Thursday, 6 June 2013

Northern France 5th June 2013

Last of the summer wine crew( AJG,JM,CP,BP and myself) had another day out in Northern France. Catching the 04.20 ferry to Calais and consuming the obligatory full English on board to set us up for the day. Once off the ferry I drove straight to Sailly Bray where the cloud cleared and the sun shone for the rest of the day.Few birds were seen on the drive down but several Grey Partridge were noted. 
 At Sailly Bray we found at least 4 (3m, 1f) White-spotted Bluethroats. The males were singing and gave great views in the telescopes.5 Marsh Warblers were singing but were typically elusive, 3 Great White Egrets flew in and 4 White Storks were present, as were 2+ Marsh Harriers, several Common Buzzards, a Hobby, 2 Turtle Doves, several Blue-headed Yellow Wagtails, Nightingales, Reed, Sedge, and Cetti's Warblers, a family party of Blackcaps, singing Garden Warblers and much more.
 Next stop was the roadside pools at Le Crotoy, where the Black Headed Gull colonies were in full swing with a few Mediterranean Gulls, several stunning White Wagtails were present, 2 Garganey, several White Storks could be seen in the distance, a Cattle Egret flew over as did another Great White Egret.
 Next stop Marquenterre which was packed with French tourists and not a pair of binoculars between them. We opted to lose the crowds and view some of the Herons from a mound outside the park.
 Although fairly distant in the picture above there are White Storks, Spoonbills, Cattle Egrets. Little Egrets and Grey Herons, The Night Heron is obscured. While at the mound we heard Crested Tits, a family party appeared and gave superb views. We had our lunch in the car park and CP shared the lovely cake his good lady baked for the day out.

 Our next stop was a new site for me. We walked along the railway line near Le Crotoy which overlooked some pools. There we found a minimum of 10 Black-winged Stilts, 20+ Spoonbills, 5+ Great White Egrets, many Little Egrets, a Purple Heron, lots of Yellow Wagtails, Avocets and more. We also found Musk rats there.

 Next stop was Crecy Forest, from the escarpment we saw 2 Honey Buzzards, though the views were not as good as last year, we were unable to find Melodious Warbler probably because of the time of day and lateness of the season. On the way home near Cap Blanc Nez a superb adult male Hen Harrier flew over the road and hunted the fields. To finish a superb day we found 2 distant Stone Curlews. A great day out with great company. Thanks to the tenacity of CP our day species total reached 100, by staying on deck in the bitter evening wind, spotting 6 Kittiwakes and 15 Fulmars following a fishing boat just outside of Calais while the rest of us sat in the warm bar with pints of Stella.
A distant Stone Curlew
Today most of my time was spent driving to Swarovski at Salfords to try and expedite repairs to my telescope.


  1. Thanks for sharing your great day out. Hope your 'scope gets done in time.