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Bird Watching France Winter Wallcreeper Tour - 4 Days

Bird Watching France Winter Wallcreeper Tour
690

Winter Wallcreeper Birding Tour in France

A 4-day winter bird watching France tour that covers some spectacular sites in the Minervois hills of southern France. Spectacular dolomitic chimneys, steep-sided gorges and vertical rock faces are home to the highly elusive Wallcreeper in the winter months. Our local knowledge and tour preparation give you an excellent chance of seeing this beautiful “butterfly” bird. Other species that migrate to lower altitudes for the colder months include Alpine accentor and we will also be looking for a number of resident Mediterranean species including Crag martin, Rock sparrow and Blue rock thrush.

Late February is also when the Great spotted cuckoo return and we know a particularly good site for these noisy and slightly comical birds. This open agricultural habitat also offers a good chance of seeing Iberian grey shrike and Stone curlew. Bonelli’s eagle is a distinct possibility as we travel through the craggy hills and some local marshes may turn up Purple swamphen and Moustached warbler together with migrating Black kite and White stork.

This tour is hosted at a delightful former wine estate. The property has been renovated to a high standard and the spacious rooms all have ensuite facilities. Each evening after enjoying an aperitif as we complete the list of birds we have seen that day, our welcoming French hosts produce wonderful home-cooked dinner in a cavernous room that was formerly the stables. All meals have a high focus on local produce.

From the moment you arrive until you leave, you can relax and enjoy excellent birding with our experienced local guide, delicious food, quality local wine. If the weather gods come up with the usual blue sky and sunshine, we will take care of the rest, providing a carefully balanced mix of some serious birding but at a relaxed pace, with some of the best bird watching France has to offer!

Alternative Tour Name: Winter Wallcreeper Weekend 2022
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival

Arrival and transfer to accommodation for welcome drinks and a presentation of the tour.

Day 2
Day 2 - Looking for Wallcreeper

We will be looking for Wallcreeper at two main sites including amongst the spectacular dolomitic chimneys at the

Cirque de Mourèze. Other species that we will keep an eye out for include: Bonelli’s eagle, Blue rock thrush, European serin, Sardinian warbler…

After a picnic lunch, we will move on to a birdwatching spot with the very different open agricultural habitat where our target species will be Great spotted cuckoo, Iberian shrike, Stone curlew, Little bustard, Little owl…

Back to our accommodation for a rest before evening drinks, the bird list and a delicious dinner.

Day 3
Day 3 - More sites for the elusive Wallcreeper

Today we will be birding around the impressive village of Minerve, perched on a rocky platform at the confluence of the Cesse and Briant rivers where we will be looking for Wallcreeper, Alpine accentor, Blue rock thrush, Crag martin and Golden eagle. Depending on how much water there is in the river we may also see Dipper (continental sp.) and Grey wagtail.

We will enjoy our picnic lunch along the Cesse river gorge on our way to Caunes Minervois where we will visit a number of sites with gorges and cliff faces that provide appropriate habitat for Wallcreeper and a range of other species. We have previously seen both Black woodpecker and Black vulture in this area.

If we have time, we might call in at the GSC site on the way back to our accommodation.

Evening drinks while we run through the bird list before dinner.

Day 4
Day 4 - Morning birding and then transfer to airport / train station for departure

Departing our accommodation after breakfast, we will bird other spots in the area (local reedbeds and/or coastal sites) before enjoying lunch in Narbonne and then heading back to the airport/train station for departure.

Wildlife species expected to see:

Our main target species for this trip is clearly the Wallcreeper! As we visit 5 or 6 sites where these shy birds are known to have overwintered in the past there is a good chance we will see one (or more) but as with all birding (and particularly with the fickle Wallcreeper) there are no guarantees.

Bonelli’s eagle, Blue rock thrush, Alpine accentor, Rock sparrow, Crag martin, Great spotted cuckoo, Iberian grey shrike, Stone curlew, Little bustard, Black kite, White stork, Purple swamphen, Crested lark, Corn bunting, White wagtail and Greater flamingo are all good possibilities.

Late February can be surprisingly warm and sunny, so we may also see some butterflies and Europe’s largest lizard, the Ocellated lizard (we know a spot where it may will be out sunning itself if there is a bit of sunshine).

What is included?

  • Transfers from/to Carcassonne airport or train station.
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 4.
  • An apéritif and wine with dinner are included.
  • All local transport and services of local tour leader and local bird guide.

What is not included?

  • Flights or train travel
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Personal medical and repatriation insurance
  • Drinks other than with meals (e.g. mid-morning coffee)
  • Personal expenses
  • Lunch on the first and last days
  • Anthing not mentioned in the "What is included"
Wildlife Reviews
4.92 stars
- based on 4  reviews
  1. Well Organised Tour
    JG04 Mar 2020
    4.83
    Overall

    Tours

    Wildlife

    Guides

    Conservation

    Location

    Value

    Well-organized, with a variety of interesting places to visit and excellent instruction.
  2. Amazing Tour with Good Planning
    AB04 Mar 2020
    4.83
    Overall

    Tours

    Wildlife

    Guides

    Conservation

    Location

    Value

    Over and above the 'luck' that comes with solid planning, there was a good crowd/fun/well-planned and executed/good food and accommodation/really lucky with the Wallcreepers.
  3. Well Planned Tour
    GE04 Dec 2020
    5
    Overall

    Tours

    Wildlife

    Guides

    Conservation

    Location

    Value

    Well-planned, well-researched, excellent meals and lodging – plus we got lucky with the weather and birds.
  4. Well Organaised
    PM03 Mar 2021
    5
    Overall

    Tours

    Wildlife

    Guides

    Conservation

    Location

    Value

    Very well-organized and professional. The sites were fascinating and well-chosen.

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Why should I book with Birding Languedoc?

• The Birding Languedoc team are multi-lingual and we live full time in the Languedoc. • Our extensive local knowledge means better birding for you. • We are a non-profit organisation working to promote and protect the local wildlife in France. • We are the only local organisation offering tours in English

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

Tour Dates Tour Availability From Price Spaces Left
25/02/2022 - 28/02/2022 available EUR 640
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4 Days

Price & Availability

From
EUR690 / per person
Single Supplement EUR 45
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Guide
Refer to Group Discount Terms
This tour is operated by: Birding Languedoc
4.92 based on 4 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.92 Based on 4 reviews
Tours
Wildlife
Guides
Conservation
Location
Value

Tour Facts

  • The Minervois hills in the Languedoc region of southern France
  • Set Departure
  • Set Departure Tour
  • Birds
  • 1 to 8px
  • 4 Days
  • November to February
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English
  • Carcassonne Airport (please enquire regarding other options and travel by train)
  • Carcassonne Airport (please enquire regarding other options and travel by train)
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