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Post Info TOPIC: France - La Crau

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France - La Crau

Got to La Crau, Peau De Meau reserve  around 07:30 and it was already 34C! On approach Road had Hoopoe and a dozen or so Short-toed Lark. Also had Stone Curlew in a field plus 15 White Stork. On reaching the car park, immediately clocked 4 Black Kite and more than a dozen Kestrel. Closer inspection revealed at least two, probably three male Lesser Kestrel. Scanning around also picked up three Montagu's, two female and one juvenile. A further scan picked up a splendid Iberian Shrike, it's 'curly' eyebrow showing up well, despite the heat haze which was already bad. Also found another couple of Stone Curlew. Was then joined by a Dutch birder and we set off together across the lunar landscape toward the converted sheep barn. On the way there we flushed a lark. When it settled again, I got my scope on it and thought it wasn't a Sky or ST. Dutch guy reckoned it was a Calandra, but, I wasn't wholly convinced. It keep its back to us most of the time so we couldn't really see the black breast patches. When it did turn briefly, there were only what I would describe as hints of patches. Dutch guy was fairly convinced however, so, I'd like a second opinion and will share video on Birdforum. Despite thorough scanning from the barn, we couldn't pick anything else up so headed back to the car park. Driving slowly back up the track, I immediately clocked a pair of Roller! My most sought after bird of the day Then the Dutch guy pointed out another to their left. I then set off for Entressen dump, via the nearby Etang in the hope of seeing Egyptian Vulture. The lake contained at least one pair of breeding BW Stilt plus a Great White Egret. On arrival at the dump, it was clear that the place had not been used for a while, especially as it was bereft of birds apart from a single Black Kite. Hadn't realised! However, driving around the perimeter, I managed to see 5 different Rollers, so, clearly a bit of a hotspot for them that I hadn't been aware of before. I then followed the other minor road back to the other side of the Peau De Meau reserve and this produced yet another Roller and, unexpectedly, a Wild Boar, that ran through a stream that I was looking up. 

I then made the decision to make my way back to Frejus, as it was already 3pm and I hadn't really left enough time to do justice to the Camargue (next time). There then followed the nightmare journey from hell, nearly 6 hours to do what should have been a 1 and a half hour journey! The A8 had been shut due to a logging truck smashing through the central reservation and spilling its load across all carriageways. The delay was further compounded by problems with the crane they used to try and remove the logs!

So, in conclusion, no Little Bustard but still some quality birds and a few lifers to boot. Very happy and still plenty left to explore next year when we are more than likely back again

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