Mountains are famous for their mutable and unpredictable climate: mists are common in cold mornings as well as tunderstorms are almost quotidian in the good season, but even snow is not impossible in summer. To find a so clear and sunny day as I found in the Croda da Lago group, with a completelly blue sky without any cloud, instead, it much rarer. But I were truly lucky, enjoying some of the best views I ever had in the Dolomites!
To reach the Croda da Lago group of mountains, in the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo, I walked in the spruce and larch forest at the beginning, finding 2 beautiful Grey-headed Woodpeckers (Picus canus), never a common bird in the Alps.
So I kept going in the alpine meadows, with their stunning yellow scattered larches.
Climbing along the trail the view ranged over, being captured by the beauty of surrounding peaks: Antelao (3,264 m), Civetta (3,220 m), Pelmo (3,168 m), Croda da Lago (2,715 m), Beco de Mezodì (2.603 m), etc.
Few birds in the pastures that in summer host tens of Marmots: Water Pipits (Anthus spinoletta), Black Redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros), Robins (Erithacus rubecula), Mistle Thrushes (Turdus viscivorus), Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita), Alpine Choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus) and Ravens (Corvus corax).
But continuing the hike, walking along the Mondeval area, it was again the fantastic environment to attract the eyes, with the tooth shape of Croda da Lago dominating the other mountains.
Just few remaining flowers in the yellow coloured meadows: gentians (Gentiana sp.), Kidneyvetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) and a very late Dwarf Alpenrose (Rhodothamnus chamaecistus).
I climbed till the Forcella de Formin (2462 m), so I walked on the upland of Lastoi de Formin: here the pressure of glacier, during Ice Age, eroded the rocks, acquiring the caracteristic flat shape.
Looking for Rock Ptarmigans, I observed a noisy flock of 50-70 White-winged Snowfinches (Montifringilla nivalis), one of the most beautiful and resistant birds of the Alps.
On the way back I had some more amazing views of the peaks and autumn woodlands, with their impressive warm colours in the clear sun of afternoon.
In the woodland I observed a Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and some more birds: Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), Robin (Erithacus rubecula), Goldcrest (Regulus regulus), Coal Tit (Periparus ater), Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus), Willow Tit (Poecile montanus), Common Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris), Siskin (Carduelis spinus), Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) and Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes).