This report covers a short trip which I made to Corsica and Sardinia, with the intention of searching for 4 target species. This was a family trip as the participants comprised of my parents, Ruth and John, my wife Linda and our 14 year old son Brent. It was considered that we had plenty of time to see the main species, so birding was at a generally relaxed pace. We opted to visit Corsica via Sardinia, primarily as budget flight service Sardinia but not Corsica. This also had the added advantage of a ferry crossing, for the seabirds and a few additional species that only occurred on Sardinia, primarily Barbary Partridge.
Flight: Ryanair Liverpool to Alghero
Car: We collected the hire car from Algjero airport; we hired a Renault Megane from Hertz (booked through Ryanair web page)
Ferry: Booked through http://www.directferries.co.uk/ this was a Moby line ferry from Santa Teresa di Gallura to Bonifacio & return.
Les Jardins De La Glacière ( 53514) , Corte (Corse))
Phone:+33 495 452 700
The hotel was booked through: http://www.activehotels.com, it is an excellent hotel in a wonderful location which is situated at the start of the Restonica Valley – where we saw both endemics.
Bellavista Alghero (Fertilia) This hotel is actually in the town of Fertilia, a bit basic but ok & only about 5 miles from the airport and also close to Capo Caccia (good site for Barbary Partridge). This was booked through www.ebookers.com
Books and reports
The main source of information, and the inspiration for this trip, was Richard Bonser’s trip report which can be found on his web site http://www.freewebs.com/richbonser . I also used “A Birdwatchers Guide To France South of the Loire including Corsica” by J.Crozier.
A pair were located in the Restonica Valley nr Corte, Plus a pair 6km west of Pietroso along the D343.which runs from just south of Aleria, to Vivario.(South of Corte)
Corsican (Citril) Finch
Several birds in the Restonica Valley, plus 2 pairs along the D343.which runs from just south of Aleria to Vivario. Plus a pair (displaying) just opposite the Le Chalet Restaurant on the hillside on the other side of the minor road. This is at the junction of the D69 & N194 7 is mentioned in Bonsers report. (Roughly 25km s of Corte)
After much searching. We located a party of 5 birds in vineyards just in land from Aleria, just off the D343.
A single seen on the crossing from Santa Teresa di Gallura to Bonifacio. We expected this species to be more numerous on this crossing, so wondered if is a little early in the season.
Depart Liverpool on the 17.55 Ryan air flight to Alghero, arriving at 21.35. We collected our hire car and headed off to our Hotel, which was only a 10 minute drive away.
We were up early in order to get to Santa Teresa di Gallura in time to catch the 10am ferry to Corsica. As we arrived in good time we spent a short period birding around the port, before departing on the 1 hour crossing. Once on Corsica we headed up the east coast as far as Aleria, where we headed inland and although it was the wrong time of day, had a quick look for Californian Quail. We then headed up into the mountains along the D343. After a couple if unsuccessful stops in the hope of picking up the finch, we stopped in a section of mature pines 6km west of Pietroso, where we soon located a Corsican Nuthatch. It was now raining quite heavily so we decided to carry on and try for the finch near the Le Chalet Restaurant. Fortunately it had stopped raining when we reached the restaurant, so after a short coffee break, we birded the disused road the runs behind the building. After a fruitless search we decided to head to Corte and book into our hotel. We booked into the hotel and then went into the town for an evening meal.
Highlights: Yelkouan and Cory’s (Scopoli’s) Shearwater and Corsican Nuthatch.
After breakfast we spent the morning birding the full length of the Restonica Valley. After couple of stops we located a pair of Corsican Nuthatch prospecting a nest hole, which gave excellent prolonged views. Shortly after this we met a Belgian birder who has seen a couple of Corsican Finches further up the road, but had failed to find any Nuthatches. After swapping locations we spent the next hour or so looking for the finch but only managed to locate a pair of Marmora’s Warblers. We then headed up to the top of the valley where we had reasonable views of the hoped for Alpine Choughs, as well as a bonus Long-legged Buzzard. As we had not yet connected with Corsican Finch we decided to head back to the Le Chalet Restaurant, where we could combine lunch with a known finch site. After lunch we birded the hillside opposite the restaurant, where after an hour or so Linda located a displaying Corsican Finch which proceeded to give excellent views. As we had now cleaned up on the 2x endemics we decided to head back down the D343 and spend the rest of the day looking for Californian Quail. Whilst driving along the D343 we saw a further pair of Corsican Finches in flight and a very confiding pair feeding on the grass verge. After a couple of hours searching in the vineyards we finally located a party of 5 Quail. We then drove back to Corte for an evening meal and bed.
Highlights: Long-legged Buzzard, Californian Quail, Corsican Nuthatch, Marmora’s Warbler and Corsican Finch.
As we had now seen all my target species, we decided to do a bit of more general birding so after breakfast, we headed to the NE of the island and birded spent the majority of the day birding around Lake Biguglia, Corsica’s largest lake. The lake is situated adjacent to the coast, so we were birding a mixture of costal scrub and woodland as well as the lake shore itself.
Highlights: 5x Audouin's Gulls and 3x Slender-billed Gulls.
This was our final day on Corsica, so we decided to head for the coast and take a fairly leisurely drive to the ferry, calling in at Lake Urbino on the way. The lake itself was pretty quiet, but the surrounding vineyards proved to be quite productive. We spent a couple of hours sightseeing around Bonifacio, before departing on the 17.00 ferry back to Santa Teresa di Gallura, from where we then drove back to our hotel in Fertilia.
Highlights: Rock Sparrow.
My father and I rose pre-dawn and headed off to Capo Caccia, in search of Barbary Partridge. Just before we reached the lighthouse, as dawn was staring to break, we flushed a probable Partridge from the side of the road, which disappeared into the darkness. We continued along the road to the lighthouse car park, hoping that this would not be our only sighting. As soon as we arrived, we noticed a pair of Partridge feeding on the edge of the car park, which gave excellent views, but unfortunately the light was too poor to photography. We then spent a short time birding around the car park, before heading back to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast we headed back to the lighthouse at Capo Caccia and then meandered NE stopping at any decent looking habitat. Quite by accident we located Lago Baratz, (can be found using Google Maps) which proved to be an excellent site , with good numbers of water birds.
We then headed back to our hotel, where we had booked one of the rooms for an extra night . As we had an evening flight, this allowed us to leave our bags there and gave us the opportunity to shower and changed before our flight home.
Highlights: Barbary Partridge Griffon Vulture, Black Kite and Blue Rock-thrush
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
Levantine Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo carbo)
European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Great White Egret (Egretta alba)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans migrans)
Eurasian Griffon-vulture (Gyps fulvus)
Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara)
Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)
California Quail (Callipepla californica)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus)
Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Alpine Swift (Tachymarptis melba)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla [cinerea])
Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Eurasian Crag-martin (Hirundo rupestris)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
White-throated (Black-bellied) Dipper (Cinclus cinclus cinclus)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes)
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus phoenicurus)
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Blue Rock-thrush (Monticola solitarius)
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Marmora's Warbler (Sylvia sarda)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus)
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Coal Tit (Parus ater)
Great Tit (Parus major major)
Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
Corsican Nuthatch (Sitta whiteheadi [canadensis])
Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Yellow-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus)
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
Italian Sparrow (Passer domesticus italiae)
Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis [domesticus])
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
Corsican Citril-finch (Serinus corsicana)
European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis carduelis)
Eurasian Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)
Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)