Highlight of the month was a 5-day weekend in the south of France. I was picked up at Bordeaux airport by the friends I was staying with and we immediately drove down to the Le Teich reserve on the Arcachon basin.
White Storks are very common here and there are several pairs that nest quite close to the path, allowing excellent opportunities to photograph their courtship displays in the beautiful late afternoon light.
From a birdlife point of view, March is not the ideal time to visit the south of France as the variety of species available is not particularly good. We did, however, still manage to see about 40-50 species at Le Teich so it wasn't too bad.
Shorebirds numbers at Le Teich are very dependent on the tide conditions and there wasn't a huge number present when we were there, but a couple of Snipe kept me happy by performing beautifully just in front of one of the hides.
There was a large group of cormorants, all looking resplendent in their breeding finery, resting on the pilings in one of the lagoons.
My friends had told me there had been a good variety of species visiting the feeders in their garden and I was hoping to get some good shots of their Cirl Buntings, Brambling, Green Woodpeckers, Jays, Firecrest and Marsh Tits. Unfortunately they were all a bit camera shy and didn't visit the feeders whenever I had my camera set up. The one exception was a Short-toed Treecreeper that came and landed on the tree right beside me, only 2 metres away...too close to focus! I had to wait until it had worked its way up the tree before I could take any of photos of it.
Just to rub salt into the wounds, I got an email from Miranda a couple of days after I returned to Britain, telling me that not only were their feeders busy again, but the usual suspects had been joined by a Hawfinch! C'est la vie!
At the nearby Lac du Braysson, we came across a small party of Long-tailed Tits collecting spider webs to use in building their nests.
Most of the other places we visited in the immediate environs of their house were pretty lifeless, but the excellent company and gorgeous weather more than made up for the lack of birds.
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