January again!

I can’t believe it’s nearly a year since I posted anything. However, the machine doesn’t lie! I’ve been pushed out of my lethargy by the huge numbers of customers we are now getting at our feeders. Even though the weather has been exceptionally mild. Just before the year finished I was told about the the owls at Lake Divonne: There were indeed about eight or nine in the willows by the lake. Getting a picture was more of a challenge Here you can just about make out four in a group. Their ears are long. They are impressively large, but not the size of Eagle owls. I tried to capture some colour in the last shot.

Back home the chaffinches remain hard to photograph as they are ground feeders and their camouflage is excellent.

On the feeders things are a bit clearer. Blue tits, Great tits, Goldfinches, Long-tailed tits and the cheeky Woodpecker. The two dozen sparrows have kept a low profile as has the robin, but I’m sure they’ll show up soon.

So I hope I can follow the activities out there a bit more efficiently this year!

The woods near Versoix have provided some lovely walks and several sightings of deer. The surprise was to hear a strange call on a couple of walks and then finally see, far up a very tall tree, a black woodpecker. I think that managing to take a photo of him would be a feather in my cap:-) Wish me luck.


February Update

The birds have been pretty hungry lately with some hard frosts. The days are a bit warmer now, for the time being. We obviously have half a dozen sparrows at the feeders most of the time but when they take a break we get some more colourful visitors. We had a couple of crested tits, which are the first we’ve seen this year. The nuthatches show up in twos and the greater spotted woodpeckers are also coming in pairs. Could it be spring. Great tits are starting nests in the holes in the wall.

All in all a busy time.

… and don’t let me insult sparrows. They are very colourful.

Colourful in his own way
Definitely less colourful
Again quite sober, but really cute
More colour with the female
Even more colour with the male
Right way up for once

The chief invader remains the squirrel who, inspite of all my fancy rigging, still devours our fat balls. He is colourful too.

I get food in my whiskers too

Enjoy the coming of spring.


Bitterly Cold January

Happy new year. I hope you’re warm and well fed. Our expenditure on bird food has risen somewhat. Not helped by the Squirrels (at least two) and the mice (also at least two) .

What’s new is finding a bird watcher`’s diary to help me log what I’ve seen. I chose “Birder’s Diary” which seems pretty neat. You can load checklists appropriate to your area, but can also add “accidentals”. Today, for example I’ve spotted 10 different species before lunch.


My other quandary is the Marsh tit/Willow tit question. We’re tending to thinking Marsh tit. What do you think?

The green woodpecker called last week. Haven’t seen him in a while:

And a couple of other pictures that turned out ok:

Mouse with big ears and stomach

Have a great 2022.


Suddenly very busy

As the weather has chilled the number and variety of birds visiting the garden has really taken off. (Well they do have wings).

I’ve probably complained before about my compact camera with auto zoom not letting me select a sharp focus on birds in trees or against a certain backgrounds. I was lent a more expensive camera with manual focus and a 70-200mm lens. Great clear shots but too small! But surprise, surprise, my wee Canon has manual focus too. I just need to learn to use it.

One chap who has not been easy to photograph is the coal tit. He seems less common than the blue tits and great tits, but he’s quite distinctive. Here’s a rogues gallery:

Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit

You can see the coal tit’s “Mohican” white stripe and chin whereas the great tit’s are completely black.

The woodpecker is now almost a permanent feature, especially on the fat ball.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

As are the nuthatches.


The chaffinches scurry about in the leaves, superbly camouflaged, the sparrows just get more and more numerous. I moved the ring on the feeder so that the magpie couldn’t reach the fatballs. So he now just pretends to be a (very big) blue tit.

Keep warm. The snow is coming!

ps. Will try and get more mobile phone friendly in future!


Autumn again

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since May! Well it’s time to feed the birds again, which has led to a flurry of activity in the garden.

At first it’s only the sparrows who find the fresh seed.

But soon the tits start joining in

Then the big guys are then not far behind:Note the magpie has already detached a fat ball!

Robins are fiercely territorial so it was a surprise to see two in the same square meter. They faced off and only one stayed!

It was also interesting to try and catch the nuthatch as they seem to be unable to approach a food source without going downhill to it….

Last year we bought a ring for fat balls. This stops the magpies and squirrels running off with the balls. It also means that the autofocus has a clear frame and gives me a better picture.

One last tip if your autofocus is a nuisance. Pick a tree trunk at the same distance and focus (light press on shutter release) Then keep your finger lightly pressed down until you’re ready to click on your main shot. (it only took me years to think of this! it’s probably in the manual, but who reads that 🙂