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Posts Tagged ‘Donau-Auen National Park’

I will be heading home soon after my brief stay in Vienna, Austria and thought I would post a few last wildlife photos that I took here. These images help reinforce to me the notion that there is always something interesting in nature to photograph, no matter where I happen to be.

The first image is an unidentified species of frog that I encountered at the edge of a pond while wandering about the Donau-Auen National Park. It reminds me of the Southern Leopard Frog that I often see at home in Northern Virginia.

frog in VIenna

The second image appears to be a Viennese Banded Snail (Cepaea vindobonensis) that I also spotted in the National Park.  I thought that it was really cool the way that it had attached itself to the vegetation.

Viennese Banded Snail

The final image shows what I believe to be a Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) that I saw at the Stadtpark (“city park”) not far from the hotel where I am staying. I always find swans to be beautiful and graceful, even when located in an urban environment.

swan in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Here are a few shots of butterflies that I spotted last weekend during a visit to the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria. Unlike the brightly-colored larger butterflies that I sometimes see in gardens, these butterflies were small, rather drab in coloration, and very skittish. They also tended to perch on the ground, which made them a little tougher to photograph. In my experience, woodland butterflies tend to fit this general profile.

I particularly enjoyed chasing one butterfly, which is shown in the first and second images below. The butterfly is a species that I do not see at home and looks quite nondescript when its wings are closed. With the wings open, though, the butterfly reveals its beautiful colors and patterns—it is like a hidden treasure.

The other two butterflies are also quite beautiful, with wonderful muted tones and patterns.

 

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Dragonflies are amazing. They spend most of their lives as nymphs in the water before they crawl out, discard their exoskeletons, and become beautiful aerial acrobats. I photographed this probable Downy Emerald dragonfly (Cordulia aenea) last weekend at the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria.

The object in the upper right in the first image is the discarded exoskeleton, often called an “exuvia,” and further down the vegetation is the dragonfly itself.  The dragonfly appears to have recently emerged from that same exuvia. Note how much longer the dragonfly’s body has grown after emergence. The wings of the dragonfly are not yet fully extended, suggesting that it still is in the process of emergence. If you look closely at the exuvia, you may notice some white stringy looking parts. These are the breathing tubes are part of the respiratory system that helped the dragonfly breathe while still a water-dwelling nymph.

I was standing on a relatively steep incline and the reed-like vegetation was growing out of the water, so it was a challenge to get a good angle to photograph the dragonfly. The second image was taken from a different angle from the first (and I was happy that I was able to keep from sliding into the water).

I proceeded down the trail for a while before looping back and returning to the spot where I had seen the dragonfly. I think the dragonfly in the final image may be the same one as in the first two shots, though obviously the perch is not the same. After dragonflies have emerged, they generally have to wait some time for the wings to harden and for their metamorphosis to be complete.

dragonfly in Vienna

dragonfly in Vienna

dragonfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Damsels in Vienna? Here are a few shots of some beautiful little damselflies that I encountered this past weekend during a visit to the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria.

While traveling for work I normally leave at home my Canon DSLR and big lenses and use instead a Canon SX50 point-and-shoot camera with a super zoom lens. There are some compromises and limitations with this type of camera, but I am quite pleased with the results I can achieve using it, including these almost-macro images.

damselfly in Vienna

damselfly in Vienna

damselfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Finding birds is tough when the leaves are on the trees, but I did manage to spot this cool-looking one here in Vienna, Austria while visiting the Donau-Auen National Park. If this bird had remained quiet, there is no way that I would have been able to find it, but fortunately for me it was singing loudly.

I did a quick internet search, but so far I have not yet been able to identify it. I’d welcome identification assistance, particularly from someone with experience with European birds.

UPDATE: Thanks to the assistance of a number of viewers, I have been able to identify this bird as a Great Tit (Parus major), a widespread and common species throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia, and parts of North Africa.

singing bird in Vienna
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have been to Vienna, Austria often enough in the past 25 years that I have seen most of the big tourist sights. Now, when I have a bit of free time in the city, as I did yesterday, I like to go exploring in the Donau-Auen National Park and seek out wildlife.

I was thrilled when I spotted dragonfly in flight and was able to photograph it after it landed high in a tree. It is not a species with which I am familiar, but fellow bloggere and dragonfly enthusiast Walter Sanford suggested that it is of the Emerald family and I tend to agree with him.

dragonfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Walking two dogs simultaneously while riding a bicycle? I am not sure that I would try it, but this man in Vienna was somewhat successful in doing so.

dog walking in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I was hoping that I would be in Vienna at the right time of the year to see baby swans, but I guess my trip brought me here a bit too early. At the lake at Donau-Auen National Park, I could see one Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) swimming around and wondered if it was alone. When I walked further around the lake, I spotted what appears to be its mate, partially hidden by the vegetation, sitting on a nest.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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As I wandered through the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria this past weekend I did not see any large butterflies, but I did spend quite some time chasing several smaller ones.  The butterfly species appear to be somewhat similar to the ones that I see in Northern Virginia, but not identical, as was the case with the damselflies that I featured yesterday.

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

butterfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Nature photographers are a peculiar breed of people. How else could I explain why I headed off to the Donau-Auen National Park within hours of my arrival in Vienna, Austria. I am staying in the center of the city, virtually surrounded by historic buildings and monuments, yet I feel more drawn to explore nature than history.

Saturday was a warm, sunny day and I was hoping to encounter dragonflies as I explored some of the areas of the park that I have visited before. It may be a little early in the season or that I was simply not lucky, but in any case I did not encounter a single dragonfly. I was, however, quite fortunate and saw quite a few damselflies. These beautiful little creatures are tiny and elusive and like to hide perch on vegetation, so it is often challenging to get clear shots of them.

I was shooting with my Canon SX50, a superzoom point-and-shoot, which helped me sometimes to get shots without scaring off the damselflies. In some cases, though, it was really tough to get the camera’s focus to lock onto the target.

The shapes and colors of the damselflies are somewhat familiar and may be related to the species that I see at home, but I am not even going to try to identify them. I hope that you can enjoy the delicate beauty of these damselflies that I encountered during my most recent adventures in the national park here in Vienna.

damselfly in Vienna

 

damselfly in Vienna

 

damselfly in Vienna

damselfly in Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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It was not quite as elaborate as Tchaikovsky, but the Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) at the small lake at the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria performed their own form of water ballet this past weekend. Here are a couple of shots of the acrobatic moves of one of the swans and an overall view of the “Swan Lake.”

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Swan Lake

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Today I had some free time to wander about in the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria.I am visiting Vienna for a few days on a business trip and decided that I did not want to fight the crowds at the numerous Christmas markets in the city.

It was cool and windy and I did not see as much wildlife as I did during a visit there last April. However I did manage to spot a family of Mute Swans (Cygnus olor). Two of them—one adult and one adolescent—landed on ice that had formed on the small lake and they struggled to walk across the slippery surface to reach open water. The adult, who was bright white in color, moved with much more confidence than the dusky-colored youngster, who moved in a cautious and tentative way. I suspect that it was the first time that the young swan had encountered ice.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swans

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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During my two walks through the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria I encountered Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) in several locations swimming about and foraging for food. Their beauty and grace was remarkable and their white feathers were dazzling—it is easy to see why they have inspired music and ballet. Through the reeds I also spotted a female swan sitting on a nest. I would love to have seen baby swans, but I guess it’s still a bit too early.

As I was doing a little research, I was a bit surprised to learn that Mute Swans are not native to North America—they are an introduced species. I grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts and my earliest memories of swans are the pedal-powered swan boats in the Boston Public Garden. According to Wikipedia, those swan boats have been in operation since 1877.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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At this time of the year I love to try to photograph insects, but during my brief visit to Vienna, Austria the weather has been cool, windy, and sometimes rainy. The only insect that I was able to capture was this green-eyed moth that I spotted at the Donau-Auen National Park. I did a quick internet search,so far but have not been able to identify this insect.

When I am on business trips, I generally don’t travel with my Canon 50D DSLR and multiple lenses. I had been using a Canon PowerShot A620, a 2005 vintage 7.1 megapixel point-and-shoot camera. However, a while back I purchased a Canon SX50, a super zoom camera, to use as my new travel camera and I have used this trip to Vienna to test it out. I knew that it would be pretty good for long range shots, and have featured some images of birds this week that I photographed with the SX50.

What would it do, though, with smaller subjects? Would it be able to capture details? When I examined this image of the small green-eyed moth, I was pleased to see that the camera did a pretty good job in rendering details, such as the antennae and the eye.

I am still playing around with the different settings of the camera in an attempt to maximize the quality of the images it delivers, but my initial impressions are quite favorable.

Green-eyed moth

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I saw this bird bobbing its head as it moved forward in the waters at the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria, I knew immediately that it had to be a coot. From certain angles, it looked just like an American Coot (Fulica americana), a species that I have seen regularly this spring. When it turned its head, however, I noted that it had a white shield on its forehead that its American counterparts lack. After a little research, I learned that this is a Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra).

Eurasian Coot

Eurasian Coot

coot1_blog

Eurasian Coot

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Perhaps the coolest bird that I managed to spot during my recent walk through part of the Donau-Auen National Park in Vienna, Austria  was a Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius).  The woodpecker was pecking away at a log on the ground, which allowed me to capture some relatively close shots of this large woodpecker.

I had never seen a woodpecker like this one, but it was not hard to find an identification on-line, give the size and coloration of the bird. According to Wilkipedia, the Black Woodpecker is “closely related to and shares the same ecological niche in Europe as the Pileated Woodpecker of North America.”

Black Woodpecker

Black Woodpecker

Black Woodpecker

Black Woodpecker

Black Woodpecker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I had some free time yesterday and walked about in the Donau-Auen National Park here in Vienna. Some of the birds that I saw behaved the same as familiar species, but had a different appearance, like this goose, which I think is a Greylag Goose (Anser anser).

I spotted this goose from a distance and zoomed in and got a few shots. Despite the fact that I was a considerable distance from it, the goose could sense my presence and took off at a moment when I was looking through the viewfinder, permitting me to capture an action shot that almost filled the frame.

 

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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