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Old 16.10.2007, 23:44
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Bird watching

A little while ago someone (can't remember who) asked about having a birding thread.
So here's one.

Good time for birds at the moment - the last of summer visitors are going or gone (except the chiffchaffs, but a few will wait for the first frosts most likely), but there are still some migrants passing through, especially over the larger lakes and wetlands. Fanel/Chablais de Cudrefin has had some nice birds recently that are otherwise impossible to see here.
But we also have some of the resident birds starting to gear up for winter. Long-tailed tits are forming large flocks and can be seen in town and country going from tree to tree, keeping the flock together with their 'tsee, tsee, tsee' calls. Other small birds will join them as it gets colder, like coal, great, blue and marsh tits, gold- and firecrests and treecreepers. At the moment any remaining warblers might also be with them.
A walk over the Bremgartenwald in Bern produced some nice sightings. A black woodpecker (the largest you'll see here with an amazingly loud call) circled over us for a few minutes. They can be quite difficult to see, even though they are large and have bright red crests, so very happy with that. As the black woodpecker disappeared, a low-pitched 'gr-r-r-r-r-r-onk' came from a bare tree and on looking up, we could see a raven (see attached photo). Another raven was nearby and two common buzzards also appeared as did a flock of fifty siskins. Siskins are fairly small finches, related to goldfinches, which they often form winter flocks with. As with many resident small birds, they form larger flocks in the winter.
Yesterday, I was playing at Time Team with the archeological department at Avenches and it was a pretty good site there. Apart from pushing a magnetometer cart about, there were some nice farm birds about. Two pairs of fieldfares with there harsh rattling call, several meadow pipits (which are not too common here), maybe ten skylarks, several singing, great spotted and green woodpeckers and some marsh tits. Quite a nice day, really.
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