Wednesday 15 July 1981

AUSTRIA (05-15 July 1981)

I was offered a place on the University of East Anglia Bird Club’s Summer 1981 trip to Austria. I didn’t go to UEA but had several friends who did and they were looking for someone else so it seemed a good fit. Ten or eleven of us went on what was very much a budget trip. The minibus was provided by the UEA Students Union and came with a full tank. We camped and lived on junk food or stuff bought in supermarkets. My memories of the trip are very hazy, I took no photos and my notes were just species lists. New birds are in capitals, highlights in bold.

Sunday 05 July. A long drive across France to Germany, I’m assuming we caught a night ferry as I noted no birds on the crossing. Birds I saw from the minibus or on roadside stops were Calais to Strasbourg: 4 Red Kites, 2 Montagu’s Harriers, 11 Buzzards, 2 Wrynecks, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Black Redstarts, 2 Fieldfares, 6 Whitethroats, 3 Red-backed Shrikes and 4 Tree Sparrows. Strasbourg to Stuttgart. White Stork, Crested Lark, Grey Wagtail, 2 Dippers, 2 Jays and a Polecat (on the road after dark). We camped somewhere near Stuttgart.

Monday 06 July. Stuttgart to Fussen: 2 Black Redstarts, 10 Fieldfares, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, 2 Marsh Tits, 4 Nuthatches, 2 Serins, Bullfinch. Neuschwanstein Castle: Male and female THREE TOED WOODPECKERS, 2 Wood Warblers, Firecrest, excellent views of a Wallcreeper from the bridge over the gorge, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Nutcrackers, Hooded Crow. Garmisch: 2 Grey-headed Woodpeckers, 3 Bonelli’s Warblers, Nuthatch, 3 Crossbills.

Tuesday 07 July. All day birding the forests at Garmisch where I saw Sparrowhawk, 2 Great and a MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKER, 5 Grey Wagtails, 2 Bonelli’s Warblers, 5 Goldcrests, Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Dipper, 30 Coal ad 4 Crested Tits, 2 Nuthatches, Treecreeper, 2 Hooded Crows, 3 Citril Finches, 5 Crossbills, 8 Bullfinches and a male and juvenile Hawfinch. Despite a lifer and some other decent birds I noted it as a really bad day as Hazel Hen, White-backed and Black Woodpeckers were seen by others on the trip.

Wednesday 08 July. Garmisch: Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, 20 Swifts, juvenile Tawny Owl, 3 Great Spotted, Grey-headed and male and juvenile Black Woodpeckers, 8 Ring Ouzels, 2 Crested Tits, 4 Nuthatches, 2 Treecreepers and 8 Bullfinches.

Thursday 09 July. Saltzburg to Vienna: 6 Crossbills. Schonbrunn Palace Gardens: 5 Great and 3 Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Garden Warbler, Willow Tit, 12 Nuthatches and 15 Hawfinches. Neusiedler See: Little Bittern, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, 20 White Storks, 8 Marsh Harriers, 10 Avocets, Common Sandpiper, 4 Bluethroats, 2 Black Redstarts, 4 Savi’s, 20 Sedge, 2 Marsh and 10 Reed Warblers and 2 Serins.

Friday 10 July. Neusiedler See (Illmitz and Podersdorf): Red-necked and 4 Black-necked Grebes, 9 Great White Egrets, 4 Purple Herons, 15 White Storks, Spoonbill, 30 Greylag Geese, 7 Garganey, male Red-crested Pochard, 2 Honey Buzzards, 10 Marsh Harriers, 20 Avocets, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 50 Ruff, 300 Black-tailed Godwits, 15 Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Tawny Owl, 4 Hoopoes, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Savi’s and Grasshopper Warblers heard, 2 Great Reed and 2 Icterine Warblers, juvenile COLLARED FLYCATCHER, 4 Bearded Reedlings, 80 PENDULINE TITS, 7 Golden Orioles and 6 Red-backed and 4 Lesser Grey Shrikes. Tadten Plain: Great White Egret, 10 White Storks, 3 Buzzards, 6 Marsh Harriers, Quail heard, 8 Great Bustards, 2 Little Owls, Whinchat, 3 Marsh Warblers, 5 Red-backed Shrikes and 2 Serins.

Saturday 11 July. Neusiedler See (Illmitz): 15 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Little Bitterns, 20 Greylag Geese, 3 Ferruginous Duck, 40 Avocets, 10 Ruff, 400 Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, 5 Little Gulls, Syrian Woodpecker, Moustached Warbler and 30 Bearded and 2 Penduline Tits. Marchegg: Great White Egret, a Black and 30 White Storks, 2 Honey Buzzards, 2 Black Kites, Montagu’s Harrier, 2 Goshawks, Hobby, Black, 3 Great, 2 Middle and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, River (heard), 2 Marsh and a Wood Warbler, a Pied/Collared Flycatcher, 15 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Nuthatches and 10 Serins. Initial attempts to camp on rough ground outside Marchegg failed as half way through putting up tents an officious local threatened to call the police if we didn’t move on.

Sunday 12 July. Marchegg: 5 Great White Egret, 30 White Storks, Honey Buzzards, Marsh Harrier, Goshawk, Wryneck, 2 Great and a Middle Spotted Woodpecker, a Wheatear, 3 River, 2 Marsh and a Barred Warbler, 8 Nuthatches, 3 Red-backed Shrikes and 5 Serins. Marchegg to Grossglockner: Honey Buzzard, Water Pipit, 2 Black Redstarts and 2 Redpolls. One of the kinder Austrians encountered allowed us to sleep in his garage.

Monday 13 July. Grossglockner (around the glacier): 3 Alpine Swifts, 10 House Martins, 4 Water Pipits, 15 Alpine Acentors, Black Redstart, Wheatear, male Rock Thrush, 4 Ring Ouzels, 30 Alpine Chough and 58 Snowfinches. Grossglockner to Garmisch: Tawny Owl, 100 Fieldfares and 2 Nuthatches.

Tuesday 14 July. Garmisch (what I described as an alternative and equally duff site, I missed Hazel Hen again): Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Willow and 9 Crested Tits, 2 Nuthatches, 5 Treecreepers and Nutcracker (heard). Garmisch to Luxembourg: 2 Buzzards, Sparrowhawk and 50 Fieldfares.

Wednesday 15 July. Willerzie: Buzzard, Tree Pipit, Crested Tit (heard) and Great Grey Shrike. Willerzie to Calais: Common Sandpiper and Cuckoo.

[Blogged January 2021]