The Citril Finch has been one of the potential life birds for me which occurs not too far from my home. Dorbatsch Naturpark can be reached by a nice 6 hours drive from Tata. I was advised to visit the area by kind Austrian birdwatchers. We arrived there in the dark. When we reached the major car park at the end of the road it was still dark outside. We decided to have a rest in the car but soon the first Ring Ouzels started to sing and their song slowly filled the whole area.
Beautiful misty morning in the Alps. © Gyorgy Szimuly
Unknown flowers decorated the alpine fields. © Gyorgy Szimuly
The sunrise reached us on the trail up to the peak of Tumplwald. It was simply magical. Birds were singing everywhere and lights were just glorious. At the car park we should have seen the so called ‘easy to find’ Citril Finch but there was no sign to any bird. We decided to move up towards the summit and return back later. Along the trail we saw several feeding Ring Ouzels, Coal Tits, singing Water Pipits, Northern Wheatears, Willow Tits, lots of Common Chaffinch, a Common Kestrel and Dunnocks.
Scenery was awesome from the park. © Gyorgy Szimuly
We did not target to move up to the peak and returned to the car park slowly. At the edge of a pine forest we heard and saw three fighting Black Grouses at their lek. It was a great surprise for the kids. We could enjoy the view for minutes. Lights were just ok for watching the details of their shiny feathers through the excellent Swarovski 10×42 SwaroVision.
Battling Black Grouses. © Gyorgy Szimuly
On our way back to the car park about 20 Alpine Choughs were descending to the valley. They were very tame and started to feed just meters away from us. It was a life time experience for the boys again. I had only a Nikon CoolPix V1 with me so only some record shot were taken.
Alpine Choughs were very cooperative while feeding. I was sorry not to have a pro photo gear with me. © Gyorgy Szimuly
Finally we gave up looking for the Citril Finch from the main car park and moved down to the next car park. After having a nice breakfast there I spotted a finch with apparent wing bars and light yellowish green rump. Sadly Dani could not see it well as it moved away soon. In a few minutes another (or the same?) bird appeared providing a way better view but Dani missed to see its details again. He saw it but not through the optics. As he is not so keen birder yet, we decided to move down from the mountain and visit a Cinereous Vulture and Western Bonelli’s Warbler site in north west Italy. It was not so far from the Dorbatsch Naturpark. In the car park we saw a beautiful European Crested Tit feeding in the bushes.
On our way down to the valley we stopped at an incredible view point. The construction was hanging over the precipice and was exactly above the nesting place of Alpine Swifts. It was a lifer for the kids but honestly they were stunned by the feeling the viewpoint provided better than enjoying a lifer. Standing over the nothingness is really cool… Other birds seen was a nice Spotted Nutcracker and some Red Crossbills.
A view to the Julia Alps from the special viewpoint. © Gyorgy Szimuly