The Alps and Camargue – Saturday 25th February – Sunday 4th March 2012

We had been intent on doing another birding trip abroad for a long time and finally decided to head to France. Ever since watching a Tony Soper video about the Camargue when I was about 8 I have always wanted to go and we incorporated a couple of days alpine birding in the Alps too. We flew with easy jet to Grenoble, hiring a car with Europcar and staying at the French budget hotel chain Premiere Classe. The flights were spot on, car hire great and the accommodation was basic but just what we required.

Saturday 25th February

With our flight leaving at 7.30am we were up at 4.15am and headed to the airport with a rough plan of where we wanted to go and birds we hoped to see. Everything went smoothly and we picked up our car with the Alps waiting. Around the airport were a few House Sparrow and we set off for the Ecrins national park choosing Col de Lautaret for the first site. It didn’t take long before our first Hen Harrier was on the list as a ringtail went low across the road near a large finch flock. The traffic was heavy and we eventually made it onto the spectacular road leading towards Briancon.

Along this road we saw two unidentified raptors low over the road and pulled over shortly after. Here we had nice scoped views of a juvenile Golden Eagle and our first flock of ALPINE CHOUGH with around 30 birds high over the mountain. Before long we came to Lautaret and parked up. Unfortunately the road leading high to the Snow Finch site was covered in yes "snow" and a short walk just produced our first Ibex. We walked around the shops and a café and had a look on bare areas for any birds dropping lower out of the snow but couldn’t locate any and continued on. We stopped off at a ski resort for a wander around looking for suitable areas for birds finding Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Coal Tit and Great Tit but there was no sign of any of the more sought after species.

We continued to Briancon and went for a cracking walk in the snow covered Ayes wood near the small village of Villard-St-Pancrace. The wood was buzzing with birds, with the call of Willow Tit and Crested Tit all around us and birds showing well. We continued walking through the thick snow and after noting a Green Woodpecker we were alerted to the sound of a strange woodpecker call a short distance ahead. Slower and distinct but similar to Green Woodpecker. We determined it must be Black Woodpecker! We started scouring the area which was noisy with other woodpeckers. There was lots of activity here and we saw a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker working up a branch before getting a very brief view of the BLACK WOODPECKER in flight going across a gap overhead. A tantalising glimpse of a bird that was very high on the wanted list! We continued on but didn’t get any more views of the woodpecker and enjoyed more Crested Tit with our first Goldcrest and Crossbill were calling overhead. It was a great walk and we returned to the car for the lengthy journey back to the hotel we had booked in Grenoble.

Sunday 26th February

We were up early from the hotel and today was all about one bird. Lammergeier. After around an hour and half we were winding through the gorgeous Reposoir valley climbing higher and passing through the village of Le Reposoir to Col de la Colombiere.

We were just commenting on how clear the roads were when we hit another hitch. The road to the top was blocked again and it was a lengthy walk to the area we intended to watch from! We decided to see how we got on walking on the snow and went a short distance to an area of beech woodland. Here we found plenty of birds feeding on an area of bare grass next to the wood. Chaffinch, Mistle Thrush and Green Woodpecker were seen with Siskin overhead. Two cracking Hawfinch then dropped in and we watched them feeding on the beech masts. Always a treat. There was a fair bit of exposed grass above us off the track and a group of Ibex on the horizon so we decided to go off the track and climb up the hill to explore a little closer.

It was tiring work and we had a well-earned sit down and took in the stunning scenery on a cracking day. Just as I was scoping a Hawfinch, Greg gave the shout of LAMMERGEIER. Looking to the skies an adult bird was drifting towards us and it started circling, slowly gaining height before being lost to view in an area of low cloud. What a bird and a real magic moment. We waited for a while and just as we were sliding down towards the path the bird decided to fly over us again! This time it was far lower and allowed some stunning views only a few meters above us! All the features could be seen and a few close up photos were taken. Great stuff. Maybe it was thinking we would be turning into the next meal!

The first shot as it circled and was lost in cloud. We were well chuffed getting these views!

 

Stunning adult Lammergeier. Amazing to get such a close flyby from this awesome bird.

We decided, after watching this area for a while longer to drive across the valley to try another area at Sixt-Fer-A- Cheval reserve. On the drive we stopped off at a viewing area and had an adult Golden Eagle displaying with a Goshawk over the woods. We drove for around half an hour and before getting to the spot where the walk begins we watched two Dipper on the river. The walk was spectacular, with stunning scenery but again we could not get to the highest scree slopes due to avalanche warnings and the path being roped off. It was amazing listening to the rumbles, cracks and thundering coming from the mountains but it meant we didn’t really see many birds. We did see our first Chamois grazing on the mountainside and a couple of Alpine Chough high up. I also saw a Treecreeper and there were Willow Tit but again the conditions had hampered us somewhat. We drove to a nearby resort and checked any likely bushes only noting a Wren before getting a Pizza and heading for the accommodation at Chambery. A cracking day and a huge target bird nailed on.

Monday 27th February

We left our accommodation at Chambery early and decided today was going to be focused on Nutcracker at a couple of sites around Briancon. Following the sat nav it appeared it wasn’t as far as we thought to get there but we didn’t realise this route involved travelling through a tunnel into Italy which cost e39 for the privilege. Coming out of the very long tunnel into Italy we were greeted with breath-taking scenery and climbed high into the mountains coming to the large ski resort of Claviere.

Here we stopped for a look and instantly spotted a flock of 20-25 Alpine Chough and they got up flying overhead with a few birds landing on the chalets. This was the first time we had been close to these birds and we took some time to scope them and get some photos. Smart birds.

Alpine Chough

We walked around the resort looking at likely areas holding food but only came across a few Geenfinch and Goldfinch. No Snowfinch for us. We wandered back to the car and decided to drive around looking for any likely spots. Driving up a dead end road towards another small resort proved a masterstroke. We immediately noticed birds on the side of the road and were pleased to get excellent views of two CITRIL FINCH. We got out and put some seed down near the car to try and bring birds out and in a short time saw Rock Bunting, two Crested Tit showing very well, 4 Crossbill and 2 Red Squirrel were foraging in the snow below us.

Citril Finch

We continued walking along the road after seeing the Citril Finch again we were treated to stunning views of Crossbill with birds singing in nearby larch trees. They were so close you could see their tongue and the twisting of the larch cones. Great birds.

Close up Crossbill

We scanned the area and tops of pines across the valley and started walking back to the car. Both of us then stopped immediately to question a large bird that had flown across the road up ahead. A harsh repetitive call then began from the area of woodland above us and we both had the same thought! We headed along a path trying to look between the trees to get a view of the bird that sounded so close to us! Luckily the trees were quite sparse and through a gap Greg picked up the noisy NUTCRACKER in the top of a larch. We watched the bird briefly here before it flew and shortly after I got back onto it and we had good scoped views as the bird called loudly for around 5 minutes from near the top of another larch. It flew further into the woodland and we heard the bird a few more times but didn’t see it again. What a bird and amazing to get such close scoped views.

Nutcracker through the trees

We scanned the tops of the trees for a while longer here and a sub-adult Golden Eagle drifted over. Our 3rd in 3 days. Top stuff. It goes to prove when you find an area which holds birds in these regions to really give it time. This was a very productive area.

Goldie drifting overhead

We carried on our way, after being in this area for some time and decided to spend the rest of the day in the woods around Briancon. On the way we stopped to admire a view and saw more Chamois here along with two Raven and a Crag Martin high overhead.

Chamois

Having succeeded with another big target bird we enjoyed some woodland birding near Briancon again, hearing Black Woodpecker again and watching more Willow Tit along with Siskin and Nuthatch. We had read that this wood held Pygmy Owl and at 5.30 we heard a bird calling nearby. We got into a spot to try and see the bird but after calling 6 times it stopped and didn’t call again. Amazing just to hear it as we had learnt the call prior to the trip. A really great day and the scene in the wood was amazing with buzzing Willow Tit, Crested Tit all over the place and a PYGMY OWL calling, great stuff. We had decided now to head for Arles and after 3h 20 minutes arrived at the hotel. We had a few beers and made a quick plan for the next day before getting some well-earned shut eye.

Tuesday 28th February

Today we headed first for the town of Les Baux and leaving the hotel it was apparent instantly the different environment we were in. Just leaving Arles we were pulling over to watch a cracking male Hen Harrier and a Sardinian Warbler was rattling away at the base of an olive tree.

Approaching the town we had a Red Kite over the car, along with a Great White Egret in a field, a skein of 25 Greylag Geese and a Black Redstart was perched on a garden fence. Arriving at the town we were the first car there and went for a walk around the area. Black Redstarts were all over the place with at least 5 seen throughout the morning. We searched for Alpine Accentor but just Dunnock and Chaffinch were spotted with Black Redstart always nearby. We walked around to the back of the town to scan some rock faces and in no time Greg picked up a WALLCREEPER feeding away on a sheer face across the road. We had good views of the bird for around 15 minutes before it flew out of sight. What great birds.

We put a load of seed on a flat rock nearby and looked around this area noting two Serin, Blue Rock Thrush, two Blackcap and more Sardinian Warbler. A really great start to the day with some cracking birds.

Serin

After doing a circuit around the town and walking and birding the streets we paid to get into the Chateau when it opened at 10 o’clock to get to the highest spot. We had literally just walked in across to an open area when we noticed a flock of birds shuffling around on the grass in front of us. They were indeed ALPINE ACCENTOR and the 9 birds soon lifted up and all sat on a wall nearby before moving away to feed. We followed them and had some superb views as they all fed just a few meters from us. Smashing little birds.

Alpine Accentor, one of the flock of 9 seen.

A Raven flying low overhead flushed them after about 15 minutes and whilst scanning for where they had moved to Greg had a very brief glimpse of another WALLCREEPER. We didn’t walk around the whole chateau not managing to find the flock and after yet another Black Redstart we headed for the car. After seeing our target birds here very well we headed just outside the town to La Caume.

Here we had to park up and go on a walk of around 2 Km climbing to a relay station. The walk was great and we saw Citril Finch and Crested Tit on the way with stunning views over the woodland and beyond. Reaching the summit we gave ourselves 3 hours for raptor watching and went for a wander around at the very top noting Rock Bunting, Woodlark and Red-legged Partridge. After a packed lunch and not much sign of raptors we enjoyed the displaying Dartford Warblers all around us with a Firecrest briefly and another Black Redstart. At around 4 it seemed the day was at its warmest and the weather just felt good for raptors. As we started our decent sure enough two BONELLI’S EAGLE moved overhead and soared high over the wood before moving away. We stopped and scanned from a lower point and as I looked around a pale bird drifted right over our heads. Cracking views and by far the best we had. Greg swung the camera onto it but the light was not good for a pic. Another great bird.

Bonelli's Eagle

We strolled back through the woodland to the car with thoughts moving towards an Eagle Owl spot for the evening after another very productive session. We also saw one of the few butterflies of the trip and photographed this Cleopatra.

We looked at directions to a good spot and en-route stopped to watch a singing male Cirl Bunting which was to be the only one of the trip. Arriving at the Eagle Owl spot we sussed out a good area to view the ledges and caves from but decided it was far too early and went back to Les Baux for half an hour. On arriving we checked our seed which had Chaffinch on it with Serin nearby and within minutes it was my turn to spot a WALLCREEPER. We watched this stunning little bird for at least 40 minutes working the face and dropping very low indeed. At one point it winkled out a grub and found a nice ledge to whack it and eat it. It put on a cracking show with its wings constantly flicking that brilliant crimson. The bird flew out of sight and we headed down the road for the evening.

Wonderful Wallcreeper

We scanned and scanned all the likely ledges and caves and after listening to at least two Firecrest we heard the first hoot from the Eagle Owl. Great stuff. We waited and waited and when light was really fading a silhouetted EAGLE OWL flew into a small cave. We got the scope on it and could just make the bird out. At this point a second bird flew across the gap against the sky giving good flight views before perching on a rock outcrop. The first bird then flew from its cave across to meet it apparently carrying a food item. Some screeching then ensued and more hooting before one more flight view as a bird flew back across against the sky. The whole atmosphere and the excellent views of this mighty owl in flight was definitely one of my trip highlights. What a day! All the birds we hoped to see showed so well for us with a great supporting cast in great weather!

Wednesday 29th February

Today was to be our first day around the Camargue and we started off the day at La Capeliere. Before getting there we had 3 Great White Egret on a pool along with Spotted Redshank many Little Egret and Snipe with our first Marsh Harrier. From the visitor centre we walked around the circular path seeing Water Rail and Reed Bunting with Shoveler and Teal being the main wildfowl with fewer Gadwall. Towards the end of the walk we came across a very nice feeding party of PENDULINE TIT. Five of these smart little birds were feeding in the trees. We watched them for a while becoming acquainted with the call which is a bit of a softer drawn out Reed Bunting call really. Useful for locating them!

Penduline Tit

We watched two White Stork near the car park back on their nest and displaying before driving to a viewing platform down the road. On the way driving very slowly I was looking through the few gulls and could see one looked different.On pulling over for a closer look it was indeed a SLENDER-BILLED GULL, the only one of the trip. A new bird for both of us and it was nice to compare it with a nearby Black-headed Gull.

Slender-billed Gull (bottom) with a Black-headed Gull

Slender-billed Gull

From the platform there were two Crane another White Stork in flight with a selection of wildfowl and a Cetti’s Warbler. Continuing on, there were Great White Egret all over the place and we had our first views of the Greater Flamingos with the sea splashed with pink. Great birds. Around the roads there were Crested Lark and Sky Lark with another smart male Black Redstart showing well with a group of Avocet on a shallow pool.

Driving back we had a superb flyby from a Marsh Harrier before bumping into a local birder (and united fan) who showed us some photos of a stack of Crane taken nearby earlier in the day.

Marsh Harrier

We headed to Mas D’agon and after spotting our first Coypu of the trip swimming along a channel we picked up a flock of around 100 COMMON CRANE heading towards us. The birds came right overhead calling loudly and slowly circling gaining height on a thermal. Another flock of 60 birds joined them and they drifted away. A real treat that we didn’t expect.

Common Crane

We then drove to Albaron spotting a smart male Hen Harrier which landed for a while and then headed towards Mejanes along a dirt track stopping and starting scanning for birds. We had great views of Flamingos here with a group of males flicking their heads from side to side and marching through the water to impress the ladies. A superb scene.

Male Flamingos displaying together to impress the females

A ringtail Hen Harrier drifted past and we stopped for a while to scan fields and the sky. Four Spoonbill flew high overhead and five Marsh Harrier were seen along with a pale Bonelli’s Eagle high over.

Spoonbill high overhead 

We decided to go for another wander round the reeds near La Capeliere before heading back and here we saw loads of Coypu just wandering around on the tracks in front of us and saw another Penduline Tit in the reeds. The Coypu are just so tame!

Coypu out on the path. They are all over the place here.

We finished off a cracking day watching the sun set from a nearby platform and had good scoped views of a Cetti’s Warbler and another male Hen Harrier drifted in front off us with Great White Egret popping up everywhere. It was only 20 minutes back to the hotel which was a nice change and gave us time time for a proper meal and a few beers.

Thursday 1st March

Today we visited the Crau and started off at the far side coming in via Entressen. On the way we had a brief view of a very large and dark Wild Boar but it ran off pretty quickly as we reversed up to watch it. Before reaching the Crau we parked up to have a scan of the lake from the sailing club and in the trees next to us a Lesser spotted Woodpecker was calling and drumming and we had good views of the bird as it worked through the canopy. We parked up and walked a little way onto the vast stony environment that is the Crau and scanned for birds. We were looking mainly for flocks in flight and noted a flock of around 100 Golden Plover with some Starling in with them, but after a good look could not see and Sandgrouse or Bustard. Skylarks and Crested Lark were seen with two Southern Grey Shrike. We decided to head for the other side of this vast area for a look and before we left had a walk around a well-known spot for Richards Pipit but did not hear or see any. A guide we bumped into said that they had been difficult this year and none had been seen since the cold snap. Continuing to the other side we stopped to watch a mixed flock of Tree Sparrow and Corn Bunting and had a Black Kite drifting overhead. We also had good views of Woodlark and another Southern Grey Shrike before going for another walk across the stony plain.

Here we had a smart male Hen Harrier close by and picked up a distant flock of around 20 Little Bustard. The birds were distant but as they came into land the white wings could be clearly seen. After scanning the area a while longer we headed back to the Camargue.

We decided to take a packed lunch and go for a walk around the Parc Ornithologique. This large reserve with many hides and paths also has some aviaries which housed injured and rescued birds, from Short-toed Eagles to Egyptian Vultures. Throughout the park, on many of the lagoons were large flocks of noisy Flamingos. These birds are all wild but so used to the people they allow very, very close views. Amazing birds.

Stunning Greater Flamingo

Also here were heronries with many Little Egret and Cattle Egret which were in full breeding plumage. There were also four Sacred Ibis here that we had a good look at and later saw two flying overhead.

Little Egret

Cattle Egret

We went for a walk around the reserve seeing 60-70 Shoveler on a lagoon with more Cattle Egret and Marsh Harrier were often low overhead. Scanning the estuary area produced 3 Black-necked Grebe and after hearing some Bearded Tit pinging in the reeds we picked up our only Purple Gallinule of the trip walking along the reed edge. We continued on, getting good views of Water Pipit and White Wagtail and a Water Rail was out in the open. After leaving we went for a drive back along the dust road which you can drive all the way along from near Pioch Bades. We enjoyed more Flamingos with around 30 Avocet in amongst them and then started to scan all likely areas for birds. Greg spotted a large raptor sat up distantly across the water and on getting a little closer and talking to another birder watching it, we were delighted to be looking at our first SPOTTED EAGLE. The size and shape were clearly evident but it was very distant. It got up briefly further confirming its identification and then sat back on the same perch until the sun went down. What a bird and another really enjoyable days birding. We knew we would be back for more views of the Eagle!

A distant record shot of the Spotted Eagle on its favourite perch

Friday 2nd March

Today we decided to head to Mount Ventoux about 1hr 20mins north or Arles and back to some alpine birding. This was one last effort at Snowfinch. We left early and started climbing up the side of the mountain stopping to watch a Red Squirrel in the road. The woodland as we climbed higher was stunning. Firecrest were all over the place with their song filling the wood and we went for a walk after hearing the call of Black Woodpecker. Unfortunately we didn’t see it but experienced it’s distinct drumming and call many times. So close! We continued driving higher and higher stopping to look at the stunning views.

We could not reach the top due to the road still being shut so birded around a very thawed out Ski resort. Here we had brilliant views of displaying Citril Finch and watched a bird collecting nesting material and saw a large flock of Chaffinch and Crossbill but no Snowfinch again. We drove around to the other side and on reaching the chalet went for a walk to get as high as we could. Three Black Redstart were around and we had good views of a very scaly male Ring Ouzel. A very smart bird indeed! Two Rock Bunting were singing here and we saw more Crested Tit along with a Kestrel. After a good search and no sign of Snowfinch we spent the rest of the day trying to track down Black Woodpecker.

Driving slowly down the road we pulled over at a likely looking spot. Quite open with some beech trees so we gave this area some time. I was scanning standing out of the car and from in the car Greg picked up a BLACK WOODPECKER on a tree! By the time I had swung onto it all I saw was the bird as it flew across the road! We searched and then waited to see if it would come back in to the same area as it would be on territory now but there was no joy. After views of Willow Tit, Nuthatch and Treecreeper and with time running out we went for one last walk and heard the bird calling again. As we were heading to the area the bird flew and we both had good, long flight views as it went across the wood. We were happy with this view but I will have to get back and see one on a tree to get that view of the crimson cap!

We headed back to the Hotel and on the way Greg had an owl species fly across the road. Not our most productive day, but really stunning scenery with some excellent birds. Searching for Black Woodpecker is great fun and a bird I have wanted to see for a very long time.

Saturday 3rd March

Today we decided to drive around the Camargue and pick up as many birds as we could for the final day. The weather once again was bright and still and once again we decided to start with a walk around the visitor centre at La Capeliere and work our way around the area from there. On the way we had yet another male Hen Harrier and stopping to look over the large reed bed near the centre was a good move as two Night Heron had joined the Grey Heron in the heronry. We scanned the lagoons and noted a flock of 20 Black-tailed Godwit and a Green Sandpiper. Driving on towards the centre we unfortunately flushed a Bittern from the side of the road, it was walking along the grass verge and got up just as we stopped. A few new birds for the trip and an excellent start!

Following the circular route, from the first viewing platform we had a single Black-winged Stilt that flew in to feed with the Egrets and two Penduline Tit were again feeding in trees by the path. We had an awesome close up view of a hunting Great White Egret from a hide and moved on after watching the White Stork bill clapping on their nest.

Amazing to get some great close up views of Great White Egret.

Continuing down the road we stopped to scan through a huge flock of 200+ Chaffinch and 30+ Corn Bunting with a Kestrel keeping watch. A quick scan from the viewing platform nearby produced a flock of around 30 Ruff and the two Crane were still present. We headed back and enjoyed watching the Night Heron again as they got up and landed in a tree very near the road.

Night Heron

Whilst watching them, a Zitting Cisticola showed very well in a hedge and sat up for a long time. We continued onwards, stopping and starting to scan for birds and we spent some more time at Mas D’agon as we didn’t spend long last time.

We parked and walked along the road and after a short time I noticed a Black Stork up in the distance. The bird flew closer and closer, eventually passing almost overhead before dropping out of sight. Another cracking bird and a first for the trip. Continuing on we finally saw two male Bearded Tit in the reeds albeit a bit distant. On the lagoon were four Mediterranean Gulls and Water Pipit were close to the road. On the walk back to the car, the Black Stork flew over again with Cattle Egret on horseback with a White Stork circling. A flock of around 30 Ringed Plover also dashed overhead with Marsh Harrier always on view. So far the birds were coming thick and fast and it really was a superb few hours birding. We drove along the dirt track again and had a scan for the Spotted Eagle but after not seeing it around the usual spot we drove on and had lunch on a sand bank looking over the estuary. We enjoyed watching the Flamingos and Avocet and noted a single Sandwich Tern and four Red Breasted Merganser here.

We decided to drive to a new spot now, not too far away and began driving along a very straight road with a canal on the right surrounded by vast reed beds. On stopping and getting out at a pull in we were instantly hit with the sound of pinging Bearded Tit and had good views of birds in the reeds close to the road and flying over the canal. We walked along the road and could hear what must have been a Moustached Warbler as it sounded distinct from Sedge and Reed but just could not see the bird. The many gulls overhead held a good number of Mediterranean Gull as you could clearly hear their distinct call as the flock caught insects on the wing. This area was buzzing with birds! What we saw next in the canal was a very sad sight as a recently dead Bittern floated in the water. It could have been hit by a car as it is a fast road, but there is a fair chance it was shot by hunters. While we were here two men turned up and put up razor wire to keep people out of the reed beds. It is such a shame people get joy out of pointlessly slaughtering anything that moves.

We wandered back to the car and a large group of birds in the distance looked different and on scoping the birds turned out to be Glossy Ibis, their distinct flight and shape clear to see. We took a couple of photos to count the birds and there were 72 in total! They circled a few times and then dropped down out of sight across the reeds. Magic! Just as we were about to leave, the pinging was getting very loud and 3-4 Bearded Tit were in the reeds just the other side of the canal. For the next 15 minutes we had stunning views as the males chased the females, small groups flew across the road right past us and the constant excitable pinging rang out. The reeds were crawling with them and they often made their way up the reed stems before flying across the road. This was a real highlight of the trip. In total we must have seen at least 25 birds with some birds sitting up to allow a bit of digiscoping! Such smart birds.

Superb male Bearded Tit

Buzzing from yet another un-forgettable experience we headed back towards the Spotted Eagle site but again we weren’t moving for long as around the next corner the fields were just covered in Common Crane!

A field full of Crane

They were feeding away with young birds present and a count of the vast flock produced an estimate of around 550 birds! As we were watching, some birds were getting up but most were busy feeding and it was great to see such a large flock. Another magic moment! We finished the day and trip back at the Spotted Eagle site and again in the evening sun we had the bird on the same perch. We watched it take off on a few occasions putting up the wildfowl on the water. It was a brilliant way to end the trip watching such a special bird and the whole day had just been awesome with not 10 minutes passing without something special to watch! When it was too dark to see we hit the road for the long journey back to Grenoble and when we got to the hotel had a few beers to celebrate a great trip.

Greg Scoping the Spotted Eagle in the evening sun.

Sunday 4th March

We got up early to clean the filthy car and pack up all our stuff properly but still had time for a quick walk around the accommodation. There was an area of trees nearby, beyond some rough grass and Green Woodpecker were seen along with a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which called a few times and we had brief views of the bird up in the canopy. Even a short 10 minute walk near a small area of trees can be very productive! We had good views of a Red Squirrel working along a hedgerow and then headed for the airport and boarded the plane home. A superb trip, packed full of great birds and wildlife with some simply stunning scenery. Action packed as always with many unforgettable moments.

Full Species List

1. Mute Swan

2.Greylag Goose

3. Shelduck 

4. Mallard

5. Gadwall

6. Pintail

7. Shoveler

8. Wigeon

9. Teal

10. Pochard

11. Goosander

12. Red-legged Partridge

13. Pheasant

14. Black-necked Grebe

15. Little Grebe

16. Great Crested Grebe

17. Cormorant

18. Cattle Egret

19. Little Egret

20. Great White Egret

21. Grey Heron

22. White Stork

23. Black Stork

24. Spoonbill

25. Greater Flamingo

26. Lammergeier

27. Golden Eagle

28. Spotted Eagle

29. Bonelli’s Eagle

30. Red Kite

31. Black Kite

32. Marsh harrier

33. Hen Harrier

34. Common Buzzard

35. Sparrowhawk

36. Goshawk

37. Kestrel

38. Peregrine

39. Water Rail

40. Purple Gallinule

41. Common Crane

42. Little Bustard

43. Avocet

44. Golden Plover

45. Lapwing

46. Spotted Redshank

47. Redshank

48. Curlew

49. Snipe

50. Black-headed Gull

51. Slender Billed Gull

52. Yellow Legged Gull

53. Feral Pigeon

54. Stock Dove

55. Woodpigeon

56. Collared Dove

57. Eagle Owl

58. Black Woodpecker

59. Green Woodpecker

60. Great Spotted Woodpecker

61. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

62. Skylark

63. Crested Lark

64. Woodlark

65. Crag Martin

66. Water Pipit

67. Meadow Pipit

68. Dipper

69. Dunnock

70. Alpine Accentor

71. Robin

72. Black Redstart

73. Song Thrush

74. Mistle Thrush

75. Fieldfare

76. Blackbird

77. Ring Ouzel

78. Blue Rock Thrush

79. White Wagtail

80. Blackcap

81. Sardinian Warbler

82. Dartford Warbler

83. Goldcrest

84. Firecrest

85. Wren

86. Great Tit

87. Coal Tit

88. Blue Tit

89. Crested Tit

90. Marsh Tit

91. Willow Tit

92. Long-tailed Tit

93. Penduline Tit

94. Bearded Tit

95. Nuthatch

96. Treecreeper

97. Wallcreeper

98. Southern Grey Shrike

99. Magpie

100. Jay

101. Nutcrakcer

102. Jackdaw

103. Alpine Chough

104. Rook

105. Carrion Crow

106. Raven

107. Starling

108. House Sparrow

109. Tree Sparrow

110. Chaffinch

111. Linnet

112. Goldfinch

113. Greenfinch

114. Siskin

115. Bullfinch

116. Citril Finch

117. Serin

118. Hawfinch

119. Crossbill

120. Reed Bunting

121. Corn Bunting

122. Cirl Bunting

123. Rock Bunting

124. Night Heron

125. Black-tailed Godwit

126. Green Sandpiper

127. Bittern

128. Black Winged Stilt

129. Zitting Cisticola

130. Mediterranean Gull

131. Ringed Plover

132. Dunlin

133. Stonechat

134. Red Crested Pochard

135. Sandwich Tern

136. Red-Breasted Merganser

137. Glossy Ibis

138. Cetti’s Warbler

Heard:

Moustached Warbler

Pygmy Owl

Mammals

1.Ibex

2.Chamois

3.Coypu

4.Red Squirrel

5.Wild Boar

Butterflies

1.Cleopatra