Basel, Switzerland Again: Wanderweg Tierpark to Beylery and Zoo Basel

 White Stork grooming itself, Tierpark, Basel.

Late in April, I found myself once again in Basel, Switzerland. One weekend I decided to explore some of the hiking opportunities on the outskirts of the city. It rained all but three days I was there. Sometimes I was able to hike out of the rainy area. Sometimes I hiked right into it. What can you do? It's just rain. And rain brings out some rather interesting creatures.

I set out one morning and took the tram and a bus to Tierpark Lange Erlen. This is an old, public zoo that provides access to where I was really headed: the wanderweg (trail) along the Weise river and over to a whole system of wanderwegs off Weilstrasse, near the Beyeler Foundation museum.

Great Tit, Tierpark, Basel. These little guys were all over.

Barnacle Goose, one of the "official" Tierpark residents, among the spring flowers.

Getting stared down by a Greylag Goose, as only a goose can stare you down.

It was the height of white stork nesting season and they happen to like to take over the tree tops in zoos as nesting grounds. And there is a lot of birdlife to be seen wandering along the river system and in the fields beyond Weilstrasse. But one creature I wasn't expecting to see was Roman Snails. I'd completely forgotten about their existence. They were our almost constant companions when I lived in Germany many years ago, while working on an archeological dig. We'd wake up with them climbing the outside walls of our tents. These are the same snails used in French cooking. Yes, you are looking at escargot.

Roman or Burgandy Snail. Along the banks of Weise River. Basel.

Roman or Burgandy Snail. Along the banks of Weise River. Basel.

Roman or Burgandy Snail. Along the banks of Weise River. Basel.

Roman or Burgandy Snail. Along the banks of Weise River. Basel.

I also watched an amazing thing. The tierpark shows off animals mostly indigenous to Switzerland. I watched two Carrion Crows, who were obviously busy building a nest, land on the back of a red deer, who was shedding, and yank fur right off its butt. You've never seen such an aggrieved looking deer in your entire life.

White Stork in nest.

A note about this walk. It's a long one. This was a long day of walking. It rained on and off. And even though I was tired after several hours I just kept walking through the trails and tiny streets enjoying the overabundance of spring blooms and cows in fields with real cow bells hanging from their necks clanging away.

The next day I headed over to Zoo Basel. Not so much for the normal residents but looking for some local fauna who like to take advantage of the protected area the zoo provides.

Wanderweg Basel
Birds seen: Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Marsh Tit, European Robin, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Mandarin Duck (obviously an escapee from the zoo), Mallard, Blackbird, White Wagtail, Wood Pigeon, Ring-necked Pigeon, Barn Swallow, White Stork, Gray Heron.
Crustaceans: Roman Snail

Zoo Basel
Birds seen: Blackcap, Blackbird, White Stork, Gray Heron, European Goldfinch, Great tit, Marsh tit, Moorhen, Wood Warbler, Common Merganser, Pochard, Mallard.

Photos of "wild" species who find Zoo Basel a convenient place to nest or live:
White Stork nesting. There are eggs under there somewhere. Many storks were already busy feeding young.

Ahhhh...there are the eggs.

This stork had at least two babies in the nest. Some of its close friends decided, shortly after this photograph was taken to relieve themselves in this photographer...ugh.

Baby Moorhen. It really does grow up to be a much more attractive looking creature as seen below.


Moorhen baby gobbling up a worm that was almost as long as it was.

Blackbird with meal.

Gray Heron.

Gray Heron amongst the flowers.

Common Merganser with offspring.

The European Peacock Butterfly. Just after this I saw, but was unable to photograph, an Orange Tip butterfly.

Zoo Residents

The rather magnificent Snow Leopard. Extremely endangered. Go out there and do some research on how you can help save this beautiful animal.

 It was...spring. Flamingos making more...flamingos.

 Really, the flamingos were very busy. All of them. Parents were having an interesting time trying to explain exactly why all the flamingos were landing on each other. Ahem.

Black cormorant. These birds are breeding in Switzerland again.

Black cormorant, detail. Love their teal eyes.

Black swans with young. Native to Australia.

 Black swan baby.

 Peahen. This rather large lady caused chaos amongst the human visitors when it landed in the middle of a very large group of people and began strutting down the walkway like it owned it. And it kind of does.

After the zoo I wandered back into Basel, but not before sampling the walnut gelato the vendor near the entrance to the zoo was selling. It was heaven. 

I've taken so many photos in Basel that its hard to come up with something new each time I go back.

Tram stop outside of the zoo. I love this tram stop. The tram looks like its rolling down someone's well kept lawn.

The famous Tinguely Fountain.
There are gargoyles in Basel.

Sitting on the edge of the Rhine, resting my feet.


  1. geezus..what a blessin to be witness this wildlife and landscape! are incredible..stories are captivating...thank you so much for sharin your journey..can't wait to see more!...nice work!
    Jen Davis

  2. In a modest territory in the high Swiss Alps, there is a little gathering of individuals who speak Romanche, which is a living dialect that is as near Latin as the Romance dialects get. look at this now


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