Two weeks away with work in the small land locked city of Basel in Switzerland. Not that the job allowed me much free time but the time I had was spent in the nearby park and local Nature Reserve.
Like many other cities on the continent the streets are full of Singing Black Redstarts and the parks are packed with other birds that over here we associate with specific rural habitats; Common Redstarts, Spotted Flycatchers, Fire Crests, and even Hawfinch were present and seemed to be breeding, (see juvs recorded and photographed below) in a small urban park, as well as White Storks, Black Kites and Alpine Swifts flying Low over the Town.
25 mins from my Apartment by Bus was Le Petite Camargue de la Alsacienne. A reserve roughly the size of Walthamstow Reservoirs, highlights at this site included, Squacco Heron (unusual for the area) Purple Heron, Great Egrets, Western Bonelli’s Warblers , more Hawfinches, Wrynecks, Lesser Spotted Wood peckers... (Black, Middle and Grey Headed can be seen here but I had no luck with them)
Nightingales, Marsh Warblers and Golden Orioles were the main birds still in song…
Red-Back Shrikes were well represented and a few Pairs were present in front of one of the hides.
A really great city and also home to many more common migrant birds. I also encountered Wild Boar piglets, many Red Squirrel and a friend told me of a Pine Marten crossing a suburban street! No doubt I will return next year for work so will aim for the Woodpeckers again and try to get some good Alpine Swift Photos. Such great birds to watch whilst sinking some large euro beers with your feet in the Rhine!