26th February 2018

The cold is wrapping itself around us; – 8°c this morning, forecast to drop to -°17 tonight. I brave the cold and take the dog for a walk and then visit the sit~spot but I don’t stay long. Too much is happening at the bird table to leave it for a moment.

We have two new visitors today; a female blackbird and a crested tit, such a gorgeous little bird. The blackbird insists on sitting on the table for 15 minutes at a time hoovering up everything, (especially the peanut butter) so I have to put out more supplies. The crested tit is very shy, but has been going back and forward for an hour now quite contently. I may drill some holes in a piece of birch log and make a peanut butter feeder so that woodpeckers and nuthatches can also get access. The cats from next door are having a field day hiding in the bushes, practising their hunting skills. I thought I may ask the neighbour to get some bells for them but I know that she has them specifically for mousing after the terrible plague of mice we had last summer and here in the country, these things take precedence over the survival of wild birds. Such a shame. The birds are going to have to face their predators with skill and determination.

I have been told of some wildlife sightings recently by friends; a wolf up in the back forest on the way to Les Gets and another one on the slopes of Les Carroz. So so close now, they seem to be coming to the edges of the really dense forests and encroaching more upon inhabited land. A great grey owl up on the Joux Plan road sweeping over the path and settling on a high post to watch the passers-by and the resident pair of bearded vultures up in Salvagny, who have failed yet again to produce a chick, even though an egg was laid and incubated. I feel so bad for them; three years ago the male lost his mate and even though another female came onto the scene the next spring, she has not been very successful at incubating her eggs. The only pair of vultures in the valley look like they maybe on the brink yet again. Happily, the other nesting pairs in this region are doing better; the pair in Passy have a chick (I was so lucky to see one of the adults flying underneath me when I was over there climbing in the autumn of last year – the sixth largest wingspan of a bird in the world at almost 3 metres in length, a monster), the North Aravis pair are incubating and also the two Bargy pairs.