Mein lieber Schwan (my dear swan)

The above is a German expression to indicate surprise, often with some disapproval: “Mein lieber Schwan, did you see how fast that car was going?”. But there’s absolutely no disapproval for our new swan family. They are pretty relaxed for swans, so far.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The two youngsters. One of them keeps holding tight to their baby plumage while the other one has been wearing their adult white for a while now.

A Kestrel on Fire

I am glad for the photo-op late in the evening, but I hope this was just a brief pause between murderings of voles who are a scourge of my garden. I haven’t seen kestrels or signs of them near my garden last year at all, but this year I have seen at least two individuals, and that is a good sign. The voles infestation used to be less severe when they were around regularly – when I often found their feathers and pellets of undigested food.

I never thought I will miss the times when I had fresh bird vomit in my garden all the time, but those really were the good times.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The…. WOODPECKER

Boy was I happy to see this fellow peek over the sunflower’s head and pecking at the seeds. I have planted the sunflowers to feed them to birds anyway, so I do not mind him eating some a bit prematurely. Next year I will plant even more.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Jack’s Walk

Blue Heron,© Voyager, all rights reserved

It rained or drizzled for most of yesterday, and the forecast was for more rain today, but it turned out to be beautiful, so I decided to take Jack to the river. He’s been having some arthritic problems in his rt. shoulder, but this morning he was getting around well, so when he asked to go swimming I happily agreed. The river trail is flat and even and there are several places to stop and rest along the way because I knew Jack would get tired quickly. Which he did not. We stopped for about 10 minutes twice, but Jack went swimming 4 times, and he explored both sides of the entire trail. Bubba had a wonderful afternoon, but as soon as we got home he put himself to bed and he hasn’t moved a muscle since. He’s even slept past his suppertime by an hour or so and he looks set to keep right on sleeping. I hope he’s having happy dreams. Me, I’m having happy memories.

Blue Heron,© Voyager, all rights reserved

Blue Heron © Voyager, all rights reserved

A Corvid at work

Something new from Avalus,

Then there was a crow, trying to open a walnut. I first took the photos and then a short film. And then my battery died the very moment the crow had enough of my staring.

© Avalus, all rights reserved

© Avalus, all rights reserved

© Avalus, all rights reserved

And now, Avalus’ little movie. There’s a bit of wind noise, so you may want to turn our volume down.

 

Starling

I had an extremely bad year bird-watching wise so far. There are definitively a lot fewer birds around than there used to be.

For example, only a few starlings came by to harvest all the surplus aronias. And only one was visible enough to take a picture. Normally, at this time of year, the tree should be stripped bare by starlings and thrushes heading south.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I have not seen a single golden finch, greenfinch, or siskin the whole year. Neither have I seen any fieldfares, or thrushes, and just a few blackbirds, very sparsely. Chaffinch song is usually a constant presence the whole summer – and this year I cannot remember hearing it even once, despite chaffinch being supposedly the most common bird of central Europe.. And in the last month or two tits and sparrows  – the consants of my garden the whole year – have disappeared too. Redstarts are still here, but wagtails never showed up.

I fear this is a real environmental problem and a local sign of a global catastrophy.

A Kestrel to Brighten Your Day

From Avalus, and dedicated to our own lovely kestrel.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

This one was pretty special to me and so there are quite a lot of photos!

I was driving to work and I saw this kestrel (At least, I hope this bird is a kestrel xD) trying to land in low bushes and failing. So I figured it was a young bird.

Then it noticed me and got a bit of distance,  flying around me at about 20 m for a few minutes before retreating to the top a lamppost next to me.  From there it eyed me with some suspicion but eventually I was allowed to come near enough for some close ups (from about 5m away).

Then, it took off again, squaking and chirping at a cat. And another two kestrels joined the fray. The cat was not impressed. I was trying to get some video-shots but with me half-sitting on my bike, a pretty strong wind and the nice camouflage of the bird, I did not get good footage.

But I had a good feeling for the rest of the day, kestrels are really elegant birds! [Read more…]

Hello, Hairy

Kestrel has had another close-up encounter of the bird kind, and this guy cracks me up.

 

So there I was, minding my own business, when I heard this odd noise, a sort of squeak or chirp. I looked at the window and what did I see:

©kestrel, all rights reserved

Something looking back at me! 

©kestrel, all rights reserved

He was pretty interested in what I was doing. Maybe he wants to learn how to weave! 

©kestrel, all rights reserved

Or maybe he was just hunting for bugs. This is a Hairy Woodpecker and they are fairly common here. There is another type called a Downy Woodpecker that is virtually identical but much smaller than this guy. He could not see me through the window; he never would have tolerated me holding my phone up to him to take his picture if he had seen me. 

Swan Swam Over the Lake

The pond we often visit for walks/Pokémon hunting used to have a swan couple. they were kind of the mascots of the village, featuring on signs, they were looked after and taken in during winter, but last year the unthinkable happened: a swan divorce! One of them left and the other one soon vanished (died?), so for the last year there were no swans. Now they got a new swan family, complete with cygnets.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

BTW, shortly before I took these from a safe distance, a lady let her baby(!) up to one metre to the swans. But guess whom she would have blamed if the baby had gotten eaten…