Needless to say I installed a small and discreet feeding station on my tiny balcony as soon as I moved into my new apartment and it didn’t take long for birds to discover the fat balls and feeding tray with mixed seed. Blue Tits and House Sparrows were among the first visitors as might be expected followed by Chaffinch and Collared Dove. However within a few weeks I had the very pleasant surprise to see a Nuthatch making regular visits to the fat ball. Not only a first for the feeding station this is also the first ever Nuthatch I’ve seen in this area in the three years I’ve lived here.
Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
At the end of March I moved home, still in the same town but now in a first-floor apartment with a view over a small park so at least there’s still some green space and natural habitat. Things got off to a good start when I picked up the bins on day one while moving in to check out a bird perched on top of a cypress tree and lo and behold, a nice Hawfinch ! In the following few weeks I added all the usual species plus Green Woodpecker and White Stork then in April a Hoopoe spent several minutes feeding not far from the lounge window. Black Kite a short while later, then a Cuckoo bumped the list up nicely and it’s continued to grow slowly but surely since.
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica)
A lovely morning full of activity and birdsong at La Jallais the highlights of which had to be the several Nightingales which were doing their best to drown each other out with the strength of the songs. Two birds were on opposite sides of the road near the railway crossing while another was in the hedgerow below the farm. Needless to say all I got were some very dubious quality record shots as the birds stayed very well hidden !
Elsewhere at least four pairs of Stonechats were on territory, several Skylarks sang from abouve the larger fields and a flock of Whimbrel were also present busily feeding in one of the larger wet fields.
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
European Stonechats (Saxicola rubicola)
Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
I don’t know what this plant is called but the two little ponds along the track were covered in these lovely daisy-like flowers
A few photos from mid-March of common birds in the garden. Nothing remarkable but nice all the same.
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Along with the influx of Hawfinches during the autumn the other notable avian phenomenen was the number of Redpolls recorded in western France. They really are quite scarce here generally and I’ve only come across them once in 10 years but this winter many sites held small groups of birds of two subspecies: Lesser (cabaret) and Common (Mealy) Redpoll. The lakes in the north of the departement were a favoured spot and so in mid-December I met up with some fellow birders at Etang de Gruellau near Treffieux where we had some difficulty in initially tracking down the birds and then getting reasonable views of them as the fed in the alder and birch trees. Some rather poor photos below along with a charming Red squirrel which was nearby.
Redpolls, lower photo of presumed Common (Mealy) Redpoll (Acanthis flammea flammea)
Between one thing and another I haven’t been able to get out in the field as much as I would have liked so here’s a selection of photos of birds from my garden in late autumn. Enjoy.
Blue Tits and House Sparrow (Cyanistes caeruleus & Passer domesticus)
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)