Sunday, May 22, 2016

[Sunday in Switzerland] Birds and bikes

One of the things I noticed on my first trip to Zürich was that the birds sounded different.  There are some birds that are also common in the US, like the House Sparrow or Haussperling "Spatz".  Other birds that are common here, are either less common or do not exist in the US.

The first new bird I saw rather than heard was the Great Tit (info with song), called Kohlmeise.  I saw it in some bushes and noticed the yellow color, not as bright as a gold finch, but still striking.  I also saw a Eurasian Magpie which has a long tail and beautiful blue on its wings.

In the water, we saw what looked like a black duck with white on its head.  Turns out this is not a duck, but a Eurasian Coot.

Finally, there are dozens of birds that look like small crows.  I was told these were common ravens, but the song sounds wrong, so I think they are crows.

There are two birds I noticed right away as missing from Switzerland: American robins and Northern Cardinals.  One of these birds I will miss, the other, not so much.

On my walk to work, there is a building with engraved decorations.  Among them is this bird, which I assume to be a swift of some kind.

Engraved bird

Yesterday I was able to borrow a bike for a few hours and go for a short ride through a park.  There were lots of people out and about, since it was beautiful weather and sunny for the first time all week.  The bike ride was nice, but really made me miss my own bike.  I guess I'll have to either find a way to ship it from the US or buy a new one for myself.

Pretty flowers in a park

We also took a tram up to near the university and wandered around a bit.  Just looking at the mundane foreground, it's easy to miss the majestic alps in the distance.

View to the mountains

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