Foret de Rihoult Clairmarais - cool, sunny, w 2 - After dropping off the ladies in town CP and I spent the morning in the forest which was alive with bird song. Mainly Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, plus Nuthatches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, tits, Bullfinches and a host of resident woodland birds. Several Buzzards soared over the canopy while we had superb views of a Short-toed Treecreeper. The highlight though was a `reeling` Grasshopper Warbler and a `drumming` Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, both briefly seen in flight. The woodland flora was a treat, as were five sightings of Roe Deer.
Romelaere - During the afternoon we moved onto the nearby wetland reserve where more of the same warblers were noted, plus Whitethroat, Sedge and Cetti`s Warblers and White Wagtail. A single White Stork sat atop a huge stick nest, but we could find no sign of any Bluethroats in an area that formerly held a small population. Our first Cuckoo of the year put on a fine show, several Swallows flew through and a Sparrowhawk flapped over.
From the hide, overlooking a large Cormorant and Black-headed Gull colony, six nests of Little Egrets and several Mediterranean Gulls were present, plus the extraordinary sight (considering the time of year) of a flock of over 100 Jackdaws in the trees. Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Egyptian Goose, a Red-crested Pochard, Grey Heron, Common Tern and Great Crested Grebe all noted, plus quality in the form of four Little Gulls and a stunning Black Tern.
Also seen, plenty of Orange Tips, Brimstones, Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and a Musk Rat.
Another superb outing to France and many thanks to Chris for driving.