Pyrenees Birds Birding Birdwatching | Raptor ID School

 

 

 

 

 

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Pyrenees Birding

We know what to see, where & when.

 

 

LONG WEEKEND OR MULTI-DAY/WEEK BIRDING TRIPS

PROFESSIONAL GUIDES

ACCOMMODATION

ALL INCLUSIVE BIRD HOLIDAYS INCLUDING AIRPORT PICK UPS

 

INTRODUCTION     |     THEMES     |     TAILOR-MADE

 

Le Courtal 09130 Sieuras

 

e: [email protected]

t: 00 33 6 16 22 66 53

 

 

 

The Pyrenees: a great birding location.

 

Stretching from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees are an immense barrier and yet provide diverse habitats and protective enclaves.  From wet, lush green forests to near-desert conditions, with plains bordering the high peaks, the Pyrenees offer a huge, fascinating variety of birds.

 

Lämmergeier/ Bearded Vulture. With a near 3m wingspan, this majestic bird is emblematic of the high mountains.  Shy, discreet, last to eat but clever and highly evolved, the Lammergier has many interesting & surprising characteristics, such as plumage painting, that set it apart from the other vulture species and the wider bird world.  We can explain more and give you a high probability of seeing Lämmergeier.

 

The Griffon vultures have a broader, bulkier flying profile compared to the Lämmergeier  and are seen generally groups, usually of 4 to 8 but and sometimes up to 25 or more.  Watch out for the occasional Black Vultures in amongst the Griffon groups.

 

Golden Eagles.  There are some 26 breeding pairs in the Ariege.  An adaptable, formidable bird that is both a hunter and scavenger, a fierce defender of a kill. 

 

Montagu/Hen Harrier.  On the plains bordering the high peaks, the elegant and agile Montagu harrier is a summer breeder.  In the winter, Hen harriers gather in 'dormitories'.

 

Kites.  Black kites are common in the summer, as are Red kites which are even more prominent in the Winter.  Black winged kites breed and remain in the winter.

 

Mediterranean species.  The Bee-eater is a successful breeder and summer resident.  Rollers transit the eastern end of the Pyrenees.  Hoopoe breed and a frequently seen in gardens, again in the east.  Grey cuckoos and Bonneli eagles are found at the Mediterranean coastal areas.

 

Woodland.  There are immense forests in the Pyrenees.  Woodpeckers are found throughout; the Black Woodpecker is often heard and sometimes seen.  Wryneck and Golden Orioles are also heard but frustratingly difficult to see.

 

Red Backed Shrikes abound in Summer.

 

Golden Plover, Stone Curlews are seen on the plans in winter.

 

Alpine Accentors can be found summer & winter.

 

Blue Rock Thrush nests in the higher, remoter areas.

 

Gravel pits offer home to ducks and waders. 

 

Flamingos are found on the salt flats adjacent to the Mediterranean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO BIRDS OF THE PYRENEES

2 OR 3 DAY GUIDED TRIP TO DISCOVER THE MAIN SPECIES OF THE HIGH MOUNTAINS, FORESTS AND FARMLAND.  PRICE 150 EUROS PER DAY.  COUPLE & GROUP FEES.  FOOD, ACCOMMODATION, TRANSPORT INCLUDED.  AVAILABLE: ALL YEAR

 

 

THEMES

ALL YEAR:

RAPTOR ID

BEARDED VULTURE

WINTER:

LANGUEDOC ROUSSILLON: LAKES, MARSHES, CRAGS & SEA BIRDS (2 DAYS) 

ARIEGE: BIRDS OF THE PLAINS AND CRAGS.  (1 DAY)

PRICES FROM 400 EUROS PER DAY FOR 2 PERSONS +

GUIDE: SYLVAIN REYT BIRD WATCHING CHAMPION OF FRANCE 2015

 

TAILOR-MADE

PERSONALISED TRIPS CREATED TO YOUR DEMANDS, TIME & BUDGET

DURATION: FLEXIBLE. LOCATION: ARIEGE, AUDE, CATALONIA, PAYS BASQUE, ARAGON.

ALL YEAR

PRICE TBD.

 

With 50% more trees than 100 years ago, a warm climate with regular Atlantic rainfall, the Ariege provides a lush, varied habitat for a wide range of birds, wild flowers, butterflies and insects.  In all the years I have been travelling & bird watching I have never found anywhere else that can compare to the numbers & sheer diversity of birds of prey as found in the Ariege.  This area is therefore ideal for learning to observe & identify raptors.  It is often possible to compare species either at the same time or in close succession.  This enables you to quickly assimilate the differences in the field as opposed to hours later via a book or on the Internet. 

We can provide raptor identification 'training' with the chance to observe several species in one day in some magnificent locations.  Prices start from 150 Euros per day, including accommodation for 2 people. 

 

 

 

Please contact us directly if you have some specific species you would like to see or other special requirements.  We can propose 2 day mountain trips in search of Wallcreepers & other high mountain species including a night in a refuge, accompanied by a qualified International Mountain Leader.  Please continue to read below more about us and what we can provide.

 

 

Le Courtal 09130 Sieuras

 

e: [email protected]

t: 00 33 6 16 22 66 53

 

 

 

Picture credit: Albert Froneman.

 

 

Pyrenees Bird Week

 

19th-25th May 2019

Birds, butterflies & orchids of the Ariege.

Click for more information

 

'Apollo and Alpine Accentor field trip' (one day)

Medium level walking 9km 750m height gain. East terrain.

 

'Summer Wallcreeper'

Medium to difficult.  10km 1500m height gain. 2 nights refuge. IML led.

 

Lammergeier

Easy to medium level walking. 4x4 (one day)

 

Bed & Breakfast (L'Oustal) or self-catering accommodation (Le Courtal)

 

e1: [email protected]

e2: [email protected]

e3: [email protected]

m: 00 33 6 16 22 66 53

 

Le Courtal 09130 Sieuras

 

 

 

We are ideally located 1 hour south of Toulouse airport (Ryanair/Easyjet/BA).  In the foothills of the Pyrenees and yet only one hour from the high mountains and the territories of 6 Bearded Vulture pairs.  Surrounded by a range of habitats that support an abundance of flora and fauna, such as some 65 species of orchid through the year and colonies of bee-eaters.  Butterflies are numerous.  From Mediterranean eco-systems to permanent snow, the Ariege offers many fascinating opportunities for the naturalist.

 

 

 

L'Oustal chambres d'hotes.

 

e: [email protected]

m: 00 33 6 16 22 66 53

 

WE ARE MEMBERS OF THE ARIEGE NATURALIST ASSOCIATION AND SUPPORT VARIOUS PROJECTS INCLUDING BEARDED VULTURE WINTER FEEDING AND HEN HARRIER DORMITORY COUNTING.

 

 

 

 

12 years of field trips & walking in the Pyrenees has given us extensive local wildlife knowledge of what to see, where & when. 

 

 

 

 

Our accommodation.

 

We can normally accommodate stays of a short duration, except in July & August when our apartment is only available on weekly lets (changeover Sat). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'One of the Hidden Gems of France'.

 

 

'The Ariege is one of the hidden gems of France with its rolling hills, mixed farmland and deciduous woodlands. In one afternoon, we saw more than 50 species of birds, four species of reptiles and hundreds of insects. It really is a naturalists' paradise'.

Iolo Williams, Naturalist.

 

We assisted Iolo and his Aden Productions team to film

Bee-eaters and local wildlife in the Leze Valley in May 2011.

 

 

 

The Ariege.

 

The Ariege, due in part to small-scale, traditional farming, has an abundance of wildlife.  On the edge of the Mediterranean distribution, with such species as Bee-eaters, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole and Rollers, plus farmland, wetland, woodland and high mountain species, there is a huge diversity of birds in particular here in the Ariege.  In addition, there are the Spring & Autumn migrations over the Pyrenees, plus the later movement of Cranes.  Permanent residents such as the Bearded Vulture, Griffon and Golden Eagle are frequently observed throughout the year.  Booted & Short-toed Eagles plus Egyptian Vultures are 'relatively common' during the Summer months.  We observed Ospreys transiting the Pyrenees in Sep.  There are a number of gravel pits with associated wildfowl, Night Herons, Great Egrets, numerous waders plus a permanent Stork rehabilitation colony. 

 

Throughout the year there is always something special, exciting to hopefully observe.  The area is large and remote but with our help your chances of observing that 'something special' are significantly improved.  But, as we all know with wildlife, aside from a guiding hand, we cannot really promise anything except your enjoyment of the clean, clear air and magnificent views!

 

 

 

 

Autumn migration day with the Ariege Naturalist Association in 2015.

 

 

We live near the pretty village of Sieuras in oak woodland in the foothills of the Pyrenees, 30 minutes from the high peaks.  The rolling hills are reminiscent of the Cotswolds in England and in some places, Tuscany.  Oak woods dot the scenery, small hamlets and villages nestle on the hillsides and in the valleys.  The woods resonate with birdsong, the hedgerows a hive of activity, particularly Shrikes.  There are also thousands of orchids in the Spring and pastures teeming with butterflies throughout the Summer.  There are cooling lakes nearby.  Excellent restaurants offer high quality local cuisine; a mix of southern French & Catalan tastes & styles.  Art and music abound.  Enjoy & relax in this remarkable, unspoilt area. 

 

Please do contact us for more specific information and we look forward to hopefully welcoming you to the Ariege at some point in the future.

 

Richard & Yvett

August 2018