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TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Camargue in Winter

25 - 30 January 2002


Leaders:
Tim Earl

Trip Diary

Friday 25 January

A Greater Flamingo seen on the trip from Marseilles Provence Airport to the Hotel Robinson gave us a taste of what was to come on this exciting winter visit to the Camargue area. So too did snow on the distant mountains - it had forced alpine birds down into the more accessible valleys and later in the afternoon we were admiring a flock of 11 Alpine Accentors in the beautiful hilltop quarry town of Les Baux de Provence.

As an 'extra' day, it was excellent. Those of us from Guernsey had chosen to stay in Gatwick overnight and catch the early flight to Marseilles. It was uneventful until the final five minutes when the British Airways 737 swept out over the Mediterranean, turned and gave us a superb view of Marseilles before landing.

We drove to the hotel gaining a few 'minibus ticks', including the Flamingo, on the way. After a sandwich we drove the short distance to Les Baux where a search for Wallcreeper was started but not finished. Compensation came in the form of a flock (yes, flock) of Alpine Accentors which were charging around the village and its car parks, seemingly looking for us.

Other birds were a delight to: Black Redstarts, Common Buzzards and several Blue Rock-thrushes provided the supporting cast.

The finale was a superb meal which left us gasping both for space inside and in anticipation of the famous picnics which the hotel is reputed to provide.

Saturday 26 January

An early start was called for as we returned to Les Baux to continue the search started yesterday. The minibus was groaning under the weight of containers holding the picnic and even after a good breakfast we were anticipating lunch.

We staked out two likely looking cliff faces and soon a cry went up from Judy: she had found a Wallcreeper. Telescopes were swivelled onto the spot and soon everyone had enjoyed great views of the bird - one of Europe's more difficult species to see - as it flicked and flitted from crack to crevice on the cliff face. We continued the search long after this individual had gone and while some looked, others enjoyed the other bird life around.

The Mediterranean is a major wintering site for Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, both of which were seen in numbers. A Cirl Bunting sang for a while from a leafless tree giving most a good view, while two Crested Tits found by Mary were a real and unexpected bonus. Jackdaws flew out from nest holes while Blue Rock-thrushes and Alpine Accentors put in an occasional appearance. Our first Serins were seen and heard while Chaffinches and Goldfinches remained common.

We explored the village for a while, buying postcards, lavender and local herbs as presents, before setting off for the steppes at Les Jesse near Salon where we hoped to find wintering Little Bustards. Passing a rubbish tip on the way there we were suddenly circled by about 15 Red Kites some of which came close to the minibus which we had parked and jumped out of to use the telescopes. The views were terrific but the situation, parked next to a main road with a motorway a few metres away, was not good and we set off again on our bustard hunt.

Amazingly, as we laid out our first and extensive picnic lunch, Tim walked to a mound and spotted a flock of about 35 birds feeding in the grass no more than 100 metres away. We watched them closely as they picked and scratched for seeds and insects.

Food called, however, and we eventually broke off to enjoy the vast range of fare provided by the hotel.

A walk along a poplar hedge bordering the steppe proved a real find. Within minutes we were watching a pair of Stonechats when a Dartford Warbler popped up with them, exactly as some field-guides describe. It was clearly a well-read bird. Southern Grey Shrikes were quite common and we all had good views but a pair of Rock Buntings was unexpected and welcomed by all.

A flock of about 10 larks was flitting ahead of us nervously but would not settle long enough to allow good views for identification. Eventually they decided to return to the spot we had first seen them close to the bus and gave a fluting call as they slipped past. They were wintering Woodlarks. Our first Red-legged Partridge gave exceptional views as it posed on a pile of rocks while we set up telescopes and gave it the once-over.

A simple question led to one of the most amazing sights of the trip: 'What are those white birds flying against the hills?' They were 120 Little Bustards which flew off to our left, circled and went down into fields at least three kilometres away. This was a truly exceptional sight with serious implications - if they were not the flock we had seen originally the steppe at Les Jesse had more than 150 birds wintering on it.

The walk was accompanied by the occasional calls of a Green Woodpecker on the other side of the hedge where there were fields of Almond trees, each bordered by a Cupressus hedge. We walked down the end of these fields and were amazed to find large flocks of wintering Chaffinches with lots of other birds thrown in for good measure. A Brambling was found and most of us obtained good views before the flock was flushed. Chiffchaffs were flitting between the hedge and paths which bordered it, accompanied by Robins and the occasional Black Redstart. Tim and David had views of the Green Woodpecker but nobody except the leader got onto a Fieldfare which flashed through his telescope view.

Our return to the bus was towards the end of the day in exceptionally soft light. We decided not to race off in search of the large flock of bustards but to see out the day there. Within minutes we had located the original flock confirming our hopes that this was a major wintering site. Imagine our amazement when we relocated them, confirming the figure of 150 or more birds. Imagine too the extraordinary looks as another flock of about 150 birds, including ours, took flight 30 minutes later. We decided to enter a figure of between 150 and 300 Little Bustards for the day.

The final bird of the day was a Little Owl which, typically, appeared from nowhere to sit blinking on a pile of stones. The sunset was beautiful, we were tired, but the day had been close to perfect.

Sunday 27 January

A 6.30am walk to listen for a Tawny Owl which had been heard in the hotel grounds got the day off to a great start. Not only was the hotel bird heard but a competitor some distance away also replied. Our first Cetti's Warbler was heard singing in the dark pre-dawn.

A walk around the hotel after breakfast allowed the staff to prepare another brilliant picnic while we watched Cirl Bunting, Sardinian Warbler and a flock of distinctly agitated tits. One of two Red Squirrels was seen by everyone adding this enchanting animal to our mammal list.

Our first encounter with the Camargue marshes at Gallician was so exciting that we stopped by the side of the road after 200 metres and gazed in wonder for more than an hour. Great and Little egrets, Marsh Harriers, Reed Buntings, White Wagtails, Water Pipits, Cetti's Warblers, Grey Herons, Buzzards, and Yellow-legged Gulls were all plentiful. Three Kingfishers were seen, at least one giving John the best views of the bird he has ever had. One Marsh Harrier, perched on the ground close to the road, showed features of partial albinism.

The road was busy and we moved on towards our goal of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and the Parc Ornithologique, stopping to look at the Camargue bulls and horses. It was on one such stop that we found a field of small bulls, which had Sky Larks, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Cirl Bunting and Yellowhammers for company. A detour to catch a ferry across Le Petit Rhone took us to a ramp with no boat; it was being repaired and would not be in service until 1 February we were told. This was too long to wait (although tempting in the wonderful circumstances) and we retraced our route.

The Parc was terrific. In fact it was the birds which were terrific. A huge panoramic window in the interpretation centre gave views across a pond which seemed lined with Greater Flamingos. Inspection showed that they were not alone. Hundreds of Mallards and Teal were on the pond with a few Northern Shovelers for good measure. More than 50 Coots were feeding earnestly close to the Flamingos.

We had lunch at a picnic spot with Cetti's Warblers, Reed Buntings and a young, fearless Coypu (Nutria) for company. On a post lunch walk saw few new birds except a pair of Mute Swans and a Herring Gull sitting on a post next to a Yellow-legged Gull for comparison.

Our day ended with a drive in search of waders and Slender-billed Gulls at the Étang de Malagroy reserve. None was found, but we did discover thousands of Greater Flamingos - so many that the horizon was pink with birds feeding in the shallow waters - plus hundreds of (Pied) Avocets. Tim saw a couple of Curlews but both dropped behind banks before they could be pointed out to the group. A few Common (Mew) Gulls were seen too.

Monday 29 January

Owls are a universal favourite and our plan to find the largest in Europe - Eagle Owl - met with approval. Working on detailed instructions from another Travelling Naturalist leader, Mike Read, we were able to find a roosting bird on a cliff face near Lauris. It was a thrilling experience as we studied the bird quietly, gazing through telescopes as it blinked its bright yellow eyes occasionally. Challenged by a man in a van (who turned out to be the Mayor of the local community) we were able to show him the bird plus a mixed flock of Greater Short-toed Larks and Chaffinches in the fields behind while Marylee and John went off to try for pictures of a Winter Wren. Was it coincidence that, as we were celebrating our wonderful find, the French air display team went past in nine jets?

After coffee we went down to a bird hide which overlooked a lake near Merindol. A pair of pale-headed Long-tailed Tits gave us a good views before we entered the hide to struggle against the bright sunlight reflecting off the water. A flock of feeding Common Pochard, lots of Little Grebes, Cormorants and Mallards were immediately noticeable and it fell to Judy to dig out the goodie, a Black-necked (Eared) Grebe. An information board showed Eurasian Beaver as present and we wondered if a huge pile of sticks at one end of the lake could be a lodge. A Red Squirrel was the only certain mammal, however.

Lunch was taken in a wonderful spot high in the Massif des Cedres with views out over the village of Bonnieux. Wild Thyme and other herbs scented our picnic spot and in hot sunshine we ate one of the best meals of the trip. It was also one of the funniest. As we were finishing, a flock of 500 sheep (controlled by one shepherd and three dogs) walked through our picnic site offering to finish anything we were eating. Marylee's pear received several offers as the sheep isolated her from the rest of us.

Our final stop of the day was at Pont du Gard near Remoulins where we arrived in time to see a flock of 40 Rock Sparrows descend on the 2,000-year Roman aqueduct where they popped into holes to roost for the night. Rock Sparrows have probably been roosting there since it was built. A full moon rose between the arches and as stars started to twinkle we were able study Jupiter and its moons, even seeing the planet's belts in the clear air. Bats, including Common Pipistrelles, flitted around while the distant calls of a Tawny Owl were copied by Tim. The bird came closer but would not show itself.

Tuesday 29 January

A lake full of ducks and a flock of waders completed our Camargue birding experience today. We returned to the marshes full of expectation for the day ahead and immediately set off on a longish walk from the Musée Camarguais where we found our first Tree Sparrows and Goldcrests, plus excellent views of Buzzards, Black Redstarts, lots of Reed Buntings and the biggest flock of Meadow Pipits of the trip. Another Brambling was found feeding with the by now ubiquitous Chaffinches, but it was difficult to see among clods of earth on the field in which they had congregated. Part of the walk went down a reedy alley where were heard Water Rails calling their pig-like squeals, perhaps out of sympathy for the dead Wild Boar Tim found in a canal.

The hide was a disappointment. It was so badly designed that few of us could use the observation slits and there was little to see on the pool it overlooked. A few Little and one Great Egret, a lone Buzzard and a few Marsh Harriers in the far distance. To cap the anticlimax, one of the party, who will remain nameless (his initials are TE), left a back-pack in the hide and had to walk back to retrieve it while everyone else tucked into yet another fantastic picnic. While fetching the bag, Tim did see a party of Penduline Tits we had heard but could not find on the main walk.

Exploring the marsh in the bus, we were able to take some small back-roads leading to the Étang de Vaccares. More tree Sparrows were found with lots of Corn Buntings and mixed flocks of Sky Larks and Greater Short-toed Larks were also seen.

The étang was amazing with lots of Greater Flamingos and vast flocks of Eurasian Coots, by far the biggest any of us had seen. At one point we could hear the sound of waves splashing on the shore which was strange as there was no wind until we realised that it was the sound of hundreds of Coots pattering across the surface as a Yellow-legged Gull harried them. Another stop to look at road-side birds produced the first three Crested Larks of the trip and gave us the chance to study a number of Greater Short-toed Larks.

An observatory at La Capellière was closed but we entered the reserve next to it and were thrilled to find a lake full of ducks. These included Tufted Duck, three pairs of beautiful Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Northern Shoveler, Common Snipe feeding around the edge, Great Crested Grebes and still more Coots. We were told that there were Ferruginous Ducks on the lake but could not find them, despite a search from hides dotted around the area. The walk did produce another Kingfisher for some plus a flock of Long-tailed Tits, these with the more normal dark heads.

As the sun set on our last full day we reached the Étang du Fangassier where a roost of gulls was studied - none but Yellow-legged was found - and a flock of about 30 Little Stints was joined by eight larger Dunlin.

Reluctantly, we turned back towards the hotel and left the Camargue marshes for the next group to visit and enjoy. Our trip had been most successful and the celebratory final dinner was most appropriate.

Wednesday 30 January

A pre-departure walk around the hotel produced calls and songs but little in the way of birds seen. Mary had started the trend by listening to the Tawny Owl at 4am, and we followed with singing Cirl Buntings, Sardinian Warblers and Wrens.

Little was seen on the quiet trip to the Airport which included stops to drop Elaine at a railway station while John and Marylee got out at an Avis centre to hire a car so that they could continue their holiday in the Camargue area.

Footnote: Comment must be made about the Hotel Robinson whose staff were exemplary in their service to us while being friendly and fun too. The food was terrific, generous portions without over facing us, varied and yet typical of the area. The picnics were at least up to the standard other groups have reported but stood out due to the ambience of the areas in which we ate them or the birds seen while scoffing. Wine was included with dinner and the picnics, often resulting in a few zzzz noises coming from the back of the bus.

We are all also extremely grateful to David Mitcheson who acted as navigator and map-reader. David's forethought in bringing a compass was typical of the care and attention he put into the job.

Annotated list of species

BIRDS

GREBES Podicipediformes Podicipedidae

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Bird hide, Merindol (20+ on 28th)

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Camargue marshes (11 on 27th); bird hide, Merindol (20+ on 28th)

Black-necked (Eared) Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
Bird hide, Merindol (1 on 28th)

CORMORANTS Pelecaniformes Phalacrocoracidae

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Common daily, max 100 + Camargue marshes on 26th

HERONS, EGRETS & BITTERNS Ciconiiformes Ardeidae

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Common daily, max 30+ Camargue marshes on 26th

Great Egret Ardea alba
Seen most days, especially Camargue marshes (15 on 28th) and River Durance (2 on 28th)

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Seen most days, especially Camargue marshes (30 on 26th) and River Durance (2 on 28th)

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Common to abundant daily.

Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris
Camargue marshes (one heard booming on 26th)

FLAMINGOS Phoenicopteriformes Phoenicopterid

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
Marseilles Airport to Beaucaire (1 on 25th); Camargue marshes, thousands each visit.

SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS Anseriformes Anatidae

Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Marseilles Airport to Beaucaire (1 on 25th); Camargue marshes (8 on 27th)

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Camargue marshes (15 on 27th)

Gadwall Anas strepera
Camargue marshes (2 males on 29th)

Common Teal Anas crecca
Camargue marshes (150+ on 27th)

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Camargue marshes (100 on 27th); bird hide Merindol (20+ on 28th)

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Camargue marshes (5 on 27th)

Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
Camargue marshes (3 pairs on 29th)

Common Pochard Aythya ferina
Bird hide Merindol (30 on 28th)

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Camargue marshes (100+ on 29th)

HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES Falconiformes Accipitridae

Red Kite Milvus milvus
Road to La Jasse (Salon) (15 on 26th)

Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus
Camargue marshes (30+ on 27th - including one showing partial albinism - and 29th)

Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
Camargue marshes (male on 27th)

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
La Jasse (Salon) (3 on 26th); Camargue marshes (1 on 27th)

Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo
Common daily, maximum numbers on the Camargue marshes.

FALCONS Falconiformes Falconidae

Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
One or two daily

PHEASANTS & PARTRIDGES Galliformes Phasianidae

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
La Jasse (Salon) (6)

RAILS, GALLINULES & COOTS Gruiformes Rallidae

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Camargue marshes (2 heard)

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Camargue marshes (6)

Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Marseilles Airport to Beaucaire (30 on 25th), western Camargue marshes (50 on 27th), Bird hide Merindol (50 on 28th), Étang du Fangassier (rafts of thousands - total 5,000+ on 29th)

BUSTARDS Gruiformes Otididae

Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax
La Jasse (Salon) (between 160 and 300 birds on 26th). Note: wintering flocks of more than 1,000 have been recorded in this area.

AVOCETS Charadriiformes Recurvirostridae

Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Camargue marshes (500+ on 27th)

LAPWINGS Charadriiformes Charadriidae

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
La Jasse (Salon) (200 on 26th), Musée de Camargue (50+ on 29th)

SANDPIPERS Charadriiformes Scolopacidae

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
Camargue marshes (2 'leader only' birds on 27th)

Little Stint Calidris minuta
Camargue marshes (40 on 29th)

Dunlin Calidris alpina
Camargue marshes (8 on 29th)

GULLS Charadriiformes Laridae

Common (Mew) Gull Larus canus
Camargue marshes (8 on 27th)

Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Camargue marshes (1 on 27th)

Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans
Common to abundant

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Common to abundant

PIGEONS & DOVES Columbiformes Columbidae

Rock Dove Columba livia
Daily, common in towns

Common Wood-pigeon Columba palumbus
Pont du Gard (1 on 28th)

Eurasian Collared-dove Streptopelia decaocto
Fairly common in villages

OWLS Strigiformes Strigidae

Eurasian Eagle-owl Bubo bubo
Cliffs near Lauris (1 roosting on 28th)

Tawny Owl Strix aluco

One holding territory heard hooting nightly at the hotel, answered by another, single answered by Tim at the Pont du Gard on 28th

Little Owl Athene noctua
La Jasse (Salon) (1 on 26th)

KINGFISHERS Coraciiformes Alcedinidae

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Camargue marshes (4 on 27th), La Capelliere (1 on 29th)

WOODPECKERS Piciformes Picidae

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Near Remy (1 on 28th)

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
La Jasse (Salon) (2 on 26th), Pond du Gard (1 heard on 28th)

LARKS Passeriformes Alaudidae

Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
Near Lauris (30 on 28th)

Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Camargue marshes (3 on 29th)

Wood Lark Lullula arborea
La Jasse (Salon) (10 on 26th), Near Lauris (1 on 28th)

Sky Lark Alauda arvensis
La Jasse (Salon) (6 on 26th), Camargue marshes (18 on 27th, 50+ on 29th)

WAGTAILS & PIPITS Passeriformes Motacillidae

White Wagtail Motacilla alba
A few daily, including Gatwick Airport (10+ on 25th)

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
A few on the marshes, max 15 at Musée de Camargue on 29th.

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta
Camargue marshes (10 on 27th), River Durance (2 on 28th)

KINGLETS Passeriformes Regulidae

Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Musée Camarguais, Camargue marshes (5 on 29th)

WRENS Passeriformes Troglodytidae

Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
A few heard singing or seen daily

ACCENTORS Passeriformes Prunellidae

Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris
Les Baux de Provence (11 on 25th, 2 on 26th)

Dunnock Prunella modularis
Hotel Robinson (1 on 27th)

THRUSHES Passeriformes Turdidae

Blue Rock-thrush Monticola solitarius
Les Baux de Provence (2 on 25th, 6 on 26th)

Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula
One or two daily

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
La Jasse (Salon) (1 on 26th)

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
La Jasse (Salon) (1 on 26th)

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
La Jasse (Salon) (1 singing on 26th)

OLD WORLD WARBLERS Passeriformes Sylviidae

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti
Hotel Robinson (1 on 27th), various sites on the Camargue marshes (5+ on 27th and 10+ on 29th)

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybeta
A few to common daily

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Common to abundant daily

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala
Common daily

Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata
La Jasse (Salon) (4 on 26th), Étang de Vaccarés (1 on 29th)

OLD WORLD FLYCATCHERS Passeriformes Muscicapidae

European Robin Erithacus rubecula
Common daily

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Common daily

Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata
La Jasse (Salon) (5 on 26th), near Lauris (male on 28th)

LONG-TAILED TITS Passeriformes Aegithalidae

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Bird hide Merindol (3 white-headed on 28th), La Capelliere (8 on 29th)

CHICKADEES & TITS Passeriformes Paridae

Crested Tit Lophophanes cristatus
Les Baux de Provence (2 on 26th), Massif des Cedres, Luberon (2 on 28th)

Great Tit Parus major
A few daily

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
A few daily

WALLCREEPER Passeriformes Tichidromidae

Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria
Les Baux de Provence (1 on 26th)

CREEPERS Passeriformes Certhiidae

Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla
La Jasse (Salon) (1 calling on 26th), Pont du Gard (2 heard on 28th)

PENDULINE TITS Passeriformes Remizidae

Eurasian Penduline-tit Remiz pendulinus
Camargue marshes (3+ 'leader only' on 29th)

SHRIKES Passeriformes Laniidae

Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
La Jasse (Salon) (3+ on 26th)

CROWS & JAYS Passeriformes Corvidae

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
La Jasse (Salon) (4 on 26th), Hotel Robinson (1 on 27th), Bird hide Merindol (1 on 28th)

Common Magpie Pica pica
Abundant daily

Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Common daily

Carrion Crow Corvus corone
Common daily

STARLINGS Passeriformes Sturnidae

European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Small flocks most days

OLD WORLD SPARROWS Passeriformes Passeridae

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
A few daily

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Musée de Camargue marshes (10+ on 29th)

Rock Petronia (Sparrow) Petronia petronia
Pont du Gard (40 roosting in holes in the bridge on 28th)

FINCHES Passeriformes Fringillidae

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Abundant daily

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
La Jasse (Salon) (3 on 26th), Musée de Camargue (1 on 29th)

European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
'Charms' of up to 50 birds daily

Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina
Camargue marshes (1 on 27th), Bonnieux (8 on 28th)

European Serin Serinus serinus
A few daily

BUNTINGS Passeriformes Emberizidae

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Camargue marshes (2 males on 27th)

Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus
Les Baux de Provence (male seen singing on 26th), Hotel Robinson (male seen singing on 27th, several on 30th), Camargue marshes (1 on 29th)

Rock Bunting Emberiza cia
La Jasse (Salon) (pair on 26th)

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Camargue marshes (30+ on 27th and 29th)

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra
La Jasse (Salon) (5 on 26th)

MAMMALS

RABBITS & HARES Lagomorpha Leporidae

European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus

Hotel Robinson (1 on 27th, seen daily, max. 3 on 29th)

SQUIRRELS Rodentia Scuridae

Eurasian red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris

Seen most days, max. 3 on 27th

SPINY-RATS Rodentia Echimyidae

Nutria (Coypu) Myocastor coypus

Road kills abundant on the marshes, a few seen alive daily, max. 8 on 29th.

DOGS & FOXES Carnivora Canidae

Red fox Vulpes vulpes

Two road kills on 25th.

MOLES Lipotyphla Talpidae

European mole Talpa europaea

Hills seen daily.

SHREWS Lipotyphla Soricidae

Common shrew Sorex araneus

One at Musée de Camargue on 29th.

BATS Chiroptera

Bat sp

Several large bats seen at the Pont du Gard on 29th.

VESPER BATS Chiroptera Vespertilionidae

Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus

Pont du Gard (3+ on 29th)

APES Primates Hominidae

Human Homo sapiens

Common daily

PIGS Artiodactyla Suidae

Wild boar (Feral pig) Sus scrofa

Musée de Camargue (1 dead in canal)

Camargue horses and bulls

Herds seen on the marshes.

INSECTS

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Singles seen at Les Baux de Provence (26th), and Les Jesse steppes on 27th.

HEAVENLY BODIES

Moon

Full moon rising between the arches of the Pont du Gard (1 on 29th)

Jupiter

The four moons and Jupiter's bands seen clearly on 27th.


© The Travelling Naturalist 2002