Gourmet Birding & Butterflies in the Languedoc

Trip developed in partnership with the LPO Herault

Overview

  • Tour number: BLMR2-17
  • Dates: Friday 5 May to Friday 12 May 2017
  • Tour price per person: 1,585€
  • 100€ reduction on all bookings made before 31/10/2016
  • Tour leader: Maurice Riekert
  • Group size: maximum 8 participants
  • Accommodation: La Souche Guesthouse near Saint Chinian

Based in and around the Parc naturel régional du Haut-Languedoc, this trip offers an exclusive opportunity to discover an exciting new birding destination with a highly knowledgeable local guide and accompanied by Birding Languedoc tour leader Maurice Riekert. We will visit a range of habitats from coastal lagoons to the upland area of the Caroux mountain, allowing us to see a wide variety of species. You will be staying in a charming French guesthouse near the lovely wine-making town of Saint Chinian. The property is situated in a hamlet and offers plenty of opportunities for early morning and evening birding. Your English speaking hosts Marianne and Hennie will delight you with their gourmet cuisine, making the most of the delicious, fresh local produce. Evening meals will also provide plenty of opportunity to sample the wonderful local wines!

  • Day 1 Pick-up from Carcassonne airport* and transfer to la Souche in Saint Chinian
  • Day 2 Birding on the Causse d'Aumelas: Lesser Kestrel, Warblers
  • Day 3 Etang de Vendres & Lespignan: Spring migration
  • Day 4 Minerve village and gorge: Red-rumped swallow, Alpine swift
  • Day 5 Haut Languedoc: Vultures, Eagles and Black woodpecker
  • Day 6 Portiragnes: Flamingo, Bee-eater, Hoopoe
  • Day 7 Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone: Stilts, Gulls, and Terns
  • Day 8 Free day and transfer to airport

*All travel arrangements to France are strictly the responsibility of the participants. Standard pick-up for this tour is from Carcassonne airport on the afternoon of Day 1 which is where the tour starts. We meet the East Midlands flight (click here for more info), the Manchester flight (click here for more info) and the Stansted flight (click here for more info). Return transfers to Carcassonne airport on Day 8 are also timed for return flights to these UK airports. Transfers from/to Béziers airport (Luton and Bristol flights) may also be possible.

See below for more detailed information or contact us using the form on the right.

The booking form can be downloaded here.

As a general rule our tours do not include any strenuous walking, and any particularly rough or steep terrain will be highlighted in the detailed programme below. Please contact us about any concerns you might have.

N.B. All our tour programmes are subject to change so that we make the most of the weather conditions and any opportunities to see interesting species.

Detailed programme

On days 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 we will be accompanied by the experienced local guide, Thomas Marchal of the LPO Hérault.

Day 1: Arrival at Béziers airport and transfer to the accommodation for dinner (we may stop somewhere to look at birds on the way, time permitting).

Day 2: With an experienced local guide. We will start the day with a visit to Saint-Pons-de-Mauchiens to see a Lesser kestrel nesting site. Lunch at the LPO office, which is also a wild bird and animal rescue centre. In the afternoon we will focus on spring migration, summer visitors and nesting birds around the Causse d'Aumelas between Pezenas and Montpellier.

Target species: Woodchat shrike, European roller, Montagu's harrier, Lesser kestrel, European bee-eater, Southern grey shrike, Tawny pipit, Western Orphean warbler, Dartford warbler, Great spotted cuckoo

Butterflies: Cleopatra, Provence chalk-hill blue

Day 3: With an experienced local guide. In the morning we are going to the Vendres lagoon to observe Herons, Egrets and Terns. Then after a picnic lunch we have a chance to see Little bustards, Buntings and Shrike near Lespignan.

Target species: Great reed warbler, Purple heron, Western swamphen, Bearded reedling, Glossy ibis, Whiskered tern, Cattle egret, Osprey, Squacco heron, Great egret

Butterflies: Western marbled white, Iberian marbled white, Great banded grayling

Day 4: Today we are visiting Minerve. Not only a beautiful charming village but also great for birding. At the confluence of two rivers, Minerve is surrounded by deep gorges. We will have the opportunity to look down into the bigger gorges and walk in the bottom of others, with a good chance of seeing Alpine Swift, Blue rock thrush and Red-rumped swallow. At the end of the day we will try to see a mystery bird.

Target Species: Red-rumped swallow, Alpine swift, Rock sparrow, Blue rock thrush, Sardinian warbler, Subalpine warbler, Black-eared wheatear, Hoopoe, Peregrine falcon, Short toed eagle, Golden eagle

Butterflies: Iberian marbled white

Day 5: With an experienced local guide. Today we are off to the Caroux to find the biggest woodpecker in Europe: the Black woodpecker. The Caroux is upland country where there is a good change of seeing several Eagles and Vultures as well. With a bit of luck we will also encounter the introduced Corsican mountain sheep, the "mouflon".

Today's outing requires a moderate level of fitness as we will be covering moderately steep terrain, if you have any concerns please contact us.

Target species: Griffon vulture, Black woodpecker, Golden eagle, Short-toed eagle

Mammals: Mouflon

Butterflies: Piedmont ringlet, Bath white

Day 6: With an experienced local guide. Today will see us heading for Portiragnes to see Flamingo, Bee-eater and Hoopoe. With a bit of luck we may also see Slender-billed gull. After lunch we will visit a different habitat further inland.

Target species: Black-winged stilt, European bee-eater, Zitting cisticola, Purple heron, Hoopoe, Greater flamingo, Little bustard, Great egret, European roller, European serin

Butterflies: Iberian marbled white, Two-tailed Pasha

Day 7: Half a day with an experienced local guide. For our last full day's birding we are heading off to Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. A lagoon on the outskirts of Montpellier, this rich nature reserve always has something interesting to see. In the afternoon we will visit the inland area around Assignan.

Target species: Black-winged stilt, Gull-billed tern, Greater flamingo, Cattle egret, Little tern, Slender-billed gull, Red-crested pochard, Kentish plover, Great reed warbler

Butterflies: Southern gatekeeper, Iberian marbled white

Day 8: Free day with minibus and tour leader at your disposal before transfer to local airport for return journey. (The group can choose to do more birdwatching or sightseeing, or we can arrange a wine-tasting and a nice lunch in a typical Languedoc village!).

Contact us for more information or download our Booking form.

Call us at +33 467 24 21 17 or use the contact form below: