Still no rain

It’s July 11 and we still have only had a light drizzle overnight.  It’s been incredible weather, but hot, especially for the natives. We saw this blackbird spreading itself out in the flower bed. Sunbathing or trying to get cool?

Blacky sunbathing

We put out a “bath” for the birds a few days ago and it is much appreciated, although in town it is mainly drawing sparrows, blackbirds and of course pigeons. Who can be a bit dominant:


The garden is a great place to get decent photos though. Here’s a rook posing proudly in his baggy trousers:

Rook Carnoustie

Friday we walked to Auchmithie up the coast, with the promise of  lunch at the “But ‘n’ Ben”.  Magnificent day and lovely to see the farmers leaving large borders of wild flowers for the butterflies and bees. We saw reed buntings dressed for the summer and after lunch we spotted puffins off the shore, but too far out to capture on film.

Reed bunting Summer

At the weekend we walked round Loch an Eilen and by Loch Garten. Coming back south we dropped in at the Osprey hides at Loch of he Lowes. The two chicks are nearly ready to fly! This link is to the live web cam. Here’s a still from the site. I could never get that close!

Osprey 2018

There is a super corner with bird tables at the Loch of the Lowes centre where you can see almost every local bird really close up.

Chaffinch - Loch of the Lowes

Like, “Who are you looking at?”

The walk round Craigmill Den is a great spot for birds too and we saw chaffinches, long tailed tits and a reed warbler there last week.

ChaffinchEastHavenChaffinchF easthavenLongTailed


Reed warbler EastHaven

Well, the Open Golf Championship is on for the next fortnight ,so no golf for me. Hopefully more time for walking and bird spotting!


Summer – and some!

It’s now the end of June and time has imitated my favourite subjects and flown!



At the start of June we heard a new song in the bushes by the motorway. We searched and searched and finally spotted her in the low trees. She never really sat still. After a lot of shots I managed to get enough detail to think that this is a reed warbler. The tail is quite impressive but she’s amazingly shy.


The Migros magazine told us that there were now Bee eaters near Lausanne, so we pootled out to have a look. They are not usual this far north. Another sign of global warming, for there are many pairs nesting in the quarry  at Penthaz. This site has better pictures. I only managed a silhouette and a distant shot to pick up some of the colours. This might mean time for an expensive lens 😦


I did get a cute shot of a red kite with a mouthful of  nest building material. This was opposite the decheterie in Bellevue where there are often many wheeling in the sky. KiteOnPost

And I thought I’d put this photo up too which I took a while back. I thought initially it was a buzzard but it may actually be a black kite (colouring and tail shape). Either of my two followers who would like to enlighten my ignorance would be a star!


Higher things

To celebrate Catriona’s birthday we went up to the lac de Salanfe above Martigny. Easy to say. 10km and 1000m. But so rewarding. The chamois and marmots all posed nicely though the Ibex scampered off before I could snap them. I think it was near the end of the hike where removing the lens cap might just have given me a hernia.


Marmots – not flying

Then just as we approached the dam face I saw a new friend scampering along like a blackbird with a worm. But not the right colours.


Interesting pattern on the thighs. Sunbathing in tights?


I give chase, literally as he’s not away to fly. But he does keep under cover …


Is that a white collar? It’s not the vicar that’s for sure …

Rimg Ouzel

Ahh… a Ring Ouzel. I’m really turning into an anorak!

Then back to Geneva where surprise surprise, we are in the tropics!


I think they’re called accidentals. I think this one accidently escaped from a nearby house. He adored our cherries, which I hope you are all eating!

And so to Scotland

Where skipping along the coast path from Carnoustie to Arbroath we see a Reed bunting in his rather smart summer feathers.

Reed Bunting

There will surely be more soon as we’ve had to stop cutting the hedge for fear of upsetting the fledgling Great tits. And it’s time to see the Ospreys too!


Bleak skies in Scotland

Easter has been harsh this year. The daffodils stubbornly refusing to bloom except in some shady corners. The winds have been freezing and snow right down to the low hills of Angus.

Luckily the woods provide some shelter to small birds and there are a few out that I’ve not been able to see before. We caught a pair of Bullfinches in Craigmill Den

There are also people with feeders that attract a wonderful variety. Here are some shots of yellowhammers:

And for those who haven’t seen the most elegant sparrow  here’s a Dunnock:




Spring in the air.

I hope you can. Nice to see the snow disappear, even though the skiing’s been great.

Snowdrops have been lovely, and the crocuses are shouting their heads off at the sunshine. Primroses all over the lawn (sorry, the moss). Won’t be long before the daffodils are out.

The long tailed tits were back earlier in the week and today the crested tits made an appearance for the first time since I got the camera. He is seriously cute!



My book doesn’t help me determine if this was Mr or Mrs, but they were a pair. I have a good shot of the other one’s rear end if that would help?

We went to the wildlife photography exhibition at the V&A last week. Go if you can. It is amazing what some 10 year-olds can achieve. I think I learned two things.

  • I need a tripod
  • I need an enormous amount more patience

I mustn’t get discouraged 🙂



Promise kept

Well, nearly. Maybe the juvenile woodpecker I promised wasn’t there. Haven’t seen anything like him lately. Still trouble keeping the cats away from the back of the house. But Mr woodpecker deigned to come close this week. Notice the red patch on the back of his head as featured in books by people what know these things 🙂 :



MrWoodpecker2So I was pondering on how nice it is to regularly watch the willow tits, nuthatches and the woodpeckers, not to mention the tits, chaffinches and robins. I am halfway through fishing out my teabag, when along come the masses. Crowds of Long tail tits. Yay! Of course they can’t all get on the fat ball at once, but they do try.


They are so cute! So, what with Claire being the millionth person to use a bus ticket from the airport, a jolly good day all round!!