Saturday, June 6, 2020

Bavarian Alps, part IV

With a combination of mountain railway and hiking we went up to the top of Jenner and back down again to visit the Königsee. The landscape is beautiful once again. I recommend to start early in the morning, because it gets very crowded later in the day.

Alpine view

Mountain close up

View of the Königssee

National Park Berchtesgarden


We also visited the easily accessible but quite small Wimbachklamm. A lot of hiking in the National Park Berchtesgarden led to success, when we observed a large and very dark coloured Grass Snake (Natrix natrix), followed by a pitch black beauty of the same species and similar impressive size. I was very happy and I told Samira jokingly "Now only an Adder is missing". Less than 2 minutes after I said that, we actually found one! It was the perfect conclusion of our trip. 



Natrix natrix - Grass Snake

Melanistic Grass Snake

Vipera berus - European Adder

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Bavarian Alps, part III

A nice hike along a little stream called Hammersbach leads to the Höllentalklamm (Hell Valley Gorge). The name might sound a little scary, but the scenery is simply amazing. A dream came true, when I spotted an Alpine Salamander (Salamandra atra). Our very first observation of this species! It was already evening and quite cold in the gorge, but I think I was a little shaky because of pure happiness - not because of the temperature. 
The photo shooting of the black beauty, some long exposure shots and a really long hike took quite some time... so on our way back it already got dark, also a thunderstorm came up. Well prepared, with flashlights and umbrellas, we made it back to the car. I thought the rain might atract some more salamanders, but we didn't find another one. Instead we came across a massive and beautifully colored Common Toad (Bufo bufo) 



Salamandra atra - Alpine Salamander

Alpine Salamander - portrait


Bufo bufo - Common Toad

After we moved from Mittenwald to Schönau, we went straight to the famous and fotogenic Hintersee. The nature reserve Zauberwald (enchanted forest) next to the lake is beautiful as well and offers some nice trails along a river. 



Ramsauer Ache


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Bavarian Alps, part II

While hiking around a lake north of Mittenwald, we saw some Grass Snakes. My goal was to take pictures of a melanistic specimen… and I got them, from a distance and in difficult light though, so not the best quality. Still my first pictures of a black Grass Snake in Germany. A little unexpectedly I found a male Sand Lizard at a height of about 1.5 meters (5 ft) climbing a tree.

Natrix natrix - Grass Snake

Portrait of this strikingly beautiful snake

Natrix natrix - Grass Snake, melanistic

Lacerta agilis - Sand Lizard

One of the most famous bavarian lakes is the Eibsee. It is located at the northerly base of the Zugspitze (the highest mountain in Germany). The scenery is absolutely stunning! Around the trails of the Eibsee we observed several Sand Lizards (Lacerta agilis). They were not shy at all, so I was able to take some wide angle in situ pictures of them. Samira had to be very patient, because I wanted to stay with the lizards almost all day. Later I found a Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis) in the more shady areas of the forest around the lake.


Lacerta agilis - Sand Lizard, female

Lacerta agilis - Sand Lizard, male

Happy couple posing with Cosima (travel mascot)

Slow Worm - Anguis fragilis