Spring Birding for Women in the Western Mediterranean

Tour dates: Monday 21st to Friday 25th March 2022

Tour code: BLMSBW-22

An opportunity for women birders to see key resident Mediterranean species and some early active migration (orchids and other wild flowers will be out too!) in a small group lead and guided by two local women birders.

  • 5 days / 4 nights
  • From €960 per person
  • Low carbon discount of €50 if you travel by train
  • Expert local guide and English speaking tour leader
  • Group size = 6 – 12

Discount available for 7 or more participants booking together.

Join us for a short break with a small group of women birders to explore the lagoons, vineyards and upland garrigue habitats for resident species but also to see active migration and birds on migratory stopover. Main target species include: Great spotted cuckoo, Iberian grey shrike, Little bustard, Stone curlew, Bluethroat, Black-winged stilt, Slender-billed gull, Short-toed eagle, and many more (see  detailed list of target species).

 

The programme may be modified to take advantage of weather and other variables.

Monday

Transfer to accommodation
at L’Embrésienne

Welcome drinks & early dinner before heading back out to a good local spot for Eagle owl

Friday

Departure after breakfast and transfer to departure points.

(birding opportunities on the way time permitting!).

Tuesday

Coastal garrigue
The scrubby garrigue is home to a number of resident Mediterranean species. If there is a NW wind we will also visit a top spot for migration watch to see the often spectacular sight of birds coming north on migration.
Residents: Spotless starling, Sardinian warbler, Dartford warbler, Blue rock thrush and Thekla’s lark;
On migration: Bee-eater, White stork, Common crane, Black kite, Short-toed eagle and other raptors

Coffee in Leucate

Coastal dunes and lagoons
A couple of scrapes and some filtration ponds, are a favourite migratory halt for a number of species including Penduline tit, Yellow wagtail, Bluethroat and possibly Spotted crake. We may also see Osprey and Whinchat on migration and Moustached warbler.
The patchwork of open grassy areas, abandoned vineyards are home to summer nesting Great spotted cuckoo, Hoopoe and resident species Sardinian warbler, Cetti’s warbler plus  reptiles such as the spectacular Ocellated lizard.

Picnic at La Franqui while we  look out over the lagoon for  Greater flamingo, Slender billed gull, Black-winged stilt, Kentish plover, + other gulls and shore birds

A back road through the vineyards is always worth a stop… and might well turn up Black kite, Booted eagle or other raptors on migration

And then on to the Salt pans
Nesting and migratory birds: Little tern, Avocet, Black-winged stilt, Kentish plover, Greater flamingo, Slender-billed gull, Little stint

Wednesday

Marshes and reedbeds
We will start the morning on the eastern side of a vast area of reedbeds with open areas of water. This is a favourite spot to see Flamingo, Moustached warbler, Reed bunting, Lapwing, Marsh harrier, Glossy ibis, Night heron, Spoonbill, Purple swamphen, Marsh harrier

Also on migration:
White and Black stork, Short-toed eagle, Black kite

Coffee break in Capestang

Picnic at Foncalvy

Mixed agricultural land
and vineyards
A very mixed patchwork of agricultural land with some useful filtration ponds should help us see Great spotted cuckoo, Iberian grey shrike, Little bustard, Stone curlew, Cirl bunting, Corn bunting, Little owl… plus migrating Black kite, Short-toed eagle

Marshes and reedbeds

To finish the day we will have another look at these bird-rich marshes but from the western side. Species as for the morning.

 

 

 

 

Thursday

Nests, reed-beds, vineyards & migration
After checking out the White stork nest and the Grey heronry, we may also have a look around the St Louis marsh/reed beds to look for Glossy ibis, Night heron, Moustached warbler, Bearded tit, Yellow wagtail, White stork, Spoonbill, Black stork, Purple swamphen, raptors on migration.

After a coffee break at Gruissan we will picnic at a spot where we may well see an Ocellated lizard.

The vineyards are good for Hoopoe, Rock sparrow and Sardinian warbler and we might be luckly with an early Woodchat shrike. If the prevailing NW wind is blowing, we will have a look at the spring migration spot on the Ayrolles lagoon where  birds skim low over the lagoon on their way north.
Birds to spot include: Montagu’s harrier, Bee-eater, White and Black stork and occasional rarities such as Pallid harrier.

 

 

We will be looking for resident Mediterranean species, birds on active migration and birds on migratory stopover…

The wide range of habitats within a small area allows for a broad diversity of species to be observed.
We will visit coastal lagoons and sea cliffs, vineyards and open agricultural land and scrubby Mediterranean garrigue (good for orchids too!)

Birds
Local resident species include: Blue rock thrush, Bonelli’s eagle, Crag martin, Crested lark, Eagle owl, Glossy ibis, Iberian grey shrike, Kentish plover, Moustached warbler, Purple swamphen, Rock sparrow, Sardinian warbler, Serin, Slender-billed gull, Spoonbill, Spotless starling, Thekla’s lark, Zitting cisticola…
Summer breeding species that should have arrived in March include: Black-winged stilt, Great spotted cuckoo, Hoopoe, Short-toed eagle…
On migration we will be looking for: Bee-eater, Black kite, Black stork, Bluethroat, Booted eagle, Common crane, Greater flamingo, various hirundines including Alpine swift and Red-rumped swallow, White stork

Flowers
March is a great month for botanical interest too and we would hope to see a good range of orchids and other wild flowers.

This is a new trip – so no bird list is available yet!

Join us for the “maiden” trip 😉 and help us see a great range of birds!

 

 

This is a new trip so no reviews yet! But this day trip report in the News & Info section will give you a good idea!
Join us and help us launch this new trip 🙂

By train!
We are offering a 50€ discount to participants who choose the “low carbon birding” option and travel by train!
It’s really quite easy and you get to see more of the beautiful French countryside.
A number of our clients have come by train and there are various routes to choose from.
Travel south via Paris and Bordeaux and returning north via Narbonne and Lille or vice-versa.
See the Getting here page in our DIY birding section, and do get in touch if you need any help.

Here is a link to the English version of the French train company SNCF, where you can see train times and book all the way through from London St Pancras to Narbonne. Timetables and tickets are only available 3 months in advance. Or talk to your local travel agent.

 

By plane
For this trip, we normally meet flights into Carcassonne from Manchester and London Stansted and will post a link to flights as soon as they are available.

Click on the links below for flight details and pricing (track the price to get the best deal!).

Other options may be available, please contact us with your preferred departure airport in the UK.

We recommend that you do NOT book flights until the trip is confirmed!

 

• Manchester <-> Carcassonne

 


INCLUDED

  • Transfers from/to Narbonne train station
    or Carcassonne airport (enquire re other options)
  • All local transport
  • High quality ensuite accommodation
  • 4 nights Dinner B&B + 3 packed-lunches
  • Pre-dinner drinks and wine with dinner
  • Expert local guides
  • English speaking tour leader

NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Personal medical and repatriation insurance
  • Drinks other than with meals
  • Personal expenses
  • Lunch on the first and last days

 

This short break explores the coastal lagoons and inland areas of the Narbonnaise

The team for this trip combines the local knowledge of a resident ornithologist and a resident British tour leader

Karline Martorell

Karline Martorell

Local Bird Guide - French, English & Esperanto

Drawn to wildlife conservation from a very young age, Karline studied Biodiversity Analysis and Surveying Techniques. She continues to be an active naturalist, with a particular interest in birds, reptiles and amphibians. Particularly passionate about birds, Karline volunteers for migration counting and bird ringing. A number of wildlife trips abroad have helped widen her knowledge base and she spent five years working for an environmental consultancy firm carrying out doing bird and reptile surveys.

Philippa Benson - Birding Languedoc

Philippa Benson - Birding Languedoc

Co-founder/Tour Leader - English, French & Spanish

Like many Brits, Philippa has a keen interest in natural history and enjoys learning about the amazing birds and wildlife of the Languedoc. Resident in this lovely area for over 15 years, she now has a good working knowledge of where the best spots are for birds, flowers and other species and enjoys sharing these with interested visitors.
A background in project management and hospitality combined with a particular focus on customer service and being fully bilingual are all helpful skills for organising and hosting tours.

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