Birding day trip Ouveillan-Capestang March 2024

The Great spotted cuckoos are back!

On our recent birding day trip around Ouveillan and Capestang we were very happy to find Great spotted cuckoo. The GSC is a species in serious decline, so it is always a relief to find them at the beginning of a new season! A few early birders managed to get good views, with their noisy antics drawing our attention as soon as we arrived! Sadly, they did not stay around long enough for the rest of the day’s participants to see them.

We did however all get decent views of a lovely male Little bustard in his breeding finery. We then managed to add Stone curlew in flight and later on the ground. As we looped back to the lovely ruins of the Fontcalvy grain store, we were thrilled to get good views of Little owl. At the end of the morning, Steve managed to pick up the Iberian grey shrike – another species in decline. But the heat haze made it very difficult to see. A discussion about the identification of a male harrier was resolved when it was seen for a second time and confirmed as a Hen harrier (and not a Montagu’s as initially thought).

After a picnic in the shade, we moved on to the Capestang marshes. But after two years of drought there was very little water. A Penduline tit was one of few reed bed birds we managed to see. Migrating birds added interest the afternoon by providing good views of both Black and White stork, plus Black kite, Red kite and Short-toed eagle. Also several large groups of Glossy ibis (with 30-60 in each group we must have seen well over 200 coming into land in the marshes).

You can read or download the trip report here.

Day trip Ouveillan – Capestang March 2022

 Day trip 3rd March 2022 – Ouveillan & Capestang

Guide of the day: Karline Martorell accompanied by Philippa Benson
Participants: 7
Weather conditions: Good weather, partly cloudy with a light wind. Temps ranging from 10°C to 18°C.

Highlights of the day: Iberian grey shrike, Purple swamphen, Black kite, Black stork, White stork, Bonelli’s eagle

The variety of habitats within such a short distance of each other, offer a wide variety of birds in  a small area. The open agricultural land near Ouveillan are good habitat for Iberian shrike, but they are only present in small numbers and are quite shy, so finding them requires eagle eyes and finely tuned hearing!

The vast reed beds of the étang de Capestang offer, for their part, good habitat for a vast range of species – from small passerines on a migratory halt, to storks and flamingo moving through, but also predators looking for an easy snack!

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


Trip report and bird list 2022.03.03 – Ouveillan & Capestang


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