maandag 1 augustus 2011

France Day 1-3

Last Thursday I came back from France. A full report with lots of photos will follow!

17th of July

We departured at 7 am in the morning from Apeldoorn. We would be driving 850 km to Chabris, in the middle of France near Chateauroux. We arrived at Chateauroux around 6 o clock in the evening. The first birds of note were several Serins, some calling Green Woodpeckers, a Kingfisher, a calling Bullfinch and a fly-over of Honey Buzzard. The weather was ok, but rain was on its way..

18th of July

Our reason for being here near Chabris was because of the Little Bustards. We had seen them before in the Extremadura and La Crau but these were all far away.. So this morning we set off in the direction of La Chapelle Mont-martin in the hope of seeing some bustards. On our way we had our first singing Cirl Bunting, a family of Melodious Warblers, lots of Turtle Doves and a singing Golden Oriole. When we arrived at the right place, east of Chabris we had some Montagu's harriers hunting on the fields. About 5 birds were seen. A male Hen Harrier was seen as well. We walked a path into the fields and we soon flushed a Quail!
A bit further down the path we suddenly saw 6 Stone Curlews, they were shy so the flew up, calling loudly. The sound reminds of young buzzards/honey buzzards but it goes like Kuuu-liee, quite distinctive. Now and then the Stone Curlews were actively calling in the fields as well. We also had our first Corn Bunting of the trip, but still no Little Bustard! We drove on a little, with our bikes, seeing a Hoopoe, more Cirl Buntings, a Quail, our first Red-backed Shrikes and some more Montagu's Harriers.  Around 1 pm we drove back to Chabris. In the afternoon we went back again, with the car and while we were driving along the road my father suddenly saw three Little Bustards foraging only 10m away from the road! We quickly stopped and we were able to take some shots before they went deeper into the vegetation.
 2 females and 1 male Little Bustard!

Our goal was achieved! On our way back to the campsite we saw another Hoopoe and a male Red-backed Shrike, as well as a Honey Buzzard.

19th of July

Today it was raining almost whole day. The entire morning it was raining so we decided to do some groceries at the Carrefour at Romorantin. In the afternoon the rain stopped and we were able to do some birdwatching again. We went to the Little Bustard area again near La Chapelle and we were lucky again! We saw a total of 11 Little Bustards, also seen flying. I had nice flight pictures of them but a lot of photos on my SD card have become corrupted in some way so I am unable to view them.. Eventhough, I have got some other excellent photos of the Little Bustards! In the area we had a flying and calling Stone Curlew, some Montagu's Harriers, 2 Hobby's, 2 calling Quails and of course the Bustards:)
Montagu's Harrier
The bastards
On our way back to the campsite we saw our first Red-legged Patridges of the trip.

Our goal to see the Little Bustards was achieved so we could now proceed to Parc Regional La Brenne, some 100km south of Chabris!

The next morning (the 20th of July) we set off to La Brenne.

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