Inghams guide to best places to find Fauna

Fauna (1)

On Inghams Lakes and Moutains holidays you are in for a fauna rich experience.

From golden eagles and marmots in Europe to killer whales and black bears in North America, there are some really wild things out there.

So go on, get out your walking boots, your binoculars and your camera - and let Inghams bring out the animal in you!

My mate marmot - Austria

Marmots can be seen from most resorts in Austria. They live in burrows on sunny, grassy slopes at altitudes between 800 and 3,200 metres. As they are quite shy creatures, you need to go off the beaten track to find them. Their colouring tends to blend in with the rocks, so usually you’ll hear them whistling their high-pitched alarm before you see them. Chamois are quite shy too. Fairly common, they can be seen in craggy, rocky mountains such as the Wild Emperor mountains above Söll and Ellmau. A pair of binoculars comes in very handy for chamois-spotting. Ibex, another type of mountain goat, are rarer and are found only between 2,000 and 4,600 metres, so you need to be in one of the higher resorts such as St. Anton, Lech, Ischgl or Obergurgl to be able to find them. Larger than the chamois, they can be identified by their large, backward-curving horns and can move very quickly if frightened. Deer can be seen at all heights, particularly on forest paths in bad weather. Hunting is popular in Austria (although strictly controlled), so you’ll find many antlers decorating the walls of the hotels.

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Fly like an eagle - Austria

Turning our attention to the skies above Austria, it is estimated that there are only about 300 breeding pairs of golden eagles in the country.

Known as “Steinadler” in German and with a wingspan that can exceed two metres, these magnificent creatures stay high up in the mountains well away from mankind. They can occasionally be seen soaring high above the mountain tops looking for food - such as a tasty marmot.

Buzzards inhabit similar areas to golden eagles but are seen much more frequently - except for the highly unusual white 'Leucistic' buzzard, an example of which was seen in Austria in 2008.

Meanwhile snow grouse are pheasant-sized, mainly white birds that inhabit remote rocky mountainsides. They can be found above the high resorts such as St. Anton, Lech, Ischgl and Obergurgl.

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Wild thing - Italy

If you’re staying in our Italian resorts of Malcesine, Garda or Bardolino, you are well located to experience the absolute abundance of fauna that can be found in Monte Baldo, Malcesine.

Some species have been reintroduced in the past four decades - most notably the chamois. These co-habit this beautiful area, known as “the Garden of Europe”, with badgers, deer, foxes, hares, marmots, martens, squirrels and weasels and many other species.

If slippery creatures are more your “thing”, you’ll find adders, grass snakes, lizards and vipers along with common toads, newts, red frogs, spotted salamanders and yellow-bellied toads.

There is a huge variety of airborne life too. Golden eagles and eagle owls nest above and in the Adige Valley, whilst just some of the other birds include the black grouse, black kite, boreal owl, buzzard, hazel grouse, hooded crow, kestrel, long-eared owl, partridge, peregrine falcon, raven, sparrowhawk, tawny owl, and woodpecker (we could go on and on but we’re out of space!)

And to cap it all, nearly 1,000 types of butterflies have been recorded in the area.

See more  holiday information about Italy, Malcesine, Garda, and Bardolino >

Austrian Inside knowledge

Our Austrian Product Manager, provides a few fauna hints for you:

• For a close-up of fat, tame marmots take a trip to Grossglockner and see them over the wall of the car park.

• If you take the Valluga lift in St. Anton to the very top you may be lucky to see some ibex on the rocks below the viewing platform.

• Go to Mayrhofen, take the bus or walk up to Brandberg and then take the path up towards the Kolmhaus - golden eagles can often be seen in this valley.

• A few years ago I saw a pair of snow grouse on the Valluga inSt. Anton.

• For close-ups of many of Austria’s mountain animals and birds, visit the Wildlife Park above Aurach nearKitzbühel.

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Parklife - Montenegro

The beautiful forests, pastures and lakes of Biogradska Gora National Park near Kolasin in Montenegro are home to 150 species of birds (such as eagles and buzzards), ten types of mammal (including red deer and roe deer), various fish including trout and 350 kinds of insects.

Nearby in Croatia, it's not much fun being a snake on the island of Mljet out in the Adriatic. Indian Mongoose were introduced to wipe out poisonous snakes such as the horned viper, and the island's largest daylight bird predator, the snake eagle, feeds on snakes and lizards.

That said, there are still five species of snakes and six species of lizards on Mljet island. Other wildlife includes song birds and wild boar, plus eels and marsh birds in the lakes.

See more  holiday information about CroatiaMljet and Kolasin >

The bear necessities - Canada

For our British Columbia clients staying in Vancouver or Victoria, daily excursions by boat offer the chance to see all sorts of marine animal and bird life including killer whales, bald eagle, seals and sea lions.

Away from the coast, some 70 black bears call Whistler home. Here you can take a bear-watching ride in a 4x4 vehicle - the trip includes visits to bear feeding sites, daybeds and old growth trees where bears have hibernated during the winter.

Wildlife also flourishes across the provincial border in Alberta where the protected areas of Jasper and Banff National Parks allow wildlife to flourish in their natural habitat. Basing yourselves in JasperBanff or Lake Louise will make you neighbours to black and grizzly bears, elk, big horn sheep, white tailed deer, wolves and coyote.

Although it is not unusual to see elk and deer in the towns, a guided wildlife tour allows you to maximise your chances of wildlife spotting.

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