Mont Ventoux; Early Morning Birding – Birding in France

Western-bonellis-warbler

Through the second half of July I made a road trip around France, visiting Northeastern Spain and Andorra too. Although the trip was mostly for sight-seeing I made some time for birding in several early mornings, the first of which was at Mont Ventoux in France. We stayed close to this mountain for a couple of days while visiting tourist sites in Provence and it allowed me to get in a few hours of birding, two days in a row, before the sight-seeing began. I saw a nice selection of species in Alpine meadows and scattered woodland here and it was a pleasant spot for birding while waiting for a non-birder to get ready for more touristic activities with Rock Bunting, Red Crossbill, Crested Tit, Western Bonelli’s Warbler and Citril Finch being numerous and easy to see. Hopefully the following notes will be useful in planning a visit here for others thinking about traveling in the area.

Both of the mornings I spent in the Mt Serein area of Mt Ventoux were very similar in terms of the birds I saw with good numbers of Red Crossbill making themselves obvious flitting from tree to tree calling as they went with some of them perching on the tree tops enjoying the morning sunshine, although this was one of very few adult males that I saw.

Red-crossbillRed Crossbill

Following the Crossbills around I came across other feeding birds including plenty of Crested Tits and Coal Tits noisily foraging in low pine trees as well as a Wren skulking around in the undergrowth and lots of small finches feeding in tufts of grass and low trees which frustratingly kept disappearing before I could identify them. Eventually they gave themselves up and proved to be Citril Finches and while they were easy to see in flight it took some time before I got the sort of views I wanted of this lifer.

Citril-finchCitril Finch (female)

In the open areas the ubiquitous White Wagtail was always found but large numbers of Mistle Thrush were more of a surprise to me; Goldfinch and Black Redstart were also common and it was not too hard to track down Western Bonelli’s Warbler as they were still singing at this time of year, enjoying the sunny weather.

Western-bonellis-warblerWestern Bonelli’s Warbler

A couple of Ravens were the only corvids I saw and I only got flight views of three Woodlarks as they flew away after I flushed them but an adult Firecrest feeding a couple of fledglings was a very nice sighting. Other species I saw included a couple of Nuthatches, Cirl Bunting, two Eurasian Siskins, huge numbers of Common Swift, a Common Buzzard, Chaffinch, a pair of Stonechats, several Serins and a few really nice Rock Buntings which gave me ever improved views over the course of the two mornings.

rock-bunting2Rock Bunting

Although the number of species I saw here was not high it could have been much increased easily by visiting different altitudes of the mountain and spending longer in the area but I was just using the little time available to me and concentrating on getting good views of the species that I did see.

Swallowtail

Mont Ventoux was also wonderful for wild flowers and butterflies with large numbers of butterfly species visiting stands of wold lavender on rocky meadows – wonderful!

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Free WordPress Themes