Although we had persistent Northerly winds the weather was kind throughout with blue skies and plenty of warmth and sunshine. Lots of good birds with a total count of 108 species for the 3 days (list at the end) and of course plenty of good photographic opportunities.
The reserve itself is a designated wetland / saltmarsh area situated some 30km south of La Rochelle and is split between a mainland segment on the West coast and the East coast of Isle De Oleron. We stuck with the mainland part around the ancient fortified commune of Hiers Brouage - worth a look if you're ever down this way (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiers-Brouage )
If we're talking rarities then I guess the single Alpine Swift picked out amongst many passage Common Swifts would be your 'twitcher's' pick but the reserve is packed full of good birds such as Marsh and Montague's Harriers, Short toed Eagle, Hobby, White Stork, Purple Heron as well as many wading birds and passerines (small birds) and we had some cracking views of all.
Ok, bit of a photo montage but I know most folk just come on here to look at the pics!
First up are a selection of White Stork pics. Nesting platforms are commonly erected all over Europe to attract these harbingers of good fortune but it was good to see so many nesting in their natural habitat in trees. Anyway, here's my selection ....
Like those? I was very happy with the way these turned out, especially the courtship behaviour and twig bringing shots.
Sticking with the bigger birds here's a few raptor shots for you.
|Marsh Harrier (oldish female)|
|Marsh Harrier - same bird as above|
|Montague's Harrier (Male)|
|Short Toed Eagle|
|Short Toed Eagle and the Moon!|
|Short Toed Eagle - same bird as above|
Ok now I know this doesn't look like a bird of prey pic at first glance but for those of you with eagle eyes (excuse the pun) take a look at the nesting box and you'll see a Kestrel and for those of you who like me that need reading glasses for just about everything, below is a close up and hey presto he's caught some kind of rodent, think its a mole!