Day trip 28th May 2021 – Feathers, scales and prickles!

Guide of the day: Karline Martorell accompanied by Philippa Benson and Dominique Jalabert
Participants: 5
Weather conditions: agreeably overcast with little wind, temps ranging from 19°C to 23°C+

Highlights of the day: Black-eared wheatear, Woodchat shrike, Tawny pipit, Thekla’s lark, Golden oriole, Zygaena lavandulae, Three-toed skink, Lizard orchid and a large number of cacti, agaves, dasylirions and yucca!

This day trip was sponsored by the Narbonnaise regional park as part of a programme called Découvrons ENSemble, which consists of over 180 free natural history outings organised by the Aude département and the regional park.

We spent the morning searching for summer-visiting garrigue birds such as Black-eared wheatear, Woodchat shrike, plus Orphean, Subalpine and Spectacled warblers (not all very cooperative – singing well but skulking in trees and shrubs). Karline explained the different strata used by each species: Sardinian and Dartford in the lowest shrubs, Subalpine and Spectacled (rare) in the mid-sized bushes, with the largest of all the warblers present locally – Orphean- to be found in the taller bushes and shrubs and even in small to mid-sized trees. This might help narrow the options when you see a bird skulking!

As we arrived back in the village, a Golden oriole was showing well just opposite the winery where we had a mid-day break tasting 3 wines by the characterful Alban Michel from the Sabots d’Hélène.

Then we enjoyed our picnic with a curious Woodchat shrike before visiting the family-run Jardin Botanique de Foncaude with founder Dominique Jalabert. Over the past 30 years, with the help of family and friends, Dominique has planted over 2,000 species across 7 hectares in a wild, natural setting amongst the rocky garrigue habitat. As we visited the botanical garden, we were able to add scales (a Three-toed skink and a Water snake) and prickles (cacti, agaves etc.) to the morning’s feathers!

Just click on the link below to read or download the detailed trip report and bird list.


Trip report and bird list 2021.28.05 Feuilla and the Jardin Botanique de Foncaude

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