Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Altenberghütte (6th August)

Despite arriving late yesterday evening I set the alarm early, rolled out of bed at 6am and was heading towards my favourite raptor watchpoint (Altenberghütte) that overlooks a wooded valley, ideal for migrating Black Storks.  My aunt Mariana also made the effort to join me and together we saw 2 Hawfinches and 2 Red Kites fly over but it was still too early and cool for most raptors.  A prob. Honey Buzzard was the only other bird of note in the valley.  The surrounding farmland produced Lesser Whitethroat, a single Whinchat that sprang into view and a Raven flew over.  Butterflies were once again more numerous and included 2 Clouded Yellows, 2 Small Coppers, 1 Painted Lady, Purple Hairstreaks and my personal highlight, 2 PALE CLOUDED YELLOWS!

Pale Clouded Yellow

my best effort at uperwing shots to help clinch the ID

Small Copper

Map Butterfly

A later visit with my brother produced a rather different set of species.  A high flying prob. Black Kite looked very promising with its all dark appearance, shorter and shallowly forked tail.  However, it was safest to leave the ID unresolved due to unclear and distance views.  This proved to be a good idea as later sightings of Red Kites were rather confusing with their outer tail feathers not yet fully grown (making the tail appear shorter and shallowly forked) as well as being unusually dark in colour!

Thanks to Ephraim, we got two butterfly lifers, a single MALLOW SKIPPER and 2 QUEEN OF SPAIN FRITILLARIES!  Both worthwhile species to catch up with when outside the UK.  More Painted Ladies on the wing along with 7 Clouded Yellows and a Map Butterfly.  Yet more Purple Hairstreaks in the woodland and 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries to boot.

Queen Of Spain Fritillary

Mallow Skipper

Purple Hairstreak

Clouded Yellow

Birds were once again in the minority and included 1 Black Redstart and a Garden Warbler in the roadside bushes.

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