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Waldenburg - Gerstelflue

This is not a photo post. There are days when you have to spend time looking for a location. This was one of these days

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I will be moving to a new area (At the moment it is rather vague as to when that will be). I don't know this area very well, so I made a start in exploring. I skipped the usual predawn arrival, as I needed the light to get around for the first time.

My target for the day was to start to get an idea of the lay of the land, but there was also another target that I was aiming for. A target that I didn't hold up much hope for on a first trip, and especially when taking into considering the time that I was there. The second target was sighting Gämse / Chamois, Iv'e been told that there were some in the region and I was really hoping to catch a glimpse.

For this trip I decided to walk from Waldenburg up to Gerstelflue, then back along the crest to the castle ruins and back down to Waldenburg.

These are some images taken with my mobile along the route just to record some of the spots.

On this part of the route I spent more time enjoying the scenery and looking for signs of Gämse / Chamois than taking pictures. If I was going to see them anywhere along my chosen route for the day it was going to be here. There were a few signs on the ground and I occasionally thought that I heard something moving in the forest, although this could have been a hopeful imagination, but I didn't see any.

There is another area a little bit further along this path, where I may have also had a chance, but I had decided to take another path up to Gerstelflue.

There are no picture of this part of the route. In short, it was steep, and I need to get more exercise!

This next image was taken on the path down from Gerstelflue going towards the castle ruins. I love the tunnel effect, drawing you into the light.

Entrance to the castle ruins

This is the view from the castle ruins tower.

Same view, wider lens.

I spent a while on top of the castle ruins taking in the views, moving from one side of the tower to the other, looking down to the villages below. It was while moving from one side of the tower to the other that I caught something in the corner of me eye. I'm not even sure if it was an ever so slight movement or a change in contrast on the cliffs, but something made me look closer.

Looking back towards Gerstelflue from the top of the tower along the cliffs was what appears to be the form of an animal. It was several hundred meters away and in the darkness of the forest, but I started to hope that this small shadow may be what I'd been hoping to see. My camera was still on the tripod with a wide angle attached. I quickly took it off and swapped the lens to a 300mm with the 1.4 converter. Concentrating on every movement to make it quick enough to get back over to where I'd seen the shadow.

All went well, nothing dropped over the edge of the tower or on the floor, everything clicked into place and I got back to the other side of the tower, but I was still too slow and the shadow too quick.

Was I mistaken, was it just trick of the light from my hope of seeing one. I started to scan back and forth across the area where the shadow had been, in the hope that I hadn't just imagined it, when I saw a slight movement and then the distinctive nose of a Gämse appear from behind a tree. In the time it took me to grab the camera and change the lens, the Gämse had sat down in a position to place the tree directly between us.

I waited and watched this nose and then the head appear slowly from behind the tree for 30 minutes or more, until it decided to get up and quickly disappear into the forest again.

After 30 minutes of waiting, I had a 20 second window in which to get an image. It's by far not a great shot, the background and composition could be a lot better, but it is the image of the first time I saw a Gämse in Basel-land.

Next week I'll be out on a new route in Waldenburg, and looking for them again.

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