DescriptionWith its 28 habitants per square kilometer the Auvergne is the Frances most the most unpopulated region for which reason there is lots of space for animals. You can walk, cycle and even drive for hours without meeting other people. During your hikes you will encounter deers, wild boar, beavers, pheasants, guinea fowls, foxes, coypu, hedgehogs, etc. Our region is particularly known for its many special [predatory] birds. Several birders who have become our regular guests were delighted with all bird species they could spot on and around our domaine. Below an impression of Marc Schoorl, a "birder" guest and a list of spotted birds.
Birds impressionOn and around the camping we, my daughter and me, saw a dozens of species of birds. Without perfect weather conditions and even so we were not really into bird spotting. But what is nicer than sitting in front of your tent, glass of wine in your hand, respectively a Perrier for daughter love, and we might as well munch on a regional cheese?- to enjoy the birds in front of your tent. The binoculars we lay aside along all the treat on the table. Anyway you'll wake up by some late singers, as we were there in July the spring is over. But still we heard the song thrush sing and the blackbird, which has become an urban nightingale, is also a diligent singer. And the tits are always busy, lively and cheerful noisy. We're talking about great tits, Bleu Tits and yes also the Long-tailed Tit is flying around the camping ground. For the Dutch birdwatcher it is certainly nice to, almost all day, see the black redstart – as he is a fairly common sight on the French countryside. Look, there he hopped again with his tail and do you see that? He has his beak full of flies! That means he has a nest with young birds. And the other tail whipper, the white wagtail, we saw flying by regularly.
We live in Amsterdam and there the house sparrow is almost extinct, but delicious to see them chirping around the old farmhouse. Of course the Hedge-sparrow, who is not really a sparrow, also sings its song. In the birches close to the main building of the camping are often colourful Goldfinches, watch that yellow and red, with their cheerful sounds. Sometimes we also hear the Greenfinch 'sjerpen', as we call the sound. Once on an evening just before dusk we saw, on the fence at the cars, a stonechat: beautiful! And it was that same evening that we heard the Tawny Owl, with its classic nightmarish hoew-hoew-hoew-hoew. And then later on the female's response: "kewik!".
These are all, and certainly for the birdwatcher, fairly common species. But before you get to the campground, but a stone's throw away, there's a pond. And on the day of arrival, I stood right there on my brake. What did I see flying? A Night Heron? Yes indeed a Night Heron! This didn't mean, for the non-experts among us, that a big load of bird shit had landed on the windshield, but that we really saw that very rare heron specie, the night heron heron at that pond. Of course, immediately I parked the car along the road and grabbed the binoculars. And yes: there he sits, with that beautiful white forelock of him! And further on there was another one! And: another! And a young young! Meaning they breed here as well. And yet a little further stands a great white heron, the little egret! And what flew there, that blue flash. Unbelievable, the kingfisher! that's nice ... My arrival day couldn't be better.
But the neighbourhood has more to offer. As it is always a celebration when you see the hoopoe. In the meadow or digging each other and then occasionally putting up his great crest. What a strange bird anyway! The banks of the Loire and immediate surroundings are really rich of birds. It was a long time since I saw the Lesser Grey Shrike. But here I even saw him three times. Like his great nephew, with bandits rag around his eyes, the red-backed shrike. It's a lot of noise if you simultaneously hear the Golden Oriole call and finally see him also as that beast likes hiding in the treetops. In terms of predatory birds it was not spectacular - at least what I've seen that week, with as mentioned not ideal weather conditions. It wasn't hot that week, so there were no thermals, where the big boys love to use them, because it's free. It remained with a Kestrel, some buzzards, and forth: the kite and the red kite. What else do you want? Well, a few eagles or something. Or maybe a stray vulture? Too bad. But sing-birds, plenty. And try to to tell them apart if they allow themselves to perceive not singing. I'm talking about the various Whitethroats, the Lesser Whitethroat, a few species of Sedge-warblers, and so on. Small mobile animals often call 'huwiet' as you walk: to warn one another. And just now I saw a bluethroat flying into the reeds! Such a canoe trip is absolutely fabulous. Even, and I do not like saying this, if you do not care about birds. You imagine yourself in that quiet, but definitely flowing river, Marowijne or so, at least in the tropics. The bee-eaters made us crazy, what a fussy birds, but above all what a beautiful bird. What a colours. Truly tropical. And wham, there was again a kingfisher, and a yellow wagtail. How beautiful in the deep blue sky. Further on some tern fly over us. Common terns and sure enough also a little tern, which breed close by or under the bridges. There and there on the sandy banks we find waders, but which ones? There were different species, at least the little ringed plover, but what the bigger types were ? we passed by very slow…. Sandy shores: so plenty of Sand Martins around. And hey, the stilt should also occur here. Yet the biggest surprise is the stone curlew, I was perplexed when I saw on the shingle bank, in a totally unexpected place for me, three or four copies. I had never seen one, but I knew right away that this is the stone curlew. Such an unmistakable bird. It was just before the last river bend. The end of the tour. And yes, it was about time for another glass of wine. It had been wonderful!