Spring birding & flowers in the Western Mediterranean
with Dominic Couzens

Tour dates: Monday 19th to Friday 23rd April 2021

Tour code: BLGTSBF-21

Enjoy a spring birding break in the coastal Corbières with active migration and Mediterranean wild flowers.
Dominic Couzens will be our special guest guide.

  • 5 days / 4 nights
  • From €870 per person
  • Local expert guides
  • English speaking tour leader
  • Maximum group size = 12
  • Minimum number of participants required = 7

Discount available for 7 or more participants booking together.

A short break exploring the lagoons, headlands, vineyards and upland habitats of garrigue, rocky canyons and limetone escarpments for resident species but also all the newly  arrived summer nesting visitors (Short-toed eagle, Orphean warbler, Subalpine warbler,…)

 

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

Les Coussoules
A mosaic of open grassy areas, abandoned vineyards and the always good for birding filtration ponds.
Great spotted cuckoo, Hoopoe, Yellow wagtail, Sardinian warbler, Bonelli’s warbler, Cetti’s warbler, various reptiles

Coffee at La Franqui while we  look for  Slender billed gull, Black-winged stilt, Little tern + other gulls and shore birds. 

Picnic at an old quarry where Blue rock thrush nest

La Palme lagoon
Nesting and migratory birds: Little tern, Avocet, Black-winged stilt, Kentish plover, Purple heron, Cattle egret, Greater flamingo, Slender-billed gull

Plateau above La Palme
Black-eared wheatear, Dartford warbler, Subalpine warbler, Thekla lark, Blue rock thrush, Bee-eater, Short-toed eagle + look out for ocellated lizard!


 

 

Wednesday

Pla de Crouzal et / ou Castel Target species: Black-eared wheatear, Tawny pipit, Ortolan bunting, Thekla lark, Crested lark, Dartford and Subalpine warbler, Orphean warbler, Bonelli’s eagle, Short-toed eagle

Coffee break at La Rassada
Spotless starling, Pied flycatcher, Fan-tailed warbler, Corn bunting, Serin, Black-redstart, Raven

Picnic at the Jardin botanique de Foncaude

Birding in the vineyards and steep sided rocky valley
Serin, Sardinian warbler, Blue rock thrush, Crag martin, Rock bunting, Bonelli’s eagle, Short-toed eagle, Rock sparrow, Woodchat shrike

 

 

 

Thursday

Leucate migration spot
Spring migration if the wind conditions are good:
Bee-eater, Alpine swift, Red-rumped swallow, Yellow wagtail (sbsp iberiae)Osprey and hopefully Honey buzzard. 

Leucate plateau
With its scrubby “garrigue”, vineyards and chalky cliffs.

Nesting birds: Tawny pipit, Black-eared wheatear, Hoopoe, Spotless starling, Sardinian warbler, Orphean warbler, Great spotted cuckoo, Woodchat shrike

Coffee at Leucate plage

Le Bourdigou

Lagoons near Canet
Hoopoe, Crested lark, Black-necked grebe, Osprey on migration, 

Agricultural plains and vineyards
Stone curlew, Roller, Bee-eater, Woodchat shrike, Black-eared wheaterr

 

We will be looking for resident species, summer nesting arrivals and other birds passing through on spring migration…

The wide range of diverse habitats within a small area allows for a broad selection of species to be observed.
We will visit coastal lagoons and sea cliffs, vineyards and open agricultural land, upland garrigue and craggy limestone escarpments.

Birds
Local resident species include: Blue rock thrush, Bonelli’s eagle, Crag martin, Crested lark, Eagle owl, Glossy ibis, Kentish plover, Rock sparrow, Sardinian warbler, Serin, Slender-billed gull, Spotless starling, Zitting cisticola…

Summer breeding species include: Bee-eater, Black-eared wheatear, Black-winged stilt, Great spotted cuckoo, Hoopoe, Orphean warbler, Roller, Short-toed eagle, Subalpine warbler, Tawny pipit, Woodchat shrike…

On migration we will be looking for: Bee-eater, Black kite, Booted eagle, Greater flamingo, various hirundines including Alpine swift and Red-rumped swallow, White stork

Flowers
April sees a wide variety of plants in flower and this is when the garrigue comes into its own.
The flowering period for many of these species is extremely variable from one year to another, but we will be looking for:

Cephalantera damasonium, Erodium foetidum, Gladiolus italicus, Ophrys scolopax, Ophrys lutea, Ophrys anthropophora, Orchis purpurea, Lavandula stoechas, Linus narbonense, Tulipa sylvestris sbsp australis…


This is a new extended version of a shorter trip. Click the link below for a trip report of the shorter version:

 

 

By train!
Come by train and choose the “low carbon birding” option! It’s really quite easy and you get to see more of the beautiful French countryside.
A participant on this trip in 2020 came by train, traveling south via Paris and Bordeaux and returning north via Narbonne and Lille.
See the Getting here page in our DIY birding section, and do get in touch if you need any help!

By plane
For this trip, we normally meet flights into Carcassonne from Manchester 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 your flights until the trip is confirmed!

 


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 + 2 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 Corbières and lagoons

The team for this trip combines the local knowledge of a resident professional 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 few wildlife trips abroad have helped widen her knowledge base and she currently works for a consultancy firm specialised in ecological impact studies, 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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