Friday, 8 April 2016

Mont Ventoux

I left the Crau and headed for Mont Ventoux but decided to call in at Les Baux-de-Provence, the site is well known for Wall Creeper and Alpine Accentor in the winter but I think it is a bit late for those species, it was pretty much on the way however.
Les Baux is a beautiful walled town and worth a visit in any case. I did a complete circuit of the outer perimeter and had several Sardinian and a pair of Subalpine Warblers, my first female of the trip, but no sign of any accentors or Wall Creeper.
Subalpine Warbler - female

Les Baux-de-Provence
At Mont Ventoux I drove as far as the barrier where the road is closed, just above the village of Mont Serein and walked to the top from there, about 6km (the road is closed until 15th May). There was quite a bit of snow of the road as I got higher. I had several Ring Ousel calling in the woods but little else of note but the views were amazing.
Ring Ousel - male

I repeated the drive to Mont Serein the following morning. I soon found several parties of Citril Finch and an area with at least three singing male Woodlark. At Mont Serein there was a pair of Rock Bunting by the road side and several more groups of Citril Finch, a group of 8 was feeding on the road into the village but there were so few vehicles they were not disturbed very often. What superb birds they are, the males in vibrant green. A group of 8 Crossbill joined them briefly.
Citril Finch
From Mont Ventoux I went to Col de Lauteret, still no Snow Finch but I did see the Alpine Chamois, it was cold with still complete snow cover around the Col. The only bird seen were White Wagtails, Crag Martin and a couple of Water Pipit. 
Col de Lauteret
Col de Lauteret was the final stop on my way the to Alps near Chamonix, we owned a flat at Morillon for a dozen years and my brother has lived in the area for almost 30 so this is familiar territory and I hope to pick up some more birds for the trip there.

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