Photographing with friends

Some weeks ago, close friends visited Freiburg. Together we (Thorsten Bittner, Christian Höfs, Jan Sohler, Lukas Thiess, Joachim Wimmer) visited different sites in Germany and Switzerland. Our first trips with a part of the group (some of the group claimed they would have to work) were in southern Germany. We tried to find a crazy Caipercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) in the Black Forest – as almost all of my attempts with this individual without sucess. Nevertheless we were in good mood…

The following day, we were looking for a wintering Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria). This colourful bird from the Alps spends the winter in lower areas in mines and rock faces. The Wallcreeper didn’t want to appear at first, but a pair of Peregrine (Falco peregrinus), copulating right in front of us was a splendid encounter.

Female Peregrine Falcon

Finally the ‘toast of the wall’ appeared: a Wallcreeper! Frantic as they are, but it made a real show for us.

Wallcreeper presenting itself in all its splendour

The weekend we spent in Switzerland. There is a site, the ‘Gemmipass’ well known to bird watchers and photographers as it is possible to watch Lammergeier there very close. I wanted to visit this site since probably five years – but there was always something that stopped me from realization of the trip. Well, this time it worked thanks to Joachim. Weather was perfect for our plans and the vultures were very active.

The site is also famous for its tame Ravens, Alpine Choughs, Alpine Accentors and White-winged Snowfinchs:

And a last photo:

That’s what it’s all about: photographing among friends in a great scenery
Photographing with friends

Winter in spring

There haven’t been a lot of snow in my area this year. And as I just moved for some weeks to Leipzig (thanks for the flat, Alex!!) it is unlikely, that I will have the chance to encounter much ice and cold any more.

Of course, this isn’t true for the “big” mountains. Also May can be very cold there. In May 2014, I have been in the High Tatra in Slovakia. These are very rocky mountains and they deeply impressed me.

Hiking through some kind of gorge in about 2200 m of altitude, I found a perfect winter landscape with no human beeing around.

A beautiful gorge in about 2200 m of altitude
View from the peak of a mountain in about 2500 m of height
The rocky Tatra in the clouds
The completely iced rocks on the northern rock face

But just when I thought, I am completely alone up there on the peak, I discovered two Alpine Accentors. They were playing in the snow, singing, playing tag and finally performing the courtship display. Neither ice nor frostiness could discourage them.

Alpine Accentor, Alpenbraunelle, Prunella collaris
Two Alpine Accentors performing the courtship display
Frozen waterfall

It was time to return and as there was a iced film on the snow, it was possible to “go skiing” on my alpine boots quite well. In the lower areas, some ice was already melting.

The ice melts already in the sun in the lower parts

When the first alpine meadows came in view again, I encountered a group of “Tatra”-Chamois and few Alpine Marmots.

Chamois, Tatra-Gemse, Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica
The endemic subspecies R. r. tatrica of the Chamois
Alpine Marmot, Marmota marmota latirostris, Alpen-Murmeltier
A intensily coloured Alpine Marmot

In the evening at the car, it felt strange to be back in spring, with the warm sun and green meadows with flowers anywhere. It felt like I had been travelling between seasons.

RM_140505_MG_0606-2 Panorama
View to the High Tatra from the low-lying areas.
Winter in spring