Birding Beaumonts


December 29th

Laurent found a male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) at the Mare Perchée this morning. Interestingly they always seem to turn up there at the end of December and usually stay well into January. According to Pierre they’ve sadly become much rarer over recent years – up until quite recently there were 2 breeding pairs and around 8 birds throughout the winter.

Also today were 3 REDWING (mauvis) and a HAWFINCH (gros-bec). 9 CORMORANTS flew west.


December 27th

Another cold and crisp winter morning with bright sunshine and blue skies. The resident MOORHENS have not been deterred by the iced-over pond and are walking and sliding about on it, feeding on scraps of bread thrown by well-meaning locals.

Pierre had 2 more JACKDAWS again today along with a COAL TIT (mésange noir) near the Northern Fields, a rare find in winter. Along the Avenue de Marronniers was a MARSH TIT (mésange nonette) and a male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic epeichette).

Only a few more days to go now to the end of the year and our chances of a record-breaking year-list seem remote indeed. I'm sorry to report that I got the figures wrong in an earlier post…we actually need one more species to equal (not beat) the record !


December 26th

Pierre had only 3 SERINS today along with a single REDWING (mauvis) in the Savanna. Also of note were 2 JACKDAWS (choucas des tours) flying west.


December 20th

A cold grey morning - my last chance to find something good before heading off back to Blighty for Xmas. But it was not to be...just 4 HAWFINCHES, 4 BULLFINCHES and about 14 SERINS in and around the Savanna.


December 12th

Excellent views of a fine HAWFINCH today, feeding on the ground with CHAFFINCHES and GREENFINCHES (verdier) near the concrete ping-pong tables behind the Collège Jean Moulin. Pierre also found a REDWING (mauvis) perched in the Northern Fields and a single REED BUNTING flew into the reedbed.


December 10th

Incredibly Pierre managed to NOT SEE a HAWFINCH today, although he had a few other things, notably a COAL TIT in the conifers on the Northern Fields. In the same general area was a SISKIN (tarin des aulnes) and he also had BULLFINCH and 5 REDWING. The group of SERINS in the Savanna numbered about 22 today. 


December 7th


A cold, wintery morning. A ROBIN (rougegorge) was singing somewhere in the thin mist. In spite of the weather Pierre and Laurent managed to find quite a few birds on site including 3 HAWFINCHES, 20 REDWING (mauvis), CHIFFCHAFF, REED BUNTING, MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse) and 3 TREE SPARROWS.


At 11h50 a small group of GREGLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) flew low overhead, invisible behind the mist, their nasal cackling calls gradually fading away to the south.  



December 6th

Lovely sunny day for a change. 7 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS (goeland brun) made a nice image as they flew slowly and steadily in an orderly line, high up against the blue. Also of note was a single CHIFFCHAFF (pouillot veloce), 4 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche à collier), 2 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) and 3 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec). 


December 5th

The little band of SERINS (serin cini) seen daily amongst the low plants in the Savanna has increased in size with at least 25 birds there this morning. 4 restless HAWFINCHES were showing nicely again, and 2 FIELDFARES are still on site.



December 4th

Pierre reported 4 TREE SPARROWS in the usual place early this afternoon. Also a REDWING, a FIELDFARE and 12 SERINS.



December 2nd

Nice views of a WOODCOCK (becasse des bois) late this morning flying low over the Savanna. A REED BUNTING still at the Mare Perchée and a HAWFINCH flew over the Dinosaur. Plenty of GOLDCRESTS on site at the moment (at least 7 today).



November 29th

A GREY WAGTAIL (bergeronette de ruisseaux) at the Mare Perchée. A single REED BUNTING and 2 FIELDFARES on site and 2 REDWINGS (mauvis) flew south. A skywatch at midday was pretty fruitless although a couple of HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) were on show in the treetops. 



November 27th

Laurent had 3 CHIFFCHAFFS (pouillot veloce) this morning. Also 2 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS flying northeast, 3 FIELDFARES feeding with 2 REDWINGS (grive mauvis), at least 4 TREE SPARROWS and a HAWFINCH.


November 26th

An interesting day. Most of the morning was spent creeping around the Savanna, trying in vain to get a decent view of a TAWNY OWL (chouette hulotte) which flushed on a few occasions.  

4 ROSE RINGED PARAKEETS (peruche à collier) flew south and a bit later 12 CANADA GEESE (bernaches du Canada) went north, low overhead. Some more excellent views of HAWFINCHES today.  

At least 4 FIELDFARES on site plus a single REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) and a couple of BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil). At least 8 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) are still in the usual place at the south end of the recycling plant.



November 25th

Nothing today except a super view of a HAWFINCH (gros-bec) at the Compost, 2 birds being regularly flushed there by dogwalkers and perching up.

Pierre has just revealed the year-list situation and it's terribly exciting :- 125 species so far which equals last year’s record with over a month to go !!



November 23rd

Pierre discovered the Mare Perchée half-covered in ice this morning and even saw snow for a while at midday. The cold snap seems to be bringing in birds because he had a BUZZARD (buse variable) and a small flock of 8 TEAL (sarcelle d'hiver) winging quickly eastwards - a very good record ! 

4 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) on site again along with a FIELDFARE (litorne). A REED BUNTING noted again at the Mare Perchée and this, too, seems quite happy to be hanging around. 

In spite of the ice and the cold the MOORHENS (poule d'eau) are refusing to budge and are still seen daily at the pond.



November 20th

Not a lot for Pierre today, just a REED BUNTING, 3 TREE SPARROWS and a MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette). Unusually a BLACK-HEADED GULL (mouette rieuse) can be seen these days swooping around low over the Mare Perchée, sometimes even landing there or nearby on the Northern Fields.


November 19th

Pierre had at least 30 CHAFFINCHES on site this afternoon along with 3 REED BUNTINGS, a TREE SPARROW and a BRAMBLING. Also quite large numbers of STARLINGS (étourneau), at least 350 of them, moving southwest in small flocks.



November 17th

A CHIFFCHAFF (pouillot veloce) was at the Mare Perchée this afternoon and at least 10 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) are still there at the recycling-plant. A REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) and a FIELDFARE (litorne) in the Savanna.

HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) continue to be found quite easily – one perched briefly in a small tree on the edge of the Savanna and 4 birds were seen later flying north.


November 14th

Laurent heard a HAWFINCH this morning and the GREY HERON (héron cendré) he found at the Mare Perchée was an unfamiliar, young and rather wary individual (and not the usual fearless adult bird).

Later on, during a grey, misty and dreary afternoon, 2 REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) fed quietly on low plants in the Savanna - quite rare to see them like this inside the park. 


November 13th

Laurent was skywatching early again this morning and had a YELLOWHAMMER (bruant jaune) which flew over and landed in the Savanna, accompanying the SERINS (serin cini) there for a few minutes before flying off. Amongst other things were a FIELDFARE (litorne), 47 BLACK-HEADED GULLS (mouette rieuse) heading east, 3 HAWFINCHES and a REED BUNTING.

Alain Bloquet and me were at the Cascade at midday and saw 2 LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) flying south along with 3 ROOK (corbeau freux), another HAWFINCH and 2 COAL TITS in flight. A nice GREY WAGTAIL (bergeronnette ruisseaux) fed along the edges of the Mare Perchée.


At 12h35 the sun was out and the skies had cleared. A black line could be seen scribbled on the sky, high up and way out to the northeast and this slowly turned into a superb flock of about 220 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée), strung out in a long V-shape, flapping across the northern suburbs of Montreuil and on over Paris. 


November 12th

A short skywatch by Laurent early today - some of the usual migrants were still coming through albeit in much smaller numbers. Among them was a single SKY LARK, a WHITE WAGTAIL, 2 COAL TITS and 4 HAWFINCHES.

GREY WAGTAIL (bergeronnette ruisseaux), BRAMBLING and 2 REED BUNTINGS also on site this morning.


November 11th

Lovely bright and sunny day with clear blue skies and a cool wind gusting strongly from the south. Best bird during a skywatch was an excellent MERLIN (faucon émerillon) racing in from the north, climbing across the eastern skies behind the flats on rue Paul Doumer and continuing southwards before eventually disappearing as a distant speck over the Bois de Vincennes.

A generally empty sky today and the movements of SKY LARKS and CHAFFINCHES seems definitely over. However, there were a few other good birds around, notably a flock of 10 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) flying over the Cascade, a distant flock of 70 LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé), 4 ROOKS (corbeau freux) and a BUZZARD (buse variable).


November 9th

Very quiet today - just one SKY LARK, SISKIN and REED BUNTING flying south and hardly any CHAFFINCHES. However there were 10 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) feeding on the waste ground at the recycling plant and 16 more GOLDEN PLOVERS (pluvier doré) flying high to the south in 2 small groups.


November 8th

With unexpectedly cold weather and very few SKY LARKS and CHAFFINCHES passing overhead it all felt like the end of autumn. A solitary FIELDFARE (grive litorne) perched and surveyed the Savanna for a while before swooping down to join a BLACKBIRD feeding on the wild berries. Pierre this morning had a small flock of 12 JACKDAWS flying southeast and a lone ROOK, 2 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche à collier), 2 FIRECRESTS, a CHIFFCHAFF and a HAWFINCH.

The highlight today though was a tight group of 10 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) high in the sky and winging quickly southwest.



November 7th

A BUZZARD (buse variable) was caught in a rather low aerial battle with 2 CARRION CROWS late this morning and was eventually forced away northwards. 2 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) perched in the tall bare trees by the recycling plant and a REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) jittered around, apparently looking for somewhere to land. Also today were 3 MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouses), a FIRECREST (roitelet à triple bandeau), 3 REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) , 2 CHIFFCHAFFS (pouillot veloce) and a SKY LARK (alouette des champs).



November 6th

A very foggy, gloomy day and not much about. Laurent had 5 BRAMBLING, a MEADOW PIPIT, a FIRECREST and a SISKIN early morning. The weather cleared a bit at midday and uncovered lots of GOLDCRESTS (at least 8) in the woods, whilst 4 SKYLARKS flew overhead. As the fog began to drop again a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) dropped into the reedbed for a few moments before flying out and on to the southwest.

November 4th

More clear, sunny, warm weather and another very good day for raptors, with 6 big ones moving south during a half-hour period at midday.

BLACKBIRDS (merle noir) were on the move this morning, along with large numbers of STARLINGS (étourneau sansonnet), LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) and WOODPIGEONS (pigeon ramier). A surprise was another RED KITE (milan royal), more distant this time, which flapped steadily south.

2 BUZZARDS (buse variable) and 2 SPARROWHAWKS were found circling together, although the watching of these was briefly interrupted moments later by a male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin), flying quickly overhead and directly south towards the Bois de Vincennes.

A bit later Laurent spotted these 2 HEN HARRIERS flying towards us which spent several minutes circling overhead with a SPARROWHAWK.


A few minutes later another BUZZARD came into view and drifted slowly east, eventually disappearing over the flats on rue Paul Doumer. Also today were 2 (maybe 3) REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) on site around the Mare Perchée, and some nice flight views of HAWFINCHES (gros-bec).

November 3rd

I never thought I could ever get excited about WOODPIGEONS (pigeon ramier), but they’re migrating through in big numbers at the moment - Laurent and Pierre had 2700 going south this morning between 08h30-10h30, including one flock of 900 birds, not bad !

Lots of other migrants were taking advantage of another clear and sunny morning  including a lot more LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé), SKY LARKS and 2 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) going south.

A REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) going north and landing on site was quite unusual and another BUZZARD (buse variable) glided southwards, high overhead. 



November 2nd

Nice to get some clear sunny weather again after all the recent rain. Excellent birding today with migrants pouring over in droves and raptors galore !

It was a very poor, late start by me and by the time I'd reached the Cascade at 09h40 Pierre had already scored a late OSPREY  (balbuzard pecheur) moving southwest at 09h05, and a super SHORT-EARED OWL (hibou de marais). 

The migration overhead was impressive with numerous high, scattered lines of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) hurrying generally southwest, and unusually large numbers of WOODPIGEONS (ramier) moving south in large flocks. 18 ROOKS (freux) and 11 JACKDAWS (choucas des tours) flew over but best bird was a superb RED KITE (milan royal), fairly close to us over watertower. After flapping bouyantly away from the attentions of a CARRION CROW it circled several times before drifting away south.

In the late afternoon Pierre returned to the park and had lots more of the same species moving through, most notably some 600 WOODPIGEONS in just 40 minutes !  


October 30th

At 10h00 this morning me and Laurent saw a male STONECHAT (traquet patre) just make it onto the yearlist in last-gasp, dramatic style, popping up briefly on a bush at the Cascade and then disappearing for good (much to the annoyance of Pierre who was climbing the entrance steps at the time).

Autumn passage had been good during the proceeding two hours with plenty of CORMORANTS, REDWINGS, SKY LARKS, CHAFFINCHES and even a couple of WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) moving south.

A few ROOKS and HAWFINCHES were also seen today and a BLACK REDSTART was near the Compost. A small flock of 8 FIELDFARE (grive litorne) flew over and a rather lonely-looking LAPWING (vanneau huppé) lapped around high up, eventually disappearing away to the southwest.

A distant BUZZARD (buse variable) spent several minutes circling over the Bois de Vincennes.


October 29th

The whole place was cold and covered in fog today with just a few bits of blue sky appearing briefly in the early afternoon. Consequently it was all rather grim and silent all morning although Laurent got a SISKIN and 2 SKY LARKS, and I flushed 4 MEADOW PIPITS which had probably been grounded by the fog. A CHIFFCHAFF was at Middlemarsh and a single COAL TIT flew north but there was no sign of the PIED FLYCATCHER today, unless we just couldn't see it through the mist.

Pierre reported a MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic mar), an extremely good bird, which flew off and away after just 2 minutes in a tree at the entrance area opposite the Danton café. It was obviously his day because a bit later he found a RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) perched in the Savanna, 3 BLACK REDSTARTS and, in the Northern Fields, another COAL TIT at the conifers. A nice group of 3 GREEN WOODPECKERS (pic vert) was feeding on the grass nearby.


October 28th

Lots of REDWINGS (grive mauvis) flying low over the Savanna early this morning and one or two dropped to the ground and fed on stubble where they were joined by a few CHAFFINCHES and an excellent HAWFINCH (gros-bec). A long line of GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendré) flew high to the southwest over the Bois de Vincennes.

Amazingly the PIED FLYCATCHER is still present near the recycling plant and a female BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noire) and 8 TREE SPARROWS were also in the immediate area. 2 CHIFFCHAFF were seen this morning along with a few REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) and 6 COAL TIT (mésange noire) which bobbed in low, perched for a few moments in a tree and hurried on westwards, as is their way.

A skywatch at midday saw lots of SKYLARKS and other migrants going over. At 11h30 a pale BUZZARD (buse variable) circled high and to the north of the park, mobbed by a CARRION CROW.

Pierre arrived at the Cascade a little later, just in time to witness a superb HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) which flapped strongly south but obligingly stopped somewhere over Fontenay and circled for a couple of minutes.



October 27th

Nice views of a HAWFINCH flying west and then east, low over the south side of the park this morning, the bird also landing in a tree near Middlemarsh. The PIED FLYCATCHER is still present and was very obliging today, allowing itself to be both photographed and videod. 

A TREE SPARROW was seen, along with 3 ROOKS heading southwest and 3 REDPOLL going south.



October 26th

Another cold and misty morning but unlike yesterday there was an almost constant stream of passerines migrating overhead, best bird being a WOODLARK (alouette lulu) which flew very low, calling, and almost landing.

Both the PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) and the BLACKCAP seen yesterday were there again this morning and nearby was a small flock of about 10 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) – if last year is anything to go by these birds will probably hang around a while.



October 25th

Although a few SISKINS and BRAMBLINGS flew overhead this morning it felt like autumn passage had been completely blocked by a hazy, colourless sky, and as the temperature gradually dropped so did a blanket of mist which smothered the park and the surrounding area. It all felt very birdless although a nice surprise was a rather tatty and tired-looking PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) sallying for insects low down in the bushes by the recycling-plant. A single male BLACKCAP was also seen there and 3 BLACK REDSTARTS were still present around the Compost.


October 24th

3 BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir) including a superb male, were moving together through the bushes near the Ditch this morning and 2 HAWFINCHES were seen perched again on site. Best bird today was a RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) which Pierre watched flying in from the north and then perching briefly in trees near the Mare Perchée.


A small group of about 13 SERINS are settled in the park and can be seen every day feeding low amongst the weedy plants in the Savanna. 3 more JACKDAWS (choucas), 1 ROOK (freux) and 2 REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) were also seen this morning, but for the first day this autumn there were no warblers !!


October 23rd

A good day. It was a cold, clear morning with water vapour steaming up off the Mare Perchée as the sun rose. The Savanna was encrusted with a blanket of frost and in weak orangey light 3 distant HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) made a nice image, perched up in the tall trees by the Coffee Dome. 

Lots of passage migrants flew overhead throughout the morning and the highlight was 2 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) seen by Laurent. Superb scope view today of a WOODLARK (alouette lulu) which landed on the rough grass near the pond and stood motionless there for several minutes - a rare event indeed.

There were more REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) moving through today and birds were watched flying in from the north and then pitching down into bushes near the Cascade. A single REDPOLL (sizerin flammé), 8 ROOKS (corbeau freux) and 8 JACKDAWS (choucas des tours) also noted this morning. 

In the evening Pierre scored big-time with 9 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendré) moving south at 18h15. A little later, at 18h45, he saw a TAWNY OWL (chouette hulotte) flapping over the Mare Perchée and the Savanna, harassed on the way by MAGPIES, and eventually disappearing behind a curtain of trees. Not a bad week for owls !


October 22nd

Rather quiet with less passage than over recent days - only about 10 SKY LARKS, a single MEADOW PIPIT and the odd small group of CHAFFINCHES flying over. 2 GREY WAGTAILS (bergonnerette ruisseaux) were at the Mare de Brie, a single BLACK REDSTART at the Compost, and 2 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) and a ROOK (corbeau freux) flew south.



October 20th

Still a steady passage of passerines overhead although rather fewer SKY LARKS and MEADOW PIPITS compared to yesterday. Quite a few BRAMBLING were around along with at least 10 REED BUNTINGS on migration, 3 HAWFINCHES,  TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) and yet more ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (3 of them)...unusually these are being seen on a daily basis right now.


Anne-Laure and Maxime were back again this morning with the mist-nets and they managed to bag a lot more than on Saturday, including a lovely couple of female FIRECRESTS. One of these birds was actually found a little later nearby, desperately trying in vain to peck the new silverware off !


October 19th

Similar conditions and similar birds to yesterday although there were far fewer SISKINS bouncing overhead. ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS appeared on 3 occasions (9 birds) and there were more ROOKS, 5 of them, which flew as one widely-spaced group towards the southwest. 12 JACKDAWS also went southwest this morning.


October 18th

A similar morning to yesterday's with clear skies and lots of the usual migrants going overhead, in particular SKY LARKS, BRAMBLINGS and MEADOW PIPITS which were all more numerous today. The SKY LARKS were flying lower than usual and one swooped around low and eventually landed in the Northern Fields, a rare event indeed !

High numbers of thrushes gave a wintery feel to the morning and both REDWINGS (mauvis) and FIELDFARES (litorne) perched in trees on site. At 09h52 a fine male RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) flew in from the north and perched on a tree at the Coffee Dome, calling loudly.

Francois Chiron, Anne-Laure Dussuchal and Maxime Zucca were in the park this morning for the purpose of bird-ringing and had strung-up 9 mist nets. However, they caught only 35 birds, far fewer than on October 11th, due partly to the real dearth of warblers on site at the moment (only 4 CHIFFCHAFFS and 4 BLACKCAPS were seen today).

Other notable birds today were 2 REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) on site, at least 15 COAL TITS, 4 HAWFINCHES, 7 WOODLARK (alouette lulu), 6 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS, 2 BLACK REDSTART, 2+ FIRECREST, 1 ROOK (corbeau freux) and, best of all, a total of 70 JACKDAWS (choucas des tours) tumbling southwards in 2 ragged flocks (27+43).



October 17th

An excellent fresh and crispy morning with glowing, golden, autumn colours and a light frost on the ground - lots of finches, notably SISKINS and BRAMBLINGS (pinson du nord) were going overhead through clear skies. Two REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) flew obligingly into a small tree in the Savanna where they spent several minutes preening and a little later 3 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) also perched in trees nearby (neither of these two species land very often inside the park !)

Unfortunately, yesterday's BARN OWL had deserted its position overnight and couldn't be found again this morning.13 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) flew westsouthwest at 10h02 and ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruches à collier) burst over the park on 3 occasions, one flock of 12 birds being particularly unusual. No less than 5 BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir) were hopping and flitting around the recycling plant this morning and 4 ROOKS (corbeau freux) flew slowly southwestwards at 10h30. A skywatch at midday produced a fair amount of passage migrants, including some more REDPOLLS (a flock of 13) and 12 WHITE WAGTAILS.



October 16th

A very good day with the amazing discovery of a BARN OWL !! (effraie des clochers) partially hidden inside a small bush in the Savanna. Although it could be approached closely it was mainly just the wings, neck and feet that were visible with just the very occasional glimpse of the head - it really was doing a great job at hiding.

A real rarity here this seems to be the first confirmed record since the 1980s.

Other birds seen today included 3 HAWFINCHES, 2 COMMON REDPOLL, a small group of 6 COAL TITS and a BLACK REDSTART.




October 15th

Not much - another dull and cloudy day and windier than yesterday. A lot more CHAFFINCHES were passing overhead in small groups and another 2 REDPOLL were seen, this time flying east. Very few BLACKCAPS appear to be left on site although there are still plenty of CHIFFCHAFFS. 



October 14th

A mild, still morning under a vast low roof of cloud. Hardly any CHAFFINCHES migrating today although interesting to see 3 small groups of COAL TITS (mésange noire) flying low overhead along with 3 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec), 2 BRAMBLING (pinson du nord), some parties of SISKINS (tarin des alnes) and one (possibly 2) REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) stuttering over the Savanna.

3 BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir) found at the Compost were milling around together and 2 REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) were at the Mare Perchée. A REED WARBLER there had a single silver ring on its right leg (quite possibly ringed over the weekend ?).


October 11th

Today was to be a repeat of last Saturday's "national skywatch" with birders all over the country watching and counting the migrants heading south, although with me, Laurent and Pierre all away at the moment it was looking as if Beaumonts would miss out on the action. However, Julien Birard, Benoit Fontaine, Philip Redman and Maxime Zucca came to the rescue and were promptly there at dawn, counting several SKY LARKS (alouettes des champs), SONG THRUSHES and WHITE WAGTAILS. Interestingly there were not many MEADOW PIPITS, and fewer CHAFFINCHES than over recent days. Also of note were several BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) (10-15), SISKIN (tarin des alnes) (15-20), SERINS and, most interestingly, 2 YELLOWHAMMER (bruant jaune), a very good year tick.

On site were several REDWINGS (grive mauvis) (which had apparently been rather more numerous the previous evening) along with a COAL TIT (mésange noire) and several GOLDCRESTS and FIRECRESTS. At least one REED WARBLER (effarvatte) still on site.



October 8th

Rather similar conditions to yesterday but not quite as many CHAFFINCHES (206) going over. Several SISKINS and GOLDFINCHES early morning and 2 BRAMBLING and a single HAWFINCH on site. During a skywatch from 11h00-13h00 the highlights were a MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) flying steadily southwest and 12 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendré) which flew in quickly from the north in 2 separated groups, the trailing one eventually catching up with the others somewhere over the Bois de Vincennes. 


October 7th

A damp, mild, autumnal morning under a blanket of grey cloud which forced the migrating finches and pipits lower down today, allowing most to be identified (unlike last Saturday). Large numbers of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) flew over throughout the morning and 427 were counted during a skywatch with Pierre from 10h55-13h30. This species probably made up the bulk of the 336 additional birds that were left unidentified.

Highlight this morning was a group of 7 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) which appeared over the blocks of flats on rue Paul Doumer and bounded just overhead en route towards Paris.

75 distant CORMORANTS meandered slowly over the river valley and a HOBBY flashed past. 3 BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) also today, one of them landing in the Northern Fields.


October 4th

Today birders all over France were organised into collective skywatching, an annual event with the aim of collecting all the data and discovering more about migration patterns. So I duly did my bit on the Cascade this morning, noting everything that moved between 08h00-11h00 although I ended up hanging around until 14h00. There seemed to be distant migrating birds almost constantly on view, with lots of CHAFFINCHES and MEADOW PIPITS in particular moving southwest.

The first WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) of the autumn bounded over (6 of them) and a single HAWFINCH, probably a local bird, flew south at 9h15. It was a good day for exotics with 2 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruches à collier) and a COCKATIEL (calopsitte élégante) flying around over the Savanna.

4 BUZZARDS (buse variable) seen today along with a LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) which bounded westwards overhead, calling en route. 3 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and a HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenêtre) also today.


In the early morning Pierre Delbove counted 115 WOODPIGEONS (ramier) feeding on the Northern Fields, 55 of which were juveniles - this is quite a good number for a single group on site. Pierre also had 2 BRAMBLING (pinson du nord).


October 2nd

Nice bright and sunny morning with quite a few CHAFFINCHES and MEADOW PIPITS going overhead. At 08h30 a HAWFINCH (gros-bec) flew around the same corner of the Northern Fields and 3 GOLDCRESTS were here as well. Later in the Parc Mabille a colour-ringed BLUE TIT (mésange bleue) was seen briefly - this one had a white ring on the left leg and a yellow one on the right leg.

September 30th

Miserable weather this morning with grey clouds and drizzle - looks like it will remain so for a few days. 2  REDSTART on site, the same male in the same place as yesterday plus another in the Savanna. Also a BLACK REDSTART and 2 HAWFINCH (gros-bec) which flew northwestwards in the direction of the cemetary, again !

September 29th

Rather quiet, although brilliant views of one of the REDSTARTS which perched for ages on a large rock in the Ditch this morning, not really knowing what to do.

23 BLACK-HEADED GULLS (mouette rieuse) flapped northwards early morning in 3 groups, these followed later by a single COMMON GULL (goéland cendré). Rather fewer BLACKCAPS on site today, but still lots of SONG THRUSHES flushed from the bushes. A single BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) was found near the Compost and both GOLDCREST and FIRECREST were seen today.

September 28th

Laurent was out early skywatching (07h40-09h10) and saw lots of commoner species in active migration including 18 MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouse), 17 WHITE WAGTAILS (Bergeronnette grise), 23 SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne), 3 SISKINS (tarin des alnes), a HAWFINCH (gros-bec), the first SKY LARK (alouette des champs) of the autumn and 28 JAYS (including one flock of 26 birds!!). On site was a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) and 4 more COAL TITS (mésange noir), 3 of which were seen flying into the park (via his garden) from the south.

Guilhem Lesaffre and Jean-Noel Rieffel also birded the park this morning and had much of the same stuff but added a HOBBY (faucon hobereau), 8-10 WOODLARK (alouette lulu), a few more SISKINS (12-17 birds) and, most interestingly, 2 SNIPE !! (bécassine des marais), one of which was seen on the ground and the other flying southwards.

A skywatch at midday (12h10-15h00) by Pierre and me produced 3 BUZZARDS (buse variable) and at least 23 BARN SWALLOWS. The WHINCHAT (tarier) and 2 COMMON REDSTARTS were still present around the Cascade.

September 27th

The WHINCHAT and REDSTART were both still present this morning and 17 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada) flew briefly around the northern part of the park. A single HAWFINCH (grosbec) flew low towards the cemetary and 2 SISKIN (tarin des aulnes) flew south. A MEADOW PIPIT landed near the Mare Parchée and several more of them were seen flying over throughout the morning.

At around 11h00 in the Parc Mabille yesterday’s MARSH TITS were found again whilst a male LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) hitched around the upper branches of the high horse chestnuts.

At 12h00 a BUZZARD moved slowly from east to west and a little later a small flock of 10 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenetre) flew purposefully north.

September 26th

4 CORMORANTS flew unusually low (northwards) early morning and a flock of 11 were seen later in the day. 3 BUZZARDS were seen during a midday skywatch. A REDSTART (rougequeue à front-blanc) and a WHINCHAT (tarier) were on site.

The same colour-ringed MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette) that was seen on Sept 1st and 20th was found again along the Ave de Marroniers. Laurent recently solved the great mystery surrounding these colour-ringed birds (4 have been seen in the park since August 5th). He found out that a few Marsh Tits were trapped in a forest close to Paris (perhaps Sénart) and then released in Montreuil, just up the road in the Parc des Guilands. So these "introduced" birds haven't actually made it very far. It will be interesting to see whether they stick around the area. Today's individual is in the company of an unringed bird, and it seems quite settled in this part of the park.

A NUTHATCH (sitelle) and a PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) were also found in the Parc Mabille this morning.

September 25th

Laurent had a productive short visit this morning, finding a WHEATEAR (traquet motteux) and 2 COAL TITS (mésange noires) (the first recorded this year) which appeared to be moving purposefully across the park in a southwesterly direction, probably in active migration.

A skywatch from the Cascade later in the day (11h55-14h45) was rather less productive for Pierre and me - just a single HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) migrating southwards, mobbed on its way by a SPARROWHAWK (épervier). Quite a few MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouse) went overhead, CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) went westwards in small numbers and 59 CORMORANTS (in three groups) were seen flying very high towards the south. At least 2 REDSTARTS continue to provide entertainment from the surrounding bushes.

2 COMMON CROSSBILLS (bec-croisé des sapins) flew over northwards. Excitingly one of them dropped down low over the Northern Fields and perched on a small conifer there for a few seconds, a major event indeed - the species is usually indifferent to the park, flying over and never landing !

September 24th

A MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse) landed in the Savanna this morning and a PIED FLYCATCHER was also seen there. At least 2 REDSTART are still quite easily seen around the Cascade and 3 REED WARBLERS are still in the reedbed at the Mare Perchée.

A skywatch in the late afternoon (16h00-17h30) produced 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable) and 5 migrating BARN SWALLOWS. Later on in the evening Pierre had a WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) at the Mare Perchée and 2 MARSH TITS in the Savanna.


September 21st

A HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) circled southbound this afternoon but the  skywatch beforehand (13h10-15h20) had been completely raptorless, not even a SPARROWHAWK. The boredom had been allieviated by the odd flock of CORMORANTS, flying south in v-shaped groups of between 4 and 60 birds - a total of 169 was counted.

BLACKCAP numbers were back up again today and there was a LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) skulking in the Savanna late morning. Just the one REDSTART (rougequeue à front-blanc) seen today, showing well near the Cascade.

September 20th

It seems that majority of BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tete noir) moved off in the night because only about 6 were seen this morning, and for the first time this autumn they were outnumbered easily by CHIFFCHAFFS (pouillot véloce).

Apparently 3 REDSTARTS (rougequeu à front blanc) are on site - 2 in the Savanna and 1 in the bushes north of the Mare Perchée. Along the Ave de Maronniers in the Parc Marbille a tit-flock contained 2 MARSH TITS (mésange nonnette), one being the same ringed individual seen nearby on September 1st. This bird has a white ring on the left leg and 2 rings on the right leg (a dull reddish-brown one above a marginally smaller silvery-white one). Also in these big, orange-leaved trees was a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris).

This area of the park was the place to be today - Pierre was there this evening and had a NUTHATCH (sitelle), SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER (grimpereau des jardins), a GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Pic épeiche) and a LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette).  

September 19th

At least 2 REDSTART still on site today and 3 REED WARBLERS were in the reedbed early morning. A GOLDCREST (roitelet huppé) was at the Coffee Dome along with a WILLOW WARBLER (fitis). Nice views of a WHINCHAT (tarier) today perched on the small bushes by the Cascade. The sky looked promising at midday but not a lot was seen between 12h50-16h20 , just 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable), an unidentified larger raptor, a SAND MARTIN and 48 BARN SWALLOWS. It would seem that the recent HONEY-BUZZARD passage is pretty much over now.

September 18th

More sunny but cold weather - a late-autumn feel. The highlight today was a HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) flying steadily south at 14h00. 2 unidentified raptors seen beforehand, going westnorthwest, were probably BUZZARDS (buse variable). A nice distraction from the skywatching were 2 REDSTARTS which could be seen darting about together in the small trees by the Mare Perchée. Another bird seen in the Savanna late this evening by Pierre might possibly be a third ?

September 17th

Another quiet and uneventful day, the cold windy weather not helping much. A HAWFINCH (grosbec) flew low around the Savanna, briefly landing in a small tree there and a PIED FLYCATCHER was in the reedbed at the Mare de Brie. A GOLDCREST was in a conifer in the Northern Fields and a REDSTART in the Savanna.

September 16th

Rather quiet and uneventful, although still a few raptors moving through - there were a couple of HOBBIES and HONEY-BUZZARDS going south, whilst 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable) going east and north were probably local birds.

A COMMON CROSSBILL (bec-croisé des sapins) flew south late morning and there was just one PIED FLYCATCHER today. A REED WARBLER is still at the Mare Parchée. This evening Pierre had 2 REDSTART (rougequeue à front-blanc) in the Savanna and 2 TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres).

Some commoner species are appearing in larger numbers than usual these last few days, most notably BLUE TITS (mésange bleu), but also BLACKBIRDS (merle noir), DUNNOCKS (accenteur mouchet) and SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne).

The breeding pair of BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil pivoine) are quite easily seen these days with their juveniles around the Savanna.

September 15th

Good day for MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) with 6 seen migrating south - 3 together at 12h00 and 3 others a little later (12h20, 12h50, 13h25). The first of these was on site for almost 2 hours, watched three times quartering low over the Savanna, mobbed continuously by a CARRION CROW. In between times it appeared to land somewhere in the woodland and according to Pierre this changes its status somewhat - it's been a strictly fly-over species up until now.

Just the one HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée) today, at 10h05, another victim of marauding CARRION CROWS.

Also today 3 PIED FLYCATCHERS, SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, REDSTART (rougequeue à front-blanc) , at least 3 FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau), MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette), TREE PIPIT, GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) and at least 1 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (goéland brun).

MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse) and YELLOW WAGTAIL flew south and a LINNET (linotte mélodieuse), found perched at the Mare Perchée early morning, was rather unusual. Even more unusual was the bizarre sight of a powdery yellow CANARY ! (canari) fluttering over the Savanna and landing on site.

Interesting to see the active migration of JAYS (geai des chênes) at the moment - for the last few days small numbers (about 16 today) have been flying gingerly high overhead, generally in a westsouthwestly direction.

September 14th

Lovely sunny day with cloudless blue skies. Lots of stuff seen during an enjoyable picnic/skywatch situation from the Cascade at midday - so much nicer to watch raptors with melon and olives at hand ! 17 larger raptors were seen including 2 unidentifieds. Best of these was yet another OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) , the fourth so far this autumn, although the bird was annoying distant as it quartered the skies to the south of the park for many minutes.

9 HONEY-BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) moved south including a superb group of five together in the bins circling high overhead. Another species seen migrating in numbers was MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux), four birds together at 12h15 followed by another 3 hours later.

Unlike the past 2 days, hirundines were moving again - at least 72 BARN SWALLOWS (and at least 1 SAND MARTIN) twisted their way quickly overhead in small groups. Like yesterday, plenty of CORMORANTS were around (at least 94) - the biggest single group being of 50 birds. Also noteworthy were 2 COMMON CROSSBILL (bec-croisé des sapins) which chipped southeast, low overhead, at 15h20.

Just as we were all thinking of leaving a final scan produced the biggest surprise of the day, an amazing group of 45 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) wheeling around in a flock, gradually gaining height on each turn and moving slowly towards us. Passing directly overhead they eventually disappeared in the bright afternoon sun over the Bois de Vincennes. 

September 13th

The first MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouse) of the autumn went sipping high overhead early morning and a distant MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) flew south at 08h45. 2 BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir) today and there are still at least 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS in the park. The grating calls from an invisible NIGHTINGALE (rossignol philomèle) could be heard from the berry bushes near the Cascade.

Several groups of CORMORANTS were seen today, the biggest numbering 43 birds. 7 HONEY-BUZZARDS were seen from the Cascade, including 3 together at 13h45.

September 12th

Rain and dark cloudy skies early this morning - hopeless migration conditions. However bird numbers are high in the park right now and BLACKCAPS, BLACKBIRDS (merle noir) and DUNNOCKS (accenteur mouchet) appeared to be everywhere. At least 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS, 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS and a REDSTART were seen along with a NUTHATCH (sittelle torchepot), at least 6 WHITETHROATS (grisette) and a single REED WARBLER (effarvatte) skulking in the reedbed.

A MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette) feeding at the Mare de Brie late morning was the same colour-ringed one seen on Wednesday - come to think of it we should really start giving them names to make things easier?

Xavier Japiot led an organised outing of 5 birders around the park and the highlights were a GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins), a NUTHATCH (sitelle) and 4 (maybe 5) FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau).

In the evening Laurent and Pierre had a real raptor bonanza from the Cascade, best being a superb PEREGRINE (faucon pélerin), a real rarity here, which flew in very quickly from the north and spent a couple of minutes circling above the park before eventually gliding away west.

In the evening a dark juvenile HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) arrived overhead and was promptly mobbed by several CARRION CROWS (corneille noire). A bird in this plumage has been seen several times lately flying low over the park - same bird? It was good also for MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) with one coming in from the south and remaining in view for a long time before going away westwards, followed a bit later by 5 birds, spaced widely apart, watched simultaneously going slowly south in a long line. 

September 11th

Some visible migration early morning at the Cascade for Laurent and Pierre including 41 BARN SWALLOWS, 15 HOUSE MARTINS, a SAND MARTIN, 5 TREE PIPITS, 16 YELLOW WAGTAILS and a WHITE WAGTAIL (bergeronnette grise). 5 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada) flew over, probably the same birds that had apparently walked around in the adjacent roads on Monday, bringing traffic to a  standstill.

There are now two REDSTARTS (rougequeue à front-blanc) near the Mare Perchée and 2 WHINCHATS (tarier) were seen this afternoon perched atop a big acacia. At least 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS still present in the park.

In spite of superb sunny skies again at midday relatively little was seen migrating overhead, perhaps because of the lack of any wind today. However, with an abundance of insects overhead, unusual things seemed to be happening in these still, hot conditions: instead of whirring around in tight flocks the STARLINGS (étourneau sansonnet) on site, around 100 of them, were dispersed high up and fluttering and sallying for insects like Asian woodswallows. KESTRELS (faucon crécerelle), instead of hovering individually, were now gathering in groups (at least 7 together at one point) and dipping and swooping in a similar manner.

4 decent raptors were nevertheless seen today, the best being an OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) which circled to the north and drifted westwards at 11h50. A juvenile HOBBY glided over and 2 HONEY-BUZZARDS were seen, the first of them spending many minutes directly overhead in an entertaining aerial battle with a KESTREL which stooped the larger bird several times, forcing it to twist and tumble in downward spirals, legs dangling. 

September 10th

Much quieter day today with fewer birds generally and far fewer raptors - just 3 HONEY-BUZZARDS at widely spaced intervals. It was a significant passage day for hirundines with 348 BARN SWALLOWS, at least 44 HOUSE MARTINS and 2 SAND MARTINS, all piling over in dribs and drabs throughout the day.

Excellent close views of 2 MARSH TITS (mésange nonette) in the Savanna today, one of which was another ringed bird. This one had a single dull brown ring on the left leg and two rings on the right leg (a large orange ring above a smaller and tighter silver one).

The REDSTART is still by the Cascade and a single HAWFINCH (grosbec) flew south late morning. Also of note were at least 2 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS and 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS.

September 9th

Another good day with 51 species including (like yesterday) 6 raptors. Laurent, Pierre and me were again at the Cascade early and the highlight was a TAWNY PIPIT (pipit rousseline), calling and bounding in from the north, going much lower overhead than yesterday's birds.

Plenty of migrants went through today including 50 YELLOW WAGTAILS (bergeronnette printanière), at least 47 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and a few TREE PIPITS, one of which spent some time on the ground by the Mare Perchée. 2 SWIFTS were seen migrating through early morning - quite a late date, and perhaps the last?

4 WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis), 3 WHINCHAT (tarier), at least 2 FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau), SPOTTED FLYCATCHER and PIED FLYCATCHER were on site today, and the long-staying REDSTART is still on site.

The hot weather and clear sunny skies were again good for raptors : 2 MARSH HARRIERS (busard de roseaux), 6 HONEY-BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) a HOBBY and most excitingly an OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) at 14h30, which spent a long time wandering its way southwards, out to the east behind the flats on rue Paul Doumer. An UNIDENTIFIED HARRIER SP. which flew southwards at 13h05, gracefully like a giant tern, was most probably a MONTAGUES HARRIER (busard cendré).

September 8th

A good day today - plenty of migration action with at least 51 species seen including 6 species of raptor. Two good birds early morning at the Cascade, firstly a WHEATEAR (traquet motteux) which perched obligingly for several minutes on a tree in the middle of the Northern Fields. A bit later Laurent picked up nicely the flight calls of 2 TAWNY PIPITS (pipit rousseline) which then appeared overhead and flew southwest high over the Savanna with absolutely no intention of landing.

7 TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) and 13 YELLOW WAGTAILS also flew over like this during the course of the day but there was plenty of stuff on site as well including 2 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris), 1 PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir), 2 GARDEN WARBLERS and a single TURTLE DOVE which alighted twice in bare trees in the Savanna, only to be immediately chased off by a pesky MAGPIE. The REDSTART (rougequeue à front-blanc) is still present in the red berry bushes on the ridge by the Cascade, although it continues to prove difficult to see.

At midday the skies cleared, the sun shone, and the bigger soaring birds started to appear. At 14h25 a superb WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche) appeared high to the north and it spent several minutes drifting south overhead and right over Laurent's house (he was unfortunately out at the time).

As already stated, a good raptor day with most things, strangely, coming in twos : 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable), 2 HONEY-BUZZARDS and 2 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) which flapped in together and spent a long time circling around to the southeast. Last but not least, a fine HOBBY flew in low from the north.


September 7th

More wind - a single HOBBY flew high to the south and the REDSTART (rougequeue à front-blanc) is still there near the Cascade. Two REED WARBLERS and 2 WHITETHROATS also noted. Mystery surrounds the strange, sudden disappearance of an exciting storky-shape gliding south at 13h45, this in spite of the presence of five birders skywatching at the Cascade, surely a world record.

Also today were a YELLOW WAGTAIL in flight, 2 TREE PIPITS and a FIRECREST.

September 6th

Nice weather today although a bit too windy for comfort. Pierre and Laurent had an excellent OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) this afternoon but there wasn't much else around - just a single STOCK DOVE (colombin), a HOUSE MARTIN and an unidentified larger raptor in low northward flight at 14h45.

September 5th

Much the same story as yesterday, although there was no sign of any SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS. The PIED FLYCATCHER and the REDSTART were still on site, 2 REED WARBLERS were together early morning and a GARDEN WARBLER is still in with the big flock of BLACKCAPS.

2 TREE PIPITS also today and Laurent had a FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau) along the rue des Quatre Ruelles. In the early afternoon Pierre had a BLACK REDSTART, 2 WHITETHROATS and 4 BARN SWALLOWS.

September 4th

Best bird today was a REDSTART (rougequeue à front-blanc) which Laurent found early this morning in bushes near the Cascade.

2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) and 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS are still on site, and other birds today included a MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette), 8 YELLOW WAGTAILS (Bergeronnette printanière) overhead, a GREY WAGTAIL (Bergeronnette des ruisseaux) and 3 migrating TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres). A HOBBY spent several minutes wandering about in the afternoon.

September 3rd

More grim, grey, chilly weather - 4 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS on site and a YELLOW WAGTAIL flew south early. Still large numbers of BLACKCAPS on site and with this weather I cant see them leaving in a hurry..

In the evening Pierre had 16 CORMORANTS flying northeast at 20h00, along with 4 BARN SWALLOWS and a HOUSE MARTIN.


September 2nd

Another damp and cloudy morning - not much migrating overhead although quite a few birds were still around on site including 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS and a PIED FLYCATCHER. Still lots of BLACKCAPS around - about 25 this morning.


September 1st

A grey, cloudy, drizzly morning. Lots of migrants had fallen overnight in a large, loose flock which roamed around the bushes near the Cascade and as Laurent, Pierre and I desperately tried to keep up with them it felt like birding in the tropics..

The majority of the flock was made up of BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tête noire) (perhaps as many as 30 birds) but there were also CHIFFCHAFFS, a LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde), a WHITETHROAT (grisette), at least one WILLOW WARBLER (fitis), a REED WARBLER (effarvatte) and at least one GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins). However the king of this crop was a WRYNECK (torcol fourmilier), well spotted by Laurent, which sat obligingly on a small branch before darting off.

On the edge of the Parc Mabille a small tit-flock contained 2 MARSH TITS (mésange nonnette), one sporting a large plastic white ring on its left leg and both dark red (upper) and silver (lower) rings on the right leg. We've now seen 3 different ringed individuals in the park recently...we really must find out where they've come from !!

Also today were a male FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau), 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris), at least 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir), several YELLOW WAGTAILS (bergonerette printanière) overhead and 2 juvenile HOBBIES, one of which gave excellent views as it glided low over the Savanna.

2 HONEY BUZZARDS today, one a very dark-looking juvenile that could be the same bird that Pierre saw yesterday evening.

There was a much calmer scenario this evening, though Pierre still managed to see another LESSER WHITETHROAT, a newly arrived BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) and a HAWFINCH (grosbec).


August 31st

Laurent was up early again (08h15-10h15) and had 27 YELLOW WAGTAILS (bergonerette printanière) , 3 TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres), 7 CORMORANTS, a SAND MARTIN and 67 BARN SWALLOWS moving through. Also noted were 2 HOBBIES, 3 REED WARBLERS, a PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) and a MARSH TIT. The highlight though was an unidentified HARRIER SP., most probably a MONTAGUE’S HARRIER (busard cendré) which has yet to be recorded at Beaumonts.

It's been a good day for CROSSBILLS (beccroisés des sapins), Laurent seeing 21 birds just outside the park over the rue des Quatre Ruelles at 12h45, and a single bird going  south over the Cascade a bit later.

In the afternoon Laurent had 2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore), 3 more YELLOW WAGTAILS, 2 more SAND MARTINS and a TREE PIPIT.

In the early evening Pierre counted 19 HOUSE MARTINS and had excellent views of a low-flying HONEY BUZZARD which roamed around over the Parc Mabille, no doubt looking for somewhere to roost.


August 30th

A good day for migration - hot with clear blue skies, completely different from yesterday. Laurent was up heroically early and had 5 YELLOW WAGTAILS (bergonerette printanière), a TURTLE DOVE (tourterelle des bois), 9 GREY HERONS (heron cendré), 2 SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage) and 3 ROSE RINGED PARAKEETS (perruches à collier) all flying over towards the southwest. He also had 2 juvenile HOBBIES (faucon hobereau) and 2 REED WARBLERS (effarvatte).

A skywatch from 11h00-14h50 (accompanied for the most part by Pierre) produced 10 CORMORANTS wheeling around northwards and a WHINCHAT (tarier des prés) was watched bobbing its way in from the south before perching on trees around the Cascade. 3 TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) also.

A good raptor day with 5 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) moving southwest at well spaced intervals, one of which was harried by a BUZZARD (buse variable). A HOBBY was seen twice, probably hawking the dragonflies which were numerous in the midday heat. There was a good passage of BARN SWALLOWS between 11h00-13h40 with 103 birds counted, all heading directly south. Also a further 2 SAND MARTINS, 6 HOUSE MARTINS (in local flight) and 5 SWIFTS.

August 29th

Dull, grey, still day - nothing much moving in the sky apart from 5 SWIFTS, 4 BARN SWALLOWS and at least 3 HOUSE MARTINS. A GREY WAGTAIL bounded over.

2 MARSH TITS (mésange nonnette) were seen in separate areas of the park but neither was seen well enough to see whether they were the same colour-ringed birds on site earlier in the month. On leaving the park a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) was found perched high in a tree close to the Dinosaur.

August 28th

A GREY WAGTAIL (bergonerette des ruisseaux) was seen twice this morning bounding high over the park and around the blocks of flats...long time no see. What was presumably a ROSE RINGED PARAKEET (perruche à collier) was high up going north and 2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) circled for several minutes over the Cascade, gradually gaining height before drifting off to the southwest. A small flock of 6 SERINS flew around and in the afternoon Pierre had a single SWIFT.

August 21st

Quite a good day today. At 10h40 a super cream-coloured HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) flew low and west over the southern end of the park and it was probably this bird which was seen again in the same area a couple of hours later. From the Cascade a further 2 HONEY BUZZARDS were seen on migration.

The bushes surrounding the Coffee Dome were leaping with birds this morning - 2 BLACKCAPS, 2 CHIFFCHAFFS, 2 ROBINS, a GARDEN WARBLER, a WHITETHROAT and a REED WARBLER (rousserolle effarvatte) were all flitting around in the same spot. Best of the bunch though was a PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouch noir), low down and snapping insects.

August 20th

Good report of a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) found by Pierre at the Mare de Brie this afternoon. Warblers have been very discreet and difficult these last few weeks but the windless conditions made it a bit easier today. Pierre got quite a few of them including 2 WHITETHROATS (grisette), 7 BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tete noir) and a single GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins). Also 5 SERINS and a small group of 7 LONG-TAILED TITS which included juveniles.

August 19th

Another windy day. A LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) was tacking away in a bush near the Mare de Brie and later from the Cascade a brief but good close view of a HOBBY flying in, low down and carrying a dead SWIFT. 

Also from the Cascade at midday another HONEY BUZZARD, a SAND MARTIN, 3 HOUSE MARTINS and 4 BARN SWALLOWS. There were increased numbers of SWIFTS today and interestingly the birds now all appear to be migrants flying more or less directly south ? the local birds seem to have desserted the area.

Incidentally the family of MOORHENS (poule d'eau) is still in good shape at the Mare Parchée - still 2 adults and 5 juveniles, present and correct.

August 18th

Dull and windy day with few birds - rather a shock to find empty skies almost completely devoid of SWIFTS (only 6 today), although another SAND MARTIN went south. In the evening Pierre had a WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) and a couple of juvenile BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir) just outside the park on rue Francisco Ferrer.

Highlight today was the bizarre sight of a single COCKATIEL !! (calopsitte élégante) flying over and around the park at midday, calling non-stop.

August 17th

Superb observation of a HOBBY (faucon hobereau) today which raced in from the north to hunt down one of the few remaining SWIFTS with an upward swoop.

Another HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) was seen migrating at 14h20, in view for a long time as it circled around to the north of the park before eventually gliding away towards Paris, like most of the recent birds.

A SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) zipped its way low and south, just like yesterdays birds. About 17 SWIFTS, 2 HOUSE MARTINS and a single BARN SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée) were also seen today.

August 16th

Another productive skywatch from the Cascade at midday. 4 more HONEY BUZZARDS went through in similar fashion to yesterdays birds - nice view of one dark adult which drifted in low and directly overhead, turning its head left and right as if inspecting the area. 3 HOBBIES (faucon hobereau) were also seen, two flying high together towards the southwest.

2 SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage) flew quickly south and there are still a few SWIFTS around (about 20), along with a couple of HOUSE MARTINS.

August 15th

A skywatch at midday with Pierre produced at least 10 (possibly 12) HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) migrating overhead, most high and heading either south or southwestwards. Nice views of 2 birds that dropped quite low.

Slightly more SWIFTS today (about 30) along with 3 HOUSE MARTINS and 2 BARN SWALLOWS.

August 14th

The highlight today was a PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) hawking insects in the crowns of the tall trees at the top of the entrance steps - always a good sign that autumn migration is on.

A skywatch from the Cascade produced one (maybe 2) BUZZARDS heading southwest, and observations of a SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) and a TURTLE DOVE (tourterelle des bois) (which flew quickly northwards in local flight) were both interesting. Fewer SWIFTS (martinet noir) are around at the moment, with only about 15 seen daily.

August 11th

Another MARSH TIT was found today along the entrance steps, interestingly another ringed bird with a large dark pink ring on the left leg and a smaller, tighter, silver ring on the right leg - clearly a different individual from that seen on August 5th.

Two HOBBIES were seen during a midday skywatch and 3 SPARROWHAWKS were seen circling around together. At 14h15 a BUZZARD (buse variable) was found circling out to the east - the first ever sighting in August !

August 10th

A good evening session for Pierre who had a CUCKOO (coucou) flying in low from the north and giving the impression of landing somewhere in the woodland behind the Mare Perchée. This is rare here and a very good year-tick (and incidentally the list now stands at 105). Pierre also saw a HOBBY again this evening, along with 2 HOUSE MARTINS and about 14 SWIFTS.

August 8th

A WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) and 3 STOCK DOVES today, along with yet another HOBBY...seems like these are local breeding birds, probably from the Bois de Vincennes.

August 7th

More entertainment from another (or the same?) HOBBY which came in again looking for SWIFTS. However this afternoon's kill was rather more difficult than yesterday's - there were several unsuccessful attempts before it eventually struck and then drifted in a slow and straight line southeastwards over the Bois de Vincennes.

August 6th

From the Cascade this evening, an excellent HOBBY (faucon hobereau) drifted in from the west into a small cloud of SWIFTS. Seemingly just for something to do it suddenly dipped down behind one, chased it around in its slipstream and attacked upwards like a shark, plucking it from the air , a very smart manoeuvre.

Otherwise not much of note, the first WHITETHROAT (grisette) for ages being a highlight - like most things right now they’re keeping very quiet, and the place seems pretty devoid of birds a lot of the time.

August 5th

A MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette) was found early morning in the Savanna - interestingly the bird had a silver ring on its left leg (and possibly a reddish coloured ring on its right one, but difficult to be certain). At least 10 CHIFFCHAFFS were about this morning along with at least 1 WILLOW WARBLER (fitis), and a single warm and smart-looking REED WARBLER (effarvatte) skulking around in Middlemarsh was quite possibly a migrant. This is presumably the same bird that Laurent saw on July 30th and it looks quite different from the scruffy crowd up at the Mare Perchée (which was still active there again this morning, the juveniles getting more adventurous as they roam around the reedbed unaccompanied).

At around 09h00 a single TURTLE DOVE (tourterelle des bois) flew in from the west, turned and headed away northwards.

August 3rd

A LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) was heard calling this morning near the Dinosaur - first one in a while.

Also today were at least 8 HOUSE MARTINS and a single HOBBY, high up and way out to the east.

August 2nd

Pierre had 5 ROOK (corbeau freux) and another SAND MARTIN flying south this evening.

August 1st

Pierre had another 3 CROSSBILLS (beccroisés des sapins) at midday - like the others seen over recent days they flew low and southeastwards towards the Parc Mabille.

A fine HOBBY (faucon hobbereau) flew around the Cascade at 14h05 and a little later 2 ROOKS (corbeau freux) flew across the park to the north-west. Only about 20 SWIFTS were around today - a notable drop in numbers...

July 31st

A single HAWFINCH (grosbec) flew southwest early this morning - the first July record. Also of note were 4 REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) at the Mare Perchée and 2 juvenile WILLOW WARBLERS (pouillot fitis).

July 30th

Quite a few hirundines about again - Pierre had 4 BARN SWALLOWS, 3 HOUSE MARTINS, and a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) in local flight.

In the evening Laurent saw at least 3 juvenile REED WARBLERS at the Mare Perchée, along with the 2 adults. Another bird nearby at Middlemarsh which has much fresher warmer plumage compared to the breeding birds and might be a migrant.

July 29th
Excitement at 14h10 as 2 unidentified larger raptors came into view, high to the north-east and gliding steadily southwards over and on towards the Bois de Vincennes. Looking suspiciously like BLACK KITES, they were just that bit too high up to be 100% sure...

SPARROWHAWKS appear to have bred successfully in the park for the second year running. Just as last year, the begging calls of juveniles can be heard intermittently throughout the day, emanating from the woodland on the south-west rim, quite close to the Parc Mabille. Not much else today apart from a single HOBBY (faucon hobbereau).

July 28th

Another hot day - 3 more CROSSBILLS (beccroisés des sapins) were seen at 13h43, flying low, southbound over the Savanna towards the Parc Mabille, in identical fashion to yesterday's birds. 2 HOUSE MARTINS and 2 BARN SWALLOWS were also around today and REED WARBLERS are still managing to feed at least one juvenile at the Mare Perchée, in spite of all the unleashed dogs charging around in the water.

July 27th

A MARSH TIT (mésange nonette) was a good find early this morning along the entrance steps - the first this year. Later on, 6 BARN SWALLOWS and 3 more SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage) were observed in active southward migration. Also 3 STOCK DOVES, 2 REED WARBLERS, a WHITE WAGTAIL and a HOUSE MARTIN.

In the afternoon Pierre and Laurent had a BUZZARD (buse variable) flying low around the site. 2 HOBBIES (faucon hobbereau) were together making some nice aerial manoeuvres before eventually drifting away south.

At around 15h30, an excellent view of a small party of 4 CROSSBILLS (beccroisés des sapins), containing at least one male, seen flying low across the park - another first for the year !

Also this afternoon were 2 juvenile BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) in the company of a male near the Mare de Brie, which confirms successful breeding. Pierre and Laurent had 3 more HOUSE MARTINS, 4 more BARN SWALLOWS and about 100 SWIFTS (fewer than in the early morning).

July 24th

At least 4 SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage) were flying high around the park with reduced numbers of SWIFTS today - it's the first July record for this species although there's not much coverage at this time of year. Nevertheless it's quite uncommon here with only one or two reports annually.

Also of note was a single WILLOW WARBLER (pouillot fitis).

July 23rd

4 unidentified larger raptors (almost certainly HONEY BUZZARDS) drifted northwards, very high overhead. Also of note were 2 HOUSE MARTINS, 2 BARN SWALLOWS and larger numbers of SWIFTS (at least 400).

July 19th

Pierre had 7 HOUSE MARTINS today.

July 14th

Laurent saw a REED WARBLER (rouserolle effarvatte) feeding 2 juveniles at the Mare Perchée today which confirms successful breeding. One of the adults continues to sing intermittently.

July 13th

Pierre had a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (Goéland brun) going north today. Also a STOCK DOVE and a BARN SWALLOW.

July 12th

Pierre saw a BUZZARD (buse variable) circling over the park this afternoon at 16h30 before it drifted away eastwards - this is the first July record for this species here. Also of note were 2 adult YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (Leucophées) and 9 MOORHENS (poule d'eau), 2 adults and 7 juveniles.

Not many SWIFTS about at the moment, although Laurent had very large numbers (up to 1000) of them on several dates last month. 

July 11th

Pierre had a low-flying YELLOW-LEGGED GULL, 2 BULLFINCHES, a BARN SWALLOW and a SPARROWHAWK carrying prey.

July 6th

Pierre had another NUTHATCH and a WILLOW WARBLER today.

July 1st

Pierre reported a NUTHATCH near the Dinosaur and 2 BARN SWALLOWS today. The family of MOORHENS (poule d'eau), an adult and 4 juveniles, were seen gathering at the edge of the Mare Perchée to vigorously dispute over the remains of a dead fish.

June 28th

Good report from Laurent of 108 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (Leucophées) going over this evening, in 4 groups, between 20h00-21h30.

June 25th

Not much to report of late - birds are just busy getting on with things. The pair of MELODIOUS WARBLERS (hippolais polyglotte) nesting near the Compost are busily feeding young in the nest, whereas the pair in the Savanna have already produced at least one tail-less, scruffy juvenile which can be seen perching unsteadily amongst the low weeds.

Excitement on the plant front with the discovery of a super LIZARD ORCHID (orchis bourc) near the Mare Perchée, and there are quite a few butterflies fluttering around these days, such as LARGE WHITE (Piéride du chou), COMMA (Robert le diable) and MARBLED WHITE (Demi-deuil).

June 22nd

Pierre had 4 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) this evening.

JUNE 20th

Another NUTHATCH today, this time in the trees by the Dinosaur, and a few minutes later a male FIRECREST was found singing in the same area, the third time this spring that it's been found singing in the park (although no other behaviour indicative of breeding).

JUNE 17th

A small personal triumph today, finally finding a female NUTHATCH (sitelle torchepot) feeding discreetly on the edge of the Parc Mabille. This bird is inexplicably rare at Beaumonts, although Pierre says they were reasonably common here about 15 years ago. Although no MARSH WARBLER was seen today, there appears to be a pair of them on site in the Savanna and probably nesting there.

JUNE 15th

Laurent heard the LESSER WHITETHROAT today and also had a single TREE SPARROW. He was also able to confirm the successful breeding of GOLDCRESTS (roitlet huppé) with the sighting of an adult (probably female) with 4 juveniles.

JUNE 14th

MARSH WARBLER (rousserolle verderolle) still present this morning, easy to see as it sang regularly from a bush in the middle of the Savanna. Other good news is the presence of 3 REED WARBLERS (rousserolle effarvatte) (probably 2 males and a female) in the reedbed at the Mare Perchée.

Another piece of news is that the resident pair of MOORHENS (poule d'eau) is now rearing 5 chicks - congratulations to them !

JUNE 11th

Laurent had more YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS today - 7 immatures going east at 21h00 this evening.

June 8th

Laurent witnessed the pair of LESSER WHITETHROATS (babillarde) feeding a juvenile this morning near the Mare Perchée, so this confirms successful breeding again this year. He also found at least 2 REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) there this morning, one of them singing from the reedbed, and during a skywatch he had a single TREE SPARROW (moineau friquet) going over and an imm YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (Goéland leucophée). The MARSH WARBLER (verderolle) was still present today.

May 31st

In the evening Pierre had 2 singing MARSH WARBLERS (verderolle) and a singing REED WARBLER (effarvatte).

May 30th

An interesting (but rather frustrating) afternoon for Pierre and Laurent who had a probable RED-FOOTED FALCON (faucon kobez) flying slowly northwards at 14h10 and another unidentified (larger) raptor at 15h05. Pierre also reported a single REED WARBLER (effarvatte).

MAY 25th

More HONEY BUZZARDS again today...Laurent saw 3 of them migrating north around 11am along with a TURTLE DOVE (tourterelle des bois) in local flight. Between 12h00 - 14h30 he and Pierre had 5 more HONEY BUZZARDS, making it 8 for the day.

In the evening the MARSH WARBLER was still singing in the Savanna.

MAY 23rd

At 13h05 today Pierre was alerted to the jizz of a falcon flying high amongst a flock of swifts. As it approached more closely it revealed itself as a RED-FOOTED FALCON (faucon kobez) - only the third record for Beaumonts, although given the exceptionally large numbers of them knocking around France this spring it's a little surprising that we haven't had more. The bird, a male in probably second year plumage, flew around the park for around 25 minutes before disappearing to the west at 13h30. The bird spent most of the time flying high up with the swifts, hovering and stooping on several occasions. At 13h15 a HOBBY appeared and flew close to the red-foot and this, along with two kestrels also present today, made for some nice comparisons.

At 20h30 this evening Laurent had a fly-over YELLOW WAGTAIL (bergonerette printainière) going northeast.

May 22nd

2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) seen from the Cascade today.

May 20th

Great report from Pierre of a MARSH WARBLER (rousserolle verderolle) near the football pitch, singing in the late afternoon sun. A little later he found the first REDSTART (rougequeue à front blanc) for the year, a female, near the Mare Perchée.

May 19th

Cold and windy weather again early morning. A HOBBY (faucon hobereau) flew over the pond, 2 TURTLE DOVES (tourterelle des bois) dashed south and a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) was in the Savanna. Excellent views of a female MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) flapping in low from the southwest – it went north and then southeast, hassled all the way by a pesky crow.

May 18th

Pierre went bravely birding into the wind and rain this afternoon and was rewarded with 2 more HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) which appeared east of the park and circled low overhead before eventually drifting away west. Interesting that these birds, unlike Laurent's yesterday, didn’t seem to be in active migration.

May 17th

Good report from Laurent of a male HONEY BUZZARD flying north, low over the park, at 17h00.

There are now 3 singing MELODIOUS WARBLERS (hippolaïs polyglotte) in the park, and a pair of them is now busy nesting in the Savanna.

May 15th

Cooler weather, grey skies and drizzle. 2 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) (presumably the same pair as seen on Tuesday) were found again in the trees close to the cemetary. The first REED WARBLER (rouserolle effarvatte) of the year was heard singing very discreetly in bushes by the path up to the Coffee Dome.

A WILLOW WARBLER (pouillot fitis) was at pond – they’ve been worryingly absent this year - no sign of them apart from just the odd snatch of song on a couple of dates early in the month.

May 13th

2 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) and a TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) were in the Northern Fields this morning.

May 12th

Laurent had a WHITE WAGTAIL (bergonerette grise) today at the pond, a species we haven't seen much of lately.

May 11th

Pierre found a WOOD WARBLER (pouillot siffleur) this morning singing from woodland near the Dinosaur at the top of the entrance steps, an excellent record. Today's bird even looked as if it might hang around a while - it was still singing there at 13h45.

May 10th

Not much today apart from 2 ROOKS (corbeau freux) flying east at midday.

May 9th

The highlight today was a male WHINCHAT (tarier des près), found at 10h30 between the Ditch and the Mare Perchée. It was still there at 14h00. Another BUZZARD glided east.

May 8th

A skywatch at lunchtime produced two BUZZARDS (buse variable), one going north at 13h05, and another a little later going northeast. Three very high and distant raptors circling around together and moving northwards were probably HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore).

There are currently two singing MELODIOUS WARBLERS (hippolais polyglotte) in the park - one in the Savanna and another by the Compost.

A pair of TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) has been seen just outside the park on a couple of occasions recently, and appears to be nesting near the entrance to the cemetary on rue Galilée.

May 7th

Another BLACK KITE (milan noir) today, circling relatively low over the Mare perchée at 11h15 and then moving higher and drifting off eastwards. Not much else apart from's been pretty quiet these last few days.

May 3rd

Nice and hot sunny day with plenty of good birds about. A male FIRECREST (roitlet triple bandeau) was singing early and a female PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) was near the small pond in the south-eastern corner of the park. Very much an autumn bird at Beaumonts, this is a good record...the last spring sighting was back in 2000.

Brilliant views of a HOBBY (faucon hobereau) flying low around the Coffee Dome and a SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage), a vital year-tick, flew quickly overhead towards the Bois de Vincennes. Other hirundines were gracing the skies with large numbers of SWIFTS continually on view, and a single HOUSE MARTIN and at least 20 BARN SWALLOWS migrating north.

At about 12h00 I was joined at the Coffee Dome by Philip Redman who had just arrived at the park on the off chance of some raptor passage. Almost immediately, at 12h05, he spotted a superb BLACK KITE (milan noir) coming towards us from the north and we proceeded to watch it drift overhead and away southwest - this is only the second record of this species at Beaumonts and Philip has had incredible luck with this species here, being the finder of our first one in August last year.

May 1st

Pierre found the first MELODIOUS WARBLER (hypolais polyglotte) of the year early this morning singing discreetly in bushes near the Compost. Little else of note today apart from a perched TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) in the Savanna.

April 30th

More bad weather, and not much about this morning. Best bird by far was a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) found hawking for insects in the trees just above the Dinosaur, and it was still present there two hours later.

April 29th

Another cold and rainy morning, although the steely grey skies were brightened by a superb male GOLDEN ORIOLE (loriot)  lapping north above the treetops bordering the Chemin de la Lisère, eventually disappearing from view as a butterfly-like speck high over Romainville.

There was less birdsong this morning, what with the cold and the wind and the rain, although all the usual warblers sung a little bit at some point including 2 WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) ? the first real sign of our breeding birds this year ? a much later date than last year. The only other thing of note was a pair of HAWFINCHES (surely not the same 2 as yesterday ?) flying towards the Bois de Vincennes.

April 28th

Grim, grey, cold and miserable morning. Single MEADOW and TREE PIPITS were seen very early near the pond and, a little later a TURTLE DOVE (tourterelle des bois) was inadvertedly flushed from a small tree on the slope near the rubbish dump - nice views of it flying round eastwards and then up and over the blocks of flats nearby.

A flock of about 10 migrating BARN SWALLOWS went northeast and 2 HAWFINCHES (grosbec) bounded off northwards away from the Parc Mabille. The highlight of the morning though was a singing male FIRECREST (roitlet triple bandeau) in the woodland near the Avenue des Marroniers. This species, although easily seen during winter, is seldom reported in spring and summer - breeding has been suspected in past years but has never been confirmed.


April 26th

A rather quiet morning after all the cuffuffle of yesterday. SERINS were songflighting and 2 ROOKS (corbeau freux) flew over. A pair of BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) seem to be quite settled on site and there’s also a lone male which continues to roam around the place calling mournfully from the treetops.

SWIFTS are now soaring silently in much larger numbers. Although the sky looked just perfect for a raptor today absolutely nothing was seen during a skywatch between 10h30 and 12h45 (much like yesterday).

Pierre saw a female REED BUNTING yesterday morning (the male has stopped singing from the reedbed and hasn't been seen for a while).

April 25th

Incredible day today with the amazing discovery of a RED-RUMPED SWALLOW !!! (hirondelle rousselline) flying low over bushes in the southeastern corner of the Savanna. The day had started well with what was fortuitously a late start at 09h00. I’d  walked into one of those magic windows of active migration that happen from time to time when birds are everywhere. Overhead were several SWIFTS and BARN SWALLOWS and 3 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) racing north were the first of the year.  A female RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) perched high in a bare tree near the pond, surveying the surroundings before flying off strongly northwards.

After checking the small pond which lies low in the southeast corner of the park, I was walking back towards the main trail when I reached the top of the little rise which offers an elevated view over the bushes in the Savanna. I could see a swallow low down over this area, meandering along steadily northwards and I put my binoculars on it, expecting to see another BARN SWALLOW. However, my heart suddenly started racing with the shock : the bird had a large cream-coloured rump - it was obviously a RED-RUMPED SWALLOW but, damm, it had disappeared, and I had only seen its upperparts! I frantically ran on a couple more metres and, yes, thank God, there it was again, twisting back the other way. I could now easily check all the other bits I needed to see - black undertail coverts, uniform pale orange-rufous underparts and a dark cap - there was no doubt. But it had gone again, where? I frantically scrambled for my telephone and fumbled a call to Pierre who had left the park at 08h50 and now risked missing a real rarity, and a first for Ile-de-France. Having exploded an unreaptable word he said he was on his way, but after a few minutes I called him back and told him not to bother- the bird hadn’t reappeared and looked to have disappeared for good.

So, quite an eventful morning, but after that not a lot else, in spite of 2 hours skywatching at lunchtime from the Coffee Dome.

April 24th

A nice warm and sunny day for skywatching from the Coffee Dome. At 12h48 a superb observation of a BLACK STORK (cigogne noir) which suddenly appeared high up to the south, drifting steadily towards the park on rigid wings. The bird was in view for at least 3 minutes as it sailed slowly and surely northeast, without a single flap, before disappearing behind distant trees.
During the hour that followed 2 BUZZARDS drifted high overhead along with a few BARN SWALLOWS and 2 SWIFTS.

April 22nd

A few bits and bobs this morning - the first GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) for the year was singing near the Coffee Dome and 2 REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) flew over simultaneously (although heading in different directions). Just one TREE PIPIT today, perched in the Savanna, and a male BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) called throughout the morning. 3 BARN SWALLOWS meandered their way north and at about 09h30 a small cloud of SWIFTS (martinet noir), the first of the year, suddenly appeared and drifted around for several minutes. No sign of the singing male REED BUNTING this morning.

April 21st

A dull, grey and drizzly morning - the first LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) of the year was found skulking in the Ditch at 09h30 and it was perhaps this same bird which began singing from various points around the park later in the morning when the sun came out. Otherwise not much else to report today apart from 3 TREE PIPITS and a BARN SWALLOW.

April 20th

No sign of the owl today. The REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) continues to sing around the pond and the scratchy song of WHITETHROAT (grisette) could be heard from the Savanna throughout the morning. A single MEADOW PIPIT flew north.

April 19th

A good day today, in spite of the dull, grey and listless conditions. Nice long views late morning of a single WOODCOCK (bécasse des bois) roaming over the site, seemingly looking for somewhere safe and quiet to land. A bit later a spectacular observation of a SHORT-EARED OWL (hibou des marais) flying over the Savanna before dropping and perching low in trees near the Coffee Dome. The bird was seen in flight on two further occasions and seemed happy to hang around in the Savanna area, in spite of being mobbed and forced high occasionally by magpies and crows.

Other good news today was a singing NIGHTINGALE (rossignol), the continued presence of the male REED BUNTING singing from the reedbed, a singing WHITETHROAT (grisette) in the Savanna and 3 TREE PIPITS (pipits des arbres) perched in trees near the Coffee Dome.

April 18th

Very quiet this afternoon - a single TREE PIPIT perched in trees by the Coffee Dome.


April 13th

Laurent found the first WHITETHROAT (grisette) of the year today along with another TREE PIPIT, 3 MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and single LESSER BLACK-BACKED and HERRING GULLS. He also twice saw a NUTHATCH flying over the Savanna, a very good bird these days…

April 12th

A good day for Pierre who saw the the first TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) of the year along with 3 perched HAWFINCHES (grosbec) and a nice MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseau) going through at 12h20. A perched SISKIN and a REDWING (mauvis) in the afternoon.

April 11th

Pierre saw the first WILLOW WARBLER (pouillot fitis) this morning flitting around the pond. Also noted were 2 HAWFINCHES and 5 SISKINS flying north.

April 10th

One BARN SWALLOW and one LINNET (linotte mélodieuse) seen flying north today.


Laurent saw the REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) singing again this morning - not much else apart from a SERIN and 3 KESTRELS.


In the morning Pierre and Laurent saw 2 HAWFINCHES (grosbecs), a YELLOW WAGTAIL (bergeronnette printanière), 11 LINNETS (linottes), 5 SISKINS (tarins) and 22 MEADOW PIPITS (farlouses).

At midday Laurent scored a rather rare but annual COAL TIT (mésange noire) on the rue des 4 Ruelles.

The REED BUNTING was singing again today from the reedbed.


Laurent had a REED BUNTING singing at the reedbed early morning and Pierre had 23 SISKINS (tarins) later on, along with a BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) and another BUZZARD (buse variable).

In the evening the pair of MALLARDS were joined at the pond by 3 more males.


Great migration conditions and another good day for Pierre and Laurent who at 14h40 had 2 raptors appearing overhead - a MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) and an unusual-looking BUZZARD that circled over their heads showing plumage characteristics of ´STEPPE BUZZARD´ (buse des steppes)…unfortunately the upperparts were not seen clearly though.

Also seen today were a SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée), a BLACK REDSTART and a first YELLOW WAGTAIL (bergeronnettte printanière).


A very good day today, with a distinct migration feel about it: Pierre saw a HOBBY (hobereau) winnowing quickly northwards and there were 2 BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) and a YELLOWHAMMER (bruant jaune) - a vital year tick indeed.

Slightly later, at 14h30, he and Laurent had 4 WHITE STORKS (cigognes blanches) circling slowly higher and higher before drifting off to the northwest.

A BUZZARD (buse variable) was also seen today, along with 2 SWALLOWS (the first since the first!).


Tension amongst the MOORHENS...Pierre witnessed 3 of them having a violent 30 minute pitched battle this morning. Also of note were 2 ROOKS (freux),a JACKDAW (choucas) flying over and 2 FIELDFARES (litornes) on migration.


The REED BUNTINGS have still been around these last few days and there were 6 at the pond this morning. 2 CORMORANTS and 2 SKYLARKS also seen today.


Pierre had a perched HAWFINCH (grosbec) in the park at midday. There were also 2 BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir), 4 STOCK DOVES (colombin) and 6 REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux). Of interest is the continued presence, since February, of the pair of MALLARDS (colvert) at the pond.


A good day for Pierre who at 17h50 watched an OSPREY (balbuzard) fly the length of the river valley.

He also had the first singing BLACK REDSTART of the year - the 9 REED BUNTINGS are still around the pond.


Laurent and Pierre had 3 groups of CORMORANTS totalling 70 birds today along with a MEADOW PIPIT (farlouse), STOCK DOVE, WHITE WAGTAIL (bergeronnette grise) and a SPARROWHAWK (épervier).

Of particular interest is the small group of REED BUNTINGS which feeds on the ground at the edges of the pond and is regularly flushed into the neighbouring bushes - the group has recently increased from 5 to 9 birds.


A ROOK (freux), 4 CORMORANTS, 5 REED BUNTINGS feeding around the pond, 2 FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau).


An outstanding day for Pierre and Laurent who watched a LONG-EARED OWL (hibou moyen-duc) fly in low from the south at 09h45. The bird appeared to land briefly in conifers bordering the park before taking off and circling over them and then drifting away westwards.

Anyway the owl was not enough - there were pretty good numbers of commoner birds flying northwards today : a ROOK (freux), the first BARN SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée) of the year, 2 BRAMBLING (which landed briefly before continuing on), 9 WHITE WAGTAILS, a LINNET, 158 CORMORANTS, 64 CHAFFINCHES and 22 SKYLARKS.

There was also a singing CIRL BUNTING, (bruant zizi), 2 FIRECREST, 4 GOLDCRESTS (roitelet huppé), 4 REDWINGS and 5 REED BUNTINGS feeding around the pond.


Quite a few bits and pieces flying over for Laurent today : a BRAMBLING (pinson du nord), 12 CORMORANTS, a GREY HERON flying high, 6 REDWING , a SKYLARK and 2 WHITE WAGTAILS.

2 SPARROWHAWKS were on site, along with at least 2 singing CHIFFCHAFFS and 2 WHITE WAGTAILS.


Pierre had 14 GREYLAG GEESE (Oies cendrées) going north at 09h05, along with 2 STOCK DOVES, a REDWING and a SPARROWHAWK. A group of 10 JAYS (geais) on site was rather unusual.


Pierre saw a YELLOW-LEGGED GULL and the first COMMON GULL (Goéland cendré) of the year this morning. Also 3 CIRL BUNTINGS (bruant zizi), 2 FIRECREST and a perched MEADOW PIPIT.

Later in the day he and Laurent observed 14 more COMMON CRANES (grues cendrées) at 15h50, and 4 groups of CORMORANTS totalling 92 birds. They also saw 2 REED BUNTINGS, 3 STOCK DOVES, 2 SPARROWHAWKS and 1 LESSER BLACK-BACKED and 3 HERRING GULLS.


A very good day for Pierre and Laurent who saw 16 COMMON CRANES (grues cendrées) going northeast at 12h40, and then 5 more at 17h25. The first MEADOW PIPIT (farlouse) of the year went over and a CHIFFCHAFF was heard singing – spring is in the air…

Also of note were 2 SKYLARKS going north, a probable BUZZARD, 3 BLACKCAPS and 72 CORMORANTS flying north.


Pierre had another REED BUNTING today.


Laurent reported a REED BUNTING and 2 migrating WHITE WAGTAILS.


Not much around today - a FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau), 3 SKYLARKS high overhead and a male SPARROWHAWK were the highlights.


Another excellent day for Laurent who had 22 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS (barge à queue noire) flying north at 08h45. 2 female SPARROWHAWKS were also seen circling high over the Parc Mabille.

February 24th

A very good day for Laurent with the reappearance of the possible SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF (pouillot véloce de type tristis), active between the Coffee Dome and the pond. This bird (assuming it is one and the same) first appeared at Beaumonts on the 17th February last year and settled for a short period before disappearing until November 24th, and it has curiously not re-surfaced until now.....

The first signs of spring passage were there today with 3 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu), 10 SKYLARKS (allouette des champs), 3 SISKINS (tarin), a LINNET (linotte) and 3 WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) going through.

3 SPARROWHAWKS (éperviers) were also around, along with a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) and single LESSER BLACK-BACKED (goéland brun) and HERRING GULLS (goéland argenté).

February 23rd

Significant gull movements noted by Laurent - 7 HERRING and 1 LESSER BLACK-BACKED, along with 58 unidentifieds…

February 22nd

Excellent observation by Laurent of 35 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluviers dorés) flying south - a rare event indeed. 1 REDWING (mauvis) also today.

February 17th

First record of the year of STOCK DOVE (pigeon colombin) today, seen flying over by Laurent. He also had a single REDWING and 20 large gull species going over, just to remind us that it´s still winter....

February 16th

Pierre had 2 BLACKCAPS singing today along with 4 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) and the pair of MALLARDS. By the way that OWL reported last month was definitely a LONG EARED OWL (hibou moyen duc) - good photographs of the bird reported on JAN 23rd have just been published in the local paper, the Montreuil Dépêche (n° 466 / 13-19 February 2008).

February 13th

Worth noting today was an adult BLACK HEADED GULL (mouette rieuse) feeding on the Northern Fields - rare for them to land on site.

February 10th

2 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (goéland brun) went north today and 7 SISKINS and a  REDWING (mauvis) were also reported. The BLACKCAP is still singing....

February 9th

The pair of MALLARDS is still at the pond. Pierre reported 6 SISKINS and a SPARROWHAWK along with an interesting product of the warm and sunny weather, a RED ADMIRAL butterfly (Vulcain).

February 8th

2 singing male BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tête noire) now alongside the entrance steps by Jean Moulin College. 4 SISKINS (tarin), 2 male CIRL BUNTINGS (brunat ziz) and a pair of MALLARDS (canard colvert) also reported today.

February 7th

Another warm and sunny day - the wintering BLACKCAP still present and singing along the entrance steps by the Jean Moulin College. SISKINS (tarin des aulnes) appear settled in the alders behind the college - at least 4 feeding there this afternoon. Pierre also had 3 REDWINGS (mauvis) in this area. 2 SPARROWHAWKS (épervier) and a single male FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) also seen today.

February 6th

The 2 male CIRL BUNTINGS still present today. A single FIRECREST and a SPARROWHAWK also.

January 30th

Pierre had a GREY WAGTAIL(bergeronnette des ruisseaux) in local flight this morning.

January 27th

Nice warm weather - dry, sunny, clear skies. A male BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noire) sang throughout the morning, reinforcing an odd feeling of spring. Pierre had a couple of SISKINS (tarins des aulnes) in the alders behind the college buildings and the 2 male CIRL BUNTINGS were still in the bushes surrounding the pond. Lunchtime at the Coffee Dome produced 5 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (goéland brun) lumbering south-west in an orderly line and a single COMMON REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) jittered overhead towards the Parc Mabille.

January 23rd

Early morning (first light)…no sign of LEO.

January 22nd

Exciting news today of what is presumably a LONG EARED OWL (hibou moyen duc), reported by Vincent van de Bor who, in the company of 2 others, observed and photograhed an “owl with ears” perched in trees bordering rue Doumer, close to the small pond in the south-eastern corner of the park. The bird was easy to see but looked unsettled, being continually harrassed by 2 CARRION CROWS.

January 20th

A single CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) again, and several HERRING GULLS going over.

January 19th

A disturbingly warm January morning - just the one CIRL BUNTING there today skulking in the bushes around the cascade. 5 TREE SPARROWS also present, but not much else apart from a SPARROWHAWK.

January 17th

Pierre had 2 male CIRL BUNTINGS today in the usual area between the pond and the rubbish dump, which makes at least 3 wintering birds because a female was there yesterday. SERINS are also wintering on site with 9 today near the park entrance on rue des 4 Ruelles.

January 12th

A male CIRL BUNTING(bruant zizi) was near the rubbish dump late morning. Also of note were 2 LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKERS (pic epeichette), a male and female in 2 different areas of the park, giving excellent prolonged views. Pierre had a YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (goéland leucophée) flying over in the afternoon.

January 6th

Not much about although at midday a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) flew over and dropped into the reedbed, skulking there for several minutes before flying up and away.

January 1st

A good start - the first bird in the bins this morning was a male BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noire), scrabbling about in the viney trees by the entrance steps. Later there were 2 CIRL BUNTINGS ( bruant zizi ) on the slope behind the pond and 2 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) were in their usual place, in bushes alongside the fence bordering the rubbish dump.

Also of note was a flock of 5 FIELDFARES (litorne) flying north and, later in the day, Pierre had a REDWING (mauvis) and a single SPARROWHAWK (épervier).