Great spotted cuckoo
Transfer from Carcassonne airport to accommodation in Leucate village at
Welcome drinks & dinner
Evening outing to try and spot Eagle owl
Coastal lagoons and
the Aude river plain
We start today with a look at the Pissevaches lagoon
for opportunities to see Flamingo, Purple heron,
Black-winged stilt, Crested lark,
Yellow wagtail (iberiae sbsp),
Slender-billed gull, Little gull, Mediterranean gull
and various terns.
As we picnic in Fleury d'Aude we should see the Lesser kestrels.
On the banks of the River Aude, and in the surrounding meadows & vineyards we should find Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Woodchat shrike, Roller and possibly European turtle dove.
A little bit further inland, flood plain and steppe habitat we will be looking for Great spotted cuckoo, Little bustard and an outside chance of the very rare Lesser grey shrike.
Coastal lagoons, salt pans and the marshy reedbeds of the Narbonnaise
After a quick look at the White stork nest, Grey heronry and hopefully Purple heron on the nest, we will then move on, if the prevailing north westerly wind is blowing, to follow the spring migration on the edge of the Ayrolle lagoon where we can birds skim low over the water as they battle the wind. Birds to spot include: Montagu’s harrier, Bee-eater, White and Black stork and occasional rarities such as Pallid harrier.
If the wind is not favourable, we can have a look around the Ile St Martin to spot Hoopoe, Orphean warbler, Black-eared wheatear, Dartford warbler, Sardinian warbler and Rock sparrow explore the Gruissan salt-pans for waders including Kentish plover and other seabirds.
Bugarach – vulture observation platform, Cathar Castles and the Galamus gorge. On our way up into the Corbières hills we will bird on the way and get good views of two spectacular Cathar castles perched on top of craggy limestone outcrops, and where various raptors including Golden eagle, Short toed eagle, Hen harrier, can be seen. Then we’ll move on to the vulture observation platform and look across at some cliffs that are home to a group of Griffon vultures and where a pair of Egyptian vultures have been known to nest. If we are lucky and there is a recent carcass at the feeding station, we may also see Black vulture and possibly even Lammergeier, as well as Red-backed shrike and Booted eagle. On our way back we will drive down the spectacular Galamus Gorge where we will look for Alpine Swifts, Crag martins, Blue rock thrush and Peregrine falcon.
Our first stop is at the coastal lagoons south of Narbonne to see Black-winged stilt and hopefully a few Flamingo.
On the headland we may see some late migration with Bee-eater, White stork and Honey buzzard passing over, with Montagu's harrier and Short-toed eagle possible sightings over the vineyards.
Coffee in Peyriac de mer.
As we move across to the La Clape headland, we may have a chance of spotting Bonelli's eagle.
We will eat our picnic lunch at a local vineyard and sample some of the delicious local wines.
In the afternoon we will walk down a rocky canyon where we may see Blue rock thrush, Crested tit, and various raptors.
Lagoons and garrigue
The south facing migration lookout spot above Leucate-Plage if the wind is a moderate to strong NW: Roller, Honey buzzard, Osprey, and possibly a few Alpine swifts in amongst the Common swifts, Sand martin, Crag martin and Red-rumped swallow, Serin, Yellow wagtail...
Coffee in Leucate plage
Then back up onto the plateau for “garrigue”, vineyards, stone walls and chalky cliffs to look for Tawny pipit, Black-eared wheatear, Hoopoe, Spotless starling, Sardinian warbler, Orphean warbler, Great spotted cuckoo, Woodchat shrike, Southern grey shrike Corn & Cirl buntings, Serin, Crested lark.
Picnic lunch at La Franqui as we look for Slender billed gulls and Little tern as well as other terns.
La Palme lagoons where we should see : Little tern, Avocet, Black-winged stilt, Kentish plover, Purple heron, various egrets, Flamingo, Slender-billed gull…
Dry open pastures/steppe and rocky escarpments.
Fitou - Feuilla
Birds typical of the garrigue include many passerines as well as several raptors. We will visit a number of different sites and should have a good chance of seeing the following species:
Black-eared wheatear, Tawny pipit, Dartford and Subalpine warbler, Ortolan bunting, Thekla lark, Rock sparrow, Rock bunting, Crag martin, Rock thrush, Blue rock thrush, Montagu’s harrier, Hen harrier, Short-toed eagle,
Bonelli’s eagle, Golden eagle.
Stopping on the way for coffee we will also be on the lookout during our lunch stop for Spotless starling, Rock sparrow, Sardinian warbler, Corn and Cirl bunting and just possibly Golden oriole.
Departure after breakfast
Birding and/or sightseeing on our way to the
airport for departure.
"A great group of people to spend a week with in a relaxed atmosphere.
All round knowledge of birds, butterflies, plants and local history was excellent.
The three wine tasting events were all very enjoyable and made a pleasurable break from bird watching." P.Russell
"Very enjoyable, good variety of habitat visited and hence variety of species seen." G.Russell
"Great food, French atmosphere, helpful people, good guides, attractive countryside." S.Kimsey
Personal medical and repatriation insurance
Drinks other than wine with meals
Lunch on the last day
Recent changes to Ryanair cabin bag rules:
The new "Priority & 2 Cabin Bags - Priority Queue" option costs £6 per leg/sector
allowing you to carry on board a small wheelie case AND a small rucksack or handbag.
This means you can avoid putting your spotting scope in "check-in luggage" that may well be thrown into the hold!
You can select the Standard fare and click confirm - the "Priority & 2 Cabin Bags" option is on the following screen.
Printing your return boarding pass (without access to a printer while you are away):
Paying for a selected seat, allows you to check-in & print outbound and return boarding passes before you leave home.