Monday, 12 September 2016

Wallcreeper - Sixt, French Alps

I am a regular visitor to the French Alps and manage to see Wallcreeper most summers, but they are usually at high altitude on inaccessible rock faces and the views are therefore rather distant. 
So it was a real treat this year when my brother came across two birds on a rock face he was climbing at Rocher des Tines near Sixt which is just a short walk from the road and not very high. I went the following day and was lucky to find a female still feeding in the area, despite several climbers sharing the cliff.
The bird was very active constantly flicking its wings open to reveal the red primaries and moving from sunlight to shade. It was very intent on looking for insects on the rock face making it difficult to get the head in profile and with some light in the eye but I was pleased with many of the photos.

It did stop and preen for a few minutes and gave some nice wing stretches when it had finished.

It was difficult to see what it was feeding on but it looked to be some type of larva that was hidden in the cracks in the rocks. You can just about see this in the photo below.
I made several more visits to the cliff on the following days but never saw the Wallcreeper again. At this time of year they will be leaving the breeding sites and moving to lower altitude so I assume thats what these birds were doing.

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