tag archives: excursion

piz val gronda: rare plant species

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piz val gronda, a summit right at the swiss-austrian border, used to be a site of beautiful biological and geological diversity. it used to be home to several species very rare in austria, most notably, the rock partridge (alectoris graeca) and a species of hawksbeard (crepis rhaetica). it also features a unique landscape with geological rarities (at least in austria) such as gypsum sinkholes (dolines).

crepis rhaetica, extremely rare in austria

late last year, after more than 28 years of trying, the ski industry eventually won and was granted permission to build a ski lift up to the top of the mountain. that is, ignoring several nature conservation expert’s reports that warn against a pristine and unique ecosystem being damaged or lost forever. [more...]

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georgia excursion 2012, in 33 panorama pictures

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here’s a quick (and very incomplete) set of impressions from last month’s botanical excursion to georgia (the country). instead of trying to organize and post-process all the pictures first, i decided to give you a teaser consisting only of panorama photos.

the trip took us to two main destinations: bakuriani in the lesser caucasus and kazbegi/stepantsminda in the greater caucasus.
botanical highlights included the tall herbaceous vegetation (in this case, tall really means gigantic! a 1 meter caltha sp. should speak for itself.), the tragacanth vegetation of the sheep pastures, the subnival zone of mount kazbek, and many species and genuses endemic to the caucasus regions. of course, seeing almost completely natural river systems with huge banks of the german tamarisk (myricaria germanica, very rare in central europe) is always a good encore.
apart from the biological beauty, georgia also has a rich cultural and historical background, with many churches and monasteries dating back to the very early days of christianity.

pictures after the break (en), or in the gallery (de/en). [more...]

[categories: photo, travel] [tags: , , , ]

botanical excursion to slovenia [photos]

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in april, we went on a short botanical spring-excursion to slovenia. led by bozo frajman, we experienced a short glimpse of the slovenian culture, cuisine and – of course – the flora.

group photo at tartini square, piran

main stops were made in:

  • vaska skupnost lukovec, where, besides plants, we also found some interesting animals
  • podpec at the edge of the karst plateau, with the extremely rare moehringia tommasinii, which is known only from 6 locations along the karst edge in slovenia, croatia and italy
  • the lovely coast town of piran (slovenia owns 46.6 km of the adriatic coastline, that’s about 2 cm per citizen ;) )
  • ljubljana, the friendly slovenian capital
  • pot v pekel (the “road to hell”), one of the locations where the carniolian primrose (primula carniolica) is growing.


botanical excursion to slovenia, in lightfield pictures

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botanical excursion to slovenia, in lightfield pictures i’ve just uploaded some lightfield photos of last weekend’s botanical field trip to slovenia. we made stops at lukovec (primorska), podpec, piransk and the gorge of pekel.
in this album, you’ll mostly find pictures of flowers and small animals. :)

botanical highlights were several rare plants including the carniolian primrose (primula carniolica) and moehringia tomasini, of which only 6 small populations are known in the world. i’ll upload these photos later on.

three teaser-pics:

(lytro living picture: click to refocus, click&drag for perspective shift)
(view on lytro.com


costa rica part 2: volcan arenal, hanging bridges and tropical fruit

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here’s part two of my trip report / photo album for the biological excursion to costa rica.

previous parts:


dona christina presents plants from her medicinal garden "la aroma-tica", near la fortuna part two started with a visit to doña christina’s medicinal garden “la aroma-tica”, in la fortuna. on an area of 2.500 square meters, she and her family run a “finca integral” (organic farm) and cultivate tea, herbs, medicinal and pharmaceutic plants.
it’s always fascinating to see what different plants are used for, traditionally and recently – from natural fabric dyes to cancer treatment. [more...]

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costa rica part 1: volcan barva, volcan poas, and rio frio boat trip

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it’s been almost exactly one year since our biological excursion to costa rica – one of the best excursions ever – ended, and i’d finally like to share with you some impressions of that great journey.
our field trip was led by dr. anton weissenhofer from the university of vienna, who is one of the founders of the austrian biological research station la gamba in the southwest of costa rica, in the midst of the rainforest of the austrians.

werauhia ororiensis, a beautiful tillandsia species the first phase of the excursion consisted of

  • hiking trips and walks up to volcanoes barva, poas, a boat trip on the rio frio (=part 1),
  • a hike to volcanoe arenal and its succession of vegetation, a visit to a local medicinal garden, and walking through the canopy on hanging bridges (=part 2),
  • before we drove all the way down to the golfito region for…

phase two:

  • a practical course at la gamba field station (=part 3).

phase three included

  • a hike through the rainforest of the austrians to the sea,
  • camping at a place very close to paradise,
  • a mangrove boat trip into the delta of river esquinas,
  • and the drive back to san jose (=part 4).


highlights of part one included:

  • the first wet tropical mountain rainforest we saw. so much green!
  • a short stop to coffee plantation “cafe tres generaciones”
  • observing the endemic bangs’ mountain squirrel (syntheosciurus brochus, also: poas squirrel)
  • practically being surrounded by water when a sudden cloudburst hit us during the rio frio boat trip
  • pineapple plantations, howler monkeys, cayman spotting, tillandsia and other epiphytes literally everywhere you looked
  • visiting the nicaraguan border

we stayed at hotel doña ines in san jose, and catarata eco-lodge in la fortuna. both accommodations were very nice.

as stated before, travelling with other biologists is a special way of travelling. i realized that when colleagues were disappointed to not find any big, poisonous critters in their rooms.
it’s also very cool that the entire bus suddenly stopped along the road as soon as somebody shouted “bird!”, “sloth!” or something similar. when we did that at the boat once, the captain got nervous and told half of the group to stay on the other side of the boat, so the boat wouldn’t fall over.

for the rest of the story, i’ll let the pictures (and captions) speak for themselves this time. german captions are available in the gallery, as usual.


[categories: nature, photo, travel] [tags: , ]