Birding Beaumonts


14th December

A REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) at the mare Perchée today.

7th December

A group of about 24 REDWINGS (grive mauvis) on site in the prairie this morning.

17th November

Last skywatch of the autumn today with Isabelle and Maite: there were still a few small flocks of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) going over, plus more migrating LAPWINGS (vanneaux), WOODPIGEONS (ramier) and some small lines of (mainly adult) LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (goéland brun).

A HAWFINCH (gros bec) was heard and a WOODCOCK (bécasse) was glimpsed, apparently flushed by a woman collecting berries near the cascade.

16th November

Grey and miserable weather all day, but no rain at least in the afternoon. This FOX was hanging about near the cascade and bobbing flocks of LAPWINGS (vanneaux) headed south. A BRAMBLING (pinson du Nord) was on site.

10th November

Excitement this morning with a late HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenêtre) flying low over the cascade through fine misty rain - not quite the latest date ever recorded here which is 14th November (in 2011). A few more GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier dorée) flew past today.

9th November

These GOLDEN PLOVERS (pluvier doré) flew south this afternoon along with small flocks of LAPWINGS (vanneaux), a few BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord), two large flocks of FIELDFARES (litorne) and a group of about 30 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche).

Generally, though, birds were rather hard to find and there were much lower numbers of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and SKYLARKS (alouette des champs). 

A very white BUZZARD (buse) flew north.

6th November

A RED KITE (milan royal) was seen today by Jack Anjuerer as he walked along ave Danton, just outside the park.

5th November

Isabelle had another GREAT EGRET (grande aigrette) today.

4th November

Good skywatch for Isabelle today with plenty of the usual migrants including 2 GREAT EGRETS (grande aigrette) and four BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil), one sitting nicely in a tree near the cascade.

26th October

Nice sunny weather for once but the sky was totally empty of birds in the afternoon, so this Comma butterfly (Robert-le-diable) was a welcome distraction. They’d been a fair amount migrating in the morning but numbers were down on recent days, and there were none of the bigger birds like thrushes, lapwings or woodpigeons.

A couple more COAL TITS (mésange noire) hurried through, a calling YELLOHAMMER (bruant jaune) bounded over our heads, as did a rare NUTHATCH (sittelle), the first for almost two years.

23rd October

Very good skywatching this morning until about 11h30 when I had to stop and go to work - Isabelle stayed on a couple of hours longer and gripped me off with great views of a RED KITE (milan royal) drifting low over the cascade.

Migrating birds were (thankfully) of a much larger size today -  FIELDFARES (litorne) and REDWINGS (mauvis) were going though in numbers and there were JAYS (geai), ROOKS (freux) and JACKDAWS (choucas), large,tight flocks of WOODPIGEONS (ramier) and LAPWINGS (vanneaux), plus a couple of GOLDEN PLOVERS (pluvier doré), several groups of CORMORANTS and an OSPREY (balbu).

The highlight for yours truly, though, was this SKYLARK (alouette des champs) which dropped down to land in the open grass at the north end of the park, a very rare event indeed - so much so that the bird has never previously been photographed on site ! 

20th October

This REDSTART (rouge-queue à front blanc) was found in the prairie this afternoon after hours and hours of constant rain. Sporting a bit of a wing-panel, and being a bit late, it brought back memories of that possible « samamisicus » we had here, in exactly the same place, in early November 2010. Hmmm…

And a bit later, during a half-hearted skywatch without a telescope, what looked like a distant SPARROWHAWK (épervier) was circling in small circles very high in the sky, out towards Fontenay. Something about it though seemed a bit odd, so I kept on looking: seconds later I realised that the flap-flap-glide thing it was doing wasn’t at all like a sparrowhawk, and much more like a harrier (busard)!  But how on earth could a harrier be so small ? Getting suddenly more interested I stopped looking at it through the bins, somehow got the distant speck in the camera lens and rattled off a few shots as it flapped, smooth and steady, southeast towards Vincennes. Moments later, looking at the photos, I wondered what the heck I’d just seen - a BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (élanion blanc) certainly sprang to mind…so that’s two « hmmms » in a day!


19th October

Pretty good skywatch in the morning with Isabelle before the rain came in: in addition to the usual flocks of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) were quite a few WOODLARKS (lulu), twice as many SKYLARKS (alouette des champs), a couple of COAL TITS (mésange noire) and a few migrating HAWFINCHES (gros bec).

12th October

Shots here of a very confiding REDSTART (rouge-queue à front blanc) at the Cascade and one of a few BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord) going over this morning. 

It was a great day for watching migration, one of the best ever; on top of all the unidentifieds were 2024 CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres), 135 WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise), 193 MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse), and the 82 WOODLARKS (lulu) actually outnumbered the SKYLARKS (alouette des champs)!

Best bird though was a SHORT-EARED OWL (hibou des marais), well spotted by Isabelle, which circled around over Fontenay before moving north and disappearing in the clouds.

6th October

More rain and drizzle this morning but it cleared a bit in the afternoon. There were a few more HIRUNDINES, the usual CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and an unusual-looking PEREGRINE. The highlight was this pair of migrating GREAT EGRETS.

5th October

Really annoying drizzly rain all day today - I have to confess I gave up early to get back for the rugby, but Isabelle and Michel heroically stuck it out till midday. A few things were migrating - notably a nice flock of WOODLARKS (lulu), a HOUSE  MARTIN (hirondelle de fenêtre) and the first SISKINS (tarin) of the autumn.

28th September

Isabelle and Maite had good numbers of migrating SWALLOWS (rustique) this morning, and great views of a PEREGRINE.

14th September

Excellent birding today - shots here of a MERLIN (émerillon) dashing overhead in the late morning and one of the 14 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) which followed, interspersed with a few HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) and an OSPREY (balbu). 

In the mid-afternoon a BLACK STORK (cigogne noire) migrated south with a flock of about 30 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche), although it kept up its customary solitary allure, keeping its distance at all times...

8th September

REED WARBLER (effarvatte) still present this morning in the Petite Prairie but a lot of birds, notably PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir), seem to have now vacated the premises. 

Around midday there was a HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) and a MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux), but the best bird was a rare BLACK STORK (cigogne noire) which gilded slowly west over Bagnolet, hassled briefly on the way by a KESTREL (crécerelle).

And after nightfall, just before midnight, this LITTLE BITTERN (blongios nain) flew overhead, a first for the park!!

7th September

Not a lot to report today, although there was a rather odd-looking  REED WARBLER (effarvatte), a WHITETHROAT (grisette), PIED FLY (gobemouche noir) and 2 TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) on site around the Petite Prairie in the early morning.

Record shot here of one of the three MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) that flew overhead in the afternoon.

31st August

Very birdy today with the usual late August migrants - at least four PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir), a couple of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris), WHITETHROAT (grisette), WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) and a REDSTART (rouge-queue à front blanc) were all around the pond in the early morning.

There was good skywatching later in the company of Emmanuel and Maite: this superb OSPREY (balbuzard) flew low to the west, backed up by 6 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) and the first MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) of the autumn.

In the end, though, the Bird of the Day Award has to go to this fantastic BARN OWL (effraie des clochers), which (unbeknownst to us at the time) had already flown overhead in the early hours.

25th August

There was an incredibly distant flock of around 37 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) in the early afternoon but nothing else was visible in awful skywatching conditions which we often get in late summer - hazy, polluted and cloudless skies. This hopeless situation prompted an early finish to the birding, extremely fortuitous as it turned out since I managed to watch the last few hours of the already legendary Third Test at Headingly live on TV (which was infinitely more amazing than a bunch of storks)...

24th August

Record-shots above of a BLACK KITE (milan noir) and one of at least 10 HONEY-BUZZARDS seen going over this afternoon during an excellent skywatch with Emmanuel, Isabelle and Maite. There were also a couple of BUZZARDS (buse) and 2 OSPREYS (balbu) but the highlight was a flock of 24 slow-moving WHITE STORKS which meandered around against a blue sky, searching the right thermal.  

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobe-mouche gris) and at least 4 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) on site.  

20th August

Fantastic news today with this (pretty terrible) nocturnal recording of a distant flyover TURNSTONE (Tournepierre à collier)- a first for the park!!!

22nd July

Well it’s all happening at the mo - straight after Thursday's LITTLE RINGED PLOVER these brilliant RINGED PLOVERS (grand gravelot) flew over at around 2am ! 

18th July

Nice to imagine this LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (petit gravelot) flying over in the darkness at 3am this morning, calling twice en route - and it’s yet another patch tick for me this year (if one is allowed to tick such things)...

17th June

Some wonderful atmospheric hoots from a male TAWNY OWL (hulotte) just before daybreak, and the recorder also picked up fainter-sounding WATER RAIL (râle d’eau) and GREEN SANDPIPER (culblanc) flying over. 

There's more good news with at least one successful breeding pair of WHITETHROATS (fauvette grisette) - adults can be seen right now taking food to noisy nestlings in the prairie. 

24th May

I should mention that one « new thing » I’ve been doing this year is leaving my recorder and microphone out in the late evening and collecting them the next morning to see what’s flown over during the night; amazingly they haven't been discovered and stolen - yet. Anyway there’s been some good results so far: some flyover COOTS (foulque macroule) in early spring, a few records of TAWNY OWL (hulotte) and, most excitingly, this QUAIL (caille des blés) flying overhead this morning at about 01h48, only the second record for the park and a patch tick for me!

18th May

An eventful day kicked off with a cute-looking bunch of baby SHORT-TOED TREECREEPERS (grimpereau des jardins) clambering around the trees in parc Mabille, being fed intermittently by busy parents. A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) was in the same area.

A skywatch followed with HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) and HOBBY flying over, followed later by this very tatty and exciting-looking falcon migrating north - to me it looked exactly like a RED-FOOTED FALCON (faucon kobez) although, according to the powers that be, it's only a darned KESTREL (crécerelle)....bah!

13th May

Here's one of the 3 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) that went over today. This annoying northerly wind is still blowing, and the migrating SWALLOWS (rustique) were all racing low, hugging the ground.

12th May

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris), TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) and REDSTART (rouge-queue à front blanc) in the prairie this morning. The first BLACK KITE (milan noir) of the year flew over. 

11th May

Heavy rain overnight and showers all day seem to have brought a few things in: this distant WHINCHAT (tarier des près) was in the prairie along with a REDSTART (rouge-queue à front blanc), and a singing REED WARBLER (effarvatte) was at the reedbed.

8th May

A singing MELODIOUS WARBLER (hypolais polyglotte) early afternoon at the Jean Moulin entrance.

5th May

More grey skies and strong winds: almost nothing today apart from a small group of YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (leuco) circling north early on, another brief view of a HAWFINCH (gros bec) and three WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) moving slowly overhead.

1st May

A disappointing day - thick morning mist never really cleared properly which spoilt the skywatching, and on this bank holiday the park was heaving with uncivil adults and screaming kids running around everywhere….the idea of emigrating to Alaska came to mind. 

A LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) rattled three times near the cascade but there was not much to look at apart from clusters of local SWIFTS (martinet) hawking insects overhead - according to Pierre they all arrived in town yesterday.

27th April

This COMMON TERN (sterne pierregarin) was a really good record this morning, battling its way north against a gale force wind. Two singing WHITETHROATS (grisette) on site now.

22nd April

The first GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) of the spring this morning and there was another flyover HAWFINCH (gros bec).

21st April

Good birding this morning with this RING OUZEL (plastron) tac-taccing up a tree by the mare Perchée, although it was quickly dislodged by a local MAGPIE (pie). A bit later another MAGPIE found and chased off this rare HOOPOE (huppe fasciée) which was lapping around high over the prairie. 

The first migrating HOBBY of the spring appeared, and there were local-looking pairs of HAWFINCH (gros bec) and BULLFINCH (bouvreuil).

20th April

Nice male PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) on site this morning and a group of 4 FIELDFARES (litorne) flew north. Significantly more SWIFTS (martinet) going through today, and there were first spring records of SAND MARTIN (rivage), HOUSE MARTIN (fenêtre) and WHITETHROAT (grisette).

14th April

This blasted cold northerly wind continues, although it did play it’s part in an excellent skywatch today with Isabelle: we got the first SWIFT (martinet) of the year, a pair of HAWFINCHES (gros bec), another migrating SHORT-EARED OWL (Hibou des marais) and this SHORT-TOED EAGLE!!(circaète) which flew overhead in the early afternoon. This is still a top draw bird in the region and the first I’ve ever seen at Beaumonts, whoopee!

13th April

A long skywatch in the company of Emmanuel, Maite and Remi was almost devoid of birds, maybe because of a cold northeasterly...only a few CORMORANTS, MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and LINNETS (linotte mélodieuse) flew over.

A pair of local-looking SERINS jangling overhead towards the cemetery, and this smart male REDSTART (rouge-queue à front blanc) by the mare Perchée, were welcome distractions from the empty sky. 

Much earlier in the day a superb male RING OUZEL (plastron) had been found at the Compost, followed moments later by frustratingly distant views of a pair of CURLEW/WHIMBREL (courlis cendré/courlis courlieu) beating a strangely slow path northeast against an early watery sun (and that infernal wind).

12th April

Lots of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) flying over early this morning against a cold northerly wind. A FIRECREST (triple bandeau) was singing along the Jean Moulin entrance path.

31st March

A distant SHORT-EARED OWL (hibou des marais) was the highlight today, circling for ages over the Bois de Vincennes and apparently not really knowing the right way to go. Fairly good passage early doors with SONG THRUSHES (musiciennes), REDWINGS (mauvis) and MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) dominating. Nice to see 3 more SWALLOWS (rustique) going over.

30th March

The first MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) and SWALLOW (rustique) of the spring appeared this afternoon and an OSPREY (balbu) circled around for a thermal over Fontenay. 

26th March

A WOODCOCK (becasse des bois) flushed at first light this morning from the Petite Prairie.

9th March

Grey and windy. This confiding KESTREL (crécerelle) was hanging around the cascade and the first GOLDEN PLOVERS (pluvier doré) of year appeared, a distant flock of 13. Hardly any GULLS around...

24th February

More nice sunny weather, and an interesting skywatch in the morning with Emmanuel, Maite and Pierre:

WOODLARKS (lulu) were seen flying overhead and there were a couple of small groups of CORMORANTS and these 5 JACKDAWS (choucas).

The first BLACKCAP (fauvette a tête noire) was singing at the Cascade.

23rd February

A few things moving north this morning including a flock of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres), a pair of LINNETS (linotte) and a JACKDAW (choucas).

A REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) on site, and a CHIFFCHAFF (véloce) was singing near the cascade.

17th February

A PEREGRINE this afternoon, plus a couple of LAPWINGS (vanneaux) going north.

9th February

This REDWING (mauvis) was one of around 18 or so on site this morning and there were quite a few CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and a tight flock of about 30 STARLINGS.

An incredibly mangy, grey-coloured, wirey-tailed FOX (renard) trotted gingerly across the Praire. 

21st January

Pierre had a male BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) today, sadly now a very good record...