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Occitanie

Heron
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea ©Ashley Beolens Website

Occitanie is an administrative region of France that was created on 1 January 2016 from former French regions Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées. The new Région Occitanie should not be confused with the wider cultural entity of Occitania, of which the new administrative region is part. The new region covers an area of more than 72,724 km2 (28,079 sq mi) with a population of 5,626,858.

It borders the other French regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne and Aquitaine on the one side, and Spain, Andorra and the Mediterranean sea on the other side.

Les Trois Puits Congenies - Camargue, Cevennes, Garrigue, all within a stones throw! Visiting birders will find an enthusiastic welcome from Caroline and Francis (Quaker Twitchers) who love to share their home, hospitality and birding knowledge, whether it is for a week full board with a programme of guided outings, or just a solitary weekend B&B and birding. We can provide all that is needed to make your time with us a memorable event. I`m a good cook too! Contact Caroline@lestroispuitscongenies.com or for further information click the picture to visit our website

Useful Reading

Les oiseaux du parc naturel régional du Haut-Languedoc

by Nathalie Biau, Jean-Marc Cugnasse & Christophe Maurel | Rouergue 2001 | 351 pages

ISBN: 2841562905

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

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Birding Languedoc

Tour Operator

Did you know that over 40% of the birds in western Europe can be seen in the Languedoc area of southern France? Resident species, summer visitors, on migration and over-wintering, what attracts them is the Languedoc’s unique geographic diversity, which offers some of the best birding in France.

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area.

Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays

Tour Operator

If you are looking for a quality natural history holiday, this is a great place to start. The Honeyguide programme offers a mix of the very best of wildlife in fascinating parts of Europe..

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2007 [06 June] - Honeyguide

PDF Report

2009 [06 June] - Honeyguide - French Pyrenees

PDF Report

As we looked around the corner there were five birds circling over the town, soon joined by a black kite and then, surprisingly, an adult Egyptian vulture. The birds appeared to find a thermal and drift onwards and upwards, leaving us free to get on the road, but as we gathered at the minibus we were greeted by a red kite swooping down to pick up some morsel from a car park below us just a few metres away.

2009 [06 June] - Mike Lockwood - Cévennes

PDF Report

The views down the gorge were spectacular, although our attention was mostly grabbed by the dozens of Griffon Vultures that were circling overhead. A number of Scarce Swallowtails chased each other in front of where we were standing as Crag Martins flew around the cliffs.

2009 [06 June] - Rachel & Robin Hamilton - Cévennes

PDF Report

An assortment of drinks arrived and we were watching the crag martins below us in the gorge when we were distracted by a superb view of two short-toed eagles soaring over the cliffs above us. They performed beautifully, they hovered, they dangled their feet, they showed their pale undersides; everyone had excellent views.

2009 [09 September] - Mike Read

PDF Report

There were a few birds about as we taxied into the terminal building but similar species were seen once we had met up with the other members of the group. Species noted at this location were House Sparrow, Magpie, Barn Swallows, many Yellow- legged Gulls and about 20 Cattle Egrets. These last two species were especially seen when loud bangs were used to scare birds away from the runway area at the airport

2010 [06 June] - Honeyguide - Cévennes

PDF Report

Our first Bonelli’s warbler was introducing itself from a nearby pine tree; it was a bird we were to become very familiar with during the week. There was a blackcap singing too, an intermittent whitethroat and a distant woodlark.

2011 [05 May] - Mike Nelson

Report

Tim and his birding friend Peter met us there with a nice picnic along the river. No sooner had we gotten out that we were looking up the huge rock face at a Lammergeier along with Eurasian Griffon, Red Kite and a lone Egyptian Vulture. Several Red-billed Choughs circled around at the top and we had several flyby’s of the Lammergier with another above it and one perched atop a rock way up the cliff face. The scope really helped here and we all had looks at the bird. In the trees around us we also had European Blackbird, Chaffinch and along the river we had a Grey Wagtail.

2011 [06 June] - Honeyguide - Cévennes

PDF Report

Telescopes were trained on a griffon vulture at its nest site on the cliff, with two choughs in attendance, and then our telescopes were directed to an excellent view of two black vultures – an adult and an enormous juvenile – on their nest in a pine tree across the gorge.

2011 [06 June] - Honeyguide - French Pyrenees

PDF Report

The morning started with a lively talk – with impromptu arrangements for a sheet screen and a precariously balanced projector – from the LPO’s Gwenaëlle Plet about the work being done to protect the lammergeier in the Pyrenees and to receive the Honeyguide cheque.

2012 [05 May] - Mike Witherick

PDF Report

Having reached the Natural Park, we were impressed by two things. The first were the thousands of Common Swifts seeking food at very low altitudes. The second was the vast amount of surface water. Clearly, what we were seeing was not the result of just last night’s rain, but the cumulative effects of an unusually wet winter and spring.

2012 [09 September] - Megan Crewe & Jesse Fagan

Report

An Ortolan Bunting scrabbled on a stony path. A little group of Red-legged Partridges high-stepped through a herb-scented olive grove. A Eurasian Eagle-Owl moved higher and higher on a warm limestone cliff as the light faded, providing a satisfying dessert to our hors-d'oeuvres "supper".

2012 [09 September] – Chris Durdin – French Pyrenees

PDF Report

...everywhere the cropped turf was punctuated by the pale purple of merenderas. Autumn flowers, short-toed eagle, golden eagle, red kite, a swarm of butterflies in the sunshine: this was the Pyrenees in September at its glorious best."

2012 [09 September] – Chris Durdin – French Pyrenees

PDF Report

...everywhere the cropped turf was punctuated by the pale purple of merenderas. Autumn flowers, short-toed eagle, golden eagle, red kite, a swarm of butterflies in the sunshine: this was the Pyrenees in September at its glorious best."

2013 [01 January] – Chris Durdin

PDF Report

Local birds included woodlark, cirl bunting, serin, black redstart and Sardinian warbler. Derek collected us and took to the wonderful old Cathar town of Minerve into which two gorges lead, the Cesse and the Brian. The gorge had a wintering hen harrier overhead, a fine male blue rock thrush and scores of wintering blackcaps, attracted by berries on ivy and Mediterranean buckthorn.

2013 [05 May] - Rob Macklin

PDF Report

Rock sparrows, black redstarts, swifts and house martins were seen around the Château after breakfast and a migrating Montagu’s harrier flew north.

2014 [06 June] - Rachel & Robin Hamilton – Cévennes

PDF Report

We drove the 6 km or so to our final destination of the day, the Maison des Vautours, the Vulture Visitor Centre, at le Truel. We were expected, and given the ‘red carpet’ treatment as their guests because we were to present the Honeyguide conservation donation to the LPO, which part-funds the vulture projects.

2014 [09 September] - Ivan Nethercoat & Chris Durdin - French Pyrenees

PDF Report

...It wasn’t long before we found not one but two wallcreepers feeding on patches of rough ground alongside the dam and then on the dam wall itself right underneath us. We watched the birds, red wings flashing as they danced, climbed and flew around the walls and the reservoir edge for over an hour...

2015 [06 June] - Ivan Nethercoat & Chris Durdin - French Pyrenees

PDF Report

...Chris in the lead minibus drew in here, having seen white flashes of snowfinches. We stopped to investigate and, sure enough, here was a splendid snowfinch feeding on the open ground a few feet away.

2015 [09 September] - Jay VanderGaast & Eric Hynes - Camargue & Pyrenees

Report

Charismatic birds, fabulous food and wine, comfortable accommodations, spectacular scenery, nearly perfect weather, great camaraderie... who could ask for anything more. Thanks so much for choosing Field Guides and for joining Jay and me on an avian adventure in France. We did the Camargue and the Pyrenees up right!

2016 [06 June] - Robert Straughan

PDF Report

Places to Stay

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Borderline Holidays - Pyrenees

Accommodation

Our route guides, guided walks, wildlife walks, info on wildlife hot spots, specialist butterfly weeks ensure you can make the most of this wonderful area.

Chateau de Senescau - Termes d`Armagnac, Gers, Gascony

Accommodation

We offer three gites for 2, 4 and 8-10 people at our historic house in the heart of Gascony, SW France, with memorable views and T-shaped pool. Our 25 acres of garden and meadow, are within easy reach of many different habitats (and therefore wildlife watching opportunities). The Pyrenees are an hour or so to the south across the Riviere-Basse region with its rivers and streams. The pine forests and lakes of Les Landes stretch westward to the Atlantic coast and the softly rolling farmland and vineyards of the Gers lie to the north and east. France at its relaxed best.

Domaine de Clement

Accommodation

Domaine de Clement is a small private estate in the village of Fontiers Cabardes, 15 miles north of the magnificent medieval town of Carcassonne in the South of France.

Gites du Canal

Accommodation

Our two self-catering holiday gites, situated in Argens Minervois, on the banks of the Canal du Midi, are available to rent on a weekly or short-break basis. The village is situated on a main European bird migration route and the natural surroundings provide a variety of habitats for a great diversity of flora and fauna.

Holiday Apartments - Prats-de-Mollo-La Preste

Accommodation

In the unique and welcoming French Catalan community of Prats-de-Mollo-La Preste, Mediterranean Pyrenees Holidays houses 11 renovated holiday apartments

La Charrue - Autignac - Languedoc

Accommodation

British Birder owned B&B - Whether you`re a keen bird enthusiast or just looking to get away from it all, La Charrue is an ideal choice.

La Maison des Guides de Camargue

Accommodation

A 15 mn des Saintes Maries de la Mer et d’Aigues Mortes, Christiane et Jean-Marie vous proposent un gîte dans le paisible hameau de Montcalm, au milieu des vignobles des Vins des Sable.

Les Sorbiers

Accommodation

Great activity holidays in the French Pyrenees then look no further than Les Sorbiers for summer or winter in the village of Bareges.

Les Trois Puits - Carmargue

Accommodation

An English run B&B [and adjoining Gites] and a local birding service. We know our area well and can show visitors where to look for the best birding locally. We are British but speak 6 languages between us - English, Welsh, French, German, Spanish and Dutch. Congenies is ideally located to catch the first migrants on their way north or south. We also have a large resident population of Mediterranian birds of interest to the visiting birder.

Pyrenean Retreat

Accommodation

...relax in spas, play golf, visit local markets and restaurants, all within easy reach of our property. Red kites, buzzards (check out Fatbirder) and deer are frequent visitors for the wildlife enthusiasts....

Villa - Laroque des Albere

Accommodation

Welcome to our villa with private pool in the sunny south of France, between Perpignan and the Spanish border. The villa with pool in Laroque des Alberes, France is available to rent for your holiday by Mediterranean beaches and the Pyrenees.

Reserves

Prats-de-Mollo Nature Reserve

Information

Satellite View

The reason for their continued presence is in no small part down to the wardens of the reserve. The Lammergeir feeds on bones. Every week between November and May the wardens take 20kg bags of animal carcasses from the local butcher and drop then high up in the reserve. They then retreat to a spot 700 metres away to observe the feeding. Of course many other birds of prey and other animals in general come to the feeding spot too. If you wish to go with the wardens on this feeding and observation exercise then it can be arranged.

Other Links

Bird watching in Languedoc Roussillon, South France

Information

Bird-watching enthusiasts who come to Languedoc Roussillon have 4 exciting areas to choose from - two mountainous (the Cévennes and the Pyrénées) and two wetlands (the Camargue and the Etangs of Narbonne).

Languedoc Nature

Website

Languedoc is a major place for ecotourism, outdoor activities, wine tours and nice restaurants. Languedoc Nature can organize your holidays to walk in the Cévennes, ride on the Larzac plateau or visit the Cathare Chateaus… You can choose between sports, gastronomy and cultural visits or mix them all together. Visit our pages and send us a request, we'll be delighted to design your own trip.