Aerial displays of terns, swifts and Lesser kestrel
Day trip 29th June 2021 – Réserve national du Bagnas & St Pons de Mauchiens
Guides of the day:Lætitia Marras pour la Réserve du Bagnas and Karline Martorell accompanied by Philippa Benson
Weather conditions: Sunny with a light breeze, ideal for the end of June, temps ranging from 18°C to 28°C+
Highlights of the day: Aerial displays of terns, swifts and Lesser kestrel provided a grand finale to the Birding Languedoc Spring 2021 season! Excellent views of Purple swamphen and Pallid swift were also very rewarding.
The Réserve nationale du Bagnas is reputed for being a great place to see Purple swamphen and it did not disappoint! We had excellent views of several individuals out in the open and even saw a young one. The terns were another highlight of this vast wetland reserve (only accessible through guided visits), with five species present: Common, Little, Black, Gull-billed and Whiskered tern. A few Pallid swift were spotted amongst the constant ballet of Common swift not far above our heads. And who can resist a “humbug” Great crested grebe chick hitching a lift on a parent seemingly keen to get rid of its young load!
The Lesser kestrels gave us a fantastic display in the afternoon at St Pons de Mauchiens, with close-up views allowing us to see the variety of prey they were bringing to the nest. These stunning birds were then photo bombed by a Short-toed snake eagle sucking up a snake like a piece of spaghetti mid-flight!
What a wonderful finale to a spring season that offered a combination of great birding and great company.
Thank you to all those who joined us, sharing our passion for the wonderful birds and other wildlife of the Languedoc!
You can read and download the detailed trip report and bird list by clicking on the link below.