I took one birding trip here after finishing working in the collections. But I also managed to get a couple lifers from my hostel. While I was walking down the road it was on, I saw a White Stork fly by overhead. The building had a green roof. The kitchen/dining room/lobby area was only one story and I could see its roof from my window. A little Black Redstart was there everyday foraging in the plants. It liked to sit on top of a skinny pole and preen when it wasn’t catching food. There were also an enormous number of Common Swifts flying in flocks and screaming overhead every afternoon.
I had originally wanted to go to a natural reserve just across the French border, but it turned out there wasn’t an easy, cheap way to get over there and back. There was a smaller city park on the edge of Basel and a large patch of green on the map beyond it in an adjoining town, Münchenstein. I took one of the trolleys to the former and found out that it was mostly a residential area. And the way the place was set up, it was sometimes hard to tell where public walking paths stopped and private property began. Which meant that I didn’t hike to the top of any of the mountains and did a lot of backtracking in order to avoid accidentally trespassing.
But the trip was still worth it. I saw so many raptors both in transit and there. Lots of Common Buzzards seen from the trolley. A pair of Sparrowhawks were soaring the thermals together in Münchenstein. One of them perched on the top of a conifer for quite some time. I walked up the hill to try to get close enough for a good shot, but as soon as I rounded a bend that gave me a good view, it took off. A Black Kite was soaring overhead as well.
There were a lot of House Martins there (the European version of Tree Swallows). You could tell that some of the nests under the eaves of houses had been there for a while because the owners had installed overhangs over their windows to keep the poop from piling up in front of their windows, and there were some huge piles of poop on top of them.
The young ones were almost to the point of fledging. You could see them impatiently sticking their heads out of their nests and begging any time an adult flew nearby, even if they weren’t actually heading to the nest. I tried to get a shot of a parent actually handing an insect off, but they only alighted for a split second before taking off again.
Aside from the Black Kite, I was only seeing common birds, so I decided to head to the park. There were plenty of other things to look at, though. There was all sorts of fruit growing everywhere—blackberries, pears, something that looked sort of like a small plum but I’m not sure what it was, plus several types of berries that humans don’t eat. I found some little invertebrates hanging out on one of the trees.
The park I went to was called Park im Grünen. It was a rather nice place. There were a couple little restaurants, ponds, forest, grassland, creeks… All manner of good habitat for birds. I saw two separate people feeding cheese puffs to birds. Why, I don’t know. That….isn’t a good choice for bird food. Even bread would be better.
The waterfowl were the usual collection of European park fowl—Mallards, Eurasian Coots, Mute Swans, Tufted Ducks, Red-crested Pochards…
I was very happy to spy a Cetti’s Warbler amongst the plants at the edge of the water. It stayed pretty hidden, though, so I wasn’t able to photograph it.
I did manage to remember that my new camera can take video, though I kind of suck at it. It doesn’t seem to make much difference for the minnows, but you’ll want to change the coot video to 1080p.
The baby coots were being very belligerent. There were also big schools of minnows swimming near the surface and eating the floating algal mats.
Mostly repeats here, but I still managed to get four lifers!
- Wood Pigeon
- Rock Dove
- Carrion Crow
- House Sparrow
- Common Swift
- Great Cormorant
- *Black Redstart
- *White Stork
- Mute Swan
- European Coot
- Common Moorhen
- Red-crested Pochard
- Tufted Duck
- Common Buzzard
- *Black Kite
- House Martin
- *Cetti’s Warbler
- Grey Heron
- European Blue Tit
- Great Tit