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A Report from

Switzerland and Liechtenstein 12th - 17th September 1999,

Colin Davies



Vaduz, Liechtenstein

During this week, I stayed in a hotel in Buchs, Switzerland, which is right on the border with Liechtenstein.  There is a mountain behind Buchs called Buchser Berg, the lower slopes of which I visited on most evenings. About two miles from Buchs, on the other side of the Rhine, is Vaduz, a small town, yet the capital of Liechtenstein. Vaduz has a Royal castle sitting above the town on the side of Schlossmald, in beautiful woodland. I made two visits to this site. The weather during my stay was exceptional, with bright blue skies and temperatures around 30'C.

Buchs, Switzerland   12-September-1999

Weather: 20% cloud cover, hot (26'C), Glorious

Main species seen:

            Mute Swan        5          family party

            Pochard            7          mm

            Black Redstart   A few    inc. singing mm

Also seen:      Tufted Duck, Mallard, Great Spotted Woodpecker(1), Blue Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Carrion Crow

Buchser Berg, Switzerland 13-September-1999

Weather: 20% cloud cover, hot (26'C), Glorious

Main species seen:

            Black Redstart   A few

            Marsh Tit           Many

            Nutcracker        A few

Also seen:    Spotted Flycatcher, Raven, Nuthatches, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Jay, Mistle Thrush, Buzzard, Coal Tits, House Martins, Blackcap, Chiffchaff

In a most beautiful location, I climbed to a height of about 3,500 feet. The commonest bird in the woods was the Marsh Tit, which I have never before seen in such good numbers. Above 3,000 feet I started to see Nutcrackers, my first since Austria  in 1990. I love seeing these very exciting birds.  In the alpine meadows there were many flowers, including Autumn crocus and a species of small yellow foxglove.


 Buchser Berg, from Buchs


Schlossmald, Liechtenstein   14-September-1999

Weather: 20% cloud cover, hot (26'C), Glorious

Main species seen:

                Black Woodpecker         1

                Marsh Tit                       Many

Also seen:        Nuthatch's, Buzzard (A few), Jays, Robin, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpeckers

On a glorious afternoon, I caught the bus to Vaduz, and then walked up to the Royal castle. From there I followed the tracks through the woods. These woods are not dark dense pine woods such as I saw in Austria a few years ago , rather they are old, broad leafed woods, much sunnier and greener. A truly lovely location.

Suddenly I heard, and then saw a Black Woodpecker flying through the trees. It landed on the side of one tree, and fed for several minutes in a hole. It was a good view, and I could clearly see the birds white eye ring. Then it flew calling again. Only my second ever Black Woodpecker, and a truly memorable experience.

Schlossmald and Vaduz Castle

Schlossmald to Rotaboda, Liechtenstein   15-September-1999

Weather: 30% cloud cover, hot (25'C), Glorious

Main species seen:

        Black Redstart                                       A few

        Crested Tit                                            1+

Also seen:        Marsh Tit (Many), Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Buzzards, Nuthatch

The birds were not as good as on previous days, but the whole walk was a fantastic experience. I again walked through the woods at the back of Vaduz castle, but this time continued up to the ruined castle Wildschloss, which stands on the edge of a dramatic gorge at the height of about 3,000 feet. 

Then I continued up, and eventually came to a beautiful, grassy area of alpine meadows with huts, at a height of about 3,700. The meadows were full of Autumn crocus, and the views were fantastic. I continued on to the town of Rotaboda, which itself is 3,000 feet up the mountain, and on the way saw rock faces full of small cyclamen.

Winterthur, Switzerland   17-September-1999

Weather: 80% cloud cover, Hot (22'C

        Red Kite       1

The kite was seen from the train as we returned to Zurich airport.

 Colin Davies

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