Early summer visitor

This shy fellow came right up to the French doors of the home office yesterday, then hopped up onto the rafters of the trellis/veranda as I tried to get a photo. Usually, their arrival marks the start of summer here, but given the cutting north wind blowing today, his days might be numbered !


I reckon he will settle (hope so)… I love these odd-looking birds and can’t wait for them to arrive here (a little bit further north from you)

We’ve been watching Red Kites swirling overhead… no photos… too high up

The bane of my photographic endeavours :wink: We have regular kite (red and black) appearances here too, but they take off and gain height so quickly, that it is damn near impossible to get a decent shot, especially as they tend to fly into the sun !

The wonderful bird life is very much a plus of being in France. I kept a diary for the last 27 years in UK and looking back through it… it was saddening to note just how much of the natural world was lost/destroyed in the vicinity of our home, during that time. (such loss not down to us, of course, but we fought a losing battle)


OMG! Fabulous! What is it? What a privilege. Lucky you. Whereabouts are you? Does s/he sing? I was told that birds that walk have no song, only birds that hop. Is that right?

A small group of bramblings passed through this morning…


It is a hoopoe (Upupa epops), and it makes a sound like this


They have been absent this year from our home, or else they popped in when we were out !

Pamela, we live in the Auvergne, south of Clermont Ferrand.

It’s almost like they knew about our bird table - perhaps they’re the ones that dropped in last year.

Great hoopoe photo btw. We used to get them every year, but I think it has been too dry the last couple of years for them to be able to find many bugs to dig out of the soil. I believe they do return to the same nesting sites.

Very handsome bird, and what an impressive beak, beady eye, and sandy Trumpish crest.

1 Like

Hoopoes all around and on my house since the start of the confinement (or maybe I’m just noticing them because I’m at home).


We only seem to get blue tits, a robin, and an unidentified sleek little bird, and owl sounds at night. We have always been surprised and disappointed by the dearth of birds in our area, the Black Mountains.

There are probably more birds around than you realize … even if not actually around your home. :wink:

As I’m still authorised to work, my windscreen has been pleasently smothered in squished insects. Fewer humans, more wildlife.

1 Like

Yes, I’ve noticed so many clouds of insects… such as one would see normally much later in the year… insects all over the place… good for the birds I hope… and the lizards which are very active at the moment…

Happy birthday!

1 Like

Splendid birds Hoopoes - sounds quite early tho’? We are (supposed to be) in the south Gers - but our flight back from UK was cancelled so all I can see at the moment is d****d woodpigeons and gulls and a few standard garden birds!

When allowed back, we look forward to seeing our peregrines again, which nest on the high wall remains of an adjacent ruined chateau. They are magnificant - even if they keep all the other birds on their toes (could do with a pair here at the moment to sort out the pigeons!) Then in summer, hopefully the orioles will be back - if we haven’t cut down too many of the invasive acacias.

Oh for an end to all this!

1 Like

I have noticed that the small garden birds are not eating as much from the bird stand. Are they preparing for the little one’s?

I reckon that there is sufficient natural food around, due to the warm winter not killing the insects etc…