Red squirrels and Hoopoes

There are many things I love about our garden in France. I like the informality, the trees, the light, the birds and the wildlife.

I particularly love the red squirrels. I still get overly excited every time I see one. I have seen red squirrels before, both in France and on Brownsea Island, in the UK. However, this just doesn’t compare with having them in your own garden. They are delightful. It’s  so entertaining watching them chase each either round the tree trunks or stood stock still holding a nut in their paws.

My attempts at capturing them in a photo have failed, so far. This one is from pixabay.com

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In the UK we have many grey squirrels, or ‘tree rats’ as one friend likes to call them. She is not a fan! They seem like giants compared to the ones I see here in France which are so much more delicate. Luckily, the red squirrel is protected in France, although there is a fear that the greys may head this way, via Switzerland. They were brought to Italy  in the sixties from the States, as a novelty. Let’s hope they don’t!

We are in Aude but in nearby Hérault, two squirrel bridges have been constructed from rope. These are known as ‘ecuroducs’ and enable red squirrels to cross two major roads in safety.

As a child, I can remember reading ‘Squirrel Nutkin’ by Beatrix Potter. Later I read it to my siblings and later still to my sons. I wonder if that has anything to do with my affection for red squirrels…

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I am equally thrilled when I see a Hoopoe bird (huppe in French). The hoopoe is a very striking bird to look at.  It has a beautiful and unusual crest on its head. It makes me think of it as the punk of the bird world! It is about the size of a Thrush, with a long, pointed bill.

Again, I have attempted several photos but none of them do justice to this gorgeous bird . Here is another one via pixabay.com:

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Previously, I have seen hoopoes in other parts of France and also in Gran Canaria. However, nothing compares with seeing them foraging around our garden. One extremely stormy day, we even had a thoroughly soaked Hoopoe chick sheltering on our kitchen window sill. We were delighted when its parent continued to feed it until the storm had abated and the chick had dried out and was able to fly away.

In the UK, I get a thrill from other wildlife and birds that appear in our garden; woodpeckers, a buzzard, bats and goldfinches, for example. Wherever you live, what do enjoy seeing most in your garden?

 

 

6 thoughts on “Red squirrels and Hoopoes

  1. We also have a huppe who visits regularly. Very unafraid. Or near-sighted. I managed to get fairly close but still not enough to get a good photo. No squirrels, though. I am surprised–we have lots of woods around. I sometimes see boar tracks but have seen a boar only once–it ran across the road in front of my car at night.

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    • I’m full of admiration for wildlife photographers. We are no where near any woods but there are lots of trees in our garden. My only sighting of a wild boar was when we were stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway. It was galloping through a ploughed field. I was amazed at the speed at which it was moving!

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  2. I love squirrels. I’ve seen them flying through the air, going from tree to tree, in India. And in Bali, they are very friendly, and let a person come near whilst they gobble nuts and such. They are nowhere in New Zealand though, where I’m from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d love to see the squirrels in India. It’s my dream to go there. I didn’t know that New Zealand doesn’t have squirrels. I’m surprised but I don’t know why!

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  3. Oh, your garden is wonderful. I have never seen a red squirrel in the flesh but I’ve seen a family (presumably – two large and two small) playing together in the garden of a previous house. There is a cheeky one who visits my son’s garden regularly and eats the bird nuts by hanging upside down off the fence. Squirrel Nutkin – happy memories. I used to love reading the Beatrix Potter books to my children too.
    I have never heard of, let alone sen a Hoopoe bird. What an amazing looking bird – yes, very punk like.
    We don’t get much in the way of interesting wildlife in our garden. We get a few birds but not so many as I’d like to see, and never anything unusual – tits, robins and goldfinch and the odd fat pigeon! It’s a shame as we’re not in a town center and there’s a lot of greenery in ours and the adjacent gardens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Eloise. The garden is much bigger than we had planned to have but in some strange way it’s much easier to maintain. Today I have spent far too much time watching one of the red squirrels trying to pinch some of the coconut shell we put out for the birds. He wasn’t having much success and kept falling off the bird feeder! No injuries sustained, I’m happy to report. He’s so cute I can’t begrudge him a bit of bird food!

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