Today we went down to the Pro Natura nature reserve at Point de la Bise. It’s about 4 miles from us but still within the canton of Geneva, on the lake. La Bise is the name of one of the local winds, so La Bise is a place where you can go and experience it! The reserve opens at 10 and we were there about 9:30am so we had time to mess about in the neighbouring campsite. Mtoto made good use of the small playground and we also went for a walk around the site, particularly to reach the lake. Mtoto wanted to throw stones in the lake but, unfortunately, some ducks decided that people throwing things in the water were probably throwing food so came to investigate. So no stone throwing any more Mtoto!

A Grey Heron on top of a caravan at La Bise

A Grey Heron on top of a caravan at La Bise

We enjoyed seeing herons in trees and one that flew off and landed on a caravan. Mtoto and L saw a kingfisher at the campsite when they were there on a walk last week, but we didn’t see it today. It was probably next door in the nature reserve until we got there. We have plans to use the campsite for Mtoto’s first outdoor camping adventure later this year, as it is close to home but is a beautiful setting.

Ducks among the reeds at La Bise

Ducks among the reeds at La Bise

After the nature reserve opened we went straight to Mtoto’s favourite feature, the tree house, which is really a hide. But what a hide! It’s got two storeys. On the first level all the windows are permanently open. On the second floor there’s a child gate and there are openings at adult level and at toddler level. It’s simply a brilliant idea and is the only hide that I’ve come across so far that has been designed with toddlers in mind as well as adults or older children.

A Mute Swan landing in Lake Geneva at Baby Plage

A Mute Swan landing in Lake Geneva at Baby Plage

While we were in the hide there was a chap, B, there with a telescope. I asked what he had been looking at and he said there was possibly an unusual gull because of its tail markings and beak. From there we got talking and he recommended another place to go looking at birds on the lake and a website to check out which birds have been recorded where. The birding exchange site, ornitho.ch, allows registered users to record what birds they’ve seen, how many, and where they’ve seen them. It looks like a great resource for Mtoto and me as we’ll be able to see what birds we might expect to see in a place, rather than just knowing what sort of things might be seen in a given season.

Goosander arriving at Baby Plage at Lake Geneva

Goosander arriving at Baby Plage at Lake Geneva

This afternoon we were back on Baby Plage and while Mtoto and L played transport games in the sand, I was off getting in some practice at counting birds so I can contribute to Ornitho! I have made my first entry and even this was a learning experience. I entered my sighting of a Pied Wagtail, only to discover that this would be reported to the “Swiss Rarities Committee”. I deleted my entry and revisited my bird book. There, I learned that the Pied Wagtail shares an entry with the White Wagtail. And it is the latter that I have been seeing around Geneva, including today. As they say, every day’s a school day!

Janathon: Another resting day, with a cold hour-long walk in Mtoto’s quiet time.