Two makes a pair


This could well be the last photo of the woodpecker drilling on this building. Shortly before taking this single, out of focus shot I had TWO green woodpeckers in my viewfinder, unfortunately I was not able to focus in time before one flew away. Looks like he/she has finally succeeded in finding a partner.

Meanwhile I went shopping again today. Sunny weather but still very cold with patches of ice and snow along the way. Few people about and many shelves in the supermarket were empty. I must make a correction here as last time I said there was a sign at the checkout to ‘pay with cash’. In fact it said ‘pay with a card if possible’. As usual I had misread it, due either to dyslexia, lazy reading or being in a foreign language. I just saw ‘Bargeldlos’ and failed to read the rest. Bargeld is cash, Bargeldlos is cashless. Sorry for the misinformation. Anyway at least that makes sense to me now.

With my 15kg of shopping I trudged slowly back up the hill. Although my upper body gets plenty of exercise during the week while woodworking, I have not done much walking due to the isolation advice, so this walk did me good. I was also much more selective about my shopping of course, due to weight and only bought what I really needed. There is always a positive side to all these negative events.

Update 27.03.2020

Well the woodpecker continues drilling on the building so now I am none the wiser as to why. Having found a partner (I believe) it obviously was not an SOS message, unless of course its polyamorous.

Woodpecker III


Yes, he’s back and looking more serious than ever. Not that he ever went away, yesterday I was just too busy to photograph him. For a brief period today he moved to another similar building, also white and positioned himself in exactly the same spot on the corner. In between drilling he invariably looks up, cocks his head as if listening for a response and surveys what’s above much like climbers do when assessing a route. However I suspect he is hoping to spot a prospective partner flying above, which so far, it would seem, he has not had much luck with.

As I am writing this a beautiful magpie just landed on the balcony railings and pinched something from a plant pot. It knew exactly what it was after, which makes me wonder, do they spot these things from a distance or can the smell a piece of rotting fruit.


Finally I get a halfway decent shot in focus of one of the crested tits that visits my balcony. Despite me and my camera being in clear view and noisy clicks as I pressed the shutter, it continued happily retrieving seeds from an empty ice cream carton and used the bars on the trellis to hack them open with its beak.

Some small brown butterflies were also dancing around today, a sure sign that Spring had arrived..

Woodpecker II


The green woodpecker continued its drilling today, while working its way towards the top of the building.

While Googling ‘green woodpeckers’ in an effort to discover whether it was a young bird I came across this:

Common Woodpecker Spirit Animal Meanings

When the woodpecker spirit animal comes knocking, it seeks to rekindle your passion in finding the truth.

The woodpecker symbolism also encourages you to be innovative and creative and to protect those who are too weak to protect themselves.

The woodpecker spirit animal appears to you because you need to protect your wisdom and creativity from threats.

Do not be too open about your pursuits because there are many threats out there that will take them away from you.

People will always want to take advantage of your kindness and generosity. The woodpecker meaning encourages you to strike a balance between being kind and being cautious.

Well that was fascinating, I shall take note.

This particular green woodpecker does not have the distinctive markings I am familiar with and it also seems to have an abundance of down feathers, which made me wonder if it was a young bird and maybe a little confused about where it should be drilling. However I still feel the most likely reason for drilling on a building is to attract a mate.

Anyway I have seen it flying around for several months so I am sure there will be more photos to come.

Stay safe, take care.




The sound of woodpeckers drilling on trees is a daily occurrence this time of the year. They are either drilling a hole for a nest or testing the tree for nesting suitability. Today however the sound was different, it sounded hollow and was much closer. I looked out my window and listened. A woodpecker was clearly not far away but scanning the nearest deciduous tree I could see nothing and the tree looked too young and green anyway for woodpecker nesting. The only other trees were fir and they were too far away for the sound. I was a little dumbfounded until my eye caught sight of a green woodpecker clinging to the side of the neighboring building. At first I thought it was just a coincidence and the sound was coming from elsewhere but then it resumed drilling into CONCRETE!

Not only that but this woodpecker remained in the same spot and drilled intermittently for at least an hour. I wondered why it was doing this and was rather concerned for its beak. I mean, I am pretty sure even with a hammer and screwdriver I would have been hard put to make more noise. Maybe it was to attract a mate, like a we might discover and play a new musical instrument to impress someone.

Anyone with any ideas?



A great tit inspects the birdbox. This morning I watched as it warily entered the birdbox and stayed inside for a good 30 seconds. It looks promising as it inspected the roof several times from different angles and seems to be hanging around more. I am really surprised how quickly they assess a possible nesting site and will keep an eye open for any signs of nest building.

This ‘Birdbox’ post will remain where I put any new related photos and updates, so watch this space there is for sure more to come.

Crested tit


A crested tit pays a visit. Being less common than blue tits and great tits it adds a touch of class to the day. This one seemed about as interested in the birdbox as the nuthatches, so I don’t hold out much hope of any moving in at the moment.


I really must work on my focusing. A slow shutter speed (1/60th) is probably to blame but the light was bad and flash did not seem to penetrate that far. I always shoot at ISO 200 but maybe I should up it to 400.

Nuthatch 10.03.2020


Update 18032020


A blue tit inspects a husk left by a nuthatch.

Until today I have only noted four regular balcony visitors: Greats tits, Blue tits, Crested tits and Nuthatches, which often arrive in pairs.  However today a Black redstart did pay a brief visit but seemed uninterested in what was on the menu. I spotted a blue tit inspecting the birdbox and even venturing inside for a while but as yet there have been no signs of nest building.


Meanwhile below in the forest a charm of goldfinch land on a nearby tree with buds. Spring must be just around the corner, it was sunny and warm today allowing me to have two windows open all day.

coal tit

A coal tit on another nearby tree. What with the woodpecker hammering on the building next door again today, a buzzard’s intermittent cry, an owl hooting at night and the general twittering of bird song, it was an action packed day, probably brought about by the prolonged sunshine and the approach of Spring.

Update 24.03.2020 (Winter returns)


A through the window photo of the robin on the balcony railings.

Battered by howling winds and temperatures below zero has led to me curtailing my balcony photography for the last few days. I was forced to seal up the windows and balcony door as the cold wind coming through the cracks meant that the central heating was unable to keep the flat warm. Sitting at my desk I can still watch the birds and recently a robin joined the party. The black redstart has also been a more frequent visitor.

The Great tits and Blue tits continue to inspect the birdbox and I noticed a Great tit removing pieces of bark that I had layed inside the box. Either it was unhappy with my arrangement or it was pinching the bark for its own nest somewhere else. We shall have to wait and see. The birds may well only be inspecting the inside for insects and other goodies they might find. Who knows, they often inspect the exterior much like a potential house buyer might, so I am still optimistic

Visitors so far:

Great tit, Blue tit, Crested tit, Nuthatch, Black redstart, Robin, Magpie

Update 27.03.2020 (new visitor)

A chaffinch joined the party today.


Through the window so not a great shot 😉




Sunday walk


It may be premature but I feel that was the last gasp of winter. As the snow melts temperatures appear to be on the rise over the next weeks and that can only mean Spring is just around the corner.

Wandering along my usual route the birds are chattering away, I hear buzzards calling and woodpeckers intermittent drilling. No doubt searching trees suitable for nesting holes. I also hear a high pitched ‘yeah’ from some bird I often hear but have yet to see or identify. Not the blonde that keeps following me I might add.

Other than that it is relatively quiet and quite mild despite the feeble sunshine.


I pass the tree ‘bow’ and focus my camera on textures.


Small bracket fungi cling to a log lying on the ground.


This tree has seen better days. I am not sure what has caused this, maybe the beetle that has invaded many trees in the forest but it makes an interesting graphic.

I put up a home made bird box the other day and blue tits have already been inspecting it, poking their heads inside the hole to check it out. Maybe if they move in I will get a few interesting photos later. Nuthatches are also frequent visitors to my balcony.



Here the first photos of blue/great tits inspecting the nest box I only put up a few days ago. Truly amazing how quickly they check things out. The photo is poor because I have yet to clean my windows and figure out a suitable way of photographing them. The blue tit also checked all edges of the roof thoroughly, presumably to make sure it was waterproof and OK to move in. The nuthatches took no interest, which is no surprise as it was designed for tits. There was also a newcomer this afternoon, a crested tit, which would be a welcomed neighbour.

Tomorrow I will clean the windows and see if I can improve on the photo quality.

Watch this space.

Carrots in a bucket


My carrots are doing nicely along with some garlic and ginger. Amazing what you can learn on YouTube. Despite the recent snow storm and zero temperatures Spring is just around the corner and even tomorrow 12C and sun is forecast. Meanwhile as I write this an owl is hooting away and I recently heard the spine chilling scream of a fox. I think if I ever heard that while camping I would be out of there like greased lightening.



This pterodactyl is just one of many image tiles on the walkway strip leading up to the National museum of natural science. (see post: Taichung postcards). The creatures come in all sizes and this one is by no means the biggest. The larger ones are hard to view unless you have a drone or access to one of the tower blocks surrounding the walkway. Even then trees along the strip would probably hinder the view. So I created this image by stitching together 8 separate images so that it could be viewed in all its glory as I doubt few people have ever seen them properly. My feet at the bottom show just how big this one was.


A pedestrian walks along the strip, the normal ground level view.