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A Glorious Alpine Spring

~ Wednesday, 5th May 2010

I have been away ski touring in the Alps this spring for a few weeks. Opportunities always present themselves to catch a glimpse of something special, either totally by luck, or your ears catch something worthy of a closer look. My touring season started in the Haute Maurienne, a lovely part of the Vanoise National Park, France. The protection afforded to wildlife in this park means that there is always a chance to see something rare. No disappointments this time. At the Carro refuge we saw a pair of Lammergeier Vultures circling a nearby peak. Hard to photograph with a compact. You’ll have to forgive the digitally blown up image. No doubts about what it is though! This tour was quite poor on the weather front, but later in the week we had a fairly close view of a Golden Eagle being blown around by some strong winds.

The Valais Alps in Switzerland was my next base for a few weeks. Spring was well on the way here. Alpine Choughs were a common sighting around the huts and whilst touring. They have an ability to spot colour from great distances and come for a closer inspection safe in the knowledge that they might find a few scraps. From time to time we encountered a lone Alpine Accentor, although a pair had taken up residence near to the Cabane des Dix.

Evidence of fauna was restricted only to sightings of their tracks. Hare, Fox and Bouquetin/Ibex were quite common, with foxes regularly crossing our skinning tracks.

Flora wasn’t abundant at all high up, no surprise there, but at the Chanrion hut, were the snow was receding fast we came across plenty of  beautiful Spring Pasque flowers.

All in all a delightful alpine spring, with great sightings and colours. Thanks for looking.