Corsica - November 24 and 25, 2013

Published by Marcel Holyoak (maholyoak AT


I was in Paris on business and took the opportunity to hop a flight to Corsica, arriving into Ajaccio at 10am on 24th November and leaving early on 26th November, 2013. I rented a small car from Hertz and used local hotels. At above 1000-m elevation the roads were quite snowy and the road from Evisa to Corte was not passable in a small car: I got to the point where the front wheels were skidding on snow/ice and the car would not go up hill any further despite a snow plough having just come down the road! Not an optimal time to visit though the nuthatch was quite find'able and I found all my target birds.

A Birdwatching Guide to France South of the Loire Including Corsica by John Crozier was useful for site information. Crozier mentions that the nuthatch can be easier to find in winter when it joins mixed species foraging flocks.

Highlight species are listed below.

Marcel Holyoak, Los Gatos, California,

Species Lists

Corsican Nuthatch, 2 being quite vocal in response to pishing at Sentier de la Sitelle east of Evisa in the Forest de Atoine. This site had about 10cm of snow but I found the nuthatch in a mixed species flock within 10 minutes on 25th November and very close to the road.

Corsican Finch, 1 male seen in scrubby hillside areas from the main road through Evisa at the point where a road forks off downhill in the middle of town.

Alpine Accentor, 1 at same locality: presumably came down to lower elevations given the snow in the mountains.

Marmora's Warbler. Two sightings. (1) 2 birds NE of Cargese at 42 deg 11'47" N, 8 deg 38'15" E on 11/24. There was also a Dartford Warbler at this site. (2) Valley on coastal side of road D81 at Col de San Bastio, SE of Sagione on 11/25.

Golden Eagle 1 adult soaring over Evisa 11/24.

California Quail, one on road into nature viewing area for Etang (Lake) Urbano on the east side of the island. A long slow drive for one bird for my W Palearctic list!