) day with great birds!

Eileen, do you have binoculars and a little digital camera? if so, there is no reason why you cant take some cool photos with that... go ahead, give it a try!

Mick, thanks. Very exciting to have some more bird activity here again after a good few months in the doldrums of birding...

Hi Gwendolen, I seem to remember getting our first Crag Martins on 27 Feb last year. The Barn Swallows will still take a little while as they are still mostly way down south, with large numbers in South Africa

Larry, "Fudge Duck": what a cool name. The bird is just as cool but more in a sweet/pretty way and less in a yummy/bring-on-the-diabetes way.

Thanks for all the comments!

Jochen said...

Dale, those are some neat birds. I haven't seen a Ferruginous in ages.
I guess that's what the Alps and the Namib have in common:
Bird life will never be unexpected, rarities will always be a near-impossibility but the regulars are true stunners and true "rarities" in a global / continent-wide sense.
Guess what: I miss Tirol! Those snow Finches were awesome!!!!

Lana Gramlich said...

That fudge duck is absolutely beautiful! I love the burgundy color of the breast. Very nice!

Phil said...

Fudge Duck is a pretty good twitch - dont get meny here.

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Kelly said...

What a name! I love the colors in that little Fudge Duck!

Anonymous said...

Surely your employer should count time birding as work time! Still, well worth being out of the office for a day like this. Love the "fudge" and the demonstration of the power of digiscoping. You're inspiring me to take another try at it myself.

Dale Forbes said...

Hi Wren,
well naturally I would love to be a paid birder who just needed to look for cool birds and blog about it. but then again, that would mean taking precious time away from thinking about the next generation of really really cool optics - which I find at least as cool ;-)
having said that, it is nice to be able to use some of my overtime on the rare occasion to go find some birdies during office hours!
Happy birding.

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