A discrete life by the stream

Wildlife sometimes lives where you least suspect it. You visit a place for months and see nothing until one day something pops up, seemingly out of nowhere. This little water vole inhabits a stream that I have passed many times without ever noticing it, probably because it moves around quickly Continue reading

The smallest European tit

Here’s one of the two coal tits (Periparus ater) that currently visit my Parisian bird feeder. The couple often keeps together with the large, conspicuous great tit flock that lives in my garden so I hadn’t noticed them at first.

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A bow to the hard-working parents

By now, many breeding birds in Germany have seen their first clutch of the season fledge and grow to weaning age, a moment not all chicks are looking forward to. The many great tits born around my block from at least three different clutches are unwilling to embrace independence and claim it conspicuously. Parents can be seen escaping swarms of hungry juveniles, now master of flight, loudly and relentlessly gaping for food.

The young already know how to pick up food on their own but prefer it served on a plate beak, so much that they sometimes beg great tits other than their parents and even blue tits!

Parents are now cutting loose Continue reading

Return of the mystery bird

This post is related to: Guest of Honor (additional hawfinch photos)


Despite ranging extensively across Eurasia and north Africa and current population estimates reaching up to 5 millions for Europe alone, hawfinches (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) are commonly known to be shy, elusive and unobtrusive birds—they are sometimes called “mystery birds” for that reason. None of these qualities seem to apply to Continue reading

Guest of honor

This handsome male hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) paid a visit to my bird feeder today. I had my camera handy and could capture simple sights of him during the few seconds he struck the pose, curious and undecisive.

Despite their vast range, these stunning looking birds, easily recognizable by their large, sturdy beak, are habitually shy and challenging to observe. I had recently spotted Continue reading

Blackcap fledglings

Here are some photos of Eurasian blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) fledglings.

I discovered the nest well hidden in a small bush two days ago. The nestlings all fledged early this morning and I was lucky enough to be there for this special moment. I could spot three of them briefly popping their heads out of the thick vegetation before Continue reading