Saturday 31 August 2019

Marbled Godwit Photo Shoot!

Last weekend I was down in Niagara to see family and thought I would see if I could find the continuing Marbled Godwit at Dufferin Islands.  Lucky for me, it was still there and putting on a show! A very strange spot for this species indeed!

Check out this video of it it is not sped up!

Sunday 25 August 2019

Europe Trip 2019 - France and Switzerland!

Cait and I have returned from a wonderful 11 day trip to France and Switzerland!  We had a great time on our first trip to Europe and spent approximately half the time in France (Paris and Strasbourg) and the other half in the Swiss Alps in a small town called Grindelwald.

Although this was not a birding trip (per se), I did manage to spot 45 new 'lifers' that I have never seen before!

We flew into Paris via Halifax (and unexpectedly Dublin due to a mixup in the flights as a result of the 737 Max groundings).  Cait planned the Paris portion of the trip, and even though I don't really like big cities, I did enjoy seeing some of the main landmarks and just walking around the city.

View from the top of the Arc de Triomphe

I was getting a little sick of art galleries - below are 2 actual pieces of "art".  The first is basically an arrangement of lawn furniture and the second is 3 blank white panels...I may have to make some art exhibits of my own with some of the junk in my garage.

Notre Dame - under construction

The Catacombs of Paris

After a great stay in Paris (minus some bed begs we discovered on our last morning...) I was happy to head to Strasbourg via a lovely train ride.

Strasbourg Cathedral, construction began on this building nearly 1000 years ago and it was the tallest building in the world for a period of nearly 200 years.  Quite spectacular.


Common Redstart

White Stork

street art with a great message
Note the stork nests on the chimneys.

We only stayed 1 night in Strasbourg and then it was off for Grindelwald in the Swiss Alps!  After a few transfers on the train through Basel, Bern and Interlaken, we finally arrived at our residence for the next 3 days - Hotel Tschuggen.

Our first afternoon we took the cable car up to First, a small mountain, and then did a hike to Bachalpsee Lake.

Goats and cows were grazing freely in the alpine environment.  I felt a special kinship to the goat below which headbutted an obnoxious tourist who tried to take a selfie with him.  I also enjoyed seeing Golden Eagles, Eurasian Kestrels and Wheatears in this spot!

Eurasian Kestrel

The infamous Eiger.

On our first full day in Switzerland we decided to do an awesome hike starting in the town of Grindelwald on a trail that would eventually connect us up with the famous Eiger Trail.  It was an awesome day hike, one of the nicest I can remember.  I believe we did a little over 20K, but with 4,000ft of elevation gain it was certainly a good challenge.  Below is our route we took mapped on Ebird with my phone GPS:

We found some young cows up in the mountains that came over as soon as I cracked the chip bag, they demanded more chips and started nibbling on Cait's arm - it was time to push on!

Northern Wheatear

White Wagtail

The Eiger with a cloud sitting on it, reminds me of Exodus 24:16

Spotted Flycatcher fledgelings
 On our 2nd full day we did another great day hike up to a mountain shack/restaurant called Baregg.  The weather was a bit iffy with clouds floating low in the valley below us.  You can see the town of Grindelwald below.

We had a coke at the small restaurant on the ridge and with rain starting we decided to head down to lower elevations since the way up had been quite steep and rocky and we didn't want to slip.

After a great experience up in the alps we had to catch our train to Zurich, our last stop before flying home.