Mad March

Still almost no rain. But cold, and the ground remains hard. The number of visitors to the garden is growing all the time.

Before we look in the garden we managed to see the thrushes again at the Versoix woods.

In the garden the prettiest event was the “Charm” of goldfinches, at least nine, that used all the feeders and still needed space on the ground.

They were happy to share with the other customers. Amongst them the many sparrows, the greenfinches and the various tits

We have a new female woodpecker, I needed a lot of shots to see the back of her neck, at which point I think she looks quite indignant.

The robin looks well and undisturbed by the crowds. Though he is not given to sharing.

The Hawfinch surprised us by reappearing for a day, but has since disappeared again. Look at the size of him. Twice as big as a greenfinch and about three times as big as a blue tit.

The crested tit is back too and seems to hang around a lot more.

Finally there is the crow who decided to venture into the crowd. An unusual occurrence.


Fantastic February

I hope you have had a great pancake day, Ski week or just a nice half term break. We’ve been spoilt by the lovely weather. But it has been very cold, so the feeders have been emptying rapidly. We had a new visitor last month in the shape of a Hawfinch. Hawfinches are apparently red listed and very hard to spot in the UK but in Switzerland they are quite common.

The powerful beak can break cherry stones which need 40Kg of pressure.

The crested tits are also back in town.

Green finches have been appearing too.

In spite of several returns to the Versoix woods I’ve still had no luck photographing the black woodpecker. I hope this doesn’t become my Moby Dick. We did see a couple of groups of deer, two boars and a fox. I was so delighted to get a reasonable picture of the deer, that I’d covered my lens, thereby missing the boar and the fox! Grrr.

We thought we saw some thrushes in the distance at Versoix too, but the pictures are not “conclusive”. Maybe when I catch the black woodpecker I’ll get lucky with them too.

The Magpie is all alone this year. More worried about eating than mating so far….

And finally I couldn’t resist sharing this shy chaffinch. For once he’s in the light and you can see some of his splendid colours.


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.