Birding Beaumonts


latest news - 2007

December 31st

A last gasp chance for Pierre to get another addition to the impressive year-list….but it was not to be.
Of interest was a flock of 150 STARLINGS perched in a single tree at the southern end of the park.

December 29th

5 MOORHENS (poules d’eau) are present right now, 2 adults and 3 immatures in advanced plumage, presumably the same birds that were fleged back in July. The small flock of around 10 TREE SPARROWS is still present along the edges of the rubbish dump.
Another (or the same?) CHIFFCHAFF was seen today.

December 28th

Pierre noted 55 BLACK HEADED GULLS, along with a singing MISTLE THRUSH (grive draine).

December 23rd

Pierre saw a CHIFFCHAFF today.

December 8th

A cold, grey, windy winter morning...hardly surprising that the 2 chiffchaffs that were heroically hanging on appear to have now left the park. A flock of 40 FIELDFARES ( litornes ) flew low and steady over the park, briefly flopping into a big bare tree before chacking off southwards. 7 SERINS and 14 TREE SPARROWS ( moineaux friquets ) fed discreetly on low ragged plants at the southern edge of the rubbish dump, occasionally flushing into the barren, brittle bushes alongside the fence. Good to see the sparrows which are pretty rare birds in the park these days, although Pierre says that several years ago they used to be far commoner in the winter months, sometimes in flocks of up to a hundred birds in 93-94.

November 24th

Incredible, major news this morning – the presumed ‘‘SIBERIAN’’ CHIFFCHAFF (phylloscopus collybita tristis) (pouillot de Sibérie) is back, looking and behaving like the same individual that wintered here earlier this year between mid-February and early April !! Pierre and I watched it fly into the reedbed in the pond at 10h15 and fly out into nearby bushes just south of it several minutes later. True to form it then proceeded to move quickly and urgently southeastbound along the bushes and trees bordering the path before we eventually lost sight of it around 10h40. Just like the last time, the bird called very often - a distinctive single plaintive ‘teep’. Lets hope it hangs around for a while….

Oh, and if there’s any chiffchaff-ID experts out there who fancy a challenge, then please come on down, (especially if you’ve got a camera)!!

Apart from all this excitement, not a great deal today. A single (usual) CHIFFCHAFF was seen at the Coffee Dome, and 7 JACKDAWS ( choucas ) flew south-west, calling at around 11h30.


Grey, bleak and bitter-cold conditions today...the only thing of note was a pale-looking BUZZARD going south at 13h30 - chased all the way by a crow.


Excellent crispy, cold, sunny morning - like a Christmas card it was up there: frost had turned the rough grassland around the pond into bunches of crunchy white spikes, and the pond itself was frozen with ice and not a moorhen in sight....where on earth do they go when this happens? An early surprise was a WOODCOCK (bécasse des bois) which had presumably been flushed by dogwalkers and bombed in low, banked and disappeared behind reeds. The year-list marches on!

A MARSH TIT was also of interest today, along with at least 2 CHIFFCHAFFS and a couple of FIRECRESTS.

November 13th

4 BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) noted this morning feeding with chaffinches. 2 ( possibly 3 ) CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce) still present.

November 10th

A single male BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noire) was a nice surprise this morning. Also of note were 2 CHIFFCHAFFS, 2 FIELDFARES, a flock of 10 SERIN and a pair of GREY WAGTAILS feeding on the muddy fringes of the pond.

November 6th

Laurent reported 2 CHIFFCHAFFS still present in the park, along with a REED BUNTING and a GREY WAGTAIL.

November 2nd

Philip Redman reported a FIRECREST and at least 5 BRAMBLING in the SE corner of the park, near the small pond. Phil also confirmed the continued presence of 3 CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce) which are still hanging on and refusing to budge - as if to defy the onset of winter.

November 1st

Nothing major to report - a few flocks still going over: finches, thrushes, SKYLARKS and 1 MEADOW PIPIT (farlouse). There are increased numbers of BRAMBLINGS (pinson du nord) in the park which continue to feed in the trees around the Dinosaur - there were at least 10 individuals today, outnumbering the accompanying CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres).

October 31st

An excellent bright, cold and sunny morning with visible migration. A small flock of BLACK-HEADED GULLS going north early morning contained a single COMMON GULL (goéland cendré). Plenty of finches on site included BRAMBLINGS, 11 SISKINS (tarins) and a single, restless COMMON REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) which flew over the Savanna on 3 occasions, as if looking for somewhere to settle. 11 ROOK also noted today - including one flock of 7 birds flying quite low and eastwards.

October 27th

Calm grey and overcast…higher numbers of GOLDCRESTS (roitelet huppé) are in the park at the moment – we had at least 5 this morning, along with crippling views of a pair of FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) at the Coffee Dome. 6 FIELDFARES (litorne) and 11 SISKINS (tarins) were noted flying southwards and single MARSH (mésange nonette) and COAL TITS (mésange noire) were unusual. At 10h30 a lone BUZZARD (buse variable) flapped it way steadily north, harrased all the way by 3 slightly smaller CARRION CROWS.

At least 3 BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) appear to have settled in the park and can be regularly found with the CHAFFINCH flock in the trees immediately surrounding the Dinosaur.

October 24th

Bloody cold out there this morning…not much active migration but good numbers of thrushes and finches moving around the site – 12 REDWING (mauvis) and 6 FIELDFARES (litorne) chacking low northwards, 3 BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) , 2 SERIN, 1 BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) and, more importantly, a single HAWFINCH (grosbec) flying restlessly over and around the Coffe Dome – looked to land somewhere around the Parc Mabille.

Also 3 ROOKS (freux) noted – all recent reports seem to be of birds flying in a westerly direction over the park towards the cemetary.

There was also a report from Philip Redman of 8 SISKINS (tarins) in the park today.

Incidentally it’s been pretty quite on the warbler front of late, with seemingly a complete halt to BLACKCAP movements – none has been seen since October 15th . However there are still a few CHIFFCHAFFS knocking around…at least 4 this morning, one of which was singing.

October 21st

More bright and crispy autumn weather – a good day for crows with a single ROOK and another large flock of JACKDAWS (choucas) (c42) high up, tumbling and swirling their way south. Interestingly at least 5 BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) are present at the site, feeding discreetly with CHAFFINCHES in 2 different sections of the park : the concrete path up to the pond from the Dinosaur, and in the stretch of woodland bordering the rue des Quatre Ruelles.

October 20th

A cold, sharp autumn morning - weak sun and cloudless blue skies. Lots of finches and thrushes about early, including 5 BRAMBLING and a REDWING. In the Northern Fields at 10h00 a flock of 30 JACKDAWS suddenly burst overhead from behind buildings and continued southwards over the park – a highly unusual sight at Beaumonts. Throughout the morning the faint dribbly calls of SKYLARKS could be heard going high overhead and 3 GOLDCRESTS near the Coffee Dome were rather unusual, suggesting a small fall overnight.

The real highlight of the day, however, was had by Pierre, scanning from the Overlook late evening and finding, amongst other things, 4 CURLEWS (courlis cendrés) flying south - the second record of this species for the park. This is an impressive grip-back for Pierre, who missed out on the single bird flying north on April 12th this year.

October 19th

Still calm….3 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrées) going south at 10h15.

October 18th

Very calm today – Pierre went twice and didn’t see much apart from a few gulls. A good report in the evening, however, of 55 LAPWINGS (vanneaux huppés) flying south in 2 separate groups at around 18h35.

October 16th

Pierre reported an almost complete lack of active migration this evening, although there are plenty of finches and thrushes on site. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly a fine HAWFINCH (grosbec cassenoyaux) which perched in trees in the south-eastern corner of the park.

October 15th

2 FIELDFARES (litorne) present in the park today, and more MISTLE THRUSHES (7 on site / 8 going south). Pierre also reported 7 SISKINS.

October 14th

Not a bad day with lots moving through: 21 SWALLOWS (hirondelle rustique) in the evening, 2 YELLOWHAMMERS (bruant jaune), 130 CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) , 60 SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) , 4 BRAMBLING (pinson du Nord) and 4 ROOK (freux). Large numbers of THRUSHES are about with 27 MISTLE THRUSH (draine) and 1 REDWING (mauvis) going south, along with high numbers of SONG THRUSH (musicienne) - 36 moving through and 30 on site.

There was also a report today by Pierre Delbove of a RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) near the rubbish dump at around 14h00.

October 13th

Pierre texted-in a COAL TIT (mésange noire) this morning – a bird infrequently seen within the park, (and I still need it !!). It’s especially interesting in view of the recent invasion of this species in northern France. The bird was found in the pines in the Northern Fields – a GOLDCREST (roitelet huppé) was there aswell.
Other stuff today : 1 FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau), 3 ROOK (freux) and 5 JACKDAWS (choucas) flying south together, a BRAMBLING, 3 LINNET, 6 REED BUNTING (bruant de roseaux) – 5 flying south and 1 present at the site, and 20+ SONG THRUSHES.

October 12th

A very good day for Pierre who was out there twice : the morning produced a good record of a WATER PIPIT (pipit spioncelle) flying low towards the south, calling persistently. Also of note were 2 LINNETS (linotte mélodieuse) and a FIELDFARE (grive litorne).

The afternoon was even better, with an excellent half hour spell around 14h30 which produced an array of smaller raptors in the area around the watertower: 1 HOBBY (faucon hobbereau), 1 MERLIN (faucon émerillon), 2 SPARROWHAWKS and 4 KESTRELS ( 3f/1m). A possible reason for this unusual spectacle might be down to an increased number of dragonflies around the site at the moment. As mentioned in earlier updates, insect-loving raptors have a peculiar affinity with Beaumonts, with regular records of HOBBY and HONEY BUZZARD and even 3 records of RED-FOOTED FALCON (faucon kobez) in recent years.

A single BRAMBLING and 3 CHIFFCHAFFS ( pouillot véloce ) were also noted this afternoon, along with 3 more migrating WOODLARKS (alouette lulu).

October 11th

A few bits and pieces for Pierre today – a male STONECHAT (tarier/traquet pâtre) in the Savanna, 2 BRAMBLINGS (pinson du nord), 7 SKYLARKS and 1 WOODLARK going south. Not many warblers about these days…only one female BLACKCAP today.

October 8th

Pierre reported a RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) this morning along with the usual southerly movers, including several SISKINS.

October 7th

A single BUZZARD was noted at midday today.

October 6th

Fantastic start to the day with 5 PENDULINE TITS (mèsange remiz or rémiz penduline) flitting about the reedbeds in the big pond (mare perchée) at first light. The birds unfortunately didn’t stay long, quickly grouping nervously, taking off high and bounding away northwards.

Lots of stuff moving through this morning with about 25 MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouse), 8 SWALLOWS (rustiques), 15 WHITE WAGTAILS (bergonerette grise), several CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres), at least 25 SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne), 30-odd SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) and 15 SISKINS (tarins des aulnes) moving southwards.

Also of interest were 3 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) flying around, low over the park, seemingly looking for somewhere land. Later, around 14:00, 2 very pale BUZZARDS (buse variable) moved south through clear hot skies.

Much later, in the fading grey evening light, Pierre watched a skein of 16 GREYLAG GEESE (oies cendrées) fly slowly southwards.

October 3rd

A notable fall of ROBINS (rougegorge) this morning – around 12 present in the park!

September 30th

Pierre was out early this morning and reported similar conditions to yesterday, with good numbers of the commoner birds. Of particular interest were 2 male REDSTARTS (rougequeue à front-blanc), 2 REDWINGS et 7 BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir).

Late morning was warm and sunny day with clear blue skies – just right for a skywatch at lunchtime! A couple of hours at the Coffee Dome with Pierre at midday produced a couple of exciting moments, notably a superb OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) high to the north which then glided slowly but surely towards us on bent wings, shooting through the blue overhead, onwards and over the Bois de Vincennes….

A little later a HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) came into view, again high up and north of the park, but somewhat less cooperative than the earlier osprey – drifting away northward after much circling. This is a rather late date for the species – there are far fewer records towards the end of the September and it becomes distinctly rare in October.

On leaving the park, on the concrete path down from the Dinosaur, an obliging FIRECREST (roitlet triple bandeau) provided lengthy close views – this area seems to be a particularly good spot to find this bird, especially in the winter months.

September 29th

Larger numbers of the commoner species moving through at the moment, with notably higher numbers of BLACKCAPS, CHIFFCHAFFS, ROBINS and THRUSHES. A flock of 5 REDWING (grive mauvis) dropped in early morning – the first of the autumn.

September 24th

A very good day for Laurent who scored another first for the park, a SHOVELER (carnard souchet) in flight - in from the NE. He also had a juvenile HOBBY (faucon hobereau) and large numbers of hirundines on passage : 120+ SWALLOWS (rustiques) including one flock of 70 birds, and 20 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenetre).

September 23rd

Nice sunny day – a midday stroll with Pierre produced a few things, notably a pair of SPARROWHAWKS displaying high up – diving, swooping and tumbling about together - seemingly having a great time…

At the south end of the park a tight flock of 9 YELLOW WAGTAILS (bergonerette printanière) squeezed overhead and a female MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) flew steadily southwards, catching a warm thermal on the dip down to the Bois de Vincennes, circling and rising high before continuing on…

Later, in the afternoon, Laurent reported a total of 40 migrating SWALLOWS, a single ROOK (corbeau freux), 2 SISKINS (tarin des aulnes) and a BUZZARD (buse variable).

September 22nd

A single female REDSTART this morning, 4 TREE and several MEADOW PIPITS going south and interestingly an early FIELDFARE (grive litorne) perched high, chacking and surveying the surroundings before eventually flying northwards.

September 21st

Pierre reported the 2nd record of SEDGE WARBLER for the park –one showing briefly in the reedbeds of the big pond late this morning.

A single TREE SPARROW and 6 BLACK REDSTARTS were also noted and, in the late evening, 11 HERRING GULLS were seen flying south.

September 20th

The park is a real magnet for HONEY BUZZARDS ( bondrée apivore ) right now – Pierre had another one this afternoon at 13h20, flying low and eventually perching in trees around the Parc Mabille.

Given my observation last Sunday (a bird flying low) , and that of Laurent’s on September 2nd (which gave the impression of having landed), we might well ask whether we are dealing with one and the same individual, rather than several different migrants??

This is not the first time that this species has been observed landing within the park and Beaumonts seems to have a curious attraction for this wonderful bird….it might have something to do with all the insects here - hobbies seem to like it here too!

By the way, Pierre also got the first RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) of the autumn today.

3 BLACK REDSTARTS and 2 SPARROWHAWKS were also noted.

September 16th

A hot day with few birds, although a nice surprise was an excellent juvenile HONEY BUZZARD circling relatively low over the Savanna at 12h30 before moving high and away southwards.

A single HOUSE MARTIN also noted.

September 15th

3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS together on the same bare tree by the small pond this morning. Also of note were a single PIED FLYCATCHER and a male REDSTART.

September 14th

The first WOODLARKS ( alouette lulu ) of the autumn were reported today by Pierre….the 3 flying southwards even dropped low over the Savanna and showed signs of wanting to land, although they didn’t – drat! Also noted were 3 BLACK REDSTARTS, a single female REDSTART and another WHINCHAT.

Incidentally the yearlist for the park now stands at 115, already surpassing the previous best of 114 ( 2005 ).

September 13th

It’s all happening! - another (or the same??) WRYNECK seen today by Pierre – the 4th record for the park. Also worthy of note was a REED WARBLER at 14h30, a male REDSTART, a TREE PIPIT and a daily total of 39 SWALLOWS ( rustiques ) moving south in dribs and drabs, the majority of which were in the afternoon.

September 12th

Great report from Pierre of a single SHORT EARED OWL ( hibou des marais ) this evening at 19h00, gradually going high and getting mobbed by 2 KESTRELS before disappearing into cloud.

One female REDSTART also noted.

September 11th

Laurent reported a single REDSTART and both SPOTTED and PIED FLYCATCHERS today.

September 10th

Excellent report of a WRYNECK today from Philip Redman – seen well, perched and preening in the scrub flanking the the eastern edge of the Coffee Dome.

September 9th

Pierre reported the first REDSTARTS ( rougequeue à front blanc ) for the autumn today – a male and a female. Also worth noting are the large numbers of BLACKCAPS ( c40 ), 1 WHITETHROAT ( grisette ), 5 WILLOW WARBLERS ( fitis ) , 1 LINNET (Linotte mélodieuse ) and a single WHINCHAT ( tarier ).

September 7th


September 6th

Good sighting of another HOBBY today, this time carrying prey and flying towards the north-east before turning southwards. 2 BLACK REDSTARTS and a YELLOW WAGTAIL were also noted.

September 5th

3 HOUSE MARTINS and a single REDSTART reported today by Philip Redman.

September 2nd

An absolute belter of a day had by Pierre and Laurent, with 2 firsts for the park!! Things started well early on with single SPOTTED and PIED FLYCATCHERS, 2 TREE PIPITS and, of much greater interest, a single TAWNY PIPIT ( pipit rousseline ) flying south at 08h35.

Later on in the morning they had the extraordinary sight of a GREAT CRESTED GREBE ( grèbe huppé ) in low flight over the park – a first for Beaumonts, and this was followed up with another ‘first’ at 10h50, a superb record of a SHORT TOED EAGLE (Circaète Jean-le-Blanc ) flying north-west.

Plenty of other birds were on the move including a HOUSE MARTIN, 16 SWALLOWS, 3 YELLOW WAGTAILS and 7 SWIFTS.

Laurent went back for more in the afternoon and got a nice HOBBY and a low juvenile HONEY BUZZARD which interestingly gave the impression of having landed at the site, although this couldn’t be confirmed.

September 1st

Another very good report today from Pierre of a calling CRESTED LARK ( cochevis huppé ) in what might possibly be considered ‘local’ flight, at 10h20. Another WHINCHAT noted, along with a PIED FLYCATCHER and large numbers ( c40 ) of BLACKCAPS.

Laurent was also there today and added a WHITETHROAT (grisette), 2 SWALLOWS and 3 SWIFTS.

August 31st

Excellent report today from Pierre of at least one BEE-EATER ( guépier d’Europe ) flying north and calling – the 2nd record for Beaumonts. Also a single PIED FLYCATCHER, 4 SWIFTS and a couple of SWALLOWS.

August 30th

Pierre has gripped me off again with 2 NUTHATCHES ( aagh, the pain )….interestingly this species is now very rarely seen in the park (unlike in the past). Also worthy of note was the second WHINCHAT ( tarier ) of the autumn, and a GOLDCREST ( roitelet huppé )

August 29th

A report from Laurent today of a HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) going south and a single SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris).

August 28th

Amazing record of a BLACK KITE (milan noir) today – seen by Philip Redman flying relatively low over the park in an easterly direction towards the cemetary. This is the first record of this long-awaited species in the park. Philip also saw a HONEY BUZZARD and a single SWIFT.

August 21st

An excellent day for Pierre who put in two sessions, one early and one at midday. Relatively quiet early on with no sign of the SEDGE WARBLER, nor of the NIGHTINGALES. A perched TREE PIPIT ( pipit des arbres ), however, was a nice find – the 1st for the autumn! 7 WHITETHROATS were noted, along with a single MELODIOUS WARBLER singing a subdued autumn sub-song.

Midday, however, really delivered the goods with 4 raptor species and an interesting passage of HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore). All the action was condensed into a period of little over an hour, kicking off with 3 KESTRELS at 14:15 and followed, just for the record, by the following observations:

14:34 – 2 HONEY BUZZARDS circling high together and gliding off south
14:38 – 3 more HONEY BUZZARDS arriving and then drifting away in the same direction, albeit in a looser, ungrouped fashion.
14:45 – a HOBBY flying slowly over the park, apparently hunting insects
14:58 – another HONEY BUZZARD – that makes 6 !!
15:32 – a SPARROWHAWK circling over the park as the characteristic calls of the juvenile birds continue to emanate from the woodland bordering the plateau (see update of Aug 16th).

Additionally there were 40+ SWIFTS and 4 HOUSE MARTINS at the site today.

August 19th

The birds that have arrived over the last few days are sticking around – lots of the same warblers seen again this morning in between the rain showers. A real point of interest is the continued presence of the SEDGE WARBLER (phragmite des joncs) found on August 13th. It was seen very well again in the same place in the Savanna at midday today, but unfortunately not relocated by Pierre and Laurent later this afternoon. Very few SWIFTS now – only about 30-odd yesterday migrating south, and none at all seen today [few individuals in the afternoon].

August 18th

An interesting day….Pierre was out birding heroically at 1st light and reaped the rewards with a TURTLE DOVE and also a WOOD WARBLER (pouillot siffleur) which is a real rarity in the park – this is only the fifth ever record for this species at Beaumonts.

A noticable fall of migrants has occurred, with larger numbers of warblers present in the park, notably blackcaps and chiffchaffs. The real hotspot right now is the bank of berry-laden bushes on the slope between the big pond and the rubbish dump. In this area warblers are leaping about all over the place – at least 2 GARDEN, 2 MELODIOUS and 3+ WILLOW warblers, along with numerous chifchaffs, blackcaps and whitethroats. The 2 NIGHTINGALES are still present in this area and have now been here for 5 days, no doubt in no hurry to leave with such an abundant food supply. Elsewhere in the park at least 3 PIED FLYCATCHERS (goubemouche noir ) were present, and a nice HOBBY was observed at midday flying SW.

August 16th

2 (yes, TWO !) NIGHTINGALES (rossignol philomèle) were in the bushes between the pond and the rubbish dump at 1st light this morning (06:35) — and were still there at 13.30...

It’s a very good time to see SPARROWHAWKS (épervier d’Europe) at the moment, with birds seen frequently flying over the woodland along the high ridge at the southwestern end of the park, just above the Parc Mabille. For several days now the calls of juvenile sparrowhawks have been heard emanating from this area almost continually throughout the day and patience inside the forest here should be rewarded with great views of birds flying restlessly around the canopy. At least two different juvenile birds have been seen recently, the last one sighted being in the close and watchful presence of an adult female. This is significant as it constitutes the first confirmed breeding record for the species within the park.

August 14th

The 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS were still present in the same area this morning, along with a single MELODIOUS WARBLER.

August 13th

The migration feel continues with a little fall this morning : plenty of warblers skulking early in the Savanna, including a surprise SEDGE WARBLER (phragmite des joncs) — a first for the park! A little later, as the sun rose higher to brighten and warm the high bushes by the Coffee Dome, birds suddenly seemed to be everywhere - several warblers and 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir), calling excitedly and hitching their wings.

August 12th

A HOBBY was seen flying nw at 11:00.

August 11th

Cool, silent, windless conditions this morning – all locked under a blanket of greyish-white, empty sky. There’s a distinctly autumnal feel about the place all of a sudden : the high trees are turning yellow and brown, soggy orange leaves litter the trails, and birds are on the move !! The first sign of autumn passage came today with a WHINCHAT (traquet tarier) flushed from bushes in the Savanna. A little later a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol philomèle) was seen briefly near the big pool, and plenty of warblers were around, including a WILLOW WARBLER, several tatty-looking (and odd-sounding) CHIFFCHAFFS, BLACKCAPS, WHITETHROATS and a fine LESSER WHITETHROAT. A small flock of tits in the woodland contained one MARSH TIT.

The apparent absence of some species is also worth mentionning : the skies this week have been largely absent of hirundines, and Pierre has only noted the odd small group of SWIFTS lingering about now and then (not in active migration). The impression is that the vast majority of the local population has already departed southwards.

Equally the absence of MELODIOUS WARBLERS (and perhaps also REED WARBLERS which were not seen today) is interesting – the species bred successfully this year, and appears to have already left the site.

August 9th

Pierre got 3 adult YELLOW LEGGED GULLS (goélands leucophées) today.

August 6th

Great observation by Pierre at around 8pm this evening of a HOBBY ( faucon hobereau ) carrying prey (most probably a bird). It came over the park from the north and continued flying, rather slowly and laboriously, southwards towards the Bois de Vincennes.

August 5th

Pierre had 2 MARSH TITS ( mesange nonette ) today in the Parc Mabille – 1st record for the year!

August 4th

Nice hot sunny day - no sign of the rail this morning, but a TURTLE DOVE ( tourterelle des bois ) was seen flying east.

August 3rd

BIG NEWS !! A WATER RAIL ( rale d’eau ) was an exciting find at the pond this evening, Pierre hearing its squeeling sounds from the reedbed and eventually seeing it flying away from the area, having been chased off by one of the juvenile moorhens. This constitutes the first record for this species in the park, although whether the bird has the courage to remain near those moorhens remains to be seen….

Something else interesting in the week was the sighting of a ROSE RINGED PARAKEET ( perruche a collier ) - seen well by Roland and his faithful dog, Rugby.

July 31st

Pierre observed a REED WARBLER feeding a juvenile at the pond today.

July 25th

Nothing much to say really – but it is July of course, the dullest month of the year by miles. Pierre and Laurent are breaking the boredom by concentrating seriously on the insects, and the park is an excellent location for them apparently – all sorts of rare butterflies and dragonflies are darting about, particularly over the water and around the reedbeds.
Talking of which, the REED WARBLERS there have almost certainly bred successfully - Pierre has noted much to-ing and fro-ing by one of them, between the reedbed and the high bushes bordering the pond. Juvenile GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS have also been noted over the past few days.

July 21st

Laurent saw a COMMON SANDPIPER ( chevalier guignette ) flying low over the pond today, although he’s written the time as 03h10 – hmmm, surely a typing error, or else we have to start asking some serious questions… [No typing error: not seen but heard while coming back home from…]

July 17th

The resident MOORHENS ( poule d’eau ) have just nested again, with 5 tiny chicks zooming and skidding about, interestingly being tended not only by the 2 adults but also the 3 big brown juveniles from the earlier clutch. Perhaps helping out the parents earns them the right to stay at the site – that’s Laurent’s theory anyway…

July 9th

More gulls again observed by Pierre, lowish numbers, but a nice selection : 7 BLACK-HEADEDS, 1 ad YELLOW-LEGGED, 1 ad LESSER BLACK-BACKED (goéland brun) and 2 HERRINGS.

July 8th

Good report by Pierre of a singing MARSH WARBLER ( rousserolle verderolle ) late evening (20h15) at the usual place in the Savanna. Also at least 5 GARDEN WARBLERS around (fauvette des jardins), including a juvenile following an adult.

July 7th

An excellent long observation by Pierre of a HONEY BUZZARD ( bondrée apivore ), probably juvenile, coming in high from the south-east, gliding west, then back again and finally off oop north. This is interesting – what the hell is a honey buzzard doing here in July? It’s the first ever record for this month and, discounting the possibility of it being a migrant, it surely must be from a nest in the not-too-distant vicinity…but where?…where??!!
Good news on the warbler front also today, Pierre noting at least 7 WHITETHROATS ( fauvette grisette ), including at least 2 juveniles, and a MELODIOUS WARBLER ( hypolaïs polyglotte ) feeding young. A LESSER WHITETHROAT ( babillarde ) and 2 WILLOW WARBLERS ( fitis ) also noted.

July 6th

More gull movements reported today by Pierre – 18 BLACK-HEADED GULLS ( mouette rieuses ), a YELLOW-LEGGED ( goéland leucophée ) and a HERRING ( goéland argenté ).

July 2nd

Early morning before work….lots of stuff singing, surprisingly, in the grey, damp and chilly weather, even a LESSER WHITETHROAT - there were at least 3 of these here a couple of days ago, so breeding has almost certainly occurred again. Unfortunately no sign of our friend the MARSH WARBLER, not seen or heard for 12 days now – would be nice to know what’s going on there….

June 20th

A GREEN SANDPIPIER ( cul blanc ) was a nice surprise flying south at 06:20…warblers all over the place, including MARSH ( verderolle ) on fine form, a brief LESSER WHITETHROAT ( babillarde ) and a couple of MELODIOUS ( polyglotte ) moving discreetly and furtively about, no doubt tending young’uns…

June 17th

Pretty good time for the big gulls right now….Pierre and Laurent are getting quite a few large gull sp ( argenteus/michahellis ) going through. Today there were 13 YELLOW LEGGED GULLS (goélands leucophées ) heading NE, along with 27 unidentifieds…

June 16th

Nice morning, in spite of the wind and drizzly rain….MARSH WARBLER ( rousserolle verderolle ) still present and giving only two big blasts of song from the bushes in the savanna. Amazingly 3 different REED WARBLERS ( rousserolle effarvatte ) singing from various points of the small reedbed in the big pond.

June 12th

A good report by Vincent Van der Bor of a LITTLE RINGED PLOVER ( petit gravelot ), seen on the deck at the big pond – what a spring for waders!

June 10th

Another migrating HONEY BUZZARD ( Bondrée apivore ) going north today, seen by Pierre.

June 8th

Another report of COMMON TERN ( sterne pierregarin ), for Pierre this time, and going south. Also more of singing MARSH WARBLER ( rouserolle verderolle ) which has been seen on several occasions recently – and also REED WARBLERS ( rousserolle effarvatte ): Pierre and Laurent reckon there are 3 birds, 2 singing males and a probable female – excellent news indeed….

June 2nd

TURTLE DOVE seen in short ‘local flight’ over the savanna by Pierre, heading for the Parc Mabille, and a COMMON GULL ( goeland cendree ) is also worth mentioning…just.

June 1st

Pierre saw two HONEY BUZZARDS ( bondrée apivore ) high up and migrating north today.

May 28th

Laurent got a COMMON TERN ( sterne piergarrin ) – flying up high out of a cloud of swifts and going gracefully east.

May 27th

Good news – a MARSH WARBLER ( rousserolle verderolle ) singing from both the reedbed and the bushes today. A LESSER WHITETHROAT ( fauvette babillarde ) was also noted, suggesting that they are hanging around and perhaps breeding, very discreetly, in the same way as they did last year.

May 24th

Fantastic observation by Pierre today of a BLACK STORK !!( cigogne noir ), circling high and sliding slowly away northwards. This is only the 2nd ever record for this species in the park and, as if that wasn’t enough, a HOBBY ( falcon hobbereau ) was also seen dashing around the southern edges of the park.

May 18th

A NIGHTINGALE ( rossingnol philomele ) was reported today by Pierre.

May 12th

What a spring so far ! 3 park ‘firsts’ within a month ( just ). The latest was scored by Pierre this afternoon – a superb record of a PURPLE HERON ( heron pourpre ) flying northbound!
Laurent got the 1st REED WARBLER ( rousserolle effarvatte ) of the year today - lets hope they breed again this year….

May 8th

A report of a singing MARSH WARBLER (Rousserolle verderolle) this morning by Maxime Zucca.

May 5th

Grim, grey, windy conditions early morning, but a GREENSHANK ( chevalier aboyeur ) was an excellent find at 08:02 on the big pond- first record for the park!! Standing in the middle of the pond, it was flushed by DT’s rather clumsy approach technique. Fortunately it circled around, calling, and landed nearby, only to be chased off definitively by an angry moorhen.

May 1st

Nice sunny weather again, and a few bits and pieces going through this morning: 1 female GOLDEN ORIOLE ( loriot d’Europe ) in flight over the trees at the southern end of the Savanna. A single JACKDAW ( choucas des tours ) from the Observatory at around 11:20 is a pretty good record, and a patch-tick for me - whoopee!
Otherwise, 2 YELLOW WAGTAIL ( bergonerette printaniere ) overhead, and 2 TREE PIPIT ( pipit des arbres ) , one of which perched briefly.
SPARROWHAWKS ( epervier d’Europe) continue to entertain the crowds with unusual floppy ‘territorial’ acrobatics high in the sky….there are at least 4 different birds around right now, and can be seen on every visit without fail.

April 29th

1 GREEN SANDPIPER ( culblanc ) flushed from the edge of the small pond early doors by DT – didn’t even get a look through the bins, blast! All the warblers are in now, singing competitively. 1 melodious, 3 garden, willows , tons of blackcaps and whitethroats, 2 lesserthroats, chiffys :-what a racket…..

April 26th

Fine male MARSH HARRIER ( busard des roseaux ) watched circling quiet low over the Savanna by Pierre this afternoon – nice one.

April 25th

One fine male GOLDEN ORIOLE (Loriot d’Europe) watched by PR this evening…gleaming in the sun it was.
MELODIOUS WARBLER (Hypolaïs polyglotte) also nailed down……this species was reported earlier in the week by Laurent Spanneut and Philip Redman.

April 14th

1st HOUSE MARTIN (Hirondelle de fenetre ) for the year, spotted and texted in by PR and LS, along with a SWIFT (Martinet noir) the same morning. Actually, concerning the swift, the timing here is of massive importance, because we could claim to have the first one for Ile-de-France — wow. Pierre spotted it at 08h00 – I’ve got the proof on my mobile phone!