Latest News - 2014
A clear blue sky today with scattered clouds and a fresh southeasterly. Interesting skywatching all day from the Cascade with 3 HEN HARRIERS (busard St Martin) and good numbers of SKYLARKS (alouette des champs), LAPWINGS (vanneau) and GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) all moving south. Shots below of a BUZZARD (buse), one of 6 this afternoon, and a lone GREYLAG (oie cendrée) flying south with 2 CORMORANTS.
Great view (without binoculars!) of a WOODCOCK (bécasse des bois) bombing low over the Compost and on towards the cemetery this morning.
In the afternoon a flock of GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) flew over, along with a couple more YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (leucophée).The highlight though was this brilliant MERLIN (émerillon) which raced in over the flats on rue Paul Doumer and crossed the park on its way southwest towards Paris.
Finally got this half-decent pic of the blasted GREY WAGTAIL (bergeronnette des ruisseaux) which has been running tantalisingly around the cascade these last few weeks and always flown off as soon as I’ve gotten anywhere near it.
An enjoyable skywatch this afternoon with Alban and Pierre was almost devoid of birds, although a tight flock of GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) raced to the southwest and a few YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (leucophée) have started to meander over the buildings.
Visible migration all day from the Cascade, although nothing really exciting to report. Rather large numbers of SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) went over during the morning, along with fewer numbers of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres), MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux), one of which here...
A PEREGRINE flew low overhead, a COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) went north and there were 5 migrating BUZZARDS (buse).
3 BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) and about 8 SERINS are on site.
A spooky, atmospheric encounter with a TAWNY OWL (hulotte) which called at first light through thick mist, from the ivy-clad trees just above the college.
In the afternoon Pierre skywatched from the Cascade and got a late SWALLOW (rustique), a COMMON GULL (goeland cendré), 16 GREYLAGS (oie cendrée) and 20 WOODLARKS (lulu).
Above shots are of a WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche) and the first GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) of the autumn flying very high to the south in the late afternoon. Plenty of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) again today. A male RING OUZEL (merle a plastron) flew in from the north and landed somewhere, as did a small flock of HAWFINCHES (gros bec). A few SWALLOWS (rustique) are still going through.
Dull grey skies all morning and a coldish northeasterly. For some reason these were good conditions for migration and hundreds of tiny specks were piling over high overhead - what went into the notebook was probably a small fraction of what was really going on. Interestingly more WOODLARKS (lulu) were seen than SKYLARKS (alouette des champs), a WATER PIPIT (spioncelle) flew past and the first autumn flocks of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) appeared. Top draw birds were a GREAT EGRET (grande aigrette) beating northwest and a superb RED KITE (milan royal) which appeared over the watertower (harried by a crow) and moved slowly southwest over Paris.
SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne) were in every tree and bush early this morning and lots were pouring overhead through the rainclouds. Had my first BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) of the autumn and 3 HAWFINCHES (grosbec) flew over. Good skywatching in the afternoon: shots below of a flock of 7 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) and a WOODLARK (alouette lulu) which bounded over in a small flock. Also a couple of BUZZARDS (buse), 2 HEN HARRIERS (busard St Martin) and small numbers of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and SKYLARKS (alouette des champs).
Amazingly, what must be an OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (pipit a dos olive) was on site today, I can hardly believe it. A second crippler in less than a year is getting all a bit too much to bear...
It was all grim, grey and windy this morning and almost all the recent warblers seemed to have left - not even a blackcap!
It was so depressing that I hadn’t even bothered to get my camera out by the time I reached the long grasses at the far corner, when a silent pipit darted up from the ground and straight into a small tree, only about 6 metres away.
Lifting the bins I was expecting a tree pipit, but this was clearly something special: although the back, wings and tail were partially hidden, here was a classic textbook OBP with a relatively long, thick and wavy-white supercilium, richly coloured buff between eye and bill and bordered above by blackish streaks creating quite thick and dark lateral-crown stripes. The sub-moustacial was a similar rich buff, as was the breast which was heavily streaked black. There was no moustacial stripe but at the rear of the ear coverts a smudgy black area lay underneath an obvious white spot. I dared not make any move for the camera and so we stayed, me and it, routed to the spot for about a minute a so before it took off, flying ominously high and away towards Paris. It called a couple of times, a single rather thin-sounding descending note that didn’t sound quite right for a tree pipit, lacking the thick ‘zzz’ sound. It’s quite consistent with what I listened to later back home on my ‘’Eastern Vagrants’’ CD.
Still, I can’t imagine that this record (a potential first for Ile-de France) would ever be accepted since there is no photo or recording, and the back and wings were not seen well. And so, for now at least, all I have is my notebook….
Good visible migration early this morning with heaps of SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne), MEADOW PIPITS (falouse) and WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) all bounding over high to the southwest.
A STONECHAT (traquet pâtre), rather rare these days, was found at the Compost early this morning but not seen later in the day.
Not much else about; MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) have begun migrating overhead.
Nice image of this FOX (renard) sitting out on the edge of the Savanna at dawn, all peace and quiet before the workmen drove in to clear out more trees. 2 REDSTARTS (rouge queue a front blanc) are still there, but bird of the day was this surprise SHORT-EARED OWL (hibou des marais) flapping and gliding east into a brilliant sun over the rue Paul Doumer.
The so-called ‘Savanna’ (which was never really much of a savanna) is currently being totally transformed by the authorities in charge, and probably for the best - at last we might get a woodlark or a wheatear actually landing on site instead of flying on over. Anyway, those familiar with the park will not recognise the place - just check out these shots taken early this morning!
The newly cleared land seems to have had an immediate impact on the few HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) going over this weekend - all were low-flying juveniles and one of them (not this one pictured) made a spectacular long stoop down to land briefly.
Not a great deal else today apart from a few CORMORANTS and pair of very distant HEN HARRIERS (busard St Martin) moving south high in the sky and playfully dive-bombing each other en route.
At least 2 REDSTARTS (rougequeue a front blanc) are on site along with single SPOTTED and PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris et noir), and Pierre had a WHEATEAR (traquet motteux).
A WHEATEAR (traquet motteux) flew over early morning, and a PIED FLY (gobemouche noir) was in the willows at the Mare Perchée. Olivier paid a visit at midday and found a couple of WHINCHATS (tarier des pres) and a local-looking BUZZARD (buse).
Later on in the afternoon Pierre skywatched from the Cascade and had a GOSHAWK (autour), 2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) and a few SWALLOWS (rustique).
Much quieter on site today - all of yesterday’s birds (apart from the BLACKCAPS) apparently left overnight. A skywatch with Sean and Pierre in the afternoon was livened up by a distant soaring BLACK STORK (cigogne noire) at 16h20.
Quite a few raptors as well: 4 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux), a HONEY BUZZARD (bondree), a BUZZARD (buse) and, most excitingly, a pair of juvenile HEN HARRIERS (busard St Martin) which circled together before flapping off southeast towards Fontenay.
Very birdy all day with WHINCHAT (tarier des pres), 3 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir), REDSTART (rouge queue a front blanc) and several FIRECRESTS (roitlet triple bandeau) all flitting loosely around the big gang of BLACKCAPS (fauvette a tete noire).
This OSPREY (balbu) was a nice surprise during the afternoon and a SWIFT (martinet) dashed south behind one of several small groups of SWALLOWS (hirondelle rustique).
Pierre had some good birding this afternnon, particularly in and around the Petit Prairie: the star bird was WRYNECK (torcol), backed up with 4 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir), 2 REDSTARTS (rouge queue a front blanc), a WHINCHAT (tarrier des près) and a TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres).
WHINCHAT (tarier des près) and COMMON REDSTART (rougequeue à front blanc) around the Mare Perchée early this morning. A few YELLOW WAGTAILS (printa) going over.
Olivier reported WHINCHAT (tarier des près) and both SPOTTED and PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouches gris et noir) around the Petite Prairie this lunchtime. He also had a great view of a low HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) which flushed up close to the Mare Perchée and had certainly landed on site.
WHINCHAT (tarier des près) up on the treetops by the Mare Perchee early this morning.
Yesterday's WRYNECK (torcol) was still on site this morning - here it is up a tree in the Petite Prairie, probably enjoying a break from the pestering BLACKCAPS and BLUE and GREAT TITS which keep chasing off this strange-looking, unwanted guest in their midst.
Pretty good birding all day really with PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir), GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) all on site. A skywatch in the afternoon saw an OSPREY (balbu), above, heading southwest. Good numbers of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (goéland brun) were migrating along with 7 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondree), a BUZZARD (buse), 3 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) and 2 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche). And a restless CRESTED TIT (mésange huppée) should also get a mention - a very good year tick !
Changing the subject there are loads of dragonflies on site at the moment - this is a pair of mating MIGRANT HAWKERS (aeshna mixta) at the Mare Perchée, photographed yesterday.
This BUDGERIGAR (perruche ondulée) hiding high in the canopy along the entrance path behind the college was the highlight this morning - a patch tick for me.
The first flock of migrating CORMORANTS of the autumn flew over and there's now a large bunch of warblers roaming around the place early in the mornings: BLACKCAPS, CHIFFCHAFFS, one or two WHITETHROATS (grisette) and a fine MELODIOUS (polyglotte).
This BLACK STORK (cigogne noire) sailing slowly high to the southwest against the wind was the highlight this afternoon.
The few SWIFTS (martinet) going through were almost outnumbered today by a total of 6 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) gliding overhead.
WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) and WHITETHROATS (grisette) were on site, along with PIED (gobemouche noir) and SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris).
The SPOTTED one appears below, perching next to a corking BLUE HAWKER (aeshna cyanea), one of many dragonflies zooming around this morning.
Nothing much migrating in the early mornings these past few days, although this morning a frustratingly distant bunch of 6 largish and unidentified waders flew quickly east. Very few SWIFTS (martinet) at the moment but a HOBBY crossed the sky a couple of times on the lookout, eventually getting lucky and carrying it in a straight and steady path east towards Fontenay.
Bravo to Pierre who later in the day got the first MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) of the autumn, along with a couple of HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée). A NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) and a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) were on site.
Record shot here of 2 LITTLE EGRETS (aigrette garzette) flying north this morning - still quite rare in this part of town and a good year tick.
Lots more birds on site today including at least 2 WILLOW WARBLERS (fits), WHITETHROATS (grisette) and PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir).
A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) was at the Coffee Dome and a GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) was in the Savanna.
Just 2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) this afternoon, although increased numbers of SWIFTS (martinet) were passing overhead.
Brilliant view of a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER (locustelle tachetée) in the Savanna this morning. A few SAND MARTINS (hirondelle rivage) and 3 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) in the afternoon.
A rare autumn GOLDEN ORIOLE (loriot d'Europe) flew south early this morning.
Interesting skywatch with Pierre this afternoon; 3 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche), 5 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondree) and a couple of CORMORANTS all went south, along with small numbers of SWIFTS (martinet).
2 BLACK KITES (milan noir) flew south together this afternoon, high in the sky and dive-bombing each other for fun.
Annoying wind and showers all day long, although they didn't stop 4 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) going over eastwards in the early afternoon.
BLACK KITE (milan noir), HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée), GOLDEN ORIOLE (loriot) and HAWFINCH (gros bec) all flying north this morning before breakfast.
Another GOLDEN ORIOLE (loriot) this morning; a female-type flying low over the Bois de Bordure. A TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) was on site and 2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) flew over in the afternoon.
A GOLDEN ORIOLE (loriot) singing briefly at first light from trees along the entrance path behind Jean Moulin college, and a bit later a distant pair of MUTE SWANS (cygne tuberculé) flying northwest over the urban sprawl of Romainville.
This RUDDY SHELDUCK (tadorne casarca) was one of a pair flying low around the Mare Perchée early this morning. Hesitant to land in the water (probably because of me, sorry) they eventually gave up and flew back towards the Bois de Vincennes.
Small numbers of HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) continue to migrate overhead in the early mornings. 2 SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage) today looked more local though, wandering about before disappearing southwards.
First migrating HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) this morning. MELODIOUS WARBLER (polyglotte) singing at the Compost.
A WHEATEAR (traquet motteux) flew over late this morning, just ahead of the rain, eventually disappearing behind the buildings on rue Paul Doumer.
The first MELODIOUS WARBLER (polyglotte) of the spring was in the Savanna and 2 singing REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) are on site, at the Mare de Brie and the Mare Perchée. An invisible TURTLE DOVE (tourterelle des bois) sang briefly and barely audibly along the Sentier des Vergers.
One of 2 singing GARDEN WARBLERS (fauvette des jardins) here in the Savanna this morning, before all the rain arrived.
SWIFTS (martinet) arrived in force today and the first WHITETHROAT (grisette) was song-flighting around the Compost.
2 migrating TURTLE DOVES (tourterelle des bois) flew north over the Cascade.
No sign of the SEDGE WARBLER (phragmite) these past couple of days although a juvenile ROBIN (rougegorge) was scrabbling about low in the reeds this morning, briefly raising excitement levels.
For the second time since Tuesday a pair of HAWFINCHES (gros bec) has flown over the Cascade although the birds today were lower and looked more local, dropping down to land in a tree in the northern section of the park.
Otherwise empty clear blue skies - where are all the SWIFTS and SWALLOWS ?
A grey, rainy day - the SEDGE WARBLER (phragmite) is still on site and singing intermittently in the reed bed at the Mare Perchée.
A SEDGE WARBLER (phragmite) in the reeds at the Mare Perchée this morning, singing slightly.
4 RING OUZELS (merle a plastron) gathered in tall trees at the Coffee Dome, staying silently there for a long while before bursting off together high to the northeast. Two more birds arrived later from the south, including a fine male.
Two YELLOW WAGTAILS (printa), a few SWALLOWS (rustique) and a pair of HAWFINCHES (gos bec) migrated overhead.
Three RING OUZELS (merle a plastron) on site early this morning, flying about restlessly and landing in the treetops around the Mare Perchée.
WHITETHROAT (grisette) and the first GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) of the year today.
Record shot of yet another OSPREY (balbu) wheeling very high to the northeast this afternoon - they're just so common nowadays. 3 BLACK KITES (milan noir) also went over, as well as at least 3 BUZZARDS (buse).
2 male SERINS were at the recycling plant and at least 3 NIGHTINGALES (rossignol) were in the Savanna.
Grey and overcast early this morning with a strong, cold northerly. Quite a few birds were on the move including a few SWALLOWS (rustique), a couple of SWIFTS (martinet noir) and 3 RING OUZELS (merle a plastron).
This fantastic OSPREY (balbu) was a surprise, beating in low and circling around over the Cascade before being driven on north by a CARRION CROW (corneille).
RING OUZEL (merle a plastron) and singing WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) in the Savanna early morning. The first SWIFT (martinet) of the year careered around in the distance over Fontenay.
At last a half-decent pic of a YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (goéland leucophée), this one flapping low to the northeast early this morning.
Otherwise fairly empty clear skies, although small numbers of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) continue to sip overhead. Much later in the day Pierre had a TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) landing on site and the first NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) of the year singing from the Savanna.
A superb OSPREY (balbu) beat quickly low to the northeast late this afternoon under a roof of grey cloud. Plenty of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and a few SWALLOWS (rustique) also migrating, and small groups of STOCK DOVES (colombin) flew east throughout the afternoon.
A hard-to-see SEDGE WARBLER (phragmite des joncs) was singing from the dry bushy slope near the Mare de Milieu early this morning, and relocated much later by Pierre in the same area. The first TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) and HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) of the year were seen flying north.
YELLOW WAGTAILS (printa) arrived this morning, and still fair numbers of MEADOW PIPITS (falouse) sipping overhead.
In the afternoon Pierre got the first WHITETHROAT (grisette) of the year.
RING OUZEL (merle a plastron) early morning, and a group of 3 GREEN SANDPIPERS (cul-blanc) flying high through clear blue skies to the north.
A BLACK KITE (milan noir) was a surprise early doors, beating low and lazily southwest towards Paris. Later in the day Pierre had a couple of RING OUZELS (merle a plastron), and there were a few more hirundines moving north.
The first SWALLOWS (rustique) and SAND MARTINS (rivage) of the year today. During a skywatch with Pierre and Alban 2 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) went east, the first HEN HARRIER (busard St Martin) of the year flew over, and a small trickle of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) fell to the northeast throughout the afternoon.
Not many birds migrating through dull, greyish-white skies this afternoon, although a lone BLACK STORK (cigogne noire) circling over Vincennes at 15h50 made it all worthwhile.
Good birding early this morning with a fair number of SONG THRUSHES (musicienne) flying high to the north through clear skies. The first COMMON REDPOLL (sizerin) and YELLOW WAGTAIL (printa) of the year flew overhead.
This male SPARROWHAWK (épervier) appeared now and again low over the Bois de Bordure, usually pestered by marauding CARRION CROWS (corneille). BLACKCAPS (fauvette a tête noire) have suddenly arrived in force.
Here's the first of two migrating BUZZARDS (buse) seen during an afternoon skywatch with Pierre and Quentin; the second bird landed twice on site and was driven quickly away by crows.
The first MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) of the spring and a high MERLIN (émerillon) went north.
A RING OUZEL (merle a plastron) flew high to the north early this morning but fortunately did an about-turn and flew back again, landing in the Savanna. Nothing much else apart from 3 JACKDAWS (choucas).
Small bunches of PINTAIL (canard pilet) and GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) dashing north were the highlights this afternoon.
Almost nothing migrating this morning, although a male BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) dropped in briefly at the Petite Prairie.
An excellent sunny, cloudless day: these 2 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) were the highlight, circling low over the Cascade at midday before the hoards of sunbathers arrived. After the storks, though, not a huge amount happened: several BUZZARDS (buse) were seen migrating, along with a few lines of CORMORANTS and LAPWINGS(vanneau). The first SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) of the spring flew east.
Alban found a WOODLARK (lulu) on site late this afternoon near the Cascade. During a skywatch he also had 35 CORMORANTS and a BUZZARD (buse) going north.
Pierre had a RED KITE (milan royal), a BUZZARD (buse) and a PEREGRINE during a skywatch this afternoon. 3 FIELDFARES (litorne) and a REED BUNTING (brunt des roseaux) on site.
A CANADA GOOSE (bernache du Canada) flew south early this morning; not an easy bird these days...
Record-shot here of the first WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche) of the year, flying high to the northeast at 14h55.
LAPWINGS (vanneau) were moving east; several distant bunches high in the sky during the afternoon.
The first BUZZARDS (buse) appeared today (also moving east) and the first PEREGRINE (pèlerin) of the year wandered over the Bois de Vincennes.
50 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) flew north early this afternoon. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) and BLACKCAP (fauvette a tête noire) were found along the entrance path, and a fine male BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) was quietly singing at the Mare de Brie.
A CHIFFCHAFF (véloce) in full song today. BLACKCAP (fauvette a tête noire) still on site.
KESTRELS (faucon crècerelle) have been notably absent so far this year - this one dashing south this afternoon was a year-tick for me. Not much around generally today - a pair of BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) on site, and a small flock of CHAFFINCHES (pinion des arbres) flew in and landed briefly before continuing off to the north, as if on migration.
HAWFINCH (gros bec) in the Savanna this afternoon, and 2 MARSH TITS (mésange nonnette) were quite obliging in the Parc Mabille. Roland reported the MALLARDS (canard colvert) late in the afternoon.
Roland reports a HERON fishing at the Mare Perchée, and both he and Pierre saw LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) today.
Happy New Year greetings to anyone that might be reading. Today was a typically grey, dull and dreary Jan 1st. Pierre spotted a male BLACKCAP (fauvette a tete noire) which was high up in a tall tree of mistletoe, happily picking off and gulping down the big white berries.
At least 3 FIRECRESTS (triple bandeau) on site, and rather a large bunch of BLUE and GREAT TITS roaming about the Savanna.