South of Innsbruck lie the Stubaier Alps. In one valley in this area lies the small village of Neustift im Stubaital. We spent a week here in late May 1995, starting May 21st. The area is a classic alpine biosphere: mountains and alpine forests and meadows.
Looking towards Neustift in the Stubai Valley
Our first full day in Neustift was spent walking around the village and surrounding alpine meadows. Here we saw Northern Wheatear, White Wagtail, Great Tit, Wood Warbler, Barn Swallow and House Martin. On the outskirts of the village we came across a barn which held a colony of Eurasian Crag-martins. Black Redstarts seemed to favour this area as well, probably because of the cows and attendant flies. A short way up the mountain path to a meadow added Garden Warbler, Common Cuckoo and Common Chiffchaff. High above us, possibly forced down by the descending cloud, wheeled two Yellow-billed (Alpine) Choughs and a Common Raven. The edge of the woodland added Blackcap, Firecrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Tree Pipit.
Our second day was spent on a long walk up the mountains to the north of the village. This took us past the alpine meadows and through mixed and deciduous woodlands. Since this walk started off the way as the previous day's walk at first we had similar species: Black Redstart, Eurasian Crag-martin, Blackcap, our first Yellowhammer and Eurasian Jay of the trip and our first Sky Lark. Common Swifts wheeled above the houses, along with Barn Swallows and House Martins.
The path leads through the wood where we had Willow Tit, Coal Tit and Common Cuckoo. Farther up we added European Bullfinch, Common Raven and Spotted Flycatcher. As the woods became more coniferous the species seen changed. At about 500 metres above the village, where snow still lay, we saw the more classic alpine species: Common Crossbill, Fieldfare, Crested Tit and Ring Ouzel. A bit farther on and Spotted Nutcracker was added to the list as was Common Nuthatch, European Siskin and a (presumably) migrating Willow Warbler. Soon the woods thinned out and the terrain became rockier. Here we saw Water Pipits and Golden Eagles.
The journey back down had fewer species but did add Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Common Redpoll, Common Treecreeper, Goldcrest and Blue Tit.
Looking up the Stubai Valley
Today (May 26th) we decided to walk up the mountains to the south of the village, up to where the cable-car ends at Elferlift, height 1794 metres. As on our second day here the path and road took us through mainly coniferous woodland up to alpine meadow. Around Neustift, as we started out, the usual species were seen plus a Whinchat. The first birds in the woods were Willow and Coal Tits, Great Tit, Eurasian Blackbird, Chiffchaff and Common Chaffinch. About half way up we encountered a family of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two adults and two juveniles. Common Siskin and Common Redpoll were soon added, followed by a nice male Ring Ouzel, Mistle Thrush and more Spotted Nutcrackers. At the top we had good views of a Golden Eagle flying level with us about 50 metres away.
The journey back down started with White and Grey Wagtails and Common Raven. Then Helen spotted a large black bird feeding on the ground which turned out to be a Black Woodpecker. About ten minutes later we added Grey-headed Woodpecker and Garden Warbler
May 27th was our last day in Neustift. We went for a quick walk around the village on our last morning in Neustift. No new species for the trip were seen but the common species included Eurasian Crag-martin, Black Redstart, Whinchat, Common Redpoll, Common Cuckoo, European Serin and White-throated Dipper.