Birding Beaumonts


18th October

Starkly different from yesterday with almost no CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) or THRUSHES (grives) flying overhead through the grey clouds, although there was a good passage of WOODLARKS (lulu) and a superb group of 4 migrating RED KITES (milan royal).

2 largish flocks of LAPWING (vanneau huppé) went through and a late REED WARBLER (effarvatte), maybe the same as Saturday's bird, was skulking in the reedbed.

17th October

Excellent skywatching today with Isabelle : CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) were the birds of the day with well over 1300 of them bounding overhead in groups, and in the early morning a RED KITE (milan royal) flew low overhead, escorted northwards by CROWS.

16th October

Today was the famous annual "Journée de la Migration" when birders from all over the region stand on high places and count migrating birds. Nothing amazing turned up here although it was a thoroughly agreable social event. It happened to coiincide with a local birdgroup outing which meant that there were around 40 birders in the park today, surely a record!    

There were good numbers of the usual passerines flying over, plus a migrating GREAT EGRET (grand aigrette), a few HAWFINCHES (grosbec), a RING OUZEL (plastron) and a MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux).

9th September

The HOOPOE was still on site this morning on the edges of the pond and around the prairie, the poor fellow getting flushed by joggers, walkers and blasted dogs, and then hassled in the air by the maurauding local MAGPIES.

8th September

Massive surprise to flush this HOOPOE (huppe) from the Petite Prairie late this morning, only the 7th record for the park !

7th September

The unsettled, stormy weather continues and there was very little moving in the sky again today. However a couple of good birds were sound-recorded in the very early hours - a skulking NIGHTINGALE and what was probably more than one ORTOLAN BUNTING flying over.

3rd September

An agreable walk around the park was had this morning with a group of around 12 participants, all organised by Est Ensemble and led by Thomas from the local birdgroup.

Thankfully both SPOTTED and PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris et noir) put on a good show, as did this fantastic SCARCE SWALLOWTAIL butterfly (flambé).

Annoyingly this was the very moment my camera decided to pack up, so we have Philippe to thank for the photo...

1st September

Big cumulus clouds and blue sky today, and excellent skywatching was had with Eloi, David and Pierre. Top bird was a SHORT-EARED OWL (hibou des marais) which flapped in from the north and made a few attempts to land in the prairie before being driven back again by the blasted CROWS. There was a nice low MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux), 2 flocks of WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) and an OSPREY (balbu). 13 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) included an impressive-looking kettle of 9. 

29th August

This SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) and a few PIEDS (gobemouche noir) were on site this morning. 

A skywatch in the morning with Eloi was pretty good with a lonely-looking WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche) drifting south, joined for some of the way by an OSPREY (balbu).

27th August

11 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) today including a fine group of 6 together. 

18 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) went through and in the very early hours, before daybreak, both LITTLE BITTERN (blongios nain) and RINGED PLOVER (grand gravelot) were sound-recorded flying over.

23rd August

A short, half-hearted skywatch mid-afternoon turned out to be quite amazing : Pierre and Sally were there as well at the cascade and whilst we were packing up to leave I could hear distant BEE EATERS (guepier) calling from somewhere - a frantic look around shortly revealed a whole bunch of them high up over our heads ! Excellent stuff, and a patch tick for yours truly.

Actually I wish I'd got there earlier in the day since HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) were clearly moving (4 within a few minutes), and there was a HOBBY and a few SWIFTS (martinet) also.

4th July

Excellent news that aforementioned MARSH WARBLER (verderolle) did indeed find a mate in the end, and is now definately breeding at the pond. For the last couple of weeks there's been some toing and froing from a suspected nest site, but yesterday morning a bird emerged from the reeds by the water's edge and dropped a fecal sac.

This morning a rather rare MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic mar) was heard calling.

2nd June

The MARSH WARBLER (verderolle) has now been with us for 5 days and was on fine form early doors singing from the reeds.

A few more YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (leuco) flapped heavily north and there was another sighting of a local-looking HAWFINCH (gros bec) which landed briefly near the pond.

29th May

Exciting discovery of this MARSH WARBLER (verderolle) this morning at the pond, although it was buried low down in the reeds for most of the day and difficult to see, only popping up occasionally for a blast of incredible song.

20 May

Excellent sighting of this CATTLE EGRET (garde-boeufs) flapping high to the north in the early morning, just before the rain arrived. A first for the park !

18th May

Another intriguing sight of a HAWFINCH (grosbec) early doors, flying low overhead to the southeastern corner of the park.

15th May

Incredidbly, still not a single HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) to report so far this spring !! Larger numbers of SWIFTS (martinet) are, thankfully, around in the sky and there was another sighting today of a pair of local-looking HAWFINCHES (gros bec).

12th May

A short skywatch with Sebastien early morning : incredibly a small flock of BAR-HEADED GEESE flew north over the park, alas not heading to their breeding grounds on the Tibetan Plateau. There was a confiding SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) at the bare trees in front of the cascade.

11th May

Two firsts for the spring sound-recorded in the early hours - a grumpy QUAIL (caille) and a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris).

7th May

Not a lot about although there was a BLACK KITE (milan noir), and Isabelle had a GREYLAG GOOSE (oie cendrée) flying high to the north, not looking very feral.

6th May

Been very quiet these past few mornings with almost nothing in the sky (apart from pigeons). And the lack of SWIFTS (martinet) is a bit worrying - there was just one (copulating) pair on view this morning.

It's that time of year when tatty-looking young YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (leuco) move north overhead - there were 7 yesterday and this one this morning.

1st May

A similar story to yesterday with nothing much migrating although an OSPREY (balbu) went through late morning. A couple of WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) continued their song contest by the pond and SHORT-TOED TREECREEPERS (grimpereau des jardins) were feeding young. Intrigingly, a pair of local-looking HAWFINCHES (gros bec) flew over.

30th April

Pleasant skywatching for most of the day with Eloi, Nadia, Remi, Sébastien and Stéphane although not much was migrating overhead - seems like the weather is blocking things further south? Hirundines were notably few and far between and there were no raptors apart from a  BLACK KITE (milan noir) and this BUZZARD (buse).

Bird of the day was a late flyover WOODLARK (lulu) which probably landed on site somewhere although me and Eloi couldn't find's actually the latest ever spring record for the department !

Another good bird today was a singing male GOLDEN ORIOLE (loriot) on site at dawn although I never got a decent view - for the record it can be heard here, singing rather distantly behind DUNNOCK (accenteur mouchet), WHITETHROAT (grisette), BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tête noire) and a few other things.

A discreetly singing MELODIOUS WARBLER (hypolaïs polyglotte) and a silent female REDSTART (rougequeue à front blanc) were in the bushes on the edge of the prairie.

27th April

Cold and windy early doors. Quite a few TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) were flying over and half-decent view had of a male GOLDEN ORIOLE (loriot) flapping north.

A few SWIFTS (martinet) were migrating and this GREEN SANDPIPER (culblanc) flew east, having a thought or two about landing at the pond but deciding against it.

23rd April

Good skywatching with Stéphane and Nadia this morning, best birds being this distant migrating WHIMBREL (courlis corlieu) and a much closer OSPREY (balbu).

An unusually large and broken flock of about 100 CORMORANTS flew north quite low overhead and other birds included a late flyover SISKIN (tarin) and a group of 5 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche).

21st April

Plenty of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) migrating over early, a couple of singing WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) and, better late then never, the first SWIFT (martinet) of the year.

20th April

The first WHITETHROAT (grisette) of the spring today.

18th April

A long skywatch with Sebastien today was pretty birdless, although a migrating BLACK KITE (milan noir) and a GREEN SANDPIPER (culblanc) went high overhead.

Prolonged views of this obliging BRAMBLING (pinson du Nord), I'm pretty sure it's last Wednesday's bird, which was in the same tree again this morning, nibbling away quietly.

17th April

Rather empty skies all morning and nothing much migrating, although there were good views of this male RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) early doors at the pond.

Noteworthy were the first SAND MARTIN (rivage) of the year, a roaming PEREGRINE and a local-looking SERIN.

16th April

3 GREEN SANDPIPERS (culblanc) flew north early morning and there were quite a few MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and LINNETS going over. 

Later on (in the company of Eloi, Emir, Marie and Sebastien) great views of this BLACK KITE (milan noir) drifting fairly low over our heads to the east.

15th April

Bad news to report on the MALLARD (colvert) situation I'm afraid : we've been informed that yesterday two hunting dogs (unleashed of course) jumped over the fence and crashed into the pond and chased the female and the ducklings, which have sadly now all completely vanished - let's hope the stupid ******* ******* dog-owner responsible is satisfied.

13th April

Bravo the MALLARDS (colverts) ! The female was there this morning alongside a bunch of 10 lively ducklings skidding around. Only the third ever breeding record, it's thanks largely to the recently installed perimeter fence at the pond which is keeping the blasted dogs out.

There was an obliging BRAMBLING (pinson du Nord) early on, and at least one FIRECREST (triple bandeau) is singing. 

10th April

A lovely sunny, warm day today with blue sky, and a pleasing skywatch was had from the cascade with Rémi, Sonia and Stéphane. It was another good day for MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) with 5 going overhead, but there were also migrating BLACK and RED KITES (milan noir et royal) and a more local-looking PEREGRINE.

Yours truly managed to see his first HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenêtre) and SWALLOWS (rustique) of the spring, but annoyingly missed the spectacle of 7 COAL TITS (mésange noire) hurrying north in a group at high altitude, well spotted by Rémi.

A SERIN was had today, sadly rather a rarity nowadays, and Stéphane found a CRESTED TIT (mésange huppé) near the car park. Excitingly a sound-recording of an unseen bird flying over (and only heard by Rémi) might possibly confirm the suspicion that a rare PENDULINE TIT (remiz) was involved, although we're waiting to see if the powers that be can ever confirm it...

9th April

The grey clouds and drizzly rain early this morning were pretty miserable and hardly inspiring, but something about it must have spurred a huge northward passage of migrants - it was impresive stuff all morning until the skies turned blue and the sun came out.

An almost constant stream of distant specks piling high overhead was comprised mainly of SONG THRUSHES but there were good numbers of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and a few CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) as well. 

13 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) went over, along with a couple of GREEN SANDPIPERS (culblanc), a COMMON TERN (pierregarin) and this smart male HEN HARRIER (busard St Martin).

7th April

A record shot here of a MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) being whipped along north through the grey clouds by a strong southwesterly.

GREEN SANDPIPER (culblanc) suddenly appeared from nowhere, dropping down for a short pit-stop at the pond before flushing off.  

A FIRECREST (triple bandeau) continues to sing in the early mornings along the entrance path.

4th April

The first MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) of the spring flying north.

3rd April

Good numbers of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) going over early, and a migrating OSPREY (balbu) went through at 11h30.

31st March

A whopping great flock of 10 CANADA GEESE flying over the town early this morning - a record for me...

29th March

The first WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) and YELLOW WAGTAIL (printa) of the spring this morning.

27th March

Clear blue skies and a rather cold northeasterly these last few days. Migration has picked up considerably with a lot more CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and a few more SONG THRUSHES (musicienne) than last week. Still quite a few BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord) about, on site and flying overhead, including some corking summer males. A couple of BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir), 3 COAL TITS (mésange noire) and a flock of around 50 SISKINS (tarin) went over this morning.

20th March

Crazy stuff this morning, a pair of flyover CANADA GEESE (bernanche du Canada) changing course and coming in to land on the small patch of water at the mare Perchée - a major first indeed. And they seemed to enjoy the area, ducking under the water and honking away...

A MOORHEN (poule d'eau) was at the pond as well, and a few BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord) seen again.

19th March

A HAWFINCH (gros bec) flew north and still a few BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord) about - a fine-looking, black headed male seen briefly with Eloi this morning.

17th March

The first FIELDFARE (litorne) of the year flew north.

15th March

Thanks goodness we have a local amphibnien expert (Alexis) who has advised that this pretty amazing sound, recorded at about 22h35 this evening, is a COMMON FROG (rana temporaria), clearly quite close to the microphone.

10th March

Believe it not, this here is a very special ROOK (freux): before flying northeast early in the morning it swirled around and dropped down to land amongst a bunch of CARRION CROWS (corneille noirs) on a tree near the marsh, the first one I've ever seen here landing on site !

Spring migration seems underway with small numbers of WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise), CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord) heading north in the early mornings.

27th February

Not so great this morning, although the first migrating MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) of the spring went overhead.

Probably 3 BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord) on site now, one or two appearing now and again near the cascade.

26th February

Excellent short skywatch this morning with Eloi. Adult LESSER-BLACK BACKS (goéland brun) were moving north in fair numbers and a group of 9 WOODLARKS (lulu) flew  over.

Highlight today though was this exciting CURLEW (courlis cendré) which we watched flapping in from the west before going high over our heads and away north over the watertower.

12th February

A couple of COAL TITS (mésange noire) this morning, a few REDWINGS (mauvis), and nice views of this REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) which spent a few minutes nibbling on the reeds at the pond before flying away south.

5th February

A short tour mid-morning with Eloi and Laura - best bird was a surprise BRAMBLING (pinson du Nord) feeding with greenfinches and chaffinches amongst the leaf-litter. The pair of MALLARD (colvert) was at the pond and a female BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noire) on site. No sign, though, of the recent COAL TITS (mésange noire) in the conifers at the northern end.