Gourmet Spring Birding and Wine in the Mediterranean

Gourmet Spring Birding & Wine in the Mediterranean

Friday 10th May to Friday 17th May 2019

Tour code: BLSR1-19

This trip is developed in partnership with the Narbonnaise regional park.

Parc naturel régional de la Narbonnaise

Spring bird watching + gourmet food & wine tasting

in the Narbonnaise and coastal Corbieres.

Hosted in a new luxury boutique hotel in Leucate...

Target species: Mediterranean residents & summer visitors

with some late migration if the conditions are right.

8 days / 7 nights • Local expert guides • From 1620€ per person • Small groups of 6 - 10

Discount available for any group of 6+ participants booking together.

See the Trip Report from May 2017 - when Bill Oddie joined us on this tour!

See the article Bill Oddie wrote after joining this trip!

Scroll down for more information...

Mediterranean resident species, summer visitors & late spring migration...

The Narbonnaise regional park encompasses a vast array of different habitats 

including coastal lagoons, marshy reedbeds, rocky headlands and the craggy limestone Corbières hills. 

All at close range, these habitats are home to an equally wide range of birds,
including most of southern France’s iconic species.

Discover a new birding destination with the Birding Languedoc team of
English tour leader Philippa Benson and a knowledgeable local French birding guide
.

Our target species include:

Eagle owl, Bonelli's eagle, Black-eared wheatear, Sardinian warbler, Orphean warbler,

Subalpine warbler, Tawny pipit, Thekla lark, Hoopoe, Golden oriole, Bee-eater,

Roller, Woodchat shrike, Blue rock thrush, Rock thrush,

Flamingo, Slender-billed gull, and many more...

Hosted at a new luxury boutique hotel in Leucate: le 19-21 Un amour d'hôtel

where the high standard of designer accommodation is complemented by
a very relaxed atmosphere and delicious gourmet food provided by Katy and her team.

Enjoy a unique combination of creature comforts, great wine tasting 

and excellent local birding knowledge!

Scroll down below the map for the detailed itinerary!

Mediterranean gourmet spring birding & wine

Programme

Fri 10th May 

Transfer from Carcassonne airport to accommodation in Leucate village at

Le 19-21 Un amour d'hôtel


Welcome drinks & dinner


Evening outing to try and spot Eagle owl

Squacco heron - Birding Languedoc

Sat 11th May 

Coastal lagoons and
the Aude river plain

We start today with a look at the Pissevaches lagoon 

for opportunities to see FlamingoPurple 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

Black-eared wheatear - Birding Languedoc

Sun 12th May

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. 

Mon 13th May

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.

Tues 14th May

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.

Wed 15th May

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… 

Thurs 16th May

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.

Fri 17th May

Departure after breakfast

Birding and/or sightseeing on our way to the 

airport for departure.


Here's what participants in 2017 had to say :

"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

What's included and what's not...

INCLUDED

  • Transfer from airport and all local transport
  • Top quality accommodation in a boutique hotel
  • All meals included a tasty picnic (no sandwiches!)
  • Visits to wineries and wine tastings
  • Experienced local birdwatching guide
  • Bilingual Birding Languedoc tour leader

NOT INCLUDED

  1. Flights

  2. Cancellation insurance

  3. Personal medical and repatriation insurance

  4. Drinks other than wine with meals

  5. Personal expenses

  6. Lunch on the last day

We meet the following flights into Carcassonne

Click the links below

 for flight details...

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. 

You can also travel by train from London!

Travel by train to Narbonne from London St Pancras...
either via Paris (change stations) or via Lille (change platforms).

Pricing and enquiries

Gourmet Spring Birding & Wine in the Mediterranean

  Friday 10th May to Friday 17th May 2019   

   Gourmet Spring Mediterranean birding & wine week in the Narbonnaise and coastal Corbieres

  8 days / 7 nights  •  English tour leader & Local guides • From 1620€ per person 

• Group size 6 - 10 •

Tour code BLSR1-19

Discount available for any group of 6+ participants booking together.

Email us if you have any questions

Tour leader: Philippa Benson

Like many Brits, I have a keen interest in nature and will never tire of learning about the amazing birds and wildlife of the Languedoc.

After living here for over 10 years, I now have a good working knowledge of where the best spots are for birds, flowers and other species and I enjoy sharing these with interested visitors.

My background in project management and hospitality combined with being fully bilingual are useful skills for organising and hosting tours, and I have a particular focus on customer service!