Far far away

This spring, two friends and I managed to visit one of the remotest central Asian countries: Tajikistan. A country with breath-taking landscapes, full of lovely people and amazing animals. With swamps as well as deserts next to Afghanistan and most part of the country being a high mountain region, life is not easy here. I will surely tell and show more from this trip, but here is already a short impression.

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French Alps

Again a short trip – this time to France. I met a friend and college, Julien R., to record and  discuss about Crossbills. We visited different sites in the French Alps. Days started long before sunrise and we walked through the ending night into the mountains. Attached are some impressions

Moon in the forest
Vercors, French Alps
Sunset in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Julien recording crossbills in the forest

As we hoped, we found very interesting crossbills. When I show you the photos, they look like every other Red Crossbill. You need to hear the voice of these birds to be able to recognize them. As this is the topic of my PhD, it was really fascinating to meet some of these special birds of the southern Alps, which I heard on my computer many times but not in reality.

Male Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
Female Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Now some more photos from the trip:

Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum)
Opening in the forest, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
Opening in the forest, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
Alpine meadows changing colour in autumn, National Park Vanoise, French Alps
Erosion ditches in the slope, National Park Vanoise, French Alps
The last sunray in the valley, French Alps
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Some photos from the last days

Spring is arriving and I spent some time out there, with nice encounters. Here I share some from southwestern Germany.

Red Kite (Milvus milvus) perched
A young Red Kite (Milvus milvus) in its 2nd calendar year (born in 2017). It came close as there was a dead hare in the field.
A nice encounter with a Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis), singing between buds
Therefore, I had the chance to photograph it also in the soft evening light.
Sunrise in the Black Forest
My favourite shot of the encounter
Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) within braids in the mountains
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Archive complete

Finally, all bird species of the Western Palearctis, photographed until December 2016, are online in the Archive. I just finished uploading with photos of one of my favourite groups – the Grouses. All birds of this group are elusive and difficult to watch – so every encounter is an adventure.

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix ssp. tetrix) adult female well hiding behind a trunk. Ural Mountains, Russia, 16.06.2016

I spent hours and hours, trying to find them, watch them, get close to them without disturbing and finally photograph them.

Some of them live in dense thicket like the Hazel Grouse and it is easily reproducible that you hardly see them.

Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia ssp. volgensis), motionless hiding in a tree. Bialowieza, Poland, adult male

But others are just in the open like the Rock Ptarmigan. Nevertheless it took me a lot of time to discover them during winter time.

Rock Ptarmigan 8Lagopus muta ssp. helvetica), Germany, adult male, winter plumage

They sometimes dig themselve into the snow for resting and all you see later are their tracks.

Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta ssp. helvetica), track coming from the left. It dug into the snow for resting and later walked further to the back

But as soon as you are rewarded with a real encounter, you know it was worth the effort.

Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta ssp. helvetica) jumping adult male, 28.12.2013, Germany
Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus ssp. crassirostris), Germany, adult male, displaying
Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix ssp. tetrix), Germany, adult male
Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica), Great Britain, winter group
Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus ssp. koreni), Russia (Ural), adult male hiding behind a bush
Hazel Grouse(Bonasa bonasia ssp. volgensis), adult male. An extremely lucky moment, in which the Hazel Grouse perched on this truck. Bialowieza, Poland, 24.04.2014
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Two trips into pristine areas

Few weeks ago, I returned from a trip to the Baikal area in southeastern Russia. Together with Malte B. we were looking for different kind of animals and pristine landscape. It was a sucessful trip and I will surely show you further photos soon

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Right afterwards, I accompanied an excursion of the University to the Ticino area in southern Switzerland. We visited a valley with still quite pristine landscape. We came just right for the flowering of Alpine Roses. Here you see three photos of the amazing colourful meadows:

The different flowers in combination with many different insects and birds have been a real highlight!

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) in the flowers
Male Lasiocampa quercus (Eichenspinner)

 

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