The final new Orchid of the few days out and about. Besides from the Monkey Orchids and Lady Orchids, were these lovely hybrid Monkey/Lady Orchids. They were very interesting, having the same length stem and flower colouration, but with 'Monkey' shapes, and were also the most numerous species present.White Helleborines were also in flower.
This is yet another known about site and publicised also.
Another new Orchid and a much wanted one as well. These Military Orchids were fantastic and well worth the effort. Also, Fly Orchids were in abundance, another favourite of mine. This site is well known and publicised.
A new site for me, and also a new Orchid species as well. It was the brilliant looking Sword-leaved Helleborine. They were in their hundreds in some places, with many Birds Nest Orchids alongside them.
Walked the patch this morning but nothing much was noted except from a colony of Green-winged Orchids I never knew existed up there. After I had warmed up I did a Butterfly count with Dad along Frog Firle.
A late morning walk on the Head didn't produce much as expected. The early morning influx of 10 Spotted Flycatchers seen by Bob had obviously moved on, but there was a lovely male Whinchat and a Hobby over.
Well done Dad on finding this female GOLDEN ORIOLE along Cradle Valley, Frog Firle, about 1 mile north of Seaford. He found it at 4.15pm, and I let a couple of people know, apologies to those who I didn't manage to get in contact with, but the rush and bad signal made this difficult.
Anyway, whilst walking back to the car at 7pm I spotted the bird flying above the valley moving NW and out of sight. During the excitement, I remembered to take some pics, poor as they are, it shows it is one....just. Fortunately it was quite close allowing good binocular views.
This species was a very welcome county tick for me.
apologies for the dreadful pics of this female Golden Oriole.
A great trip with Mick Davis to south France with the hope of catching up on some montane species. A couple of days was spent near the Camargue also, but the main focus were the Pyrenees and Alps seeing an impressive 161 bird species. The trip was pretty successful, although the weather did play a part. Out of my 18 target bird species, only 10 were seen, but again you can't do much when the weather is poor. However there were some nice conditions. There will be a trip report soon if anyone is interested.
We drove straight into the Pyrenees and up the Col du Tourmalet, but only getting a certain way as it was still closed off. Another Col was tried before settling down in Lourdies-Ichere where we spent the night in a car park.
Col du Tourmalet Griffon Vulture - 10 Alpine Chough - 20
Red-billed Chough - 2 White-winged Snowfinch - 2
Crag Martin - 5 Ring Ouzel - 2
Pays du Lourdes
Burnt tip Orchid - 30
Col d'aubisque Golden Eagle - 1
Crested Tit - 2
a very rare sighting, though I can confirm this is Mick up a mountain!!!
Woke up to a soggy morning. Actually it rained all day putting a dampers on anything high up. The Forest was walked all morning with only a possible WB Woodpecker seen. We drove into Spain briefly and encountered some goodies. The decision was then made to ditch the Pyrenees and drive to the coast where we slept at Cape Leucate in the strong NW wind. The highlight of the day was getting stopped by the French Police (more in the trip report).
Foret de Lourdies
possible White-backed Woodpecker - 1 - only very brief flight views.
Marsh Tit - 1
Tawny Owl - 1
Dipper - 1
Aspun, Spain Rock Thrush - 6 Alpine Chough - 3
Wheatear - 40
Water Pipit - 10
Woke up to a very strong NW wind (apparantly happens a lot around this area) so started with a seawatch. We walked the surrounding area for any new migrants before driving north visiting many sites. A 2 hour drive around the Mediterranean Coast to the Camargue, we were surpirised to find the wind had dropped, allowing some excellent birding. We ended our day at St. Martin Le Crau.
The morning was spent at Le Crau and then Les Apilles (finally we could experience some warmth) before moving north to the Alps where it was annoying to find the Cols were still closed due to the snow. A huge thunderstorm appeared from no where at Les Apilles, ending our chances of a Bonelli's Eagle. In the Alps, the plan was to stay in the Bois des Ayes but with a long detour, we decided to stay at Ristolas in the tent so we could hit the slopes the next day.
Le Crau (Peau Des Meau) Little Bustard - 2 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse - 7
Short-toed Lark - 4 Tawny Pipit - 8
Bee-Eater - 10 Lesser Kestrel - 6
Red-footed Falcon - 6
White Stork - 1
Turtle Dove - 1
La Caune, Les Apilles Short-toed Eagle - 1 Dartford Warbler - 4
Sardinian Warbler - 2
Subalpine Warbler - 2 Alpine Swift - 20
Ristolas and woods near Mt Viso Western Bonelli's Warbler - 4
Willow Tit - 4
Merlin - 1
WILD BOAR - 1 !!!! - an amazing experience which I won't forget, extreme luck.
Western Bonelli's Warbler
Wild Boar - a lucky encounter in the high pine forests above Ristolas
Woke up with frost on my tent and freezing cold conditions, however once the sun finally revealed itself I defrosted. The morning was spent walking up and down the mountain slopes overlooking Ristolas before moving to one of the many Cols in the area. By late afternoon a huge snow blizzard had swept in, completely putting an end to our day. Night spent at the L'auberge de l'impossible hotel in Briancon.
Rock Partridge - 1 heard - arrgggghhhh Black Grouse - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Rock Bunting - 2 Mountain Hare - 1
Col de L'azard CitrilFinch - 8 Nutcracker - 3
Crossbill - 20
Crested Tit - 10
Willow Tit - 5