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Thread: Hello from Yanks currently living in Paris

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Hello from Yanks currently living in Paris

    We're from Washington State USA, currently living in Paris. Although we've gotten pretty familiar with many of the birds in our part of the world, and we've done a bit of birding in Spain and Italy, we're not very familiar with birds of Europe, so we're getting a big kick out of even the common park and garden birds here in Paris. Would like to meet and bird with folks especially in Île de France, but other parts of France as well. Also we'd appreciate any information that could be shared on birding the Camargue in May.
    Sue and John

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Norfolk, UK


    One thing you can easily do is look at people's past trip reports, since these often contain advice on which parts of an area to go to as well as lists of what can be found there. Try Googling 'Avibase'. Click on 'Trip Reports' on the left hand side of the title screen, then enter 'Camargue' as your search term. It takes a few moments, but when I tried exactly this just now it listed 129 separate reports for the Camargue, a large proportion of which were April-May visits.

    There are also trip reports on this site (i.e. Surfbirds), but you may have found those already.

    I'm sure you'll get many other replies too.

    Hope this helps!

    Good luck, and good birding.

    Suzuki GS550L
    Last edited by Russ Heselden; January 20th, 2011 at 12:46 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Camargue birding in the Rhone delta.

    Hi there,
    I go down to the Camargue delta regularly from the island of Jersey near Normandy a short flight from Paris to Jersey's INterrnational airport of St Peters dedicated to Charles De Gaule who arrived in Jersey at the airport
    and on 18 June 1940 he rallied French fighter pilots here to fight the politics
    of the Jack Boot with Jerrsey island airmen like the De Havilland family who founded an aircraft company and my relations who included Professor Dr Germaine Bree who fought with the French resistance and used Princeton University in the States as a base to work with David Rockerfeller to fight the Nazis who later landed at the airport and stormed the island making it fortress Europe island underground bunker communication base directly in contact with Hitlers bunker in Berlin. Our American relations took control on 9th May 1945 with USS Molloy with Jerseymen from the States which won its battle star freeing our islands from the Nazis loyal to traitors like the UK King
    who agreed with the Nazi ideas of persecution of our pro Zionist island having been home the the famous Jewish activist Karl Marx in the 1850 when he befriended the Jewish representative of the Sinagogue in Jersey who was responsible for the Masonic archives on the island!
    Back to birding! Our family speak fluentt French and I do guiding in France
    with Birdingpal at:-
    In France I recommend my trips in Normandy near the landing beaches and my colleagues of Birdingpal at the Hoffman La Roche connected Tour du Valat
    centre in the Camargue namely in particular Micheel Gauthier-Clerc who can be contacted on the Birdingpal website. I also recommend Amine Flitti who is the kay author of the recently published atlas in colour of the 250 breeding species of birds of the area of 280 species of breeding birds in France!
    So a hotspot is in the Camargue in the Rhone delta one of Frances top areas for birding in PACA or Provence Alpes Cotes d'Azur.
    More on the Camargues birds at:-
    In the Camargue are a number of key seperate centres like the SNPN centre on the north-east of Etang de Vaccares where there are hides free to the public and an information centre where you can join the SNPN to use the nature centre hides and gites accomodation at Salin de Badon nearby some of the best birding sites in the Camargue. Also nearby is the Tour du Valat
    where Michel is based who can show you ringing if you contact him in advance of arriving there and give you a Birdingpal guiding tour!
    Also I recommend the Marais de Viguerat and the Reserve de Scamandre near Albaron and St Gilles north of St Marie de la Mer.
    Jean Marie Espuche does birding tours based near St Marie de la Mer which are advertised by the birding groups down there and he does 'safaris' in a jeep
    and he is a good birder who is connected to birdingpal!
    The CEEP have a centre at St Martin de Crau east of Arles the Ecomusee of St Martin de Crau and they do birding tours of the Crau and surrounding area near the Camargue.
    Also the Conservatoire du Littloral have birding reserve like the superb Salins d'Hyeres near Toulon not far from the Camargue by rental car, bus of train.
    Ringing takes place at the Salins by banders from the Marais du Viguerat who you can chat to in the Camargue and discuss possibility of joining them.
    Recently regional banders ringed a Northern Waterthrush on Iles de Porquerolles banding centre the third record for France!
    Also if like people you fly to Nice ( 2 hours fom Jersey airport direct with Fly BE owned by a Jersey resident) from Nice in less than an hour you can visit Corsica where there is great birdsing around Bastia and Cap Corse where my colleagues banders ringg many interesting birds.
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B.BREE in sunny Isle of Jersey.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Parisian birding possibilities.

    Hi there,
    As regards Paris with over 11 million residents in RP or Region Parisien
    Details of CORIF and people like my colleague Jean-Michel Lapios,
    who is a scientist by training and specialists who study martins including House Martins in the Paris area who are willing to show you the research they do on House Martins in central Paris if you gat in contact with CORIF
    birders like Fred Mahleur who like me enjoys the Parisian birding scene
    including the Forests nearby in the most forested country in Europe and the second, largest after Russia the biggest country in the world which
    has close Republican ties with French birders who enjoy the longest river in Europe the Volga and like to explore wetlands which inlclude the Seine river areas including the estuary at Le Havre in Normandy the Poses boucle reserve near Rouen on the Seine and the lakes near Paris including the Lac du Der Chantecocq to the east of Paris which in winter is superb for birding.
    The centre of Paris has great Swallow and Martin sites as well as Swift sites
    and nearby in Forests are great woodland birding areas like the MNHN botanical gardens in central Paris an oasis of trees not far from the Panthaeon
    in the National Museum for Natural History oasis of habitat in central Paris as well as wetland areas near the Seine which attract waterbirds and birds drinking in summer heatwaves which make the City agreeable in summer
    not far from the superb Loiret Departement (45) forests and lakes
    of la Foret d'Orient near Orleans if you go by train or car or bus to Orleans or Chartres there are Booted Eagles, Ospreys (which breed now west of central Paris), plus other interesting raptors, Woodpeckers and woodland birds near the huge lakes of the Regional Nature Park near Orleans west of Paris which provide Paris with migrants which get a little lost with adverse weather conditions on migration around Paris. Also many migrants follow the Seine river and motorways as pointers on migration.Banders and radio trackers with a third of a gramme tracking device track many birds through the river courses around Paris on their movements regionally and on longer migrations.
    Little pockets of habitat with water from the Seine in Paris can attract some rare migrants and the Forests of Fontainbleau for example can be a great birding location at any time of year!
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B. BREE

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Web site on Parisian birding in American friendly presentation!

    Hi there,
    Details of a website in American non French bias not as detailed as the details in French on Parisian birding like CORIF but still of interest to
    any Yanks who are struggling with the language of scholars like
    Victor Hugo, Audubon and Bonaparte who enjoyed birding in the States.
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B. BREE in sunny isle of passionate Francophonie, passionate cuisine
    and cultivated passionate palets of fine reds and white served chilled like fine
    passionates Champagnes!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Camargue delta estuary of passionate birding!

    Hi there,

    I held hands with my fiancee Stephanie in the Camargue watching the sun set across the phare de Beauduc as rosaceus Flamingos flashed flaming wings in front of my Turbo RS Ford and she told her sister Caroline who bought a house nearby in St Remy de Provence and we now all tell our friends about romance here in the heat of Provence where you can stay at the Camping Restaurant Hotel de St Martin de Crau for around twenty Euros a day in a comfortable room with tv and all mod cons! It also has a swimming pool!
    Bon appétit in Provence! An invitation to a bounty of birding in this beautiful bird-filled part of France.

    Provence is a part of the world in south-eastern France which explodes in passion; passion due to the climate, passion due to the nature, and passion due to the way of living, as rightly extolled in Peter Mayle’s ‘A year in Provence’ set in the sleepy town of ‘Ménerbes’, which is situated near Avignon. (This is another lovely ancient town, which is also famed for its bridge of St Bénezet, and its seat of no less than nine Popes, which gave rise to the vineyard name imortallised in ‘Châteauneuf du Pape’, which is well worth a visit north of the walled city of Avignon).

    Provence should only really of course be enjoyed ‘first hand’ by the reader, after say a short flight to Nice, Nimes or M....ille, or a rapid TGV train trip, (just three hours from Paris), or perhaps a swift trip up the ‘Autoroute du Soleil’ which leads to the French Riviera from Lyon, again only three hours drive away and marking nearly half way from Paris to ‘The Med’. If you want to take the TGV you can book online the SNCF website for your ticket and reserve a hire car at any of the key railway stations in Provence. Much of the year, temperatures average thirty degrees Celcius in Provence, and I recommend the best times for a first birding trip to the area during spring and autumn passage, (in April and May during spring, and during July, August and September in the autumn). June can be stifling, and over-powering due to the intense heat, although the Mistral winds can regularly blow for days south from the Alpes and Alpilles towards the Mediterranean Sea throughout summer, offering a cooling break from the muggy heat of midsummer. Winter can be productive and very mild but summer offers a blaze of colour, plus the heavy scents of herbs, lavender and fruit trees, backed by a constant buzzing of some of the dozen species of Cicadas found in the area. Provence is peaceful and pleasant haven to many a species of bird, creature and plant which all thrive in the heat of the southern French Mediterranean sun.

    The name ‘Provence’ arose from the First ‘Province’ of the Roman Republic, which is now part of an larger area of south-eastern most France, known lovingly by locals by the acronym of ‘PACA’, (or Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur). The area is a gem to naturalists fed by the third largest river in France, namely the river Rhône, which is a name originating from the regional Celtic tongue meaning to ‘roll’. The river rolls along at a great rate to the delta of the Camargue, and this estuary is one of the top European wetlands, and indeed is regarded as one of the best birding destinations in Europe, together with the Crau semi-desert nearby. (The Crau being the ancient dried up former course of the Rhône delta). The Alpilles hills and ‘mountains’ east of Arles are also a haven:- to Orphean Warbler, Bonelli’s and Booted Eagles, besides Eagle Owls, Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Alpine Chough and Wallcreeper, to name but a few absolute stunners!

    In fact the Rhône can be navigated by canal boat in just three days, making an idyllic journey for the naturalist, giving a chance to see some of the 500 miles of river and waterway which transfuses Provence into life, and was indeed the ancient equivalent of the modern ‘autoroutes’, which now serve the main transport of goods and people to the area. The vivid colours of nature are elucidated in local museums such as in Arles and Aix-en-Provence, by the most celebrated works of Vincent Van Gough of Arles, and Paul Cézanne of Aix-en-Provence, promoting the light and colour of the patchwork of local rustic huts set in sunflower, lavender and poppy fields, which add to the atmosphere of the stunning vista of peaceful Provence. (Aix has an interesting natural history museum, also well worth a visit, if you go to this town for the art museum).

    Arles has one of the finest Roman arenas, and mosaics of Christ, found anywhere, (including bettering any rival in Italy). Arles is the gateway to the Camargue, famed for its white horses and black bulls, as well as its Flamingos, and local cuisine of rice and beef, or fresh local seafood.
    I like the hotel and restaurant at Albaron north of Les Saintes-Marie de la Mer known as ‘Le Flamant Rose’ (or ‘The Pink Flamingo’), (situated in front of an orange tree covered in succulent oranges in summer), and offering superb cuisine and local hospitality. Les Saintes-Marie de la Mer has fine camping sites, and entertainment, albeit a little pricey, but boat trips from it are good for a little fishing and seabird watching. Also the lakes around the town are filled with birds like Slender-billed Gulls, Greater Flamingo, and waders and Terns, during peak birding times. The Slender-billed Gulls breed on the other side of the Etang de Vacarrès at la Plage d’Arles south of Salin de Giraud behind one of Europe’s most famous naturist beaches! Here by the road Audouin’s Gull can often can be sighted together with many waders which also congregate at ‘Baisse des 500 Francs’ dirt ‘road’ on the way to Phare de la Gacholle a top spot for Caspian Terns, like Mas d’Agon north of Etang de Vaccarès where Collared Pratincole can also gather to boot!

    Salin de Giraud has a superb seafood restaurant on the exit road to the north of the town called ‘Le Restaurant de Marc et Mireille’ where fresh Mediterranean Bass or ‘Loup de Mer’ and local Tellins (a little like Mussels) are cooked to perfection over an open hearth on vines, (which are expertly heated until white hot!) The view from the restaurant offers the possibility to see many birds including resident Bee-eaters. Further to the north on the electric wires by the roadside at ‘Le Sambuc’ are many Rollers, feeding by dropping on grasshoppers on the roadside, which breed in the trees nearby in a concentration of roughly eighty pairs. This is known as one of the top European spots to follow the Rollers from the wires above the road to quick flights to the Green Woodpecker nest holes in trees nearby, whilst they feed their young in July and early August. Les Baux in the Alpilles is another top spot!

    North-east of the Etang de Vaccarès is La Capellière which has free hides like at Salin de Badon further south along the road, being amongst the best in the Camargue offering views of wild Boars, White Storks, and Swallows (which breed in the hides). In spring the area is filled with Nightingale song, the sound of ‘booming’ Bitterns, and resident Savi’s and Great Reed Warbler song. This is the administrative centre for the Camargue National Reserve run by the SNPN, who offer a fully equipped gîte with solar heated showers at Salin de Badon for just six Euros a night. Private hides are available too here for the gîte residents, offering superb views of many waders including Marsh Sandpipers and hundreds of Avocets, Stilts and Spotted Redshanks. I regularly stay in the Salin de Badon facilities where Spoonbills breed amongst Great White Herons in one of the best heronries of the Camargue, which are rivaled only by Scamandre reserve near St Gilles, north of Albaron. This also is a must to visit for the breeding Purple Gallinules, Little Bitterns, Hoopoes (breeding in the reserve reception building), sixty pairs of Glossy Ibis, and thousands of pairs of breeding Herons and Egrets, (of all the nine European species !) The heronry is accessible from long boardwalks in excellent condition, and from the new hides at this superb relatively new reserve centre between Etang de Vauvert and Etang de Scamandre. Guided nature tours are sometimes offered to visitors at some of these reserve centres, if you book in advance!

    Outside but near the Camargue Reserve to the east of Arles is the CEEP reserve of Peau de Meau, set in the semidesert of la Crau, western Europe’s only ‘steppe’ habitat ; home to breeding Lesser Kestrels in the nest boxes in front of the hide; where Little Bustards, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Tawny Pipit, Black Kite, Red Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Southern Grey Shrike, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, and many other rare birds and wildlife can be seen. To visit the reserve of Peau de Meau, situated east of Etang des Aulnes at Vergière, you need to get a permit from the Ecomusée at St Martin de Crau. (This centre, and car park at the rear, is situated near the Church, in front of the Hotel, Restaurant and campsite of St Martin de Crau, which offers excellent facilities to visitors, including a superb outdoor swimming pool). (The smart swimming pool proves very popular to resident Tree Sparrows where they come to pick up crumbs by the poolside).

    It is not far from the Alpilles, (which are made inaccessible in hot periods when forest fires are likely in the woods), but worth a visit when you can park not far from the Roman War Memorial at Les Baux, and walk to the radio masts at La Caume, along a long track covered in herbs and surrounded by rare butterflies, birds and Orchids. Les Baux, near St Remy, has resident Hoopoe and Alpine Swift amongst other interesting passerines and hirundines, like Red-rumped Swallow and Crag Martins. Princess Caroline of Monaco had a home in St Remy of Provence, and she likes to tell me of the satisfying regular visits of Hoopoe she was delighted by in her garden here! The area is a haven to naturalists! Why not take a look yourself and fall in love with this pleasant piece of paradise!

    Cartes IGN Institut Géographic National Avignon Montpellier no.66 série verte.3 282112100664

    Acommodation and food:-

    Wildlife news and outings:-

    Trains (SNCF) and travel:-
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B. BREE in sunny Jersey.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Thumbs up Royal Tern in the Camargue now!

    Hi there,
    In the Camargue now a Royal Tern is present as is a number of Red-footed Falcons, Elenoras Falcons, Audouins Gull, White-winged Black Tern
    and the odd Pratincole has turned up due to the poor weather for them
    in the north-eastern Spain area of the Ebro delta which has pushed up
    some of the migrants towards France where in the Marais de Viguerat in the Camargue there has been the odd sighting recently of Collared Pratincole.
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B.BREE in sunny Jersey where like the Camargue waders are passing through now in a good variety of different species includding Wood Sandpipers, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Whimbrel and other late returning birds going back north. In the Camargue Broad-billed Sandpipers, a Terek Sandpiper
    and Wood Sandpipers add variety to the waders passing through now back north.
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B.BREE in sunny Jersey.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Thumbs up Camargue area web site on area of interest.

    Hi there,
    Details of the Camargue area nature and birding areas.
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B.BREE in sunny Jersey.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Thumbs up Meeting and Conference in Paris on Parisian birding posibilities.

    Hi there,
    In Paris on 18th May in Rue de Grenelle number 84 is a conference on Parisian breeding birds which may be worth going to.It celebrates the new publication on the breeding birds of Paris atlas just out.
    Congrès / conférences
    Les oiseaux nicheurs à Paris & en Île-de-France

    Type d'évènement : Congrès - conférence
    Titre : Les oiseaux nicheurs à Paris & en Île-de-France
    Description : A l’occasion de la sortie de l’ouvrage « Oiseaux nicheurs de Paris – Un atlas urbain », Natureparif a le plaisir d’inviter le public à la rencontre « Oiseaux nicheurs de Paris et d’Île-de-France »

    L’Île-de-France, un désert ornithologique ? Paris, un havre pour pigeons et moineaux seulement ? Tout le monde se doute que ces poncifs sont faux, mais que sait-on exactement sur les oiseaux qui nous entourent ? Il n’est pas aisé de répondre à cette question finalement simple… La méthode la plus appropriée est celle de l’atlas : on divise le territoire à étudier par un quadrillage de taille appropriée et on détermine la liste des espèces présentes dans chaque carré. On obtient donc une carte par espèce et une carte de la richesse du territoire…

    Un atlas pour Paris
    A Paris, ce travail a été effectué par 60 bénévoles pendant 4 ans (2005-2008), menant à la parution, fin avril 2010, de l’atlas « Oiseaux nicheurs de Paris - Un atlas urbain » (F. Malher, G. Lesaffre, M. Zucca et J. Coatmeur - CORIF/ Delachaux et Niestlé). 60 espèces ont été trouvées nicheuses sur les 87 km² de Paris intra-muros, soit une variété équivalente à celle d’autres capitales européennes (Londres, Bruxelles). Si certaines découvertes étaient attendues (l’Epervier d’Europe a commencé à nicher dans certains parcs parisiens), d’autres ont été de réelles surprises : le Martin-pêcheur nichant dans un quai de la Seine était totalement inattendu !
    Et pour l’Île-de-France
    Ce travail a également commencé en 2009 à l’échelle de la région, dans le cadre de l’atlas national piloté par la Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) et coordonné régionalement par le CORIF. Dans ce cas, il s’agit d’arpenter plus de 120 carrés de 100 km² pour y inventorier les espèces communes et les plus rares, les hirondelles rustiques comme les guêpiers d’Europe, les corbeaux freux comme les oedicnèmes criards. Cela permettra en particulier de faire le point sur l’état de conservation des espèces de milieux agricoles, très touchées ces dernières décennies par l’évolution des modes de culture.

    Guilhem LESAFFRE, président du CORIF et auteur de nombreux ouvrages d’ornithologie, et Frédéric MALHER, qui a coordonné le travail de réalisation de l’Atlas de Paris, présenteront, au cours d’un exposé illustré en particulier de nombreuses photos de l’atlas parisien, les méthodes et les principales conclusions de ces 2 exemples de travaux d’évaluation de la Biodiversité aviaire.
    Organisé par : NATUREPARIF
    Le : 18.05.2010
    Département : Paris
    Adresse : 84; rue de Grenelle
    75007 Paris
    Métro ligne 12 Rue du Bac
    Code postal : 75007
    Pays : France
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B.BREE in partly blue skied but drizzly Jersey.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Thumbs up Birds avian Dinosaur exhibition in central Paris now!

    Hi there,
    Now on in the Paris Natural History Museum in rue de Buffon a great exhibition on top biodiversity hotspots in France to celebrate the
    International Year of Biodiversity in 2010.
    Hi there,
    On in Paris now also but at the centre at Porte de Versailles exhibition centre
    in central Paris visited by over 6,000,000 visitors each year
    is a superb exhibition on dinosaurs including avian ones
    which the bird species still around on the earth represent
    the ten thousand species of avian dinosaurs still in
    existance on the earth! Worth checking out.
    Details of a book my Michel Herve on the birds
    of the Paris area which you can order by emailing
    him at :-
    and ordering a a copy of the book for 31 Euros only
    which will help you find Ospreys, Peregrines and
    Continental species of Woodpeckers in the Paris area!
    In the actual Fontainbleau Chateau area in Forest reserves
    south east of Paris a colony of Bee-eaters breed annually
    on the river banks in the Forest de Fontainbleau in Seine-et-Marne,
    number 77 department of France. Some 60 kilometres south of Paris
    Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, Buzzard, Honey Buzzard,
    Sparrowhawk, Hobby, Green Woodpeckers, Black, Great Spotted,
    Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and sometimes Grey-headed,
    are great finds here in the old trees at the two nature reserves here of La Tillaie and the Le Gros-Fouteau in the Hauteurs de la Solle and Gorges d'Apremont areas to the north west of Fontainbleau Forest.
    West of Fontainbleau try the plains and pools at Plaine de Chanfroy and
    Foret des Trois-Pignons near the CorneBiche equestrian centre off the
    D64 towards Acheres-la-Foret. Here Dartford Warblers, Reed Warblers,
    Bonellis Warblers possibly and Wood and Willow Warblers with Chiffchaffs,
    with Woodlarks,Tawny Pipits,Woodcocks and Nightjars can be found here in summer and on passage Ring Ousels and many heathland and open area
    birds turn up during passage here! Hoopoes, Cuckoos and Red-backed Shrikes
    occur here and the Shrikes breed here usually so it is worth looking for them from early June onwards!
    Kind regards,
    Bertram.E.B.Bree in sunny Jersey near Guernsey where there are a few Stilts
    and about nine Spoonbills around now at the Colin Best new pond nature reserve at Claire Mare. In Jersey Puffins, Guillemots and Razorbills now
    waiting to feed the recently hatched young and at St Ouens Pond a few
    Black-tailed Godwits and a smart Knot. Many Gannets feeding offshore now!

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