The Tarn region of the Midi-Pyrénées in South West
France is able to provide a truly rewarding holiday for those with an interest
in birds. From the tower of the cathedral in central Albi, home to peregrine
falcons, to the surrounding fields, vineyards, mountains, forests, rivers and
lakes, almost 290 species of birds have been recorded.
The bird life immediately around the gite provides interest
throughout the seasons. Looking down over a wide fertile valley it gives a
superb, almost eye-level, view of kestrels as they hover over the fields below.
In late spring the valley begins to fill with the rasping cry of corncrake as
well as the more fluid tones of golden oriole and hoopoe. Then as hay making
begins buzzards congregate in great flocks, swallows skim off the insects,
cattle egrets wander the pastures and vineyards, and pheasant chicks enjoy a
dust bath in the garden. The warm nights of May saturated with the song of
nightingales. Pure delight !
For days out exploring there are, within a 30 minute drive from the
gite, some wonderful habitats to discover. For example
The forest of Gresigne, covering over 8000 acres, and the forest
of Sivens, 1500 acres, are home to a number of birds of prey including booted
eagle, goshawk, honey buzzard and sparrowhawk.
The upper valley of the Tarn river where you may see osprey, black
and red kite, hobby, short-toed eagle, raven, sandpiper, lesser spotted
woodpecker, wood nuthatch and wryneck. Perhaps even a wallcreeper in
The Parc naturel régional du Haut-Languedoc , which covers
almost 650,000 acres. The nearest part of this Parc to the gite is known as Le
Sidobre, an enormous granite plateau of about 100 square kilometers. This
massif is cut by deep gorges and covered in heathland, lakes and woods of oak,
chestnut, birch and alder. Birds here include the black woodpecker, long-eared
owl, hen harrier and short-toed eagle.
A good source of information about the birds of the Tarn can be
found at "La Ligue pour la Protection des
Oiseaux", and the site of Oiseaux.net is also worth exploring.
We are certainly not expert in bird identification, but the birds
listed in the table below are those that we have seen around the gite and have
been able to identify to our satisfaction. However, there are a number that we
have either seen or heard that we just do not recognise; so if you were to stay
with us your advice really would be appreciated.
||Effrai des clochers
||Fauvette à tête noire
||Pinson des arbres
||Râle des genêts
||Fauvette des jardins
|Great spotted woodpecker
||Bergeronnette de Yarrell
||Caille des blés
||Grimpereau des bois
||Tourterelle des bois