Author Topic: Jub and Pentagathus at the Danube  (Read 268 times)

Jubal

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Jub and Pentagathus at the Danube
« on: January 26, 2020, 12:05:45 AM »
So, Penty visited Vienna recently. Last weekend we went to the Imperial Treasuries and looked at some buildings and had cake at a traditional Vienna cafe and suchlike - on Tuesday I planned that we should go walk up in the Lainzer Tiergarten to look for some boar and chamois, but it was closed, probably because they were shooting the boar to keep numbers down. So instead we went down to the Donauinsel, the long artificial island running along the north/east bank of the Danube through Vienna, and we saw a bunch of waterfowl, so I thought I'd share the pictures with you. I'm thinking I might do more sharing of pictures as forum threads like this, as I feel I should be using the big social media silos less overall, so let me know what you think and whether you'd like to see more of similar.

(As ever, you can click on any of the below pictures to blow it up to full size)




So here's the frosty Danube - a large part of the side-channel between the Donauinsel and the bank proper was frozen over. Buoys kept bobbing down and breaking through bits of the ice (possibly their anchors being pulled along the current?) It was thin ice, but thick enough in many places for gulls and crows to walk on, whilst in the unfrozen bits collections of swimming gulls were joined by swans, coot, cormorants, and a lot of Pochard.


Parts of the Donauinsel have trees, those were frosty too, as evidenced. It was the quietest I've ever seen the area - we benefited from it being a weekday in the middle of winter on that front. The fog was pretty thick - the distance revealed itself much akin to a computer game's edge-of-view fog as we walked - and so the photos are mostly a bit grainy, but this one at least was close enough to be pretty sharp - the others are hopefully nice all the same.


There are some Pochard and Tufted ducks in this one, but the really interesting one is the middle bird, which I thought might just be some kind of manky mallard crossbreed but my parents inform me is actually probably a Velvet Scoter - something of a rarity in Austria and Vulnerable internationally, breeding in northern Scandinavia and Russia and wintering around European coastlines as well as the Black and Caspian seas and up the Danube. I wish I'd tried harder to get some better views and pictures of it now!


A herring gull (or actually probably a yellow-legged gull, which is basically exactly the same thing unless you really care about gull taxonomy), investigating a fish. It kept poking the fish with its beak until it poked it righ through the ice and lost it in the water, and then stood there looking confused whilst all the surrounding crows complained at it.


This is a Goosander, or a Common Merganser if you're using US terminology (the bird called a Merganser in British terminology is a Red-Breasted Merganser in US nomenclature).


The front two birds here (the back one being a lady mallard) are Red-crested Pochard, which I'm not sure I've seen in the wild before. They're pretty nice birds and very striking - the male's head looks a bit dull due to the conditions, but in sunshine would be an extremely vivid bright orange.


And finally a cormorant - the name is a corruption of corvus marinus, which is itself a latin form of the old term "Sea Raven", which is what they used to be called. Penty correctly observed that this would also make for an excellent stereotypical villain/band of soldiers in a fantasy or semi-historical sword-swinging novel. Cormorants are definitely an underrated bird - maybe one to do in an Unexpected Bestiary sometime.
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Re: Jub and Pentagathus at the Danube
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2020, 03:11:41 AM »
Frostyness looks so pretty.
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Jubal

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Re: Jub and Pentagathus at the Danube
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2020, 09:53:02 PM »
Yeah, it's been an unusually warm winter here, but there's still been some ice on the side-channels of the Danube. We've really seen very little in the way of frost though - I've brought my plants closer to the door where they're more sheltered like I did last winter, but really this time I needn't have bothered.
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...