Thursday, 5 April 2012

A Day Worth Waiting For

We needed to do some shopping so a trip to Narbonne was a certainty.  First though we decided to go birding and began the day at Pissevache.  On the lagoon there were dozens of Avocets and a couple of Black-winged Stilts.  The islands held c30 noisy Sandwich Terns.  We then turned our attention to the sewerage lagoons.  A fine male Little Gull was hawking for insects together with c20 Barn Swallows, 10 Common Swifts and 5 Alpine Swifts.  Moving on a Hoopoe flew across the road before we reached Gruissan.

Hoopoe in France

Driving along you could now see how much damage had been done to gardens during the big freeze earlier in the year,  Nearly all palm trees were brown and dead and many oleanders looked worse for wear.  Reaching Gruissan we first looked at the beach.  Not much there but driving through the vineyards back from the beach we encountered a splendid male Black-eared Wheatear and 2 equally impressive male Redstarts.

This Black-eared Wheatear brightened up the day

The grazing meadows near Le Roc were very dry so we looked at the saline lagoons instead.  More Black-winged Stilts and 18 Greenshanks caught the eye.  Beryl was sharp eyed as usual pointing out a Hobby sitting on a newly seeded rice field.

Short-toed Eagle overhead today

The little lagoon at the museum at Mandirac was excellent with 4 Garganey, 2 Great White Egrets and a White Stork sitting on a nest nearby.  This is the first time I have seen that in this region.  Continuing the Mandirac tour we found many more Avocets and Black-winged Stilts, 5 Spotted Redshanks and a Green Sandpiper.  A passing Osprey had us looking up and we then noted 4 Short-toed Eagles, 4 Marsh Harriers and a dark phase Booted Eagle.  We were not finished yet as heading back to Narbonne we flushed a splendid Great Spotted Cuckoo from the roadside.  All of that made shopping so much more bearable.

1 comment:

  1. Well I'd say the shopping trip was quite profitable!