What our guests have said about us:-
Hello, Caroline and Francis,
Attached is the promised photo of the vagrant egret we saw on September 5 in Le Camargue. Cornell University's eBird site accepted the sighting under the name "Great egret, Ardea alba (Australasian)". I believe that other authorities have made it a separate species (Ardea modesta) or a subspecies (Ardea alba modesta). Again, thanks so much for your wonderful hospitality and, particularly, for Francis' outstanding guiding, during our visit.
We hope that the work on your new house goes well this fall and winter.
Chuck and Pat Holliday

Caroline,                                                                                    17.09.2013
Please tell Francis that we were very pleased with our two days. He showed us into places we would never have found ourselves, found birds that it would have taken me weeks to find on my own. And then his choice for lunch was perfect! Stopping along the way to see the grapes start their journey to wine, patting the Camargue horses, saying hello to a burro: all superb events.
Hi to all the kitties and to Lobo.

Brentwood Bay,
BC Canada

Congenies is an ideal base for watching birds, positioned as it is on the western edge of the Camargue and only an hour away from the Cevennes National Park. Our own patch, just a step outside the front door, is also full of bird life. We have something for everyone at all times of the year.

John Dennis has kindly said I can use his bird list for the week 22nd April - 1st May 2008, see below but before that are a few photos taken by ourselves or our guests in the last couple of years.

Francis & I have been birders since childhood, both of us having come from families that were never far from a pair of 'bins'. Living in the Welsh and Scottish country sides, respectively, we both developed a love for the outdoor world and in particular the birds that we found there.

Six years ago, having moved to this beautiful area between the Cevennes mountains and the Camargue, we rediscovered the excitement of discovering new birds and new habitats, and for the last few years we have enjoyed sharing this information and showing those who come to join us where and what we have seen. Please ask if you would like to join a birding trip or would like to book Francis for a guided visit to the Camargue or surrounding areas.

In the garden we see:- Black Redstarts, Short-toed Treecreepers, Great Tits, Blackcaps, Siskins, Goldfinches, Hoopoes, Nightingales, Tawny owl, Scops owl, Golden Oriole, Storks (see photo), Flying over we have had Honey Buzzards, Short-toed Eagles, to name just a few!

This little chap spent the day with us too!

The Vaunage valley and the valley of the Vidourle river are our local home patch, walked everyday by Francis and Lobo. Here the local crops of asparagus and millet are interspersed with vine yards, olive groves and fruit trees. A network of farmers' roads cross the area making access easy and undisturbed. Crossing this winds the river. The whole area is bordered by limestone scrub covered, hills called 'Garrigue'. This combination gives many habitat types and therefore many birds. Commonly seen are:- Woodchat, Red-backed & Great southern shrikes (occasionally seen are Lesser Grey & Isabelline), Montegues harrier, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Merlin, Hobby, Sparrow Hawk, Common Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, Long legged Buzzard, Red-legged Partridge, Sardinian, Fan-tailed, Melodious, Orphean, Dartford, Spectacled & Grasshopper warblers, Corn, Cirl, Rock & Ortolan Buntings, Wood, Short toed & Crested Larks, Blackcaps, Little & Cattle Egrets, Bee-eaters, Golden Orioles and Rollers. A flock of Rosefinches and a Red-footed falcon have also been seen.

Roller Photographed by Tom Dove 26.4.07

This Short-toed Eagle with a snake in it's mouth was photographed here on the Vaunage by Spek 27.5.05.

The Camargue needs no introduction from me, the Rhone delta encompasses one of Europe's most important wet land sites and attracts many birds every year, many of then stopping on passage as they migrate back and forth. Amongst other things we have seen the following there:- Flamingos, Purple Herons, Night Herons, Great White Egrets, Squacco Heron...., the list could go on and on, so here are a few photos taken either by myself or our guests.

Little Bittern by Paul

Black-winged Stilt

Bee-eater 23.5.07
and Flamingos of course!

We are still working on the ID of this one!

Latest suggestion is a Yellow Crowned Bishop- but the one in the picture is the size of a Starling!

John Dennis' bird list for the week 22nd April-1st May 2008.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Bittern Botaurus stellaris
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Great White Egret Egretta alba
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Glossy Ibis Plegladis falcinellus
Sacred Ibis
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Pochard Aythya ferina
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
Short Toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Montague?s Harrier Circus pygargus
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni
Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus
Merlin Falco columbarius
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Quail Coturnix coturnix
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Coot Fulica atra
Common Crane Grus grus
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Curlew Numenius arquata
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Slender Billed Gull Larus genei
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus
Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
Feral Pigeon Columba livia (domest)
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius
Scops Owl Otus scops
Swift Apus apus
Alpine Swift Apus melba
Hoopoe Upupa epos
European Roller Coracias garrulus
Green Woodpecker Picus viridus
Skylark Alauda arvensis
Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Woodlark Lullula arborea
Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
Swallow Hirundo rustica
House Martin Delichon urbica
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Blue-headed Y Wagtail Motacilla flava
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Nightingale Luscinia megarhyncos
Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
Blackbird Turdus merula
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
Cetti?s Warbler Cettia cetti
Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis
Great Tit Parus major
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
Southern Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor spp
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor
Magpie Pica pica
Jay Garrulus glandarius
Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Hooded Crow Corvus corone cornix
Carrion Crow Corvus corone corone
Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Linnet Carduelis cannabina
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Serin Serinus serinus
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus
Corn Bunting Milaria calandra
Seen en route
Common Gull
Greater Black-backed Gull
Grey Wagtail
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Sandwich Tern
127 Species were seen in total with 119 seen in the Camargue
Here is my list of what I saw around Congenies:
Black Kite
Black Redstart
Carrion Crow
Cirl Bunting
Collared Dove
Collared Flycatcher
Common Buzzard
Corn Bunting
Crested Lark
Golden Oriole
Grasshopper Warbler
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Great tit
Green Woodpecker
Honey Buzzard
House Martin
House Sparrow
Lesser Grey Shrike
Melodious Warbler
Montague?s Harrier
Oriental Turtle Dove
Pied Flycatcher
Red-footed Falcon
Red-legged Partridge
Sardinian Warbler
Scops Owl
Short-toed Eagle
Southern Grey Shrike
Spectacled Warbler
Tree Pipit
Turtle Dove
Woodchat Shrike
Yellow-legged Gull
Zitting Cisticola
53 Species were seen
What a brilliant few days.
All the best Love John & Valerie

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