Today´s outing was not specifically a birding trip and more of a walk to the top of one of our local mountain peaks. Such is the beauty of the route, it´s one that we enjoy two or three times per year and today´s trip was timed to coincide with the visit of one of my favourite and most character-full of mountain birds, the Alpine Accentor.
The initial walk up through the steep forest gave good views of Chaffinch, Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Robin and the beautifully marked Firecrest. This area is also a frequent haunt of Blue Rock Thrush although we didn´t see any today.
As we emerged from the tree line we rested in the sunshine on a shoulder just below the summit ridge. Within minutes, we were rewarded with views of 3 Alpine Accentors perched on a rock on the skyline. As we watched, further individuals flew in, apparently interested in whether they could share our lunch! As we sat there, we were joined by up to 20 of these stocky little birds, their red-brown flanks and white throat patches flecked with black showing clearly.
After the climb up the steep shady forest, it was fantastic to sit here in the sunshine at over 1000 metres above sea level with Alpine Accentors for company! As we enjoyed the views across the peaks, Crag Martins passed by and we were treated to an aerobatic display by a pair of Ravens.
This is a route that we willingly repeat, each season offering its own delights. From the very spot that we enjoyed our lunch with Alpine Accentors, we´ve previously been rewarded with views of Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle and Alpine Swift.