dinsdag 2 augustus 2011

France Day 4-6

20th of July

Today we set off in to La Brenne, an area mainly existing out of lakes (the so-called 'Etangs'). We had been here 5 years ago and we thought that it would be nice to go back again because we really much enjoyed our stay here 5 years ago. On our way from Chabris to La Brenne (Rosnay) we saw a Crested Lark and our first Black Kites of the trip, together with lots of Red-backed Shrikes sitting on the telephone wires. When were arrived at La Brenne we wanted to go to the campsite at Mezieres-en-Brenne but when we arrived there the gate of the campsite was locked, eventhough the campsite was open.. so we decided to go to the campsite at Rosnay, in the southern part of the Brenne, and we found out that this wasn't a bad choice at all!!
We arrived at the campsite around 1 pm and we settled down. On the campsite I had a singing Cirl Bunting, 2 Hoopoes, a singing male Golden Oriole, 2 flyovers of Purple Heron and our first Whiskered Tern of the trip.
 In the afternoon we decided to check out some Etangs in the area. We went to La Gabriere. On our way to La Gabriere we came across a small pond, called La Temple, here we saw 2 Black-winged Stilts, Great White Egret, some Little Egrets and 2 Purple Herons. When we arrived at La Gabriere we noticed that there was plenty of waterfowl around. Over 100 mute swans, plenty of Great crested Grebe's, 30 Whiskered Terns, a lot of ducks etc.

At La Blizon we had a group of 17 Cattle Egrets flying over:
At Etang Foucoult we saw 2 Black-necked Grebes, 3 Black Winged Stilts and 5 Little Plovers.

Last but not least we had this horrible roadkill of a beautiful Little Egret as well....

21st of July

In the early morinng at 6 o clock I had a singing Nightjar at the campsite, that was a nice surprise! After we had breakfast we decided to go to La Blizon, where the largest egret colony is situated. While cycling towards La Blizon we came across a juvenile Wood Lark that was showing well on a wire:
When we arrived at La Blizon we walked the northern path. Immediatly we came across this fella:
Afterwards we found 4 Black-crowned Night Herons perched on some stuff on the water. We could approach them and in the end I was able to take good shots of these birds!
 After this succesfull photographic oppurtunity we went to look for a small Bee-eater colony near Tournon St. Martin, situated along the creuse. It didn't take long before we found them. There were still 2 young birds in the holes.
 The colony was situated just in someone's garden, there was a fence around the colony, made by the residents.
The colony

In the evening we passed La Temple again, resulting in 3 Wood Sandpipers and the local Black-Winged Stilts:
Around 21.30 a Black-crowned Night Heron flew over the campsite, calling loudly.

22nd of July

The weather was shitty this morning, really dreary, bad light conditions. Nevertheless, we decided to go birding. We went to the northern part of the Brenne. Our first surprise was an Osprey that flew past:
There were plenty of Turtle Doves around and I managed to take a photo of this juvenile bird:
Further species seen were about 10 Night herons, singing Cetti's Warblers, calling Wood and Green Sandpipers, several flying Purple Herons:
And a male Red-backed Shrike that wasn't shy at all:
Back at the campsite we saw a nice Squacco Heron fishing in the pool!!
As we had plenty of time left we wanted to give the Bee-eaters another try, the results:

In the evening we passed 'Etang Purais', where the largest colony of Whiskered Terns is situated, this, subsequently means that there are a lot of Whiskered Terns chicks around! And there was one raptor that was hungry and looking for some delicious food: a Black Kite! As we were sitting in the hut we witnessed a Black Kite diving down and grabbing a Whiskered Tern chick. What an amazing sight! Didn't know that Black Kites were so expert!

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