Spring Birding and Wine in the Mediterranean

Spring Birding & Wine in the Mediterranean

Friday 10th May to Friday 17th May 2019

Tour code: BLSR1-19

A week of spring bird watching, gourmet food and wine tasting in the Narbonnaise and coastal Corbieres.

This trip is hosted in a stylish new 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 • Group size 6 - 10

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

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

Parc naturel régional de la Narbonnaise

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!

Download a summary of this trip / Download a Booking request form

Spring migration & summer visitors...

Centred on the Narbonnaise regional park this trip covers coastal lagoons, marshy reedbeds,
rocky headlands at La Clape and Leucate, as well as the upland Corbières hills.
The incredibly diverse range of habitats hosts an equally wide range of birds,
including most of southern France’s iconic species.

This trip offers an exclusive opportunity for English speaking birdwatchers to discover
a new birding destination with the Birding Languedoc team of
tour leader Philippa Benson and a local 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...

We are delighted to be hosting this trip at the exciting new 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.

This trip is for those who like their creature comforts as well as some excellent birding!

Scroll down below the map for the detailed itinerary!

Spring birding and wine in the Mediterranean

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 waders, terns and reed-based passerines resting on migration, then move on to the Pissevaches lagoon for opportunities to see FlamingoCattle egret, Purple heron, Black-winged stilt, Red-crested pochard, Slender-billed gull, Little gull and various terns may all be seen. 

We will try to spot the Lesser kestrels as we picnic in 

Fleury d'Aude. 
On the banks of the River Aude, and in the surrounding meadows and vineyards we should find Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Woodchat shrike and hopefully Roller if they are back.

A little bit further inland, flood plain and steppe habitat can provide sightings of Little bustard, Great spotted cuckoo, Woodchat shrike and possibly the very rare Lesser grey shrike

Black-eared wheatear - Birding Languedoc

Sun 12th May

Coastal lagoons, former salt pans and reedbeds of the Narbonnaise marshes

After a peek at the White stork nest and the Grey heron at the 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 watch migratory birds as they skim the low over the water. 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 and Sardinian warbler and explore the Gruissan salt-pans  for waders and other seabirds. 

Mon 13th May

Bugarach – vulture observation platform, a Cathar Castle and the Galamus gorge.  On our way up into the Corbières hills we will have a brief stop at one of the 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 observation platform and look across to the cliffs that are home to a group of Griffon vultures and where the Egyptian vulture has been known to nest. If we are lucky and a carcass is put out 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 to the coastal lagoons south of Narbonne to see Avocet and 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 gives us a chance of spotting these shy raptors.

On our return in the afternoon we will call in at a rocky canyon where we may see Blue rock thrush, Rock thrush, Crag martins (nesting), 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

Scrubby “garrigue”, vineyards, stone walls and chalky cliffs. 

Nesting: Tawny pipit, Black-eared wheatear, Hoopoe, Spotless starling, Sardinian warbler, Orphean warbler, Great spotted cuckoo, Woodchat shrike, Corn bunting, Cirl bunting, Serin, Crested lark.

Picnic lunch at La Franqui where we may see Slender billed gulls and Little tern as well as other terns.

 Coastal lagoons where we should see : Little tern, Avocet, Black-winged stilt, Pied oyster catcher, Kentish plover, Purple heron, Cattle egret, Little and Great white egret, Greater 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. Nesting and overwintering: as per the Leucate plateau, plus: Dartford and Subalpine warbler, Ortolan bunting, Thekla lark, Rock sparrow, Rock bunting, Crag martin, Short-toed eagle, Montagu’s harrier, Hen harrier, Bonelli’s eagle, Golden eagle, Rock thrush, Blue rock thrush .

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
  • High quality accommodation in a boutique hotel
  • All meals included a tasty picnic (no sandwiches!)
  • Visits to wineries and wine tastings
  • Experienced local birdwatching guides
  • 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 pick up from the following flights


Flight info will be available soon...


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  •  Local guides • From 1620€ per person • Group size 6 - 10 • Tour code BLSR1-19 

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!