birding beaumonts

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December 30th


Interestingly there was another large flock of WOODPIGEONS (ramier) (200 or so) flying south late this afternoon and 2 HAWFINCHES (gros bec) flew in and landed in trees at the Coffee Dome. Pierre also had a single ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (perruche à collier) flying past. Still at least 8 REDWINGS (mauvis) on site.


 

December 28th


Pierre found a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) at the Compost and also noticed an unusually large group of 51 MAGPIES (pie bavarde) on the roof of one of the neighbouring buildings. A skywatch later in the day produced a single COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) and 320 STARLINGS (étourneau) flying southwest in small groups.

 

 


December 27th


Pierre had 2 JACKDAWS (choucas) flying to the southeast late this afternoon. Also noted was a group of 130 WOODPIGEONS (ramier) flying south.




December 26th


The HERON (héron cendré) was walking on an ice-covered Mare Perchée today and Pierre had a BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) and a LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) along the Ave des Marronniers.




December 25th


A very Merry Christmas to anyone reading. Plenty of Xmas cheer for Pierre who flushed up a WOODCOCK (becasse des bois) from the Savanna – presumably this is a wintering bird, the one seen twice in recent weeks. 4 GOLDCRESTS (roitelet huppé) also seen today.



 

December 22nd


Pierre saw a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) at the Mare de Brie today and there are still a few REDWINGS (mauvis) on site.



 

December 20th


During a short skywatch this afternoon Pierre saw 2 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) flying south and quite large numbers of BLACK-HEADED GULLS (rieuse) flying rather aimlessly (but generally westwards) in loose groups.  

Highlight today was a super flock of 26 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) flapping eastwards high over the Bois de Vincennes.  

 

 

December 19th


Great weather today – bitterly cold but bright and sunny with snow everywhere. Apart from the weather, some of the recent changes in the park can be seen in the photos below such as the construction of a new perimeter fence and new circular shaped ‘observatories’ that look over the Savanna:


Sentier de la Renardière - note the new fence !
The new-look Coffee Dome - quite a change from the photo taken on September 19th !
View south across the Savanna 
A frozen Mare Perchée

Not bad either for birds today with a pair of TREE SPARROWS at the recycling plant, although they quickly flew off over rue Paul Doumer. Nice flight views of a WOODCOCK (becasse des bois) in the Savanna which burst out of snow and flew silently away, straight and low – this was perhaps the same bird seen later in the day flying high over the cemetary. 

Also worth a mention was a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) near the Mare de Brie and a pair of GREY WAGTAILS (bergeronnette des ruisseaux) flying overhead towards the town centre. 4 CORMORANTS were also noted flying overhead in a line, beating a steady path southwest.

 

 

 

December 12th

 

About 15 REDWINGS (mauvis) are still roaming around and both FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau) and BLACKCAP (fauvette à tete noire) seen again today. A flock of 12 STOCK DOVES (colombin) flying east was rather unusual and a dull morning was livened up by the song of a MISTLE THRUSH (grive draine) which sang from a tree on the ridge above the Dinosaur.

 

 

December 5th


3 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (goéland brun) flew over this afternoon and up to 12 REDWINGS (mauvis) were perching in the trees and bushes near the recycling plant and in the Savanna. Two BLACKCAPS were on site today ! Laurent found one of them half-heartedly singing by the rue de Quatre Ruelles entrance this afternoon. 




November 28th


A FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau) and a female BLACKCAP (fauvette à tete noire) were in the Savanna this morning and there are at least 2 CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce) on site.



 

November 11th


7 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) flew south today and there are still a few LAPWINGS (vanneau) moving through. A BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noire) and a FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) on site.



 

November 10th


Pierre and Phil were both birding in the park today and reported more LAPWINGS (vanneau), CORMORANTS and STARLINGS (étourneau) moving south. A small flock of FIELDFARE (grive litorne) and a JACKDAW (choucas) were also seen flying over during a skywatch whilst a BLACKCAP (fauvette à tete noire) and 3 SISKINS (tarin) were on site.

An interesting day for gulls with a BLACK-HEADED GULL (rieuse) perched on the watertower and a single COMMON GULL (goéland cendré), very rarely seen at Beaumonts, swooping low over the Northern Fields.

 

 

 

November 8th


A cold, dull, grey and wintery day. When I got to the Mare Perchée this afternoon I could see that Pierre was already there, skywatching from the Cascade (the high ground behind it). As soon as he noticed me below he started bellowing down : “ MOYEN-DUC ! MOYEN-DUC ! “ ( LONG-EARED OWL ! LONG-EARED OWL ! ). In spite of my extraordinary efforts to get up there quickly (almost running at one point) it was all no use….the bird had disappeared behind the flats on rue Paul Doumer and I’d missed it by less than a minute – drat !

The owl had been flying relatively low and Pierre had only noticed it because of the odd behaviour of a small group of CARRION CROWS (corneille) which were swirling tightly around the bird, harassing it off and away to the southeast. 


Distant lines of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) continue to move south and west, and there was a notable movement of STARLINGS (étourneau) this afternoon which moved southwest in flocks of up to 65 birds. Although fewer in number there are still plenty of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) going through, as well as far fewer numbers of SKYLARKS (alouettes des champs) and MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouse).


At 15h35 a super ringtail HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) came into view high up to the northeast. The bird appeared to be in rather a hurry and beat a strong and steady path towards the park, passing quickly through the grey overhead before disappearing over the Bois de Vincennes.



November 7th


Another productive skywatch from the Cascade today with numerous long lines of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) high in sky and moving either south or west. Best bird though was an excellent RED KITE (milan royal) which appeared at 11h35 as a distant speck to the north and spent 25 minutes moving slowly southwards. 




October 31st

A WOODCOCK (bécasse des bois) was flushed 3 times (accidentally of course) early this morning and the first FIELDFARE (litorne) of the autumn  chacked low overhead and probably landed somewhere. Generally not many birds on site at the moment, although still a fair few ROBINS (rougegorge) around.

There was a steady trickle of SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) overhead and they easily outnumbered the CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) today. A midday skywatch was interesting for the migration of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) which regularly flickered across the sky in fairly large groups – here’s a few of them here... 


 

Although off subject I really must mention a brilliant HEDGEHOG (hérisson) today which was shuffling a regular path around the forest floor with snoutfuls of dead leaves. 





October 25th


An interesting day with migrants pouring overhead throughout the morning. The majority were CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) but there were good numbers of SKY LARKS (alouette des champs), WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise), 17 ROOKS (freux) and a nice flock of 12 WOODLARKS (lulu).


Bird of the day though was a superb male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) which circled briefly to the north before flying steadily on southwards.


In the early morning 8 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada) flew low across the park and there were several sightings of ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche a collier) which dashed past noisily in small groups. We’ve been seeing quite an increase lately in these birds which are presumably flying to and from the Bois de Vincennes ? 


One of them even landed briefly on site today, spending about a minute perched on a small tree by the Mare de Brie. Since they've only ever previously been seen in flight this is a major historical event and (thanks to Alain Bloquet) we've got documentary evidence! 




October 24th


A dull grey and drizzly day. A BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) was on site briefly this morning – calling incessantly from the trees just above the Dinosaur.




October 18th


Wonderfully sunny October day with clear blue skies – perfect for a few hours at the Cascade watching migrants bounding high overhead. Although most of them are heading just west of southwest, little groups of STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin) and a few YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (goéland leucophée) are heading east at the moment.


You might remember me having a bit of a rant recently about all the litter currently lying all around the place and it was quite depressing this morning to see how things are getting even worse: the bloke that’s been living in the Savanna these past couple of months has now built a small house there - there's a whole load of trash items about, including an old mattress, a sheet, a broken tape recorder, dozens of empty plastic bottles, a bagful of old mouldy socks and even bits of a motorcycle….


October 17th


Small numbers of the usual migrants were moving overhead throughout the morning including a couple of BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) and several REDWINGS (mauvis), some of which were landing on site. A distant BUZZARD (buse) was given a terrible time by 4 CARRION CROWS (corneille) which harried it constantly as it tried to fly west. Later in the day, just before the rain arrived, 2 more BUZZARDS gave excellent views as they circled together in bright sunshine high over the Cascade.


Also today were 2 WOOD LARKS (lulu), a COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) flying east and a RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) on site in the Savanna.


 

October 15th


Pierre was skywatching early and had small numbers of migrants passing through including 9 WOODLARKS (lulu). A couple of BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tete noire) and REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) on site and a few interesting things were seen in ‘local’ flight including 3 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada), another WOODLARK (lulu) and a REDPOLL (sizerin flammé).


Best bird today, however, was a fine BLACK WOODPECKER (pic noir) which Pierre found at the Parc Mabille. Although not too hard to find in the nearby Bois de Vincennes this bird is rare at Beaumonts.

 

 

 

 

October 14th


Pierre had an impressive flock of 500 STARLINGS (étourneau) on site today.



October 11th


Another good skywatch today from Pierre, although being much earlier in the day there weren’t any gulls about. Plenty of SKY LARKS (alouette des champs), 2 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) and many WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise), MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) bounding south.  

He also found a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) on site as well as a RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) which landed in the Savanna. A large flock of 80 WOODPIGEONS (ramier) was noted by the Dinosaur.




October 10th


An excellent and memorable day for Pierre who made a long and heroic skywatch from the Cascade this afternoon. The highlight was a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (goéland marin) which beat its way slowly southeastwards at 15h20 in the loose company of 15 HERRING/YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (argophées). Scarce inland, this is an uncommon bird in Ile-de-France and, not surprisingly, a first record for Beaumonts...hoorah !

It was a real gull bonanza this afternoon with a few LESSER BLACK-BACKS (brun), 24 BLACK-HEADEDS (rieuse) and a single MEDITERRANEAN GULL (mouette mélanocéphale) heading west.


Another good bird was an OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) moving south and a HOBBY (hobereau) flew the same way later in the afternoon. Several HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenetre) and a few SWALLOWS were migrating, along with a smattering of the usual passerines which included a HAWFINCH (gros-bec).



 

October 8th


Still large numbers of BLACKBIRDS (merle noire) on site – Philip Redman had at least 35 today along with about 15 BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tête noire) and a few CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce). A REED WARBLER (effarvatte) is still at the Mare Perchée.




October 4th


Today me and Pierre duly did our bit for the traditional annual ‘’Bird Day’’ in France when birders everywhere are out logging the migrants passing overhead. It was easy work this morning because there weren’t any, migration seemingly ‘blocked’ somehow by a vast low blanket of grim grey clouds.



 

October 3rd


2 GREY WAGTAILS (bergeronnette de ruisseaux) were feeding along the edges of the Mare Perchée early morning and an elusive PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) was near the Mare de Brie. Lots more BLACKBIRDS (merle noire) and BLUE TITS (mésange bleue) on site this morning and several MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouse) sipped past in little groups.


Although there were no raptors or passerines seen migrating at midday it was good to see a flock of 9 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) winging southwards, high overhead.

 

 

 

September 30th


Pierre reported the first REDWING (grive mauvis) of the autumn this morning.




September 29th


Pierre had 3 REDSTARTS (rougequeue a front blanc), including an adult male, in and around the Petite Prairie this afternoon. Also here was a male BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) whilst 2 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) and a HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenêtre) flew over.




September 27th


Athough the conditions were the same as yesterday (hot, hazy, sunny and cloudless) there was definitely more happening. Signs of late autumn were in the air with small numbers of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres),  2 SISKINS (tarin) and a nice flock of 7 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) all bounding over towards the southwest.

MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) moved south and there were 4 BUZZARDS (buse variable), 3 of them in the air together and moving north.


Best thing today was a long and fascinating look at a PEREGRINE (pèlerin) which appeared high to the northwest. On first glance the bird looked rather like a strange L-shaped balloon wafting around, but this was only because it was clutching a passerine, most probably a SONG THRUSH (grive musicienne) which was hanging limply down like a large brown rag. The bird stayed in view for some 15 minutes, circling high, idling around and occasionally dropping its prey on a whim, only to spiral downwards with it and clutch it back with ease.



 

September 26th


The oddest thing happened this afternoon - me Stef and Pierre were packing up our stuff at the Cascade after a skywatch when all of a sudden we could hear a few odd sounds in the distance and then, there it was...the unmistakeable song of a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol), just a single, short burst of notes but a NIGHTINGALE all the same. None of us had ever heard one singing in autumn before and this is the latest recorded here, although it’s not a particularly late record for Ile-de-France according to Pierre’s book.

 

The skywatch, incidentally, had been very agreable but had produced almost no birds at all - just 4 ROOKS (freux) (the first of the autumn) and a big flock of CORMORANTS (grand cormoran).


A REDSTART (rougequeue a front blanc) is still zipping around between the Cascade and the Petite Prairie and a pair of FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau) were in exactly the same tree along the Sentier des Vergers as they were in at exactly the same time last week.




September 20th


A long and interesting skywatch today from the Cascade with Pierre and Laurent, although I unfortunately missed the last and best part in preference for the Man City/Man Utd match which was live on the telly this afternoon...

The skies were hazy and misty in the morning but they soon cleared to reveal several raptors, most notably an impressively large PEREGRINE (pèlerin) high up to the west and a super juvenile HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée) which flew low overhead at 15h50. 2 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) also flew over the park whilst on site there were both COMMON and BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue a front blanc et rougequeue noir) flitting around the Mare Perchée.


The best thing today though were the incredible movements of hirundines, particularly later in the afternoon, with no less than 1068 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and 286 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) counted.

 

 

 

September 19th


For the last few weeks there’s been some bloke sleeping rough in the Savanna which is fine, but the mess and the litter there now is well out of order:

The hapless authorities in charge of the park ( Dominique Voynet’s Green Party ) have done nothing about it and continue to do nothing about all the other things that are wrong at the moment. The upkeep and conservation of a precious local nature reserve is obviously low on their priorities. One thing that’s getting worse right now is the building of small fires all around the place...


The brilliant idea here, for example, has been to destroy the wooden fence at the Coffee Dome and then build a fire with the wood…


But anyrate I should really get onto the birding, and it was pretty good today - several raptors (most unidentified) drifted high overhead, the best being a HEN HARRIER (busard Saint Martin). Lots of BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) zipped south throughout the day, sometimes in large flocks, and birds on site included PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir), FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau) and a GREY WAGTAIL (bergeronette de ruisseaux) which fed on the muddy edges of the Mare Perchée.


With significantly larger numbers of both ROBINS (rougegorge) and SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne) today there were constant ticking sounds coming from everywhere. The THRUSHES in particular were very visibly migrating, flopping into the berry bushes for short pit-stops before rising, rather slowly in jump-jet fashion, and accelerating away southwards. 

 

 

 

September 13th


Although 4 raptors were seen today there wasn’t much migrating – conditions were difficult with grim, grey and white skies and a stiff northerly. 2 MARSH  HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) and 2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) went south and it was unusual to see a GREY HERON (héron cendré) high in the sky and apparently migrating in the same direction. A distant flock of 50 CARRION CROWS (corneille) was swirling in the wind over the buildings north of the park and a flock of 45 STARLINGS (étourneau) was at the recycling plant.

 

 

 

September 12th


2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) on site this morning and small numbers of TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) flying overhead and occasionally landing. 


A skywatch at midday with Laurent, Pierre and Stephane Malignat produced a distant RINGTAIL (busard femelle a croupion blanc), a HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) and a nice adult female MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) which flew low overhead. 



 

September 10th


Pierre had a nice male BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) today and a skywatch produced several raptors and 2 MUTE SWANS (cygne tuberculé) flying high and steadily south.  


Another good day for MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) with a total of 5 birds moving south this afternoon.



 

September 9th


Good skywatching results again today: Pierre was at the Cascade between 13h00-15h15 and had a few interesting things including a WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche), 2 HONEY-BUZZARDS (bondrée), 2 HOBBIES (hobereau) and a large group of 56 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée). An excellent PEREGRINE (faucon pèlerin) moving southeast at 14h50 might possibly have been a local bird - word has it that they're breeding somewhere in or around Paris.


Pierre also had a PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir).   



 

September 8th


A HERON (héron cendré) has been appearing at the Mare Perchée quite regularly over recent days. Although more wary than the bird that used to be seen fishing daily in the pond, this one is often perched up a nearby tree just watching what's going on.


Pierre had 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) and a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER.  A skywatch failed to reach the dizzy heights of last Sunday, although Pierre still saw a BUZZARD (buse variable), a HOBBY (hobereau) and a large group of 43 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée).


Roland tells us that the FOX (renard) has been seen again recently and that several people have observed a SQUIRREL (écureuil) in the park.


 

 

September 6th


Excellent skywatching conditions today: hot and sunny, not much heat haze, lots of small fluffy white clouds and a southerly breeze. Me and Pierre were at the Cascade between 12h20 and 15h55 and we had 18 raptors, best being an OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) which sailed slowly southwards through the blue. 5 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux), 6 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) and 5 BUZZARDS (buse variable) made up the numbers.


Another surprise today was seeing a few SWIFTS (martinet noir) still going through - getting a bit late. A loose group of about 15 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) appear to be flying around in local flight whereas 5 SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage) racing low over the park were clearly migrating. SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) still present.



 

September 5th


The highlight today was a CRESTED TIT (mésange huppée) which moved restlessly across the Savanna late morning, calling constantly. Although fairly easily seen in the nearby Bois de Vincennes it's a real rarity here with less than 5 records.


Lots of the commoner warblers still present on site and can be seen at times roaming around in a loose flock.  SPOTTED (gobemouche gris) and PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) and a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) all seen also this morning. 


Good day again for raptor passage with a HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée), a HOBBY (hobereau) and 4 MARSH HARRIERS (busard de roseaux).



 

August 30th


Warblers were all over the place this morning - at least 20 BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tête noire), 3 WHITETHROATS (grisette) , 8 CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce) and a WILLOW WARBLER (fitis), plus 2 REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) at the Mare Perchée. Great view of a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) eating a caterpillar near the Mare de Milieu - juvenile BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) and SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) in this area also.


At least 3 FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau) this afternoon in the treetops above the Dinosaur. A skywatch produced 6 more HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée), 9 SWIFTS (martinet noir) and a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) all migrating south.



 

August 29th


A good day for raptors with 6 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée), 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable) and a HOBBY (hobbereau) between 12h50-16h40. The last HONEY BUZZARD, a dark juvenile, zoomed in very low over the Mare Perchée and must have landed somewhere on site, reappearing some 15 minutes later over the trees along the rue de Quatre Ruelles.



 

August 23rd


A hot, sunny day with a much appreciated southeasterly breeze. 22 SWIFTS (martinet), another HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) and a fine male MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) seen during a skywatch.



 

August 22nd


A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) this morning in the tall flimsy bare trees behind the Mare de Milieu and a male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) in the same area. The first WHINCHAT (traquet tarier) of the year was near the Cascade.


Quite a few SWIFTS (martinet noir) are still passing steadily through and 3 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) and a BUZZARD (buse variable) were seen during a skywatch at midday.



 

August 18th


A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris), a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) and a SWIFT (martinet noir) were seen today by Philip Redman.

 

 

 

 

August 15th


Another very hot day - heat haze and a lack of clouds made skywatching difficult. Not much to report apart from a GREY WAGTAIL (bergeronnette des ruisseaux) which flew briefly around the pond. Small numbers of SWIFTS (martinet noir), around 30 birds in total, appeared to be migrating overhead and a loose group of about 15 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) moved southwest. 


In the evening Pierre had 2 NIGHTINGALES (rossignol) in the bushes between the Compost and the Petite Prairie.




August 14th


2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) were darting silently around the tops of the trees above the Dinosaur this afternoon - autumn underway at last. A BARN SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée) flew south with about 17 SWIFTS (martinet noir). Up to 4 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenetre) are flying around in local flight to the north of the park.


Much later in the evening Pierre reported a WOOD WARBLER (pouillot siffleur) at the Mare de Brie - a rare bird at Beaumonts !




August 13th


Pierre had another HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée) today, a bird moving south at 14h40. 3 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) were on site along with a small group of 11 STARLINGS (étourneau) which have been very thin on the ground lately.


Most interesting was a summer-sighting of HAWFINCH (gros-bec) - Pierre had 1 (possibly 2) birds going north. wards.




August 12th


A good report today from Pierre of a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) at the Mare de Brie. From the Cascade several SWIFTS (martinet noir), a HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenetre) and a single HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée) were all seen migrating south.


 

 

August 11th


Pierre saw the PEREGRINE (faucon pèlerin) again today as it circled to the south of the park. Small numbers of hirundines appeared to be present on site whereas others looked to be in active migration. A good day for raptors with a juvenile HOBBY (faucon hobereau), a BUZZARD (buse variable) and a HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée) all seen from the Cascade between 14h30 - 16h30. 




August 10th


Pierre was skywatching at midday and had a single HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée apivore), 49 SWIFTS (martinet noir) and 7 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre).



 

August 9th


This evening Pierre had a HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) moving southeast, 7 SWIFTS (martinet noir) and a WILLOW WARBLER (fitis).



 

August 5th


Although the vast majority of SWIFTS (martinet noir) left the area in the third week of July there have been small numbers every day since, and Pierre counted 19 over the site this evening along with a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) rushing south. Also seen were a SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée) and REED WARBLER (effarvatte).



 

August 1st


Interesting observation of 2 tatty-looking SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris) in the tops of the tall bare trees behind the Mare de Milieu this morning. Unusually the birds were inactive - perched almost motionless for a few minutes and calling incessantly (seemingly to each other), before suddenly darting into life and flying away towards the football pitch.


Also today 2 WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) flying low overhead to the southeast and, at first light, a GREY HERON (héron cendré) leaping up from the edge of the Mare Perchée. 



 

July 29th


The recent large swarms of SWIFTS (martinet noir) have now left the area and the skies seemed curiously empty this evening - only about 15 birds around. However 3 SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) were attracted to the Mare Perchée and they spent many minutes meandering over the pond.



 

July 26th


Pierre Delbove reported at least 2 juvenile SPARROWHAWKS (épervier d'Europe) today.
 
Quite a good day for hirundines with a group of 6 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) and 3 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée), and a juvenile GREEN WOODPECKER (pic vert) confirms breeding.




July 24th

Pierre saw a massive fight between 5 adult MOORHENS (poule d'eau) at the Mare Perchée. This is probably a sign that a pair is trying to breed again, and with fewer people and dogs around in August they might stand a better chance this time around.




July 23rd

Breeding success again for the SPARROWHAWKS (epervier d'Europe) for the third consecutive year ! Yves Fleury-Collet has observed them every day this week in the "bois du bordure" where at least one noisy juvenile is flying around restlessly near the nest in the company of both adults.  



 

July 10th


Hats off to the pair of REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) which has bred successfully again at the Mare Perchée -  Pierre witnessed an adult feeding a juvenile there this evening.




July 5th


Another sighting of a PEREGRINE (faucon pelerin) this afternoon !




July 4th


Nice hot sunny day with few people about. Best bird was a WILLOW WARBLER which was regularly visiting the high willows at the pond, singing off and on. The LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) is still around but singing far less often this morning. At least 2 REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) are at the reedbed and in the Savanna WHITETHROATS (grisette) are feeding several scruffy-looking juveniles which beg noisily for food.


In spite of all these warblers, though, the impression is that there are fewer of them compared to last summer. Numbers of GARDEN WARBLERS (fauvette des jardin), WHITETHROATS (grisette) and MELODIOUS WARBLERS (hypolais) all seem to be down on last year. 


In the evening Pierre saw a female BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) at the Mare de Brie. Incidentally there's no sign of the MOORHEN chicks that were there 10 days ago and it seems as if that they have sadly gone the same way as the Mallard ducklings. Both adult birds, however, present at the Mare Perchée today.




June 21st


WHITETHROAT (grisette) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) still singing away today. Not a squeek out of the MELODIOUS (hippolais) or GARDEN (fauvette des jardins) WARBLERS though - they both appeared to stop singing a couple of weeks ago.



 

June 13th


Pierre and Laurent confirmed successful breeding by the pair of MOORHENS (poule d'eau) at the Mare de Brie today, finding at least 4 tiny black chicks struggling to move around the reedbed. Not much else apart from some nice DRAGONFLIES (libellules). The male LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) continues to sing.



 

June 12th


Both adult MALLARDS (canard colvert) were observed back at the Mare Perchée this evening although still no sign of the ducklings....according to Pierre both birds appeared quite at home there again so they might be contemplating having another go ? 



 

June 5th


Sorry to bring yet more woe and bad tidings but the family of MALLARDS (canard colvert) has completely disappeared from the Mare Perchée ! The female and the 8 ducklings haven't been seen by anyone since May 26th. One hopes that they?re just tucked up tight somewhere in the reedbed, but this is highly unlikely and the chances are they've been killed or captured. Their absence seems to have somehow crystallised the recent anger and general malaise among the few that seem to care about the place - I doubt that the "environmentalists"  in charge of the park are very much bothered...



 

June 1st


Me and Alain Bloquet discovered today that some moron has gone and picked one of the park's very few PYRAMIDAL ORCHIDS (Orchis pyramidal), taking the flower and leaving the stems and leaves uprooted.


Beaumonts is unfortunately a good place to see stupid and badly-behaved idiots every day: a majority of dog-owners think that the park's rules are to be ignored and will let their dogs run around freely, frightening children, crapping everywhere and charging around in the Mare Perchée, causing havoc for the breeding MALLARDS (canard colvert), MOORHENS (poule d'eau) and REED WARBLERS (effarvatte). So-called "educated" young parents will bring their children out to collect tadpoles (tetards) in jam-jars and now, after 2-3 weeks of this, there are none left in the pond. In autumn, folk will come and load up shopping bags full of wild berries to make cakes with and in spring the colourful slopes are quickly depleted by people walking round with armfuls of flowers to decorate their houses. As J.D. Salinger once remarked, it feels like sinking to the bottom of the ocean...


Equally depressing actually is the park's neglect by those in charge who should be doing something, Dominique Voynet's Green Party. It would be great if the park's protection was taken more seriously with park wardens on site in spring and summer, or at least a few signs - so, Dominique, if you're reading this, please please do something !!


So what was good about today? Well it was good for getting a suntan and 3 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) migrated over at widely-spaced intervals. The PEREGRINE appeared once more and glided very slowly, without a flap, all the way over the watertower and out towards Romainville. The real highlight though was a pair of HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) which flew in to the Mare Perchée and perched there briefly, as if wanting to bathe in the shallows with the few HOUSE SPARROWS (moineau domestique). Were it not for the arrival of tadpole-collectors, they probably would have done !



 

May 26th


Rather sad news to report on the MALLARD (carnard colvert) front -  just 8 ducklings at the Mare Perchée this evening, so we appear to have lost another one.


From the Cascade a distant HOBBY (faucon hobereau) was seen winging northwards behind the flats.



 

May 24th

A very hot, cloudless and hazy day with no birds. Amazing how fast the MALLARD (canard colvert) ducklings are growing...they actually look like small ducks now rather than those tiny fluffy balls that were skimming over the water just 22 days ago.


The LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) continues to sing all day and roam around all over the place. Seems like this bird is an unpaired male - usually they stop singing fairly soon after arrival become very difficult to find by the third week in May.



 

May 23rd


Another sighting of the PEREGRINE (faucon pèlerin) today ! Pierre watched it fly in from the west at 16h10, glide around for a while and then disappear away to the south.




May 21st


A hot and humid day looked promising for raptors although a long skywatch in the midday heat didn't produce much. The highlight was a super female HONEY BUZZARD (bondree) which drifted low northwards over the park at 16h10. 




May 20th


Olivier Laporte and Laurent Bloquet had 2 singing REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) at the Mare Perchée today. The LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) is still there along with MELODIOUS WARBLER (hypolais) and 3 WHITETHROATS (grisette).



 

May 14th


Yet another dull, windy day with showers - huge banks of grey cloud racing overhead. A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) was at the Mare de Brie where a pair of MOORHENS (poule d'eau) appear to be nesting. Nearby an adult LONG-TAILED TIT (mésange a longue queue) was feeding fledglings in the bushes by the Danton entrance and just outside the park, on the edge of the cemetary on rue Galilee, interesting to see a TREE SPARROW (moineau friquet) carrying food to a nest.


 

 

May 10th


A good day for watching raptors from the Cascade with birds moving in various directions and appearing to be more in local flight than actively migrating, the exception being 2 HONEY-BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore), the first of the spring.


Amazingly another BLACK KITE (milan noir) was seen along with 4 BUZZARDS (buse variable) and an UNIDENTIFIED HARRIER (busard indéterminé) which, like most of the birds today, drifted away to the south.

A REED WARBLER, probably yesterday's bird, is now singing discreetly at the reedbed.



 

May 9th


The first REED WARBLER (rousserolle effarvatte) of the year was seen and heard early this morning at the Mare de Brie. Also seen well here was the NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) which flew down to bathe at the water's edge.


A pair of BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) was seen and heard this morning and a GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) was nest-building in the Savanna. Nearby the pair of LONG-TAILED TITS (mésange a longue queue) was still busy at their nest - both birds seem to roam widely around the site and were seen a little later at the Mare Perchée looking completely drenched and dishevelled after having taken a bath.



 

May 8th


Yippee - yet another bank-holiday in France !


At midday I was joined at the Cascade by Philip Redman and then shortly afterwards by Pierre, but in spite of 3 pairs of eyes there seemed to be nothing much migrating. Philip's legendry mystical powers to draw in KITES to Beaumonts proved invaluable today because at 15h30 Pierre spotted 3 superb BLACK KITES (milan noir) flying steadily in from the west - ironically Phil had left just a tad early to witness the spectacle.


A little later 2 HOBBIES (faucon hobereau) roamed around over the Bois de Vincennes and a MELODIOUS WARBLER (polyglotte) was very obliging near the Cascade as it sung for territory. At the Mare Perchée the female MALLARD (canard colvert) was chaparoning the 9 ducklings around in a much more confident fashion and they're now feeding quite boldly around the edges of the pond.


Earlier in the morning the NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) had performed superbly well as it sung from an exposed perch halfway up a tree near the Danton entrance.


 
May 7th


An incredible day for Pierre with lots of interesting things, most notably a BLACK STORK (cigogne noire) circling high overhead at 15h10. Also during a long skywatch were a BUZZARD (buse variable), a MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) and more views of a PEREGRINE.


The family of MALLARDS is doing well although a duckling might be missing...there were 9 of them today swimming frenetically around both of the proud parents.


There were bigger numbers of SWIFTS (martinet noir) around today (about 150 or so) and both WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) continue to sing.   

 

 

May 6th


Olivier Laporte was birding in the park today and told a gruesome tale of a SPARROWHAWK (épervier d'Europe) hunting down a STARLING (étourneau) in flight, decapitating the poor fellow and dropping the remains by the Mare Perchée - quel horreur !


Olivier had the singing NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde), and there are now 2  MELODIOUS WARBLERS (hippolais polyglotte) on site.



 

May 4th


Absolutely nothing during a late evening skywatch. Good news, however, on the MALLARD front - there are in fact 10 ! (not 7) ducklings following the female around the pond.



 

May 3rd


Sky completely covered by cloud today and although there were plenty of hirundines around there was nothing that looked like it was really going anywhere apart from a HOBBY (faucon hobereau), which dashed northwest. 

 

The star bird today was a fine PEREGRINE (faucon pélerin), quite possibly the same bird that was seen on March 27th. It behaved in almost identical fashion, appearing to the south of the park and idling around as if just having a look. It reappeared a little later and was far more entertaining, shifting into attack mode and making long but unsuccessful stoops for prey.


 

 

May 2nd

 

You might remember me mentioning recently that only drake MALLARDS (canard colvert) were appearing daily at the Mare Perchée. Well it turns out the female was hiding there all along, tucked up in the reedbed and tending a nest because she reappeared this afternoon, nervously chaperoning 7 tiny ducklings which were scooting all around her in a little bunch...our congratulations go to them.

 

There were yet more WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) today, 2 going southwest at 13h20.


 

 

May 1st

 

Lovely hot and sunny start to May. 3 more BUZZARDS (buse variable) flew overhead and there was an excellent WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche) gliding southeast.

 

A few BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and a SAND MARTIN were actively migrating this afternoon. The singing LESSER WHITETHROAT was roaming all over the park and the first MELODIOUS WARBLER (hippolais polyglotte) of the year was seen and heard close to the Cascade.


 

 

April 30th

 

An exciting skywatch for Pierre today who had 7 BUZZARDS moving over in various directions (although mainly to the north-east) between 13h35-16h15. 3 HOBBIES (faucon hobereau) were in the air simultaneously, the birds eventually gliding away from each other in different directions.

 

NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) still on site. 


 

 

April 26th

 

The NIGHTINGALE (rossignol philomèle) was heard several times today as it sang on and off from the southern part of the Savanna and a HAWFINCH (gros-bec) flew over the park very early this morning.

 

A long skywatch at midday with Pierre produced another distant MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) and a pale BUZZARD (buse variable).

 

A SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) spent many minutes flying about with SWIFTS to the south of the park this afternoon and there are now three drake MALLARDS (canard colvert) paddling around the Mare Perchée without a female in sight.

 

 

 

April 25th

 

A very good day with excellent views of a RED KITE (milan royal) circled around overhead before making a long and straight glide away over the antenna building. Soon afterwards a HOBBY (faucon hobereau) appeared close by, clutching a dead bird which dangled like a rag. It spent several minutes gliding around for lunch, ducking its head to pluck off feathers which would scatter into the wind. 

 

A distant MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) moved slowly north and 2 drake MALLARDS (canard colvert) were seen often today, either in flight or swimming in the Mare Perchée. And here at the pond the MOORHENS are unusually absent - they seem to have cleared off for the much smaller Mare de Brie where they'll certainly get a lot more peace and quiet.

 

The breeding pair of LONG-TAILED TITS (mésange à longue queue) is still busy at it - one of the birds was carrying food this morning.

 

 

April 24th

 

Pierre saw the first GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) of the year today - 2 days later than last year. Today was also the day when the SWIFTS (martinet noir) truly arrived with around 40 birds swirling around over the site late this evening.

 

 

April 23rd

 

Pierre had 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable) today, one moving southwest at 13h25 and another north at 13h55. A male MALLARD (canard colvert) and a GREY HERON were at the Mare Perchée and the singing NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) is still singing.

 

 

 

April 21st

 

Good report today from Philip Redman of a GREEN SANDPIPER (chevalier cul-blanc) which flew briefly around over the Mare Perchée - it would have landed but for the presence of dogwalkers. Phil also had a singing NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) near the Coffee Dome and a SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) overhead. 

 

 

April 20th

 

Laurent was skywatching up at the Cascade very early and had a few things including 4 YELLOW WAGTAILS (bergeronnette printanière) and a COAL TIT (mésange noire). 

 

 

April 19th

 

Midday skywatch with Pierre under a roof of grey and white cloud. A BUZZARD was high overhead and 2 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) in the distance over bois de Vincennes were circling laboriously east.  

 

A few TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) landed on site this afternoon and a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) sang from the dense vegetation between the Cascade and the Compost.  

 

 

April 17th

 

Pierre saw 2 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) today and also had a male BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) at the Danton entrance - not seen much of those recently.

 

 

April 16th

 

Pierre was skywatching twice today but had very little reward for his efforts. It's actually quite a relief to hear that bad weather down south has apparently "blocked" spring migration and that it's this (and not our poor eyesight) which explains the dearth of migrants lately.

 

On site the LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) and 2 WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) were still singing and 3 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) were noted flying in and landing.

 

 

 

April 15th


Pierre had a few migrants going overhead at midday including 2 TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres). Nothing particularly unusual or new on site - birds included LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) and the first HOBBY (faucon hobereau) of the year which idled its way in from the northeast and flew lazily around over the Bois de Vincennes.

 

 

April 14th


Exciting late news in from Pierre who had a female RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) in the Savanna this evening. 

 

 

April 13th

 

The pair of MOORHENS (poule d'eau) was seen copulating at the Mare Perchée very early this morning - they then almost immediately went about collecting reeds and carrying them off to their secret nest location.

 

A HAWFINCH (gros-bec) was seen a little later in the trees nearby - maybe they are nesting on site somewhere but it will be a mighty challenge to find out where. Another BUZZARD flew northeast this afternoon at 15h20 and a few LINNETS flew overhead, some landing momentarily near the Compost.



 

April 12th


Not a great deal around today although interesting to see a female FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) in the woodland by the Jean Moulin entrance. A male SPARROWHAWK (épervier d'Europe) was seen perched and wrenching off small twigs, for nest construction surely.

 

At midday, me, Pierre and Sally were at the Cascade but once again there was very little moving- the highlights were a couple of BUZZARDS (buse variable) drifting south and 2 SWIFTS (martinet noir).



 

April 11th


2 singing WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) on site this morning, one apparently vigorously defending territory around the Mare de Brie and fearlessly chasing after BLACKCAPS and SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne).


A classy new arrival today was a male LESSER WHITETHROAT (fauvette babillarde) which sang irregularly and discreetly from the brambles at the southern end of the re-cycling plant. 


As yesterday, very few migrants flying overhead during another long skywatch at midday ...it might be worth trying to get up a bit earlier ??


 

April 10th


Pierre was skywatching at midday but didn't see any birds that were obviously migrating. The good news was the first SWIFT (martinet noir) of the year, along with 5 HOUSE MARTINS and a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage). A WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) was singing rather more convincingly today near the Coffee Dome.

 

 

April 9th

 

Pierre noted a couple of new spring arrivals today - at least 2 singing WHITETHROATS (fauvette grisette) and a  HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenetre) in local flight. 

 

 

April 5th

 

A good long skywatch with Pierre and Laurent from the Cascade today. It was excellent for raptor passage with 11 HARRIERS (busard) and 3 BUZZARDS (buse variable) going over in just over 4 hours this afternoon between 13h05-17h00. Generally the birds appeared high up to the south or east of the park and were heading northeastwards. Some of the harriers were left unidentified but there were certainly 3 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux), a male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) and Pierre had a male MONTAGU'S HARRIER (busard cendré) flying northeast at 14h15.

 

There were increased numbers of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and BARN SWALLOWS moving today along with a YELLOW WAGTAIL (bergeronnette printanière), a LAPWING (vanneau huppé), 2 ROOKS (corbeau freux) and 2 SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage).

 

 

April 4th

 

The most fascinating thing happened this morning ! I was on my way out of the park when I could hear the tinking call of a HAWFINCH (gros-bec) coming from the tops of the tall bare trees that line the entrance path, just above the Dinosaur. However I just couldn't see the little so and so...where the Hell was it ?? Eventually I realised it was prancing around inside an old WOODPIGEON's (ramier) nest, it's big head bobbing up and down before it flicked up into full view and quickly bounded off and away.

 

Not much else today apart from a few MEADOW PIPITS going overhead (one dropping in to land), and a cream-coloured BUZZARD (buse variable) which flew slowly northwards at 15h00.

 

 

April 3rd

 

In the late afternoon Pierre saw 2 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada) flying low to the north and also found the first WILLOW WARBLER (pouillot fitis) of the year singing half-heartedly from the Cascade.

 

 

April 2nd

 

Pierre reported another COAL TIT (mésange noire) in conifers on the Northern Fields today and a GOLDCREST (roitelet huppé) in the same area showed signs of breeding activity. He also had a male REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) and a BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir).
 

 

March 31st

 

A sunny, cloudless day with a stiff, cool northeasterly. A long and tedious skywatch produced hardly anything - not even a sniff of a raptor. The highlights were a SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) flying north and the first TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) of the year which Laurent heard overhead before it dropped down and landed near the Cascade. 

 

Best bird was probably a COAL TIT (mésange noire), which gave the impression of being on migration, moving restlessly eastwards across the park and making brief pit-stops en route.     

 

 

March 29th

 

Very little around during a long skywatch at midday. The highlight was a male MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux), the first of the year, which was in view a long time as it moved steadily northeast, circling on the way. A BUZZARD (buse variable) was also noted going east.  

 

 

 

March 27th

 

It already looks like being another great year for raptors ! At 13h05 Pierre spotted an excellent juvenile PEREGRINE (faucon pélerin) over the southern end of the park, relatively close to the Cascade from where we watched it drift around the area rather idly, making the odd circle, as if just having a general look around before gliding away towards Paris.

Apart from that not a great deal around during the skywatch - just a few LINNETS (linotte mélodieuse), 6 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and a nice ROOK (corbeau freux) which appeared to be in local flight and almost landed.  

 


March 26th


The first YELLOW WAGTAIL (bergeronnette printanière), a superb male, dropped in and landed for a few moments on the edge of the Mare Perchée and there were at least 2 pairs of FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau) and 2 BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir) on site this morning.



 

March 24th


Interesting to see a pair of HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) perched closely together atop a bare tree by the Mare Perchée early this morning and looking very much a happy couple - surely they can't be thinking of breeding on site ?


Very few passerines migrating today although a small flock of REDWINGS (mauvis) and a solitary FIELDFARE (litorne) flew north.


At midday it was overcast, cold and windy. A fine male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) circled around and eventually got swallowed up inside a gigantic dark grey cloud looming overhead.


A BUZZARD (buse variable) was over the antenna building and 2 ROOKS (corbeau freux) were also seen today.



 

March 23rd


There was a stunning male BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) on the fenceposts near the Compost this afternoon. Otherwise not a great deal during another long skywatch apart from a couple of BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and the first SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) of the year which was curiously heading the wrong way, south towards Africa.


Pierre paid a visit in the late afternoon and had the HAWFINCH again, as well as 2 EURASIAN TEAL (sarcelle d'hiver) flying north.


    

March 22nd


In contrast to recent days, cold weather with a northerly wind and grey and white, misty skies. Me, Laurent and Pierre were all at the Cascade for a few hours at midday and were joined briefly there by Bruno Walter and his friend Elina. In spite of the cold and the mist there were lots of good birds to see, and reasonable numbers of the commoner migrants passing overhead such as CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise).


Good views of a HAWFINCH (gros-bec) perched in the bare trees near the Compost, and a super male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin), well-spotted by Laurent, glided southwards high overhead. A group of 14 LINNETS (linotte mélodieuse) flew in and sprinkled themselves down on the stubble near the Mare Perchée, resting there a few moments before flying off north.


Best birds today were 2 SNIPE (bécassine des marais) which suddenly arrived high in the sky from the east and spent a couple of minutes zig-zagging around all over the place, appearing to take great interest in the marshy Mare Perchée and bombing down low towards it on a couple of occasions as if to land. However they would only veer away sharply each time and they eventually disappeared as 2 distant dots to the west. Laurent managed to get a record shot... 

Also today were a pair of MARSH TITS (mésange nonnette), 2 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and a fearless JACKDAW (choucas des tours) which perched at the Cascade for a while before dropping down to forage on the ground at the Mare Perchée. Since Jackdaws almost never land on site this may well be last Monday's bird returning. 

 

 

March 20th

    

Lovely warm weather again. A skywatch with Pierre produced an excellent MERLIN (faucon émerillon) which first appeared as a distant speck over the Bois de Vincennes, but gradually drew closer and glided around in large flat circles over Montreuil before seemingly shifting a gear and hurrying on northwards in more dashing flight.


We got the first BARN SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée) of the year today and there were continuing small easterly movements of STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin), a few LINNETS (linotte mélodieuse), 57 CORMORANTS and 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable). At least one HAWFINCH (gros-bec) still on site.


 

March 19th

 

Another hot and sunny day. At lunchtime the sky was cloudless and hazy with city pollution, difficult for skywatching and it all felt a bit too much like hard work out there. In fact Pierre and me just gave up after a couple of hours - we obviously weren't going to see anything. Even when we did see something it was too far away, such as an exciting-looking group of 6 big stork-like birds wheeling way out over Fontenay - even with scopes they were grey dots, appearing and disappearing in the greyish-yellow haze.

 

In the late afternoon Pierre was brave enough to go back out there and was rewarded slightly with a FIELDFARE (grive litorne) - we haven't had many, if any, so far this year. Pierre also reported 3 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche à collier) and a big flock of about 300 STARLINGS (étourneau) heading westwards.

 

 

March 17th

 

A LONG-TAILED TIT (mésange à longue queue) was watched busily building a nest this morning - well hidden in a bush in the Savanna. A JACKDAW (choucas des tours) circled over the site before landing on top of a bare tree and remaining there for a few minutes, surrounded by several agitated MAGPIES (pie bavades) ? it's very rare for this species to land at Beaumonts.

 

At midday it was hot and sunny and a long skywatch in the company of Philip Redman proved quite productive with a few migrants going over including relatively large numbers of STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin) flying east and a group of 25 CORMORANTS circling very high overhead.

 

Best bird was a super RED KITE ! (milan royal) which Phil found to the north, flying straight and steadily away to the northeast. Fortunately the bird soon arrested its flight and circled several times before heading onwards and eventually disappearing behind the watertower.   

 

 

March 16th

 

Hooray for the GREY HERON ! It was back again this morning at the Mare Perchée, although its wary behaviour suggests it might actually be a different individual - easily startled it rose from the reeds with an ungainly leap before beating heavily away to the northeast.  

 

Another nice surprise was the reappearance, briefly, of the recent EASTERN ROSELLA (perruche omnicolore), whose loud melodious calls could be heard several moments before it appeared flying across the Savanna, landing briefly in a tree on the rue des Quatre Ruelles. 


Yet another surprise was the discovery of 3 (maybe 4) HAWFINCHES still on site. A FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) was at the Mare de Brie and 3 BUZZARDS (buse variable) were seen today, all gliding high overhead towards the east.  

 

 

 

March 15th

 

A lovely warm and sunny day but surprisingly disappointing for birds, with nowhere near as many migrants as yesterday. The highlights were a couple of BUZZARDS (buse variable), a single ROOK and a BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir), the first of the year.

 

Several CHIFFCHAFFS (pouillot veloce) are singing and a male BLACKCAP (fauvette à tete noire) was also heard this morning. The HAWFINCH was seen again and there are still about 6 SISKINS (tarin) around.




March 14th


Throughout the morning small numbers of WHITE WAGTAILS bounded high overhead and a few of them (like this one photographed by Laurent) were dropping low and landing on the Northern Fields where they made runs and dashing sallies for insects.

 

 

Plenty of other migrants going over today including REDWINGS (mauvis), SONG THRUSHES (musicienne), 88 CORMORANTS, a couple of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and a ROOK (corbeau freux).

 

 

A BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) was briefly on site and there were unusually large numbers of STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin) flying east this morning. At around 11h30 Laurent spotted a GREEN SANDPIPIER (chevalier cul-blanc) flying in from the south - it flew tantalisingly around the Mare Perchée as if wanting to land but there were far too many dogs and people about and it quickly headed away east, dipping down in the distance behind the flats on rue Paul Doumer.


Another good bird today was this STONECHAT (traquet patre) here on the left which spent the late morning around the bushes near the Compost.

 

Just minutes after I left, Laurent and Pierre had good views of a male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint Martin) and this was followed later by a MUTE SWAN (cygne tuberculé) flying low in the distance, westwards along the river valley - a first record for Beaumonts no less !


A HAWFINCH (gros-bec) is still on site.


March 13th

 

A good skywatch at midday with small numbers of passerines bounding almost constantly overhead, often far too high up to identify but including 2 MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and 2 WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) along with at least 47 CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres). Also today 2 groups of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) a BUZZARD (buse variable), 3 REDWINGS (mauvis) and 2 REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux).  

 

Big surprise at 13h30 when a flock of 14 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) appeared to the south and proceeded to drift slowly away to the northeast. Storks here usually sail high and effortlessly overhead on clear sunny days and these birds seemed to be struggling to gain height under the huge roof of grey cloud, flapping a lot and spending several minutes circling over Romainville with apparently little effect.

 

 

March 11th

 

Laurent was out skywatching early this morning and saw quite a few migrants going over including 2 nice WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) in summer plumage, a MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse), 5 REDWINGS (grive mauvis) and several other THRUSHES (grives) and FINCHES (pinsons).

 

Also a singing CHIFFCHAFF (pouillot veloce) in the park this morning.

 

 

March 5th

 

A cold and foggy day. The male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) is still on site and roaming around on his own, occasionally singing from the tops of bushes. The male REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux), however, appears to have had much better luck and was seen again moving about silently in the company of a female. Interestingly the latter is unringed, and not the bird seen this winter in the same area.

 

A LINNET (linotte mélodieuse) went north in the afternoon and a HAWFINCH perched near the Cascade - they're getting harder to find these days. A dreary day was salvaged in the late afternoon by Pierre who saw a rare BLACK WOODPECKER (pic noir) flying west - it's been a good year so far for woodpeckers !






March 3rd

 

Alain saw a HAWFINCH in the Savanna this morning and also found and photographed the first BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noir) of the year at the Mare de Brie - here's our fellow on the right. 

 

Earlier in the morning a MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse) and 3 HAWFINCHES had flown north and several STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin) also appeared to be actively migrating.

 

A skywatch in the early afternoon produced a single BUZZARD (buse variable) gliding east. Every now and then, very high up to the west, small broken lines of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) could just be made out flickering northeast, occasionally disappearing into clouds.

March 2nd

 

REDWINGS (grive mauvis) were migrating eastwards overhead early this morning. One large group broke their journey and splattered into the tall bare trees by the Coffee Dome and stayed put there a while before heading onwards.

 

In the dull, early light 2 very distant GREY HERONS lumbered their way slowly eastwards along the river valley and this reminds me of something I keep forgetting to say : our trusty, friendly GREY HERON, almost always at the Mare Perchée every morning without fail, has not been seen so far this year ! A real symbol for the park this is grave news indeed, and I fear the worst. 

 

After the cold grey conditions gradually gave way to blue skies and bright, warm sunshine 2 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) made a nice image flying north. 

 

A few SISKINS (tarin) are still on site but just the one HAWFINCH (gros-bec) today.






February 28th

 

Yesterday's amazing EASTERN ROSELLA (Perruche omnicolore) was seen again this morning by Alain Bloquet who managed to get some corking shots of it with his new camera as it fed on top of a tree, looking like a strange clown just escaped from the circus...



 

Later in the day me and Pierre did a long skywatch from the Cascade - the warm sunny weather and blue skies looked very promising. One or two things of interest, notably a distant UNIDENTIFIED HARRIER (busard indéterminée), a JACKDAW (choucas), several ROOKS (corbeau freux), some SKYLARKS and a pale-looking BUZZARD (buse variable). 






February 27th

 

Another cloudy, grey and cold morning. Some signs of migration with the first WHITE WAGTAIL (bergeronnette grise) of the year, a fine male, which bounded in from the south and landed briefly on the Northern Fields. A lonely-looking SKY LARK (alouette des champs) dribbled overhead northwards and a MEADOW PIPIT (falouse) made a brief pit-stop en route.

 

Best bird today though a bizarre and gaudy-looking EASTERN ROSELLA (Perruche omnicolore) flying around over the recycling plant and landing briefly nearby. It soon flew powerfully away to the north of the park and dived into the crowns of some tall bare trees where it fed for several minutes - good job I had the scope.

 

 

 

February 26th

 

A dull grey morning, completely different from yesterday. Brilliant views of a very vocal WOODLARK (alouette lulu) which fluttered in and wavered around high overhead before eventually dropping onto the waste ground near the Mare Perchée. The bird fed there and thereabouts for 30 minutes or so, getting regularly flushed by dog walkers.

 

Also this morning was a pair of REED BUNTINGS, a SKYLARK (alouette des champs), 11 ROOKS (corbeau freux) flying north, around 30 SISKINS (tarin) and at least 8 HAWFINCHES still on site.

 

In the afternoon Pierre found the singing male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) again along with, among other things, 2 FIRECRESTS and a flyover COMMON GULL (goéland cendré).       

 

 

 

February 25th

 

Excellent day - warm sunshine and big blue sky. 2 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) were the highlight today sailing slowly overhead and on towards the northeast without a single flap. Several groups of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) were also on the move, high up and hurrying in the same direction.

 

At least 3 HAWFINCHES are still about along with the 5 SISKINS (tarin). 2 REED BUNTINGS (a male and female) were seen today and several CORMORANTS were moving through.

 

 

February 21st

 

A flock of 45 SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) flew overhead through misty skies to the northeast this morning and 5 SISKINS (tarin des aulnes) were feeding on the muddy path by the Mare Perchée. Also today were 3 REED BUNTINGS which dropped into the reedbed for a few minutes, a single FIRECREST, at least 6 HAWFINCHES and a lone CORMORANT flying north.  

 

 

February 20th

 

One or two things of interest this morning - 5 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) and a flyover CORMORANT.  FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) and REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) were both new for the year. The HAWFINCHES are still present and were showing quite well today.

 

 

 

February 19th

 

Bright sunshine and clear, inviting blue sky this morning although it's still a bit too early to expect much flying over. However a small flock of 17 SISKINS (tarin des aulnes) bounding northeast was a sign that migration is underway at last. 3 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche à collier) were the first reported so far this year.  

 

Pierre went later in the day and saw some more SISKINS - 3 on site and a flock of 21 flying east. As has been the case on recent days the 2 MALLARDS paid a visit to the Mare Perchée in the late afternoon. 

 

 

February 17th

 

5 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada) flew low and noisily over the park and a lone COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) circled overhead before drifting off south. A SISKIN (tarin des aulnes) dropped down towards the ping-pong tables and at least 10 HAWFINCHES were present in and around the Savanna.  

 

 

 

February 15th

 

Alain Bloquet had the CIRL BUNTING again this morning. Later in the afternoon both REED BUNTINGS were seen along with a ROOK (corbeau freux), a LINNET (linotte mélodieuse) and an incredibly distant GREY HERON (héron cendré) flying east along the river valley which is the first sighting this year !

 

Pierre counted 9 HAWFINCHES in flight this evening, arriving in similar fashion to yesterdays birds and adding weight to the roost-site theory.



 

February 14th

 

Bright and sunny with blue skies and a bitter cold wind from the north. The HAWFINCHES were on fine form, jumping heavily around the open stubble areas in the Savanna and the male REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) was there again in the same area. Highlight this morning though was a flock of 80 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) flying over the park in a long line which wriggled slowly and snake-like away to the northeast, high over the flats on rue Paul Doumer. 

 

Much later in the day, just before dusk, Pierre had an interesting count of 12 HAWFINCHES flying westin little groups across the park and appearing to land, suggesting that we have more birds than previously thought, with perhaps some birds using the park to roost.


 

 

February 12th

 

Another sunny day but not much around - a struggle even to see a single HAWFINCH, conspicuous by their absence this morning. A few birds were singing though, several DUNNOCKS (accenteur mouchet), a SERIN and  the male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi).

 

 

 

February 11th

 

The pair of MALLARDS was again at the Mare Perchée this morning and a different REED BUNTING was found in the Savanna, this one a ringless winter-plumaged male.

 

In the afternoon Pierre saw a COAL TIT (mésange noire) and the first BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) of the year which perched in trees near the Danton entrance.

 

Quite an interesting day for corvids with a large flock of 42 CARRION CROWS (corneille noir) swirling around the block of flats by the Jean Moulin entrance, the first ROOK (corbeau freux) of the year and a JACKDAW (choucas) flying over.

 

 

February 9th

 

Both the male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) and the female REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) were on site this morning, the latter habitually picking at a single silver ring on her left leg. Also in the Savanna was a small band of 14 SERINS as well as the usual group of HAWFINCHES.   

 

 

February 6th

 

Lovely spring-like day - blue skies and sunshine. The warm weather has melted the ice at the Mare Perchée and a pair of MALLARDS (canard colvert) looked quite content there this morning sitting on the small amount of water left.

 

A pair of SERINS in the Savanna, the male singing intermittently. Several DUNNOCKS (accenteur mouchet) were also singing from the bushes and a pair of SPARROWHAWKS were flying around together in low and lollopping courtship flight, the male making clear mewing cries.

 

Alain Bloquet was also in the park this morning and together we got some great views of the HAWFINCHES - they seem to be spending a lot of time on the ground in the woodland at the southeast corner of the park, near the Mare de Brie.   

 

 

February 5th

 

The REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) there again this morning at the Mare de Brie and 8 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) were briefly at the re-cycling plant. 3 REDWINGS were inside the woodland near the Parc Mabille, and the group of HAWFINCHES is still about, being as difficult as ever.

 

Tuesday's BULLFINCHES have bonded well and are following each other about closely - the male seems already interested in some action, giving the female a cheeky peck on the backside today. 


 

 

February 4th

 

A single CORMORANT flew southeast this morning and the male CIRL BUNTING was again at the Mare de Brie. A group of 6 HAWFINCHES continues to fly restlessly around the site, perching sometimes in the Savanna for all to see.


 

 

February 3rd

 

The male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) was found again this morning near the Mare de Brie. Also seen today were 6 HAWFINCHES, 2 REDWINGS and a pair of BULLFINCHES (for once a male and female) which were roaming around together near the Mare de Mileu.  

 

 

February 1st

 

Another bright and cold sunny day. Out birding this morning with Bill Link from California who was hoping to see one of the BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) which have been very obliging here over recent days. However today was, naturally, the day they decided to disappear completely. 

 

One or 2 other things though, notably some excellent lengthy views of a male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) working the thin, dangly outer branches of the trees along the Avenue des Marronniers. Fascinatingly at one point our bird swung upside down and appeared to freeze - hanging there for about 2 minutes, completely immobile and looking like a leaf.

 

Also of note this morning were 3 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) and a fine REDWING (mauvis). In the late afternoon Pierre saw a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) at the Mare de Brie.


 

 

January 31st

 

Not a bad day for SISKINS (tarin des aulnes), 3 twisting overhead this morning and another 8 in trees on the Northern Fields found later by Pierre.

 

 

January 29th

 

A nice cold, bright and sunny day...6 HAWFINCHES and a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) in the Savanna this morning. Later Pierre found the male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) again, this time near the Compost, and counted 50 CARRION CROWS perched on the roof of a high building to the east of (and outside) the park.

 

 

January 25th

 

Major news with the very good report of a CRESTED TIT (mésange huppée), found by Pierre on the Northern Fields. Although quite easily found in many Parisien parks this is a real rarity here and not seen at all last year.

 

Actually he had a very tit-full day with a COAL TIT (mésange noire), another MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette) along with a large flock of BLUE, GREAT and LONG-TAILED TITS along the Avenue des Marronniers.

 

In the afternoon a flyover SISKIN (tarin des aulnes), a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette), and 5 MOORHENS at the Mare Perchée. A skywatch produced 41 GULLS moving over the site, the majority (33) being BLACK-HEADEDS (mouette rieuse). Interestingly all the birds were moving generally east and in the opposite direction to those on January 17th.

 

 

 

January 23rd

 

A good day for Pierre who watched a MIDDLE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic mar), a rare bird here, fly right over his head at the Cascade and eventually land in the woodland on the western slope of the park. Also a REDWING (grive mauvis) perched in the Northern Fields and 40 BLACK-HEADED GULLS. 

 

 

January 17th 

 

Not much about on site these last couple of days, just the odd SPARROWHAWK and STOCK DOVE (colombin) and at least 3 MOORHENS are at the Mare Perchée. Main source of interest has been the large gull movements which Pierre saw again this afternoon during a skywatch from 16h00-17h15. No less than 513 BLACK-HEADED GULLS (mouette rieuse) going mainly west and the 46 bigger gulls contained at least 8 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (leucophée), 7 HERRING GULLS (argenté) and 5 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (goéland brun).  

 

 

January 14th 

 

More birds are appearing in the park as the snow and ice slowly melts. Unlike previous days there were finches and thrushes all over the place this morning, especially in the Savanna where a flock of 22 SERINS (serin cini) were back feeding again. Also worth noting there were 3 HAWFINCHES and a male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi), presumably the same bird as on January 1st.

 

A REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) was at the Mare Perchée. Surprisingly few WOODPIGEONS (ramier) around at the moment.



 

January 11th


Another bright and sharp winter morning - the park is still covered in snow and today a few families armed with big plastic bags were out sledging down the slopes in the Parc Mabille. A male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was there this morning (perhaps the same that was seen by Alain 2 days ago) along with a NUTHATCH  carrying a nut in its bill. 

 

2 REDWINGS (mauvis) and 2 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) in flight this morning. 

 

Pierre arrived later had quite a few things, notably 6 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet), a COAL TIT (mésange noire), a flock of 150 STARLINGS (étourneau) and 2 JACKDAWS (choucas) flying west.

 

He saw large numbers of gulls going over late this afternoon, mainly in a westerly direction. 83 BLACK-HEADED GULLS (rieuse) and 58 others including a COMMON GULL (goéland cendré), at least 4 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (goéland leucophée), LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (goéland brun) and 8+ HERRING GULLS (argenté). 



 

January 10th 

 

A CORMORANT was seen flying north this morning and there were at least 5 BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) on site.


 

 

January 9th


Nice views of a BUZZARD at midday circling over the park and flapping away to the west, harassed all the way by a pair of CARRION CROWS. This looks like Tuesday's bird - distinctive gleaming white patches at the base of the primaries.


Pretty quiet apart from that although a group of 7 HAWFINCHES bounding overhead was unusual - 4 is the usual max. The usual pair of MARSH TITS was on the Avenue des Marronniers.


Alain Bloquet also visited today and had 2 CORMORANTS flying north and, in the Parc Mabille, a NUTHATCH (sitelle) and a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette).



January 8th


Pierre had another SKYLARK flying over today along with 2-3 HAWFINCHES near the ping-pong tables and a MARSH TIT on the Avenue des Marronniers. Although the Mare Perchée is fozen solid the MOORHENS (poule d'eau) are hanging on in there ! 

 

January 7th

 

Not much to look at today apart from the nice winter scenery !...

 

January 6th

 

The park was cold and silent this morning and covered in thick and crunchy white snow. ROBINS and BLACKBIRDS fluffed up inside snow-laden berry-bushes and made for some nice Christmas-card pics. 2 female BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) were in the low bushes along the Chemin de Quatre Ruelles and a single HAWFINCH (gros-bec) flew north.

                                                                                                                                      

2 SKYLARKS (alouette des champs), rare in January, trickled west overhead. Best bird today was a BUZZARD (buse variable) which burst into view, surrounded by a hoard of marauding CARRION CROWS. Vincent van de Bor saw the same bird land in the trees along the Avenue des Marronniers.



 

January 3rd

 

A superb bright and sunny, frosty morning. Arrival at the Mare Perchée was greeted by a MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse) wisping around and eventually landing by the Cascade. By this time Pierre had already found 3 GOLDCRESTS and 2 COAL TITS (mésange noire) - a good year-tick. Later at the Parc Mabille we found a GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER drumming again, a solitary male BULLFINCH and a pair of 2 MARSH TITS (mésange nonnette), one of which was the usual  colour-ringed bird found in the park on September 1st last year.



 

January 1st

 

A jolly HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ! dear reader. BONNE ANNEE !! and all that.


So another exciting quest to beat the year-list starts again. We only just failed (by 2 species) last year, so hopefully we will have better luck in 2009. And Pierre now has a fully-functionning tripod, surely this will make all the difference !

 

Pierre kicked things off enthusiastically today with two visits - in foggy conditions he had a very respectable 32 species including 3 GOLDCRESTS (roitelet huppé), REDWING (mauvis), 2 female BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) and a super HAWFINCH (gros-bec) perched near the ping-pong tables (again).

 

In the Parc Mabille, that all-important NUTHATCH (sittelle) was seen along with a nice GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER drumming away on the tall bare trees.The male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) was near the Mare Perchée.