Excluding international flights
- Spring Migration under warm blue skies
- Visit vulture observation platform
- Beautiful boutique hotel next to the Mediterranean
- Wine tasting and authentic local food
Gourmet Spring Birding & Wine in the Mediterranean
Spring birdwatching, gourmet food & wine tasting in the Narbonnaise regional park with two expert local guides accompaning a maximum group size of just 6 people. This tour is not for hardcore birders, but for people wanting to combine the pleasure of food, wine and birding in the beautiful warm and sunny region of Occitanie in May 2021.
Allan and Kirsty Blanchard have had a house in the Languedoc (Occitanie) since 2010 and although mammal viewing options in France are still fairly limited in scope – although the Wolves are coming! – there are some spectacular and diverse landscapes for birding and the region has the highest bird count in France. The food and wine in this region are also spectacular, so for our very first ‘wildlife tour’ in France we are promoting this ‘Gourmet Food, Wine and Birding tour’. This tour is suitable for all fitness levels and is definitly not a hardcore birding trip. Instead it is a gentle immersion into the regions various delights, which include spectacular scenery, amazing regional food, stunning wines, historic Cathar castles and some excellent birding. The tour has a lovely bilingual leader, as well as a charming French female birding guide to look after our small group of 6. Anyone looking to extend their stay or take part in activities close to our hearts – Allan (walking and kayaking) and Kirsty (horse riding) are welcome to speak to us direct and it is very likely we will be in the area during May 2021, when the tour is planned.
Best time to visit -MAY
Safari Style -Small Group
ARRIVE IN CARCASSONNE AND TRANSFER TO LEUCATE
Accommodation : Le Hotel 19-21 Un amour d’hôtel
COASTAL LAGOONS AND THE AUDE RIVER PLAIN
We start today with the coastal lagoons in the northern part of the Narbonnaise regional park, where we will look for waders and terns. After a coffee break, we head to the reed-beds for Moustached warbler, Bearded reedling and Great reed warbler. On the banks of the Aude river, and in the surrounding meadows and vineyards we should find Hoopoe, Lesser kestrel, Bee-eater, Woodchat shrike, Ortolan bunting and hopefully Roller if they are back.
MIGRATION SPOTTING FOLLOWED BY “GARRIGUE”, VINEYARDS AND LAGOONS
If the prevailing north-westerly wind is blowing, we’ll start by heading for the spectacular south facing migration lookout spot above Leucate-Plage where we will hope to see the following species heading north: Roller, Bee-eater, Honey buzzard, Osprey, and possibly a few Alpine swifts.
“BALADE DES 5 SENS” A 7KM WALK IN THE GENTLE HILLS
Today we will be participating in the “Balade des 5 Sens” which is a 7km walk in the gentle hills overlooking the lagoons at Peyriac-de-Mer. The walk is punctuated with stops to taste delicious food and wine, but we will also be keeping our eyesopen for birds! We may well see Avocet and Black-winged stilt and hopefully a few Flamingo (though many will by now be nesting in the Camargue – their only breeding ground in France).
VULTURE OBSERVATION PLATFORM, A CATHAR CASTLE AND THE GALAMUS GORGE
On our way up into the Corbières hills we will have a brief stop at one of the spectacular Cathar castles perched on top of craggy limestone outcrops. Then we’ll move on to the Bugarach observation platform and look across to the cliffs that are home to a group of Griffon vultures and where the Egyptian vulture has been known to nest. Finally, we will drive down the spectacular Galamus Gorge where we’ll be looking out for Alpine swifts, Crag martins,Blue rock thrush and Peregrine falcon.
COASTAL LAGOONS, FORMER SALTPANS AND REED-BEDS
After a peek at the White stork nest, the Grey heronry and hopefully Purple heron on the nest, we can also have a look around the St Louis marsh/reed beds to spot Bearded reedling, Purple heron, Moustached warbler and Bittern. After lunch we’ll head even further into the interior of the La Clape headland and walk down a craggy valley where we have a good chance of seeing Blue rock thrush, Rock thrush, Crested tit and possibly roosting Eagle owl.
DRY OPEN PASTURES/STEPPE AND ROCKY ESCARPMENTS
Today we will be looking for species typical of the garrigue habitat including warblers such as Dartford, Subalpine Orphean and Sardinian, plus Ortolan bunting, Thekla lark and Black-eared wheatear. This is good raptor country too and we have a good chance of seeing Short-toed eagle, Bonelli’s eagle and Golden eagle as well as Montagu’s harrier and Hen harrier
DEPARTURE AND LUNCH IN LAGRASSE
We stop at a Mediterranean river gorge to look for Blue rock thrush, Common rock thrush, Crag martins before heading to the medieval town of Lagrasse where we will have an early lunch (cost not included) before the final transfer to Carcassonne airport to connect with your flight home.
Pricing Info & Dates
- All your meals at the hotel from the evening of Day 1
- All transfers and accommodation as described
- 7 full days of birding, walks and cultural activities
- Expert local English speaking guide as well as a birding guide.
- Cost of international flights
- Cost of visas if applicable
- Gratuaties for the hotel staff
- Main tip for your birding guide