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September 2008 

September 1st


An eccentric this young house sparrow, with bicolour tail feathers.

Moineau Moineau

Pink delicacy in the plumage of this other youngster.


The white feathers in the sparrows.


You can find sparrows whose feathers are white, some feathers (as this one) and sometimes all of them. As the first ones to visit our balcony, whose right wing had white pinions. These are cases of partial albinism or leucism fairly prevalent among sparrows, which are of genetic or alimentary origin.

The white-tailed sparrows are not uncommon, but this is the first time I see a youngster with bicolour rectrices. The other young sparrows that were present with him had very clear hues.


3 September

The visit of the Crane Fly.


One of these big "mosquitos" clumsy on his big legs, who was flying on the balcony, entered, as often happens in the house.

You see often which are quite dull beige brown. It must be said that by far they all seem to be greyish.

But on the photo this one appeared surprisingly beautifully coloured, with iridescent wings and a striped body.

It is a Crane Fly or Daddy long legs (Tipulidae), I think it is of the genus Nephrotoma, a male.

His legs are so long that I did not see that one of its legs reached out of the frame!


Nearer here.



It belongs to the order of diptera.
The opportunity to see its halteres which replace the second pair of wings, clearly visible here.


And his head, strange, with long antennae.

No, it does not sting!

This insect looks like a very big "mosquito" but it is harmless with his long legs so fragile. They break easily but do not sprout again. To handle with care.
Its larvae, worms, dig tunnels and attack the roots.

It is also known as mosquito hawk, mosquito eater (or skeeter eater), gallinipper, gollywhopper, and jimmy spinner..

Another crane fly, dull beige-toned, which attends the prairies and is of the genera kind Tipulidae.


More about Tipulidae:


5 September

  The return of starlings.



For several days starlings pass in bands in the late afternoon.
The noisy gang settles for a few moments on the terraces. It quickly swallows the few seeds that can be found, then at a mysterious signal some starlings fly and the whole group follows.
We see them very early this year.
With the overcast sky of these days, already a small sign of fall?


Yesterday a common kestrel pursued sparrows who took refuge on the balcony in the protection of dense branches of our fir. The kestrel tried to follow them with a big noise of wings and leaves and leaves. I saw him fly away vertically. Beautiful silhouette, tail fanned... empty-clawed. Three minutes later, two then three sparrows came out of their hiding place.


12 September

Among neighbors...

On the branch overhanging above the tiny waterway in the calm waters of the Bois de Vincennes, a green Lestes and red Sympetrum are settled.

The little green Lestes defends bitterly its small territory. As soon as a congener dare point the tip of a wing, it darts and pursues the intruder (or tries to make friends somewhat brutally?) before returning to his post at exactly the same place.

The Sympetrum rests in the sun, posed a bit further, wings folded forward.

It is not indifferent to the Lestes. Each time that the Lestes walks out a rival, it does not forget to bother the Sympetrum.

And if no other Leste is in the corner, he flies periodically see closely, and even very closely the red individual at the extremity of the branch.


The placid Sympetrum, hesitates long-time before moving under the insistence of the Lestes, it places its wings horizontally and flies.

Delighted, the Lestes immediately resumed his place on the branch.

. .

After a few seconds hovering under the branch, above water, the Sympetrum stubbornly, regains its place, also exactly at the same location.

It places its wings horizontally.


And a short time later, suddenly as a closing umbrella, it folds up its wings forward.

It is ready for the arrival of the next Lestes!

What does not fail to occur about twenty seconds later and there we go ... Once, twice, thrice...

We almost heard our Sympetrum sigh!

I do not know how long did the game last as we left both players at their game.

With yellow stripes on the chest, legs net yellow, the all red neighbour is a Common Darter  (I think the two small black spots on the last segments of the abdomen are almost inexistent in this individual).
[Anisoptera. Libellulidae. Sympetrum striolatum.]

It is a dragonfly; its wings are brought to the horizontal or, as here, forward, never backward. This is a male, it the male witch is red-orange, its lady is in yellow. Size: 3.5-4.5 cm.

Green it is the girl, the "green Lestes."
[Zigoptera. Lestidae. Lestes viridis.] 

Brilliant metallic green, it takes coppery reflections with age as this beautiful female.

The characteristic little point on the chest here is not green but coppery.

At this time of year, he lay under the bark of trees overhanging the water. At the outbreak in spring, the larvae will fall into the water.

One can see many individuals at this time. There were everywhere around rivers, the brambles or clinging to the branches of trees.


Here is the male; he just kept the green of its dress.

Anal white appendices are clearly visible. The wings are open as it use to be when at rest for the lestes.

Size: 4-5 cm


18 September

.Cool weather these days, with 10°C in the morning, and a small cold wind from east.

I took indoors almost all orchids that spent the summer on the balcony, it's too cold at night for them now.

The fruit of the passionflower have takers and were devoured. By whom? A big suspicion points to gastropods.

The bignonias present its lasts flowers and its fruit in large pods.

The sedums are in bloom and vines are already red. The sunflower continues its maturation but it is still far from providing bird seed for the winter!


Dame great tit approaches the balcony, superb in his brand new dress. A success this black lavaliere over the delicately yellow waistcoat.


23 September


And cool autumn morning (8°C).

The turn of two blue tits come to be admired.

The starlings in early September remained just over a week; we do not see them anymore now.

Return of greenfinches came to watering.


Chilly Friday morning at Parc Floral, offset by a small festival of songs and flights under a beautiful blue sky.



Flying from a pine tree to another in a rustle of wings and "kik, kik", in black and white dresses red spotted at the abdomen and head:

The Great Spotted Woodpecker [Dendrocopos major. Picidés.]

One of the most common woodpeckers.
It is quite fearful. Three youths and an adult (perhaps two) moving up into the pines, remain seldom motionless, turning around the trunks far from these bipeds that 20-30 meters (!) below tried to follow them discreetly.

Here at left, a juvenile which still has a little of his red cap on top of the head.


The male has a black head and a dark red spot in the nape visible from afar. The female is similar but with the black nape. The young, curiously, has a red cap.

Young, almost adults, accompanying adults that day, are losing their red feathers at the top of the head, giving them a funny bad hair dressed appearance.


The red feathers of their belly (sub-caudal) is clearer and more orange than among adults (shown above on the first 2 photos) where they are dark red.

The strong tail serves as a solid stand.
Outside the nesting period, the Great Spotted Woodpecker is a loner, but these youngsters were still following the adults.

In flight, the most visible characteristics are the large white oval tasks in the shoulders and white bars of its wings.

Under the eyes of many familiar European Robin [Erithacus rubecula] a few floors below.

Around the trunk, an Eurasian Nuthatch [Sitta europaea] turns in spiral.


And at ground level, Chaffinches [Fringilla coelebs] explore the bushes.


29 September

Sheldrake anger.

The calm reigns on the small pond, a couple of Ruddy Shelduck [Tadorna ferruginea] is quiet on the bank until the arrival of a flight of noisily Goose, a half-dozen Canada Goose [Branta canadensis] and a Branta [Branta leucopsis]. The reaction of shelduck is unexpected and is rather... strong.


the barnacles!

I think monsieur is at the top and it is madame which honks his anger. In this season, the male don't have anymore its distinctive and easily recognizable black collar; but the head of the female is whiter than his.


Outstretched neck at water level, the legs propeller at the rear at maximum speed, the beautiful cinnamon torpedo is launched.

What the heck is this?
I'm going to show you.

 There we go!

(And it's going fast, very fast!)



And boom!

Go out.

Admit that I the technical skill. Isn't?

In the background, a Canada goose, but the target rushed so strongly, is the Barnacle Goose.


Oops! Ouch!

Yeah! You have to know how to get out of the way on time; sometimes it's just a little late.

(Where you going?)


In any case, it works.

Shelduck 1, Branta 0.

Come on, next one.

Even if, when a Canada goose is on its way, the upset sheldrake charges also it, it is the barnacle that is its choice target, the object of his wrath. What has the barnacle do to the sheldrake? Big personal quarrel? Because the anger of the shelduck is great.

The barnacle will set again on the water, but the lady shelduck not calmed by his early success, indefatigable, always followed by his male, will charge again and again.

The hunt will last long. Until, tired, the barnacles other branta climb back on the bank below. At least... for a time.


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