Birding Beaumonts


11th December

People familiar with the park will be as astounded as I was to see what's gone on recently at the cascade - all those annoying trees that got in the way have been cut down (not by me I should add) and now there's this fantastic open view to the southwest - skywatching should be great in a few months time...

Not much in the way of birds this morning - a BRAMBLING (pinson du Nord) flew over.

13th November

Quite birdy this morning with a MARSH TIT (nonnette) in amongst a tit-flock and plenty of REDWINGS (mauvis) and BLACKBIRDS (merle noir).A flushed WOODCOCK (bécasse des bois) dashed past.

Later the persistant alarm calls of BLACKBIRDS and CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) gave away this brilliant LONG-EARED OWL (Hibou moyen-duc) sitting right next to the path - a patch tick for yours truly !

4th November

Amazing ! This BITTERN (butor étoilé) flew over last night, a first for the park !

1st November

Passerines were flocking over again but in fewer numbers than yesterday. There were more BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord) going through and at least 2 were found settled on site with CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres), high in the trees along the Sentier des Vergers.

A migrating RED KITE (milan royal) and a PEREGRINE were seen late morning and COAL TITS (mésane noire) continue to hurry through. A BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) and a rare NUTHATCH (sitelle) were on site near the cascade and another group of YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (leucophée) flew overhead. 

31st October

A long skywatch with Emmanuel today - a reassuring heavy passage for most of the morning included 23 COAL TITS (mésange noire), a few HAWFINCHES (gros bec), more BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord), good numbers of SKYLARKS (alouette des champs), 2 GOLDEN PLOVERS (pluvier doré) and the first LESSER REDPOLL (sizerin cabaret) of the autumn.

26th October

Dense fog for most of the morning - all earily still and apparently devoid of birds. 

Things improved later - more COAL TITS (mésange noire) went through (including a flyover flock of about 14 birds) and there were a couple of BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord), HAWFINCHES (gros bec) and most notably this rather rare calling BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) which perched up nicely for a few seconds before flying off south.

24th October

Good visible migration today with suddenly a lot more passerines on show: good numbers of BRAMBLING (pinson du Nord) again, a few more COAL TITS (mésange noire) and a bunch of 6 HAWFINCHES (gros bec). Also another MERLIN (émerillon), a WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche) and the first GOLDEN PLOVERS (pluvier doré) of the year appeared, racing in high from the north.

23rd October

Quite a few BRAMBLINGS (pinson du Nord) going through today including this rather angry-looking fellow that landed briefly near the pond. Not much otherwise although a pair of HAWFINCHES (grosbec) flew over early morning.

19th October

Not much seen migrating today although a few more COAL TITS (mésange noire) hurried through and great views were had of this RED KITE (milan royal) which flapped slowly over, accompanied all the way by a silent group of CARRION CROWS (corneilles).

18th October

Pierre had a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic epeichette) today - it's been a great year for peckers.

17th October

Today was the famous "Journée de la Migration", an annual event organised by the LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux) whereby birders across the region stand on high places and count the migrants flying over. Thus it was another long skywatch today in the company of Isabelle and Emmanuel, with a fair number of other birders joining in now and again throughout the day.

And it wasn't bad birding at all, with higher numbers of the usual passerines going through and this excellent MERLIN (émerillon) which dashed westwards over our heads in the late morning.

14th October

Pierre had a male BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) at the cascade today - a vital year tick...

13th October
A BRAMBLING (pinson du Nord) flew around and landed on site this morning and there were good numbers of migrating WOODLARKS (lulu). A MERLIN (émerillon) flew over.

10th October

A long skywatch today with David was pretty unproductive birdwise - starting to get worried about these low numbers of all the usual species...maybe they'll turn up later.

A nice flock of 7 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) sailed over mid-afternoon.

9th October

Unusually large numbers of JACKDAWS (choucas) around today - at least 92 in all - and a flock of 55 LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) went south.

7th October

A good skywatch today with Isabelle - high-flying flocks of migrating JAYS (geai des chênes) were visible again and 3 GREAT EGRETS (grande aigrette) flew together in a line. Not as many CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) as in previous years and surprisingly no SKYLARKS (alouette des champs), but there were plenty of WOODLARKS (lulu), some COAL TITS (mésange noire) and a HAWFINCH (gros bec) amongst the flyovers.

A male MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) circled south and it was good to get another MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette) on site at the Cascade - quite a rarity here.

6th October

A MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) and a ringtail HEN HARRIER (busard St Martin) migrating south this afternoon.

2nd October

Small numbers of the usual passerines flying over this morning and interesting to see some flocks of migrating JAYS (geai des chênes) high in the sky.

12th September

3 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) flying high overhead today and 3 more late SWIFTS (martinet).

11th September

Not a lot migrating - on site were 3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris) together at the mare de Milieu, and 3 REDSTARTS (rougequeue à front-blanc) around the pond. Bird of the day was a late SWIFT (martinet noir).

9th September

Big news this morning with a MIDDLE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic mar) being very obliging near the Jean Moulin entrance.

5th September

A good skywatch this afternoon with Rémi - birds going south included this OSPREY (balbu), a flock of 17 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche), a MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux), 3 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) and a pair of early SISKINS (tarin des aulnes).

The first large flock of migrating SWALLOWS (rustique) went through and there are still, surprisingly, good numbers of SWIFTS (martinet).

Bird of the day was a rare MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette), the first in about two years.

3rd September

Excitement early morning with a flyover ORTOLAN BUNTING ! Although it wasn't that far away it could only be confirmed later by checking its calls. I do wish they would land sometimes...

1st September

Still a fair few SWIFTS (martinet) zooming around and I'm sure some are still local birds - at least one bird is still visiting a nest-cavity at the Cosmos building just opposite the park entrance.

From the cascade with Eloi today we had great views of another juvenile HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée), an obliging WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) and this HOBBY.

27th August

Excellent skywatch with David and Anne Lisbeth, star birds being this MONTAGU'S HARRIER (busard cendré) and a very close OSPREY (balbu). SWIFTS (martinet) were still moving through and a rare LITTLE EGRET (garzette) (only the 5th park record) was apparently drawn down by the look of the pond and flew very low over our heads on its way east over Fontenay.

26th August

A long skywatch today with Isabelle and Remi - SWIFTS (martinet) were back in force, almost continually on view but seemingly just hanging around rather than heading south. There were 4 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux), a couple of HONEY-BUZZARDS (bondrée) and a nice small flock of 6 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche).

25th August

No SWIFTS (martinet) at all this morning ! A couple of WHITETHROATS (grisette) and a very distant OSPREY (balbuzard) beating straight southwest over the bois de Vincennes.

24th August

A quick walk around early this morning - fewer birds than at the weekend but there was a REDSTART (rougequeue à front-blanc), a HOBBY, a couple of YELLOW WAGTAILS (printa) and this HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) which flew low over the park, harried all the way by parakeets...

21st August

Very birdy early doors at the Petite Prairie with this WRYNECK (torcol) (well-spotted by Eloi) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde). A PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) and a couple of WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) were among the other birds milling around.

5 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) and a BLACK KITE (milan noir) flew over today and the first migrating SWALLOWS (rustique) and HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) of the autumn dashed south.

18th August

This was one of only 2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) this afternoon - we were hoping for more.

A HOBBY appeared to be migrating, and small numbers of SWIFTS (martinet) were going though all day. Very few birds on site right now.

12th August

A change in the weather today - very hot, blue skies, a few clouds and hardly any wind. Did the first serious skywatch of the autumn which was pretty hard going in the afternoon heat. Very few birds around, although there were two rather distant HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) migrating, the second here for the record.

8th August

Finally saw this noisy juvenile SPARROWHAWK (épervier) that’s been mewing away each morning. A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) was on site today and another COMMON SANDPIPER (guignette) flew over before dawn.

7th August

The first COMMON SANDPIPER (chévalier guignette) of the year flew over in the early hours.

5th August

At least one COMMON TERN (sterne pierregarin) flew over just after midnight and the first PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) of the autumn was a nice surprise. The begging calls of juvenile SPARROWHAWKS (épervier) were heard coming from the bois de Bordure.

29th July

Another pretty birdless day - all very quiet at the mo. The most exciting sight for people right now is the RABBIT - left abandoned on site by some imbecile no doubt taking off on their long summer holiday.

27th July

Got up there early this morning and the first bird worth raising the bins for turned out to be a WHIMBREL (Courlis corlieu) flapping straight over towards Vincennes, quite low overhead. Well I never... 

23rd July

A rare CRESTED TIT (mésange huppée) in the Petite Prairie early this morning !

9th June

Ah, here it is, the devil in our midst...the infamous RED-EARED SLIDER TURTLE (Trachémyde à tempes rouges) that’s been reported now and again at the pond. This is definitely bad news for the various frogs and newts and we must find a way of removing it sharpish, but it won't be easy.

On the plus side this morning there were 8 MOORHEN chicks (poussins de poule d’eau) on show, all on fine form.

8th June

A now rather rare SERIN on site this morning.

4th June

Pairs of SWIFTS (martinet) flying around above the pond in the early mornings have dwindled in number these past few days but there was still some copulation going on this morning. This photo shows quite clearly the male's neck-gripping technique...

3rd June

The discretely-singing invisible REED WARBLER (effarvatte) was noted again and a GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins), presumably an unpaired male, continues to sing non-stop.

2nd June

A QUAIL (caille) and this LITTLE GREBE (grèbe castagneux) flew over just after midnight. With headphones you can hear a ghetto-blaster going on in the background while the grebe is flying over - so much for the 9pm curfew !

30th May

A rather macabre SWIFT (martinet) situation this morning at their breeding colony just outside the park in the Résidence Jean Moulin - a very dead individual was hanging down from a window pane, the poor fellow having somehow hung itself on some sticking-out wire or plastic. Interestingly birds were still continuing to sweep up to the nest site without entering the cavity and at one point two birds landed together momentarily on top of the dead bird.

Inside the park a SISKIN (tarin) flew overhead (unheard of at this time of year) and a rare MARSH WARBLER (verderolle) was singing at the Petite Prairie.

29th May

Record-shot here of a flyover GOLDEN ORIOLE (loriot) heading towards Vincennes, although it might well have dropped down and landed somewhere on site.

28th May

The first migrating QUAIL (caille des blés) was sound-recorded in the early hours and a HAWFINCH (gros bec) flew over east towards Fontenay. There were seven MOORHEN chicks visible this morning at the pond.

27th May

A distant CUCKOO was heard this morning coming from the south side, only the second time I've heard one here. Also singing unseen in the distance was a LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde), and in the afternoon a HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) flew over.

24th May

The REED WARBLER (effarvatte) was still in the Petite Prairie this morning, being difficult and singing quietly, as was a MELODIOUS WARBLER (hypolais polyglotte) in the same area.

An adult SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER (grimpereau des jardins) was feeding young ones. 

22nd May

First trip to the park in ages this morning and it all seemed desperately dull and lifeless with a grey sky, lots of wind and nothing singing.

But after a while the first REED WARBLER (effarvatte) of the year sang softly in the Petite Prairie and strange frog-like noises at the pond eventually revealed these 6 MOORHEN (poule d'eau) chicks galavanting around, good news indeed...

11th May

Rémi and Sonia were skywatching this afternoon and had 6 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée), a BLACK KITE (milan noir) and a couple of MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux).

29th April

A flyover TURTLE DOVE (tourterelle des bois) early doors but almost nothing later during a fairly long skywatch with Remi and David...

28th April

A HAWFINCH (grosbec) was on site this morning but didn't stay long. In the afternoon Florent Maupas saw and photographed a COCKATEIL (Perruche calopsite) !

27th April

A pair of GARDEN WARBLERS (fauvette des jardins) was at the Petite Prairie and SAND MARTIN (rivage) and SISKIN (tarin) flew over. In the afternoon Pierre found the second WRYNECK (torcol) of the spring near the cascade.

25th April

It’s been a good spring so far for YELLOW WAGTAILS (printa), small but higher-than-usual numbers going through every day. And today this fellow dropped down for a brief scurry around the field - here he is, trying desperately to hide in the grass.

Otherwise not a lot to report with this strong northerly still blowing. There was a JACKDAW (choucas), a couple of LINNETS and TREE PIPITS, and a few of the SWIFTS (martinet) are looking local.

24th April

The BLACK WOODPECKER (pic noir) was on site again early morning, although heard, not seen. There were two singing WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) close together, and a migrating GREEN SANDPIPER (culblanc) flying low to the north had probably landed at the pond.

23rd April

Record shot here of a rare BLACK WOODPECKER (pic noir) which was roaming around and calling in the early morning. A RING OUZEL (plastron) was also on site and a flyover LITTLE GREBE (grèbe castagneux) during the night was a good year tick.

20th April

An excellent skywatch with Laura and Remi. A very small but regular stream of passerines bounded over throughout the day, the vast majority of the PIPIT variety, although YELLOW WAGTAILS (printa) were definately moving as well. A couple of MEDITERRANEAN GULLS (mélano), incredibly high in the sky, circled around a bit before disappearing east, and great views were had of a low-flying BLACK KITE (milan noir).

Easily the best birds though were this MERLIN (the first of two today) and SHORT-TOED EAGLE (circaète), the latter gliding north in exactly the same way, at almost exactly the same hour and on almost exactly the same date as the one two years ago.

18th April

Terrible record shot here of a typically shy WRYNECK (torcol) in the Petite Prairie early doors - the singing REDSTART (rougequeue à front blanc) in the same area was much more cooperative...

A RING OUZEL (plastron) and at least 3 COOTS (foulque) had flown over in the night.

Rémi and Sonia did a skywatch in the early afternoon and had 3 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux), a BLACK KITE (milan noir), a HOBBY, a few HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) and an intriging sighting of 2 HAWFINCHES (grosbec). 

16th April

There were singing WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis), NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) and REDSTART (rouge-queue à front blanc) on site this morning, but this blasted cold northerly still blows and stuff seems generally a bit late in this year. 

This MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) flapped low overhead and 3 REDPOLLS (sizerin) flew east.

13th April

Pretty good on the hill early morning with another perched RING OUZEL (plastron) and a few flyover passerines including this WATER PIPIT (spioncelle). Unbeknownst at the time, yet another nocturnal CURLEW (courlis cendré) had flown over at about 4am.

10th April

Another RING OUZEL (plastron), a REDSTART (rougequeue à front blanc) and at least one singing NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) in the rain this morning.

8th April

A GREEN SANDPIPER (culblanc) flushed up from the pond at dawn and a WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) sang briefly. A bit later this RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) performed well, showing lots of white spotting around the head.

Star birds today were at least 2 CURLEWS (courlis cendrés) which flew over in the night, annoyingly at the same time as a passing aeroplane - and what are the chances of that these days ?

6th April

Great view of this MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) this morning.

5th April

Very cold and grim out there this morning on the hill but the birding was better than yesterday - a few PIPITS going over, 2 RING OUZELS (merle à plastron) flying north together and an excellent MERLIN (émerillon).

1st April

A COOT (foulque) and a GREEN SANDPIPER (culblanc) flew over in the night but there wasn’t a lot happening in the early morning apart from a fly-around REDPOLL (sizerin) which probably landed on site somewhere.

This was the litter-strewn scene by the pond - gives you an idea about some of the local riff-raff...

31st March

The pair of MOORHENS (poule d'eau) was there again this morning, apparently trying to build a nest in the tiny patch of reeds in the middle of the pond. However the water tap's been on these past few days and the level is slowly rising - when this happened last year the birds quickly gave up and went somewhere else.

Otherwise nothing much to say, although the first WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) of the spring was singing.

28th March

Excellent skywatch from the cascade with Remi today though we probably stayed out there too long (10 hours!) in the sun for our own good. Isabelle joined us briefly at lunchtime and Arnaud was there for a while in the late afternoon, both of them unfortunately missing the star bird, a super BLACK STORK (cigogne noire) which glided straight northeast at 13h50.

Also today were two WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche), a couple of BLACK KITES (milan noir) and a good passage of 9 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux). Actually there were really 10 MARSH HARRIERS today, but the last one was spotted afterwards from the bus-stop just outside the park, thus failing to meet the strict and very serious criteria for acceptance on the day-list.

Strangely few passerines though today....where are all the CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) ?


26th March

Record shot here of the first MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) of the spring flapping over in the early morning. Quite a few high-flying THRUSHES were migrating north but not much else.

Arnaud found a STONECHAT (traquet pâtre) later in the day, an extremely good year-tick these days, but the best birds today were surely these PINTAIL (pilet) recorded flying over in the night

25th March

A pair of MOORHENS (Poule d'eau) at the pond early morning.

24th March

Great views of 4 FIRECRESTS (triple-bandeau) milling around a sunlit tree at the cascade this morning. Nothing much migrating again apart from a few CORMORANTS, but it was a difficult, cloudless blue sky.

23rd March

A couple of photo triumphs this morning : after years and years, at last a half-decent shot of a LINNET, this one here one of 4 near the cascade at dawn, before people and dogs arrived to flush them off. And later in the morning a PIPISTRELLE BAT (Pipistrelle indéterminée) appeared and fluttered around the pond for several minutes.

Not a lot moving today although the first migrating BLACK REDSTART (rouge-queue noir) of the spring flew over, and a noisy FIELDFARE (litorne) was on site at dawn, surrounded by a cluster of silent REDWINGS (mauvis).

4th March

Excellent brief views of a WOODCOCK (bécasse des bois) today, well spotted by Remi.

27th February

3 COOTS (foulque) and a MOORHEN (poule d'eau) flew over in the early hours but the most exciting thing was this rare COMMON GULL (goeland cendré), its single yelp coming several seconds after calls from BLACK- HEADED GULLS, as if it was lagging behind and playing catch-up.

24th February

A distant flock of migrating LAPWINGS (vanneaux) this morning. 

23rd February

A few ROOKS (freux) today and singing BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tête noire) and CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce) on site. The first COOT (foulque) of the spring few over in the evening.

19th February

A sign of spring this morning with a low-flying SKYLARK (alouette des champs) heading north.