Friday, 4 May 2012

The Marsh again and Feeling like a Grandfather again

Jonathan Kemp came over from Limoux today to join me in his first visit to the marsh at Capestang.  A bit cloudy and cool to start with and we picked up 5 Honey Buzzards flying over the road near Cabezac.  Arriving at the marsh we hoped we might see more of this species but that was it for today.  Walking down the track we noted a Great White Egret and up to 4 Black Kites and somewhat surprisingly a female Golden Oriole flew over.  This was quickly followed by a calling Grey Plover.  Up to 10 Lapwings were also present.


Great Reed and Reed Warblers dominated the singing from the marsh but we also saw and heard Water Rail, Cettis Warbler, Fan-tailed Warbler, Blue-headed Wagtail, Reed Bunting and Bearded Tit.  There were plenty of Purple Herons and to our delight a Squacco Heron got up and flew a short distance before dropping down again.

Squacco Heron

Arriving back at the car we stopped to enjoy a sandwich and the birding got even better.  First a Gull-billed Tern flew up the canal really close and then a pair of Great Spotted Cuckoos settled in nearby bushes and finally a superb Hobby flew over our heads.

Great Spotted Cuckoo

We moved on to meet up with Stuart Gregory and went off to check a precious Bonelli's Eagle site.  Before reaching the site we saw at least a couple of Woodchat Shrikes and a Tawny Pipit. Reaching our destination we were thrilled to find the female in attendance with two downy chicks.  With only 30 pairs of this super raptor in France every successful nest is vital.  I had to confess it felt like being a Grandfather again.

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