French Alps, Parc de la Vanoise, Courchevel 1850 / 1650 / 1550

Published by Gerhard Geldenhuys (Suffolk, UK)

Participants: Gerhard Geldenhuys


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Alpine Chough
Alpine Chough
Alpine Accentor
Alpine Accentor

The following is an account of birds observed during a winter stay at Courchevel ski resort from beginning December 2008 to end February 2009. Although I spent most of my free time skiing I also did some of the 17 kilometers of maintained walks, and there are even more routes accessible with snow shoes. A detailed map called "Snow Shoes & Pedestrian Paths" can be obtained from the tourism office.

Alpine Accentor – Fairly frequent views of single specimens. The red markings on its flanks makes it a rather handsome bird. One at a bird table in 1550, another at the top of CHENUS, one at the top of the VERDONS Gondola and two at the top of the bubble lift in 1650. Very tame and feeding near tables, also seems to be fond of the bare or grassy areas underneath piste restaurants.

Alpine Chough - The most visible bird around, hanging out in little mischievous groups, scavenging for food, real acrobats in the sky and great to watch.

Black Grouse - Very infrequent. Two splendid males observed from the DOU DES LANCES chairlift near the top of COL DE LA LOZE late in the afternoon.

Golden Eagle - Very infrequent. One seen flying above CHENUS.

Nutcracker - Very infrequent. Two seen on the woodland border at 1550. One more in a tree near the Magic Carpet in JARDIN ALPIN.

Raven and Jay – Very frequent

Snowfinch - Frequent. Small parties seen either flying or feeding at one of the SAULIRE restaurants (2738 m) - No "cheep" meals to be had there!Also CHENUS / CHAPLETS and BELVEDERE. Shows little fear of people.

Bird parties consisting of Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Serin, Great Spotted Woodpecker can be found in the mainly coniferous woodlands and chalet gardens. Also had one good view of a lone Bullfinch.