This was another holiday organised by our group, and the second year, with Wildlife Provençale, a great little company.
We were based in the village of Sainte Jalle (see marker on map), staying in various gites around the village. We had breakfast in our gites, lunchtime picnic in the field and evening meal at a local restaurant in the village.
Day 1 – Baronnies
The first day was spent in the Baronnies where we had wonderful sightings of all three vulture species common to the area as well as a spectacular view of a rock thrush.
Day 2 – Camargue
In the Camargue we had brilliant views of stone curlews. We saw most of the expected birds but the highlights were the hobbies, hovering and feeding close-by, and a great reed warbler that just would not shut up. On our return, an evening walk was a magical experience with frogs croaking, bats flying under the bridge and a nightingale singing.
Day 3 – Vertoux
The next day we went to Ventoux where we joined the cycling fanatics and saw a golden eagle and a crested tit feeding their young. I was fascinated to see numerous caterpillars inside their very large cocoon; I have never seen anything like it.
Day 4 – The Crau
En route to the Crau we watched a Bonelli’s eagle feeding a chick. Little bustards kept popping up and a great spotted cuckoo obligingly rested in full view. What a sight it was when a huge flock of cattle egrets flew up from nowhere!
Day 5 – St Jalle
Needing a respite, several members of the group visited the local market while four of us joined Craig for a local walk to see and hear warblers, buntings and turtle doves. We also watched a short toed eagle circle overhead carrying a snake.
Day 6 – Vercors
The last day was spent at Vercors. Lunch was delightful, and eaten surrounded by orchids and meadow flowers while watching butterflies and a beatutiful bee-fly. Nothing, however, could match the excitement when Carol spotted the elusive wallcreeper. It was worth the hot climb and sore eyes from scanning the cliffs. I nearly missed it as I had wandered off further up the hillside.
All in all, our group counted 130 species seen plus another 14 heard. What a great holiday!