Birding Geneva, Part 2

Thursday afternoon Beth had a rehearsal for her performance, so I went birding by myself along the East shore of Lake Geneva. This area is known as the Quai. I started roughly around the Jardin Anglais and walked a couple of miles along the shore through a marina and past the Jet d’eau (which may not be the world’s largest water fountain, but it’s got to be in the top ten).

Jette d\'eau in Lake Geneva

At this time of year (late October) Lake Geneva is full of waterfowl; and I spotted a number of relatively familiar species almost immediately:

  1. Tufted Duck (very common, related to our Ring-necked Duck)
  2. European Coot (essentially the same as American Coot except for an extra knob on its bill)
  3. Moorhen (also a U.S. bird)
  4. Mute Swan (native here, unlike the U.S. where it’s an exotic)
  5. Mallards (exactly the same as our Mallards)
  6. Black-headed Gull (the most common gull on Lake Geneva)
  7. Yellow-legged Gull (not nearly as common as in Venice)
    Yellow-legged Gull in Lake Geneva
  8. House Sparrow
  9. Rock Pigeon
  10. Great Cormorant
  11. Great Crested Grebe
    Great Crested Grebe in Lake Geneva
  12. Common Blackbird
  13. Little Grebe (The first life bird of this hike)
  14. Carrion Crow
    Carrion Crow in Lake Geneva

I was just getting ready to turn around when I stumbled onto the Parc La Grange, which was just off the edge of my map. However, it proved to be an excellent park for all sorts of passerines, especially tits and finches. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon there where I picked up:

  1. Common Teal (a subspecies of Green-winged teal or vice versa)
  2. Blue Tit
  3. Great Tit
  4. European Jay
  5. Crested Tit (a life bird)
  6. European Robin
  7. Marsh Tit (another lifer)
  8. Nuthatch
  9. Chaffinch
  10. Hawfinch (another lifer, and a hard one to get. Apparently these don’t sing very loudly and spend most of their time hiding in the tops of high trees. I was lucky enough to find one foraging in leaf litter on the ground.)
  11. Collared Dove

Toward the end of the afternoon, I exited the park and walked back the way I came along the shore of Lake Geneva. Mostly I spotted the same waterfowl I’d seen on the walk to the Park: coots, mallards, grebes, gulls, and the like. However I did also spot a Red-breasted Merganser back in the City Center. Fortunately I had the good sense to check this one in my field guide, which promptly informed me there weren’t any Red-breasted Mergansers in Lake Geneva. Instead I was looking at a Goosander, my tenth life bird for the day!

Goosander in Lake Geneva

In my defense, a Goosander really does look exactly like a Red-breasted Merganser except for a slight variation in the neck pattern. It’s obvious once you know what to look for, but it doesn’t jump out at you. Goosanders could probably show up every year in Jamaica Bay without anyone realizing they were here.

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