Wednesday 6 June 2012

Alpine birding - part 1

Spent a nice day up in the mountains with a friend, surveying some upland birds for a local monitoring. It was quite tiring work (waking up at 03.30 am and finishing a few hours ago) but we got a nice selection of alpine birds. Highlight of the day was the BLACK GROUSE with +4 heard singing in different parts around the Montasio (Monta┼ż) plateau. Unfortunately we didn't spot any bird, but it was great to hear them singing (lekking actually) for the whole morning. Other non-seen birds were the many singing Western Bonelli's Warblers around forested areas. Visual delights during the day included lots of RING OUZELS (very cool to see as they were my firsts this year), a pair of Dippers feeding their fledged chicks on a local stream, flock of +50 Alpine Choughs, lots of breeding Northern Wheatears and different Crag Martins flying about. Also plenty of commoner species, some were really abundant (like breeding Common Redstarts). Others were: Siskin, Bullfinch, Song and Mistle Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Dunnock (breeding in upland habitat), Crossbill, Grey Wagtail, Cuckoo, Raven, 2 Willow Tits, 1 Little Owl, Firecrest, Tree Pipit, Red-backed Shrike, Skylark, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Water Pipit (breeding in upland areas), Griffon Vulture (large numbers around Venzone and Portis - also a chick on a local nest), 1 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Tawny Pipit & Woodlark (open dry grassland area in the valley). The Cavazzo lake produced a few Great Crested Grebes, a Green Sandpiper and both Great Reed & Reed Warbler. Mammals included Alpine Marmots, Alpine Ibexes, Roe Deer and a Red Squirrel.
Pics above (to to bottom): male Ring Ouzel, Dipper, Alpine Marmots, Alpine Choughs and a view over some mountainsides.

We ended up the day with this beautiful male Redstart taking food to its nest:

In the next few days I'll be up in the Alps for a second session of monitoring, so I'll post some more stuff later.