Wednesday, June 22, 2016

As productive as yesterday was, today was the opposite.

We headed for The Crau, a dry, desert like area just east of the Camargue. We hoped to see Little Owl, Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, Lesser Kestrel, and more.

Not to be…

The temperature was in the 80s, not a cloud in the sky, and no shade.

We arrived at the museum in town to purchase an entrance pass, got a map and headed out to the preserve. Unfortunately, the map did not have a scale on it (all of the maps we have gotten at local preserves, etc. have been very poor), and so what looked like a short stroll around the preserve became a slog of several kilometers!

Barb turned back after we realized how far around it would be, but I slogged on. But I soon realized it was a lot farther than I had figured. So I also turned back.

If it weren’t for Jackdaws, Magpies, and Kites, I wouldn’t have seen anything.

While waiting for me to return, Barb had a Lesser Kestrel. This is THE place in France to see them — the place is managed for them. Well, I have to say their management plan sucks…

After returning to the car, we drove down a short road and did find a Calandra Lark.

We left that section and headed to the nearby landfill (don’t birders go to the neatest places?) to look for Egyptian Vultures which are supposed to summer there. When we got to the landfill, there was absolutely no dumping going on, so there were no birds hanging around — let alone, vultures.

We did however, find a Crested Lark.

Crested Lark, The Crau, France, June 22, 2016

Crested Lark, The Crau, France, June 22, 2016

We decided to go over to Berre Lake, which, although highly developed, was supposed to have some bird-friendly areas. By the time we got there, the traffic was horrible, routes that we expected to take were closed for construction, and it certainly had not cooled down. So we headed back.

By the way, France has an interesting definition of two-way road!

The road to our hotel. This is what France calls a two-way road! Note the width of the car hood.

The road to our hotel. This is what France calls a two-way road! Note the width of the car hood.

This road is barely wide enough for a car and bicycle to pass each other. If you meet a car coming, someone has to pull into a driveway or off the road to get by. And we thought Swiss roads were birder unfriendly…

With all that said, the trip has been fun so far. Here are a few photos of where we stayed the last two days (and tonight). It is very rural, lots of trees and bushes, but few birds…

It was originally built in the 16th century as a priory. It has 6 acres.

Hotel du Mas de la Chapelle. Our room exterior, June 22, 2016

Hotel du Mas de la Chapelle. Our room exterior, June 22, 2016

Hotel du Mas de la Chapelle. Hotel grounds, June 22, 2016

Hotel du Mas de la Chapelle. Hotel grounds, June 22, 2016

Hotel du Mas de la Chapelle. Our room, June 22, 2016

Hotel du Mas de la Chapelle. Our room, June 22, 2016

The trip list is 73 with 56 lifers.

Tomorrow we head north.