Friday November 23rd (Antequera)
Last Wednesday in the Serrania de Ronda, a Black Wheatear Oenanthe
leucura: fully black except its white rump, flying from rock to
rock; I watch another male 500 m farther.
Today we cycle along a large pond, named the laguna dulce. Already
from the road I spot several White-headed Ducks Oxyura leucocephala
; when approaching we may count some thirty of them. Even if the
males don't display their blue beaks at this season, they are very
particular ducks. Other hosts in this laguna are also interesting:
two Flamingoes, two Purple Gallinules, numerous Mallards, Shovelers,
and a couple of Gadwalls
Saturday November 17th (Barbate)
When walking this morning in the narrow streets of Arcos, I spot
a Kestrel hustling a bird of prey greater than him: it is a Booted
Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus. One week ago, it was a very calm day
from the birds point of view because of the strong wind : a Rock
Sparrow gave me a very good confort. Another day, a couple of Rock
Dove helped my travel list to pass beyond the 200 different birds
And the list is not yet closed !
Thursday November 15th (Adriano)
Fascinating lagoon of El Rocio
It's incredible what you
can see, and not too far ! When walking to a bridge which is an
outstanding viewing spot, a few kind birdwatchers present us on
a silver plate (through a Leica telescope) a Crested Coot (Fulica
cristata) observed during a fews seconds amongst a group of
Coots; more exciting, even if it is not for me a first observation:
the Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio) which we could
watch under the best conditions.
The Toruno hotel can be warmly recommended for romantic birdwatchers:
all rooms are named with a bird: ours was the Martin Pescador (Kingfischer),
with a spendid view on the lagoon. The Black-winged Stilt are everywhere,
Avocet are less numerous. Dunlins, Little Stints, Redshanks, Ruffs,
Black-tailed Godwits, Snipes, Kentish Plovers
busy with their heads under the water, the Little Egret is there
too, but in lesser numbers as Cattle Egrets.
Unfortunately, we have to leave this birds paradise and are greeted
by 4 Glossy Ibis who fly away to land a bit farther near a marsh
Sunday November 11th (Zafra)
Back to this marvelous day in Extramadure on Thursday, November
8th. We have seen 6 or 7 joyous flocks of Blue Magpies, a total
of at least 200 for the day.
Several observations of Griffon Vultures; often I seize my binoculars,
hoping to identify instead a Black Vultur, a Golden or Imperial
without result up to now ! The Corn Buntings and Crested
Larks are still numerous, but finally I could also identify the
Calandra Lark, a first observation for me.
The Dartford Warbler is often observed between the bushes, along
the road. Its "djer" cry is quite different from the Sardinian
Warbler's, that we hear frequently, even if we have seen it only
once. The Fan-tailed Warbler is also regularly present. On the rocky
slopes boarding the road the Rock Bunting shows up from time to
time; the Great Grey Shrike perchs on the power lines or on top
of bushes; on the fences and little bushes, the regular bird is
the Whinchat. The Hoopoe makes its hu hu hu
see and hear Goldfinches, Linnets, Serins; it's striking to hear
their songs, as in November in Belgium they are quite silent.
In Extramadure, it is impossible to see a church without White Storks
nests: in Plasencia one building was covered by a dozen of these
nests ! I will end with our beloved and wonderful Cranes, migratory
birds from the north of Europe to the south, as we do ourselves
on our bicycles
Sunday November 4th (Los Santos)
In these large, dry grasslands south of Salamanca, I have spotted
a Stone Curlew amongst a flock of Lapwings. Two Golden Plovers flew
with another group of about 50 Lapwings. About 6 Red Kites were
spotted along the road near a wood. Before coming in Los Santos,
about 20 Blue Magpies could be observed at shorter distance this
time. Near our tent, we hear the cry of the Dartford Warbler. A
Woodcock flies above the wood.
Saturday November 3rd, Salamanca
It becomes urgent for me to include in our site a second list
of observations, complementary to the one attached to our daily
June 24 ! Since that time we have crossed many different
landscapes, the latitudes and seasons have changed. If my count
is correct, I have for this trip up to now 189 species, out of which
106 in this second list that you may consult just below.
Great Crested Grebe
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Short-toed Tree Creeper
Great Grey Shrike
Thursday November 1st (Cantalpino)
The surprise of today: what are these Grey Lag Gooses doing in
this large, desert field, in this south region ? Binoculars: Great
Bustards ! They are fifteen, I consult my guide book and get confirmation
of what I had noticed: very large bird, gray neck, reddish-brown
collar, beautiful reddish-brown tail sometimes opened like a half
wheel; what a chance!
Moreover two groups of Azure-winged Magpies have crossed our road
today in front of us. The Wood Larks were singing; I should be careful
for possible observations of the Calandra Lark, amongst the flocks
of Corn Buntings and Sky Larks. I would also be delighted identifying
the Tchekla Lark amongst the omnipresent Crested Larks
Wednesday October 31st (Cigunuela)
Yesterday I nearly got a stroke: was it a Black-winged Kite ?
Seizing my binoculars, it was a male Montagu's Harrier
too bad, anyway
). And in the evening: a flock of Cranes ?
No, fifty or so White Storks. This morning a few of them fly a reverse
path while we fold up the tent; they have more or less the same
schedule as we have now: we strike camp at the sunrise, and plant
our tent at the setting sun.
Thursday October 25th (Samaniego)
Since a few days, we watch regularly Crested Larks and Corn Buntings.
The day before yesterday, three Black Storks were resting; yesterday
two others were perching on a nest on top of a high plant chimney.
Not less than 35 Griffon Vultures circled today above a summit of
the Sierra de Cantabria ! And from our tent planted near the church
of Samaniego, I hear a familiar thiac: two Choughs land on the bell-tower,
showing their red bills under the setting sun.
Monday October 22nd (Irurita)
Near la Rochelle on October 11th, a few martins fly above the beach
towards the south. In Hossegor on October 17th, we watch numerous
passages of Larks, Pipits, Chaffinchs, Goldfinchs, Linnets
Today after crossing the France/Spain border, we watch a Griffon
Vulture near Urdazubi, on the road to the Otxondo pass; besides
it, a Red Kite appears minute.
Friday October 5th
The kingfishers are typical along the canal from Nantes to Brest.
We have watched today at least 20 of them; the Grey Wagtails are
also numerous. Along a marsh I have listened to 2 Cetti's Warblers.
The Tchiftchaf sings from time to time its "tchif-tchaf"
and I have watched a Swallow, maybe the last for me this autumn
Monday October 1st (Roscoff)
Alongside the sea today, an orange and blue arrow flies above the
waves: the Kingfisher settles on a rock, flies on the spot with
its beak down, goes farther in the wind. Three Gannets fly on the
open sea and near the coast we watch some Sandwich Terns.
Sunday September 30th (Plymouth)
Yesterday 29/09 we have seen some more Swallows and the day before
a House Martin. Pheasants are very numerous in the south of England,
and the partridges here are the Red-legged Partridges, not the gray
Tuesday September 11th (Huijbergen)
Yesterday, two Purple Herons, in the Polders before Kinderdijk;it
may be an unique individual: it got up from the ditch along the
road, and we have seen another 2 km farther. After Kinderdijk, 4
White Storks tried to catch a hot air ascending opportunity, a difficult
exercice between two rain falls.
Some days ago I had forgotten to mention 3 Ravens: curious, these
observations in the German or Dutch plains, near the sea; should
they be present in the Flanders ?
Tuesday September 4th (Nunspeet)
In a meadow, two White Storks !
Monday September 3rd (Lemmer)
In a meadow, 7 Ruddy Shelducks were kept close to about 30 Mute
Swans. Amongst the usual Lapwings was a flock of about 50 Ruffs.
Earlier today, another Spoonbill and a female Hen Harrier.
Saturday September 1st (Molenrij)
Yesterday we rode besides a broad flooded meadow : a large flock
of Golden Plovers had a rest, amongst the usual Lapwings and several
sandpipers (Ruffs, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Common Sandpipers,
While approaching, a great number of Snipes appear suddenly in a
The ducks are still in transitory plumage, but obviously the teals
were the most numerous. A good surprise farther: 3 Spoonbills walking
while feeding, with the typical side-motion of their beaks.
During all the day, Wheatears precede us, flying from post to post,
and small flocks of Yellow Wagtails fly amongst the sheeps. Today,
a big surprise along a broad ditch: a Black Stork (juvenile) which
finally flew away when we approached to close.
We never go a long way round to visit bird sanctuaries and these
spontaneous observations alongside the road bring a pleasure as
great as unexpected.
A Green Sandpiper crosses our road without a cry, flying against
Friday August 24th (Harstettermarsh)
The mud beaches run so far (on square kilometers, farther as the
eye can reach) that we have here a profusion of water birds - most
of them in transient plumage - , of which we can watch only a small
Oystercatchers, Avocets, Ringed Plovers, Grey Plovers, Golden Plovers
and Lapwings by hundreds, Knots, Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers,
Dunlins by thousands, Snipes, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit,
a few Curlews, Ruffs, Spotted Redshank, Redshanks, Greenshanks,
Wood Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers, Turnstones.
Many of these could be observed on a pool near the hotel.
Also: Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorans, Grey Lag Gooses, Gadwalls,
Teals, Pintails, Shovelers, Pochards, Eiders, Goldeneyes, a young
White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harriers, Buzzards, Kestrels.
Tuesday August 7th (Bakakra)
Again many sandpipers on the Baltic beaches: Dunlins, Sanderlings,
Knots and Curlew Sandpipers, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Ringed
Plover, all of them busily foraging the mud.
For the first time I realize that they all are about the same size
(with the exception of the hefty Knot), while I imagined for example
the Wood Sandpiper larger than his cousins. Therefore it took me
some time to identify him, wondering who was this curious sandpiper.
Nothing is better than admiring a flock of birds side by side, under
a beautiful light.
Saturday August 4th (Mörrum)
In the fields and meadows south of the Öland island we have
watched a male Marsh Harrier and a female Montagu's Harrier (confirmed
by a Swedish expert : geographical range, but especially the white
spot on the rump is narrower compared to the Hen Harrier).
At the Ottenby bird sanctuary, nothing particular to mention besides
Great Cormorans, Mute Swans, Eiders, and Barnacle Gooses. Some Redshanks
and Greenshanks. A first in our tour: 2 Turnstones.
On the other hand a stopping place 30 km to the north turned to
be excellent for sandpipers, often in transitory plumage :
- Dunlins in great numbers
- Knots: a dozen
- Temminck's Stints: 2
- Little Stint: only one
- Curlew Sandpiper: one
- Broad-billed Sandpiper: one ; the only observation I had made
of it was in 1985 at Eilat, Israël : I was therefore delighted
to see it again.
Some Ringed Plovers and Wood Sandpipers, all watched through a high-quality
telescope: a Zwarowski with zoom 20-60x.
In the background, a flock of seals rest on a sand bank.
I recently realized that since 2 or 3 weeks, the birds no more
sing. It's especially noticeable with the Willow Warbler you could
hear everywhere before. The few I hear these days are some Yellowhammers
and Wrens. Also a Quail who singed during all the night, near our
camp on the Öland island.
Tuesday July 31th (Segers-Gard)
Two well known forms along a field, we stop: yes, they are cranes,
these long expected birds ! A couple of adults feed quietly. I was
wrong about their nesting practices: Matti, the finish birdwatcher
in Pori, told me they don't gather presently in great settlements,
and are rather unobtrusive at this period of the year.
Our honour is saved, we have finally seen this emblematic bird
who was from the beginning announced in the "nature" heading
of the "project" chapter of our web site.
Sunday July 29th (Trosa)
On the ferry which allowed us to cross an arm of the sea, we hear
house martins cries: their nests are on board, on the steel upper
works, and so these nests travel 250 meters every quarter of an
hour ! The parents take that into account: when they leave the nest,
they fly towards the destination bank to hunt insects
Friday July 20 (Luvia)
Around Pori with Matti, the finish birdwatcher : list of observations
- Great Crested Grebe
- Grey Heron
- Mute Swan
- Grey Lag Goose
- Canada Goose
- Ruddy Shelduck (escaped from captivity ? not sure
- Red-breasted Merganser
- Honey Buzzard: a couple at a very short distance
- Osprey: 3 fly together; then one of them carries a big fish
- Marsh Harrier: male and female
- Grey Plover: 3 ex in flight
- Dunlin: a very big flock
- Little Stint: one
- Wood Sandpiper
- Bar-tailed Godwit: a wonderful specimen
- Little Gull: joungs and adults
- Caspian Tern: 7 or 8, wonderful
- Arctic Tern
- Common Tern
- Great Spotted Woodpecker
- Mistle Thrush
- Sedge Warbler
- Spotted Flycatcher
Sunday July 1 (Vaeroy)
The cliff near Mostad was covered with noisy Kittiwakes. On the
calmy sea Black Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins merge in large
flocks. Three Shags perch on a nearly rock. Two White-tailed Eagles
fly above the scene. The most fascinating is to observe the Puffins
rushing like little rockets in the sky.
Tuesday June 26, 2001 (Stamsund)
For the first time in our trip : 2 Twites and a Ring Ouzel.
Sunday June 24, 2001 (Solvaer)
You will find hereunder my list of observations made during these
3 first weeks. All these were made along the roads, or in the immediate
surroundings of our bivouacs, birdwatching being. not the priority
of our journey.
P.S. The Great Gray Owl has been withdrawn from the list, after
a conversation with a biologist encountered a week ago. The owl
observed is rather a Short-eared Owl, already observed at the belgian
coast, a long time ago
(For the translators easiness, the list is
alphabetically sorted on the french name)
Bird list, as June 24, 2001
Accenteur mouchet : Dunnock
Bécasse des bois : Woodcock : 3 times
Bécasseau Temminck : Temmincks Stint
Bécassine des marais : Snipe : 1
Bergeronnette grise : White Wagtail
Bergeronnette printanière : Yellow Wagtail
Bouvreuil pivoine : Bullfinch
Bruant jaune : Yellowhammer
Bruant lapon : Lapland Bunting : only a few
Bruant des roseaux : Reed Bunting : common
Buse pattue : Rough-legged Buzzard :2 or 3 individuals
Canard colvert : Mallard : here and there
Chevalier aboyeur : Greenshank : 1 or 2 times
Chevalier gambette : Redshank
Chevalier guignette : Common Sandpiper : regular
Chevalier sylvain : Wood Sandpiper : 2 times
Cincle plongeur : Dipper one observed along a fjord !
Combattant varié : Ruff
Corneille mantelée : Hooded Crow : very common
Coucou : Cuckoo : every day
Courlis cendré : Curlew : since a few days
Courlis corlieu : Wimbrel : very regular
Cygne sauvage : Whooper Swan : 2 couples
Eider : Eider : everywhere, also with chicks, which dive like their
Etourneau sansonnet : Starling
Faucon émerillon : Merlin : one observation
Fauvette babillarde : Lesser Whitethroat
Fauvette des jardins : Garden Warbler
Fuligule morillon : Tuffed Duck
Garrot à oeil dor : Goldeneye : one couple
Goëland argenté : Herring Gull
Gaëland brun : Lesser Black-backed Gull
Goëland cendré : Common Gull
Goëland marin : Great Black-backed Gull
Gorge-bleue : Bluethroat
Grand Corbeau : Raven
Grand cormoran : Great Cormoran
Grand gravelot: Ringed Plover : common
Grand Tétras : Capercaillie
Grèbe esclavon : Slavonian Grebe : 1 isolated, 1 couple
Grive litorne : Fieldfare : the queen, with the Willow Warbler
Grive mauvis : Redwing : regular
Grive musicienne : Song Trush
Guillemot à miroir : Black Guillemot
Harelde boréale : Long-tailed Ducks : several times in the
Harle bièvre : Goosander : very regular
Harle huppé : Red-breasted Mergansers : common, daily observations
Héron cendré : Grey Heron
Hibou des marais : Short-eared Owl
Hirondelle de fenêtre : House Martin
Hirondelle de rivage : Sand Martin : very regular
Hirondelle rustique : Swallow
Huitrier pie : Oystercatcher : daily companions
Labbe à longue queue : Long-tailed Skua 2 or 3 times
Labbe parasite : Artic Skuas : regular
Lagopède des saules :
Linotte à bec jaune : Twite
Macareux moine : Puffin : observed from the ferries
Macreuse brune : Velvet Scoter : one couple
Macreuse noire : Common Scoter : several flocks
Martinet : Swift
Mésange boréale : Willow Tit
(Mésange lapone : Siberian Tit not yet observed)
Moineau domestique : House Sparrow
Mouette rieuse : Black-headed Gull
Mouette tridactyle : Kittiwakes
Oie cendrée : Grey Lag Goose : 2 flocks
Perdrix : Scottish Parmigan
Phragmite des joncs : Sedge Warbler
Pie bavarde : Magpie
Pigeon Ramier : Wood Pigeon
Pinson des arbres : Chaffinch
Pinson du nord : Brambling
Pipit des arbres : Tree Pipit )
Pipit farlouse : Meadow Pipit ) probable observations,
Pipit spioncelle : Rock Pipit ) no sure identifications
Pipit à gorge rousse : Red-throated Pipit )
Plongeon arctique : Black-throated Diver : 1 couple at Tromso, then
Plongeon catmarin : Red throated Diver : only one sure observation
Pluvier doré : Golden Plover : regular, but dispersed
Pouillot fitis : Willow Warbler : the most typical small passerine
Pouillot véloce : Chiffchaff : 1 yesterday
Pygargue à queue blanche : White-tailed Eagle : the Lofoten
Islands are holding the greatest european concentration
Sarcelle dhiver : Teal : small flocks 2 or 3 times
Sizerin flammé : Redpoll : common
Sterne arctique : Arctic Stern
Sterne pierre-garin : Common Stern
Tadorne de Belon : Shelduck : a few ones, only one day
Traquet motteux: Wheatear : regular
Troglodyte : Wren
Vanneau huppé : Lapwing : regular since a few days
Verdier dEurope : Greenfinch : is in progression towards north
Saturday June 23, 2001 (Svolvaer)
Again a White-tailed Eagle; on a lake, a couple of Slavonian Grebes.
Today we hear for the first time in our trip the songs of the Chiffchaff,
Song Trush, Chaffinch and Wren.
Friday June 22, 2001 (Stokmarknes)
First Grey Herons, first Curlews, much bigger compared to the
Wimbrels, and with its familiar very long beak and cry
a group of around 50 Grey Lag Gooses sailing on a calm fjord.
The day event: a beautiful Black-throated Diver, which we could
observe at close range: bulkier than the Red-throated, black throat
and white-striped on both sides of its back.
Yesterday a Merlin passed at full speed in front of the two White-tailed
Eagles remaining serious as Popes
Thursday June 21 (Risoyham)
While leaving Andenes, I watch gulls hustling a much greater bird:
a White-tailed Eagle ! It gets closer from us : a grandiose spectacle.
We will observe another one 25 km farther, and afterwards two others
perched on a mound near the sea: they are huge, with their heads
more clear, and strong yellow beaks.
A couple Whooper Swans sails with their 3 youngs on a beautiful
lake; farther we observe a fleet of Red-breasted Mergansers. Ah,
two Wood Pigeons, the first observed since our departure.
Wednesday June 20 (Grillefjord)
Yesterday night a couple Goldeneyes sails up the estuary. This
morning near our tent the Lesser Whitethroat sings during our breakfast.
At noon, on a small lake in a village, a mixed population of Arctic
and Common Sterns. Alongside the road, two Willow Tits, unfortunately
not Siberian Tits
Tuesday June 19 (Sorreisa)
Around 2:00 pm, a Woodcock fligts above us, with its typical Tsip,
tsip. Along the lake of our picnic we admire a couple of Velvet
Scoters and a splendid isolated Slavonian Grebe.
Saturday June 16, 2001 (Nordkjosbotn)
Yestderday night around 19:30 pm I made a short walk into the delta
near our camp. Great agitation amongst the birds: the Temmincks
Stints continue their fantastic display, two Greenshanks blow away
with loud cries, a couple Golden Plovers are on the watch, the Wimbrels
are still mocking of me, the Ringed Plover doesnt seem impressed,
two Black-headed Gulls near the tent have nothing to do so far to
the north, and finally the arrival of two Artic Skuas throws this
fashionable society into confusion
Tuesday June 12, 2001 (Langfjordbotn)
Yesterday evening, 23:50 pm, at least 75 Sand Martin are flying
above the camp. Today, we saw a group of about ten Goosanders.
Monday June 11, 2001 (Alta)
I didnt expect observing anything today, nevertheless
While pedaling in the country between our camp and the town, a flash
on my left, like a big immature gull; not at all, it is a large
owl, hunting a few meters from the ground: the Great Grey Owl, as
confirmed later on reading my bird guide.
A few more observations, all at the limit of their breeding areas:
a cluster of House Martins, an isolated Sand Martin, a Pied Flycatcher.
P.S. from the translator (father of Benoît): about
the birdwatching message of June 7: hirondelle rustique
is the new french name for the Swallow ! I am still using my 1989
Sunday June 10, 2001 (Alta)
A Long-tailed Skua flights above our heads while we ride our bicycles
; best observation of the Lapland Bunting, singing on the top or
a small birch ; 3 Wood Sandpipers in the toundra, without a tree
on the horizon ; an unidentified song regularly drawns my attention,
the bird remains hidden, wait a minute !
Saturday June 9, 2001 (Duoddar Sion)
The bird of the day : the Bluethroat. Present everywhere in the
toundra bushes, we observe it sometimes (with the reddish spot on
the throat), but we hear it everywhere : powerful song with variations
; at first I mistaked it for a Nightingale.
Redpoll flocks enliven our slow progression : tyoup tyoup
and other tills. Thrilling : 3 Ruffs with wonderful
collarette of different colours.
I believe having identified the mysterious bird of the other day
: it is not the Common Sandpiper (as observed yesterday and this
morning with a similar behaviour, but they didnt fly up in
the sky like a lark). Today I see again the same kind of bird ;
I believe it should be a Temminck Stint.
At the end of the day a Long-tailed Skua flies above our camp ;
on a stretch of snow, a male Lapland Bunting walks. I hear the bleating
of the Snipe, cirling the sky in its nuptial flight.
Friday June 8, 2001 (Olderfjord)
Today the Wimbrel is in the forefront: we observe it regularly,
hearing its sarcastic laughter. Two Artic Skuas hustle
of reindeers; may be they defend their nest ?
A cuckoo sings, I wonder which kind of birds it parasites, probably
the Chiffchaff or the Wheatear. Together with the White Wagtail
and the Meadow Pipit (or the Red-throated Pipit, I must identify
them), they are practically the only small insectivore birds we
can see here.
Thursday June 7, 2001 (Kafjord)
Yesterday before midnight, a flying martin (hirondelle rustique,
the translator didnt find the english name) seems bewildered,
so far from its breeding fields.
Today, more Artic Skuas miaow in the toundra ; on a small lake,
a Whooper Swan and a couple Long-tailed Ducks ; farther, our first
bird of prey : a beautiful Rough-legged Buzzard.
Wednesday June 6, 2001 (North Cape)
Although prepared to, we are surprised to watch here our belgian
winter visitors with nesting behaviours!
Yesterday on a lake near Tromsö, a couple of Red-throated Divers,
wonderful with their reddish throat ; in the woods : Redwings and
Bramblings. From the boat, we see several Puffins ; no Black-headed
Gulls, but Kittiwakes and Common Gulls are everywhere.
Its wonderful on Cape North island : Eiders, Red-breasted
Mergansers, a Black Guillemot ; in the toundra, Golden Plovers and
Ringed Plovers are common ; a couple Scottish Parmigan, the cock
white with brown
Tuesday June 5, 2001 (Tromsö)
Midnight sun, and birds sleep : at 1.30 am this June 5, Benoît
hears the birds cries : they dont sleep either. How do they
manage to sleep here in Tromsö ? Amongst them, are the swifts
able to sleep while flying ?
And duck with only one open eye ?