Friday, 20 February 2015

Crimson-winged Butterfly-bird!

Aptly-named Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria
Last week I made a short visit to the cliffs of the Glinščica/Val Rosandra valley, near Trieste. Above is the result. Saw two WALLCREEPERS Tichodroma muraria together, which is not a very common sight. They showed perfectly and close and in the red light of the setting sun. However it's not easy taking pics of the bird with opened wings! So a video captures the jizz quite better (watch in 720p). Nearby was a small flock of Alpine Accentors Prunella collaris.
Both species are two typical altitudinal migrants. They breed in the Alpine region and in autumn descend to lower levels. Wallcreeper is a tough bird to find in summer, but fortunately not so in winter. The limestone cliffs of the Karst are the preferred wintering habitat, where these birds can find invertebrate prey even in winter. They also regularly winter on the cliffs of Devin/Duino near Trieste, where you can watch Wallcreepers climbing the cliffs, just metres above the sea!
The relatively restricted wintering habitats in Slovenia make them far more easier to find that in the Alps, where every cliff could potentially hold one. Nevertheless, even here, it's always a thrill to see that magic flick of crimson!