Coypu feeding by the roadside, La Camargue
Meanwhile, back in the present.... we're (sadly) three quarters of the way into our month in Provence; after the unseasonably warm and still conditions of my first post from here a week ago steadily ebbed away, the Mistral predictably regained its strength - only the most suicidal elements of the local avifauna would challenge these winds at their most potent, and as a result birding activity has been limited to say the least.
Still, the Mistral temporarily abated as the forecast predicted today, and a short session at La Capeliere this afternoon blew the cobwebs away under blue skies and sunshine. A small reserve situated on the eastern shore of the Etang de Vaccares (the vast central waterbody that dominates La Camargue), it nonetheless provides a neat cross-section of local habitats in one bite-size portion, including salt-steppe, reedbeds, lagoons, sandy heathland, saltmarsh, and successional scrub.
The birds were enjoyable without being particularly noteworthy, although White Storks bill-clacking and pair-bonding on the nest were a positive sign of spring.
more Black Redstarts....
In local news, a fair proportion of the Blackcaps have indeed now vacated the village (although there are more Black Redstarts than ever), and we've found a place to get pretty decent Merlot for two euros a bottle. Happy days.