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Beaumonts’ Birds — Recent reports: 2009
THORNS David
31 December 2009

December 30th
Interestingly there was another large flock of WOODPIGEONS (ramier) (200 or so) flying south late this afternoon and 2 HAWFINCHES (gros bec) flew in and landed in the trees at the Coffee Dome. Pierre also had a single ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (perruche à collier) flying past. Still at least 8 REDWINGS (mauvis) present on site.

December 28th
Pierre found a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) at the Compost and also noticed an unusually large group of 51 MAGPIES (pie bavarde) on the roof of one of the neighbouring buildings. A skywatch later in the day produced a single COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) and 320 STARLINGS (étourneau) flying southwestwards in small groups.

December 27th
Pierre reported 2 JACKDAWS (choucas) flying to the southeast of the park late this afternoon. Also of note was a group of 130 WOODPIGEONS (ramier) flying southwards.

December 26th
The GREY HERON (héron cendré) was walking on an ice covered Mare Perchée today and Pierre also found a BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) and a LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) along the Allée des Marronniers.

December 25th
A very Merry Christmas to any readers reading…
Plenty of Xmas cheer for Pierre who flushed up a WOODCOCK (becasse des bois) from the Savanna – presumably this is a wintering bird, the one seen twice in recent weeks. 4 GOLDCRESTS (roitelet huppé) were also seen today.

December 22nd
Pierre reported a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) at the Mare de Brie today, and there are still a few REDWINGS (mauvis) on site.

December 20th
During a short skywatch this afternoon Pierre saw 2 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) flying southwards, and there are quite large numbers of BLACK-HEADED GULLS (rieuse) flying rather aimlessly (but generally westwards) in loose groups over the site at the moment.

The highlight today was a super flock of 26 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) flapping eastwards high over the Bois de Vincennes to the south of the park.

December 19th
Great weather today – bitterly cold but bright and sunny with snow everywhere. Apart from the weather, some of the recent changes in the park can be seen in the photos below such as the construction of a new perimeter fence and new circular shaped ‘observatories’ that look over the Savanna.

Sentier de la Renardière - note the new fence !

the new-look Coffee Dome - quite a change from the photo taken on September 19th !

Not bad either for birds today with a pair of TREE SPARROWS at the recycling plant, although they quickly flew off eastwards over rue Paul Doumer. Nice flight views of a WOODCOCK (becasse des bois) in the Savanna which burst out of snow and flew silently away, straight and low – this was perhaps the same bird seen later in the day flying high over the cemetary.

Also worth a mention was a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) near the Mare de Brie and a pair of GREY WAGTAILS (bergeronnette des ruisseaux) flying overhead towards the town centre. 4 CORMORANTS were also noted flying overhead in a line, beating a steady path southwest.
December 12th
About 15 REDWINGS (mauvis) are still roaming around the site and both FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau) and BLACKCAP (fauvette à tete noire) were seen again today. A flock of 12 STOCK DOVES (colombin) flying east was rather unusual and a dull morning was livened up by the song of a MISTLE THRUSH (grive draine) which sang from a tree on the ridge above the Dinosaur.

December 5th
3 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (goéland brun) were seen flying over this afternoon and up to 12 REDWINGS (mauvis) were perching in the trees and bushes near the recycling plant and in the Savanna. Two BLACKCAPS were on site today ! Laurent found one of them half-heartedly singing by the rue de Quatre Ruelles entrance this afternoon.

November 28th
A FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau) and a female BLACKCAP (fauvette à tete noire) were in the Savanna this morning and there are at least 2 CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce) currently on site.

November 11th
7 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) were seen flying south today and there are still a few LAPWINGS (vanneau) moving through. A BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noire) and a FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) were on site.

November 10th
Pierre and Phil were both birding in the park today and reported more LAPWINGS (vanneau), CORMORANTS and STARLINGS (étourneau) moving south. A small flock of FIELDFARE (grive litorne) and a single JACKDAW (choucas) were also seen flying over during a skywatch, whilst a BLACKCAP (fauvette à tete noire) and 3 SISKINS (tarin) were found on site.

It was quite an interesting day for gulls with a BLACK-HEADED GULL (rieuse) perched on the watertower and a single COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) (very infrequently seen at Beaumonts) swooping low over the Northern Fields.

November 8th
A cold, dull, grey and wintery day. When I got to the Mare Perchée this afternoon I could see that Pierre was already there, skywatching from the Cascade (the high ground behind it). As soon as he noticed me below he started bellowing down : “ MOYEN-DUC ! MOYEN-DUC ! “ (LONG-EARED OWL ! LONG-EARED OWL !). In spite of my extraordinary efforts to get up there quickly (almost running at one point) it was all no use….the bird had disappeared behind the flats on rue Paul Doumer and I’d missed it by less than a minute – drat !

The owl had been flying relatively low and Pierre had only noticed it because of the odd behaviour of a small group of CARRION CROWS (corneille) which swirled tightly around the bird, harassing it terribly and forcing it away to the southeast.

Distant lines of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) continue to move south and west, and there was a notable movement of STARLINGS (étourneau) this afternoon which moved southwest in flocks of up to 65 birds. Although fewer in number there are still plenty of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) going through, as well as far fewer numbers of SKY LARKS (alouettes des champs) and MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouse).

At 15h35 a super ringtail HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) came into view high up to the northeast. The bird appeared to be in rather a hurry and beat a strong and steady path towards the park, passing quickly through the grey overhead before disappearing over the Bois de Vincennes.

November 7th
Another productive skywatch from the Cascade today with numerous long lines of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) high in sky and moving either south or west. The best bird though was an excellent RED KITE (milan royal) which appeared at 11h35 as a distant speck to the north and spent 25 minutes moving slowly southwards:

here’s a couple of “for the record” shots…

As the kite worked its way around the eastern edge of the park a small cloud of about 30 STARLINGS (étourneau) appeared to take quite an interest in this strange visitor and spent several minutes swirling around in close proximity to it.

Also of interest today was a northwesterly movement of BLACK-HEADED GULLS (rieuse) and a solitary COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) also headed in the same direction. 2 more ROOKS were seen and at 12h15 2 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) flew southwards. 2 REED BUNTINGS are on site and can be seen either at or very near the Mare Perchée.

November 6th
Pierre saw another GREYLAG GOOSE (oie cendrée) today during a skywatch and also noted higher-than-usual numbers of REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) migrating rather low and southwestwards across the park – a total of 22 birds were seen today. On site Pierre had a LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) along the Ave des Maronniers and a couple of CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce).

November 5th
A productive day for Pierre who had the first GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) of the autumn – a flock of 22 moving south at 12h25. A small bunch of 7 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) winnowed southwards at 11h35, and a female BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) was seen migrating in the same direction, landing briefly on site to take a breather en route.

2 REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) were at the Mare Perchée and there are still many ROBINS (rougegorge) on site.

October 31st
A WOODCOCK (bécasse des bois) was flushed 3 times (accidentally of course) early this morning and the first FIELDFARE (litorne) chacked low overhead and might have landed somewhere in the Savanna. Generally not many birds on site at the moment, although still a fair few ROBINS (rougegorge) around.

There was a steady trickle of SKY LARKS (alouette des champs) overhead and they easily outnumbered the CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) today. A midday skywatch was interesting for the visible migration of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) which regularly flickered across the sky in fairly large groups – here are a few of them below:

Although off the subject I really must mention a brilliant HEDGEHOG (hérisson) today which was shuffling a regular path around the forest floor with snoutfuls of dead leaves, no doubt building a nest for the winter (if that’s what they do)…

October 25th
An interesting day with migrants pouring overhead throughout the morning. The majority were CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) but there were good numbers of SKY LARKS (alouette des champs), WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise), 17 ROOKS (freux) and a nice flock of 12 WOOD LARKS (lulu). The best bird was a superb male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) which circled briefly to the north before flying steadily on southwards.

In the early morning 8 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada) flew low across the park and there were several sightings of ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche a collier) which dashed past noisily in groups of up to 25 birds. We’ve been seeing quite an increase lately in these birds which are presumably flying from and to the Bois de Vincennes (?). One of them even landed briefly on site today, spending about a minute perched atop a small tree by the Mare de Brie. Since they’ve only ever previously been seen in flight this is a major historical event, and we even have photo documentary evidence to mark the occasion !…

October 24th
A dull grey and drizzly day. A BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) was on site briefly this morning – calling incessantly from the trees just above the Dinosaur.

October 18th
Wonderfully sunny October day with clear blue skies – perfect for a few hours at the Cascade watching migrants bounding high overhead. Although most of the passerines are heading just west of southwest, little groups of STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin) and a few YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (goéland leucophée) are heading east at the moment.

You might remember me having a bit of a rant recently about all the litter currently lying all around the park and it was quite depressing this morning to see how things are getting even worse: the bloke that’s been living in the Savanna these past couple of months has now built a small house there (see pictures below), and while walking around one can find a whole host of discarded trash items including an old mattress, a sheet, a broken tape recorder, dozens of empty plastic bottles, a bagful of old mouldy socks and even bits of a motorcycle….

what the Hells’s going on at the Town Hall ??

October 17th
Small numbers of the usual migrants were moving overhead throughout the morning including a couple of BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) and several REDWINGS (mauvis), some of which were landing on site. A distant BUZZARD (buse) was given a terrible time by 4 CARRION CROWS (corneille) which harried it constantly as it tried to fly west. Later in the day, just before the rain arrived, 2 more BUZZARDS gave excellent views as they circled together in bright sunshine high over the Cascade.

Also of note today were 2 WOOD LARKS (lulu), a COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) flying east and a RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) on site in the Savanna.

October 15th
Pierre was skywatching early this morning and had small numbers of migrants passing through including 9 WOOD LARKS (lulu). A couple of BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tete noire) and REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) were on site and a few interesting things were seen in ‘local’ flight such as 3 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada), another WOOD LARK (lulu) and a COMMON REDPOLL (sizerin flammé).

The best bird today, however, was a fine BLACK WOODPECKER (pic noir) which Pierre found at the Parc Mabille. Although not too hard to find in the nearby Bois de Vincennes this bird is seldom seen at Beaumonts.

October 14th
Pierre reported an unusually large group of 500 STARLINGS (étourneau) on site today.

October 11th
Another good skywatch today from Pierre, although being much earlier in the day there weren’t any gulls about. There were plenty of SKY LARKS (alouette des champs), 2 WOOD LARKS (alouette lulu) and many WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise), MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) bounding southwards.

Pierre also found a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) on site this morning as well as a single RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) which landed in the Savanna. Also of note today was a large flock of 80 WOOD PIGEONS (ramier) by the Dinosaur.

October 10th
An excellent and memorable day for Pierre who made a long and heroic skywatch from the Cascade this afternoon and saw lots of interesting things. The undoubted highlight came in the lumbering shape of a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (goéland marin) which beat its way slowly southeastwards at 15h20 in the loose company of 15 HERRING/YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (argophées). Scarce inland, this is an uncommon bird in Ile-de-France and, not surprisingly, a first record for Beaumonts...hoorah !

It was a real GULL bonanza this afternoon with a few LESSER BLACK-BACKS (brun), 24 BLACK-HEADEDS (rieuse) and a single MEDITERRANEAN GULL (mouette mélanocéphale) heading west at 16h35.

Another good bird was a lone OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) which moved south at 15h00 and a HOBBY (hobereau) flew the same way later in the afternoon. Several HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) and a few BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) were migrating, along with a smattering of the usual passerines at this time of year, a single HAWFINCH (gros-bec) being the most notable.

October 8th
There are still large numbers of BLACKBIRDS (merle noir) on site – Philip Redman had at least 35 today along with about 15 BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tête noire) and a few CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce). A REED WARBLER (effarvatte) is still at the Mare Perchée.

October 4th
Today me and Pierre duly did our bit for the traditional annual ‘’Bird Day’’ in France when birders everywhere are out logging the migrants passing overhead. It was easy work this morning because there weren’t any, migration seemingly ‘blocked’ somehow by a vast low blanket of grim grey clouds.

October 3rd
2 GREY WAGTAILS (bergeronnette de ruisseaux) were feeding along the edges of the Mare Perchée early morning and an elusive PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir) was near the Mare de Brie. There were lots more BLACKBIRDS (merle noir) and BLUE TITS (mésange bleue) on site this morning and several MEADOW PIPITS (pipit farlouse) sipped past in little groups.

Although there were no raptors or passerines seen migrating at midday it was interesting to see a flock of 9 GOLDEN PLOVER (pluvier doré) winging southwards, high overhead.

September 30th
Pierre reported the first REDWING (grive mauvis) of the autumn this morning.

September 29th
Pierre reported 3 COMMON REDSTARTS (rougequeue à front blanc) (including one adult male) in and around the Petite Prairie this afternoon. Also in the same area was a male BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) whilst one HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) and a HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenêtre) were noted flying over.

September 27th
Athough the conditions were the same as yesterday (hot, hazy and sunny with not a cloud in sight) there was definitely more happening today. Signs of late autumn were in the air with small numbers of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres), 2 SISKINS (tarin) and a nice flock of 7 WOODLARKS (alouette lulu) all bounding over towards the southwest.

A MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) moved south and 4 BUZZARDS (buse variable) were seen, 3 of which were in the air together and moving northwards.

The highlight today was a very long and fascinating look at a PEREGRINE (pélerin) which appeared high to the north west. On first glance the bird looked rather like a strange L-shaped balloon wafting around, but this was only because it was clutching a passerine, most probably a SONG THRUSH (grive musicienne) which was hanging limply down like a large brown rag from its talons.

The bird stayed in view for some 15 minutes, circling high, idling around and occasionally dropping its prey almost on a whim, and then spiralling downwards with it and clutching it back with ease…

September 26th
The oddest thing happened this afternoon : me, Stephane Chambris and Pierre were packing up our stuff at the Cascade after a skywatch when all of a sudden we could hear a few odd sounds in the distance and then, there it was...the unmistakeable song of a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol philomèle); just a single, short burst of notes but a NIGHTINGALE all the same. None of us had ever heard one singing in autumn before and this is the latest record for the species at Beaumonts, although it’s not a particularly late record for Ile-de-France according to Pierre’s book.

The skywatch, incidentally, had been very agreable but had produced almost no birds at all - just 4 ROOKS (freux) (the first of the autumn) and a big flock of CORMORANTS (grand cormoran) for our efforts.

A COMMON REDSTART (rougequeue à front blanc) is still zipping around between the Cascade and the Petit Prairie and a pair of FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau) were in exactly the same tree along the Sentier des Vergers as they were in at exactly the same time last week…now there’s another funny thing!

September 20th
A long and interesting skywatch today from the Cascade in the company of Pierre and Laurent, although I unfortunately missed the last and best part in preference for the Man City/Man Utd match, which was live on the telly this afternoon...

The skies were extremely hazy and misty this morning but they soon cleared to reveal several raptors, most notably an impressivly large PEREGRINE (pélerin) high up to the west and a super juvenile HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) (pictured here thanks to Laurent) which flew low overhead at 15h50. 2 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) also flew over the park whilst on site there were both COMMON and BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue à front blanc et rougequeue noir) flitting around the Mare Perchée.

However the real highlight today was the incredible movements of hirundines, particularly later in the afternoon, with no less than 1068 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and 286 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) counted today – the largest ever daily counts at Beaumonts.

September 19th
For the last few weeks there’s been some bloke sleeping rough in the Savanna, which I really dont mind actually (I’ve had to sleep rough loads of times), but the mess and the litter there now is well out of order:
just check this out...

Unsurprisingly the hapless authorities in charge of the park (Dominique Voynet’s Green Party ) have done nothing about it, and continue to do nothing about all the other things that are wrong at the moment (see earlier whinges in previous reports). The conservation of an environmentally important and precious local reserve is obviously low on their priorities. One thing that’s getting worse right now is the building of small fires all around the place. Look at these photos below…

the brilliant idea has been to destroy the wooden fence at the Coffee Dome and then build a fire with the wood…


But anyrate I should really get onto the birding, and it was pretty good today - several raptors (most unidentified) drifted high overhead, the best being a great HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) which stayed in sight for some 10 minutes or so as it circled about, eventually disappearing away to the east. Lots of BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) zipped south throughout the day, sometimes in large flocks, and birds present on site included a PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir), FIRECREST (roitelet triple bandeau) and a GREY WAGTAIL (bergeronette de ruisseaux) which fed on the muddy edges of the Mare Perchée.

With significantly larger numbers of both ROBINS (rougegorge) and SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne) on site today there were constant ticking sounds coming from everywhere. The THRUSHES in particular were very visibly migrating, flopping into the berry bushes for short pit-stops before rising, rather slowly in the air in jump-jet fashion, and accelerating away southwards.

September 13th
Although 4 raptors were seen today there wasn’t much migrating – conditions were difficult with grim, grey and white skies and a stiff northerly wind. 2 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) and 2 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) went south and it was unusual to see a single GREY HERON (héron cendré) high in the sky and flapping in the same direction. A distant flock of 50 CARRION CROWS (corneille) was swirling in the wind over the buildings well to the north of the park and a flock of 45 STARLINGS (étourneau) was at the recycling plant.

September 12th
2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) were seen this morning and small numbers of TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) are flying overhead and occasionally landing on site.

A skywatch at midday in the company of Laurent, Pierre and Stephane Malignat produced 3 large raptors: a distant RINGTAIL (busard femelle à croupion blanc), a HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) and a nice adult female MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) which flew low overhead, allowing Laurent to get a nice snap with the ole camera :– here she is below…

September 10th
Pierre reported a nice male BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) in the park today. He also had a long and interesting skywatch which produced several raptors and 2 MUTE SWANS (cygne tuberculé) flying high and steadily southwards at 13h55 - only the second record for the park.

It was another good day for MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux) with a total of 5 birds moving south this afternoon, 3 of which were flying together. A HOBBY (hobereau) flying low and slowly northwards was probably a local bird, whereas another flying quickly south at 16h40 appeared to be in active migration.

September 9th
Good skywatching results again today: Pierre was at the Cascade between 13h00-15h15 and had a few interesting things migrating over, most notably a WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche) flying low over the park towards the south.

2 HONEY-BUZZARDS (bondrée), 2 HOBBIES (hobereau) and a large group of 56 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) were also noted moving through. An excellent PEREGRINE (faucon pèlerin) moving southeast at 14h50 might possibly have been a local bird – word has it that they’re breeding somewhere in or around Paris.

Pierre also reported a PIED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche noir), still on site around the Petite Prairie.

September 8th
A GREY HERON (héron cendré) has been appearing at the Mare Perchée quite regularly over recent days. Although more wary than the bird that used to be seen fishing daily in the pond, this bird is often perched atop a nearby tree, apparently just watching what’s going on.

Pierre had 2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) at the Cascade along with the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER still in the Savanna. A skywatch failed to reach the dizzy heights of last Sunday, although Pierre still saw a BUZZARD (buse variable), a HOBBY (hobereau) and a large group of 43 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée).

Roland tells us that the FOX (renard) has been seen again recently and that several people have observed a SQUIRREL (écureuil) in the park.

September 6th
Excellent skywatching conditions today: hot and sunny, not much heat haze, lots of small fluffy white clouds and a southerly breeze. Me and Pierre were at the Cascade between 12h20 and 15h55, during which time 18 big raptors drifted overhead, the highlight being a lone OSPREY (balbuzard pêcheur) which sailed slowly southwards through the blue. 5 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux), 6 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée) and 5 BUZZARDS (buse variable) made up the numbers.

Another surprise today was seeing a few SWIFTS (martinet noir) still going through – a rather late date. A loose group of some 15 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenetre) appear to be flying around in local flight whereas 5 SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage) racing low over the park were clearly migrating. In the Savanna the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) is still present.

Pierre capped his day off nicely with a great balcony tick chez lui - 2 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) circling southwards at 17h20 !

September 5th
The highlight today was a CRESTED TIT (mésange huppée) which moved restlessly across the Savanna late morning, calling constantly. Although fairly easily seen in the nearby Bois de Vincennes it’s a real rarity here with less than 5 records.

Lots of the commoner warblers are still present on site and can be seen at times roaming around in a loose flock. Both SPOTTED (gobemouche gris) and PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) were present behind the Mare de Milieu this morning and a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) was seen well nearby at the Coffee Dome.

It was a good day for raptor passage with a single HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée), a HOBBY (hobereau) and 4 MARSH HARRIERS (busard de roseaux) all moving south, 3 of them spending many minutes circling together overhead.

August 30th
Warblers were all over the place this morning - at least 20 BLACKCAPS (fauvette à tête noire), 3 WHITETHROATS (grisette) , 8 CHIFFCHAFFS (véloce) and a WILLOW WARBLER (fitis), plus 2 REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) at the Mare Perchée. A juvenile BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) was found behind the Mare de Mileu where the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) is still present.

A surprise in the same area was a super view of a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol). The bird darted into a low bush to grab what was probably a tasty-looking caterpillar which dangled from its beak as the bird sprinted away, looking very self-satisfied.

At least 3 FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau) were seen this afternoon in the tops of the trees above the Dinosaur. A skywatch was productive with another 6 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée), 9 SWIFTS (martinet noir) and a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) all migrating southwards.

August 29th
A good day for raptors with 6 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée), 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable) and a HOBBY (hobbereau) seen during a skywatch between 12h50-16h40. The last HONEY BUZZARD, a rather dark juvenile, zoomed in very low over the Mare Perchée and must have landed somewhere on site, reappearing some 15 minutes later over the trees along the rue de Quatre Ruelles.

August 23rd
A hot, sunny day with a much appreciated south-easterly breeze. Another HONEY BUZZARD (bondrée) and a fine male MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) were seen migrating south during a skywatch. 22 SWIFTS (martinet noir) were also noted.

August 22nd
A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) was present this morning in the tall flimsy bare trees behind the Mare de Mileu and a male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) was seen in the same area. A little later at 13h30 the first WHINCHAT (traquet tarier) of the year was found at the Cascade.

Quite a few SWIFTS (martinet noir) are still passing steadily through, and 3 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) and a BUZZARD (buse variable) were seen during a skywatch at midday.

August 18th
A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris), a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) and a solitary SWIFT (martinet noir) were reported today by Philip Redman.

August 16th
A very rare early start, arriving at the Mare Perchée in darkness to get the daybreak ambiance. In the half-light, at 05h58, a SONG THRUSH (grive musicienne) sang briefly and a few moments later 2 NIGHTINGALES (rossignol), presumably yesterday’s birds, began calling from the row of small trees which divides the Petite Prairie and the Mare Perchée, although they remained frustratingly out of sight.

Moments later a nice HOBBY (faucon hobereau) wandered in watery light across the park and disappeared behind the flats on rue Paul Doumer. 7 SWIFTS (martinet noir) flew around in local flight and a LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic epeichette), the first in a long while, called briefly near the recycling plant.

2 WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) were on site this morning, and STARLING (étourneau) numbers continue to rise – there was a group of 25 this morning on the Northern Fields.

August 15th
Another very hot day – heat haze and a lack of clouds made skywatching difficult. Not much to report apart from a GREY WAGTAIL (bergeronnette des ruisseaux) which flew briefly around the pond. Small numbers of SWIFTS (martinet noir), around 30 birds in total, appeared to be migrating overhead and a loose group of about 15 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenetre) moved south-westwards.

In the evening Pierre reported 2 NIGHTINGALES (rossignol) in the bushes between the Compost and the Petite Prairie.

August 14th
2 PIED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche noir) were darting silently around the tops of the trees above the Dinosaur this afternoon – a pleasing sign that autumn migration is really underway at last. A single BARN SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée) was seen moving south, along with about 17 SWIFTS (martinet noir). Up to 4 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenetre) are flying around in local flight to the north of the park.

Much later in the evening Pierre reported a single WOOD WARBLER (pouillot siffleur) at the Mare de Brie – a rare bird at Beaumonts !

August 13th
Pierre had another HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée) today, a bird moving south at 14h40. 3 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) were on site along with a small group of 11 STARLINGS (étourneau) which have been very thin on the ground lately.

The highlight though was another significant summer-sighting of HAWFINCH (gros-bec) – Pierre had 1 (possibly 2) birds going northwards. Following the observation of a pair at the Mare Perchée on June 1st, this is further indication that birds might have bred in or near the park.

August 12th
A good report today from Pierre of a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) at the Mare de Brie. From the Cascade several SWIFTS (martinet noir), a HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenetre) and a single HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée) were all seen migrating southwards.

August 11th
Pierre saw the PEREGRINE (faucon pèlerin) again today as it circled to the south of the park. Small numbers of hirundines appeared to be present on site whereas others looked to be in active migration. It was a good day for raptors with a juvenile HOBBY (faucon hobereau), a BUZZARD (buse variable) and a HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée) all noted during a skywatch from the Cascade between 14h30 – 16h30.

August 10th
Pierre was skywatching at midday and had a single HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) moving south at 14h35. Also noted migrating were 49 SWIFTS (martinet noir) and 7 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre).

August 9th
Pierre saw a HONEY-BUZZARD (bondrée apivore) moving south-east at 18h55 and also noted 7 SWIFTS (martinet noir) and a WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) this evening.

August 5th
Although the vast majority of SWIFTS (martinet noir) left the area in the third week of July there have nevertheless been small numbers seen every day since, and Pierre counted 19 over the site this evening along with a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) rushing southwards. A BARN SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée) and REED WARBLER (effarvatte) were also noted.

August 1st
Interesting observation of 2 tatty-looking SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (gobemouche gris) in the tops of the tall bare trees behind the Mare de Milieu this morning. Unusually the birds were inactive - perched almost motionless for a few minutes and calling incessantly (seemingly to each other), before suddenly darting into life and flying away towards the football pitch.

Also of interest were 2 WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) flying low overhead to the southeast and, at first light, a solitary GREY HERON (héron cendré) which leapt from the edge of the Mare Perchée.

July 29th
The recent large swarms of SWIFTS (martinet noir) have now left the area and the skies seemed curiously empty this evening – only about 15 birds were seen. However 3 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) were particularly attracted to the Mare Perchée and they spent many minutes meandering acrobatically over the pond. Unlike the SWIFTS (which race down in straight lines, lightly skimming the surface to drink) these birds were lolloping slowly down over the water, doubling back to slow themselves down even further, and then ducking their heads down under the surface before shaking quickly away.

July 26th
— P. Delbove reported at least 2 juvenile SPARROWHAWKS (épervier d’Europe) today, consolidating the recent good news…
Quite a good day for hirundines with a small group of 6 HOUSE MARTINS (hirondelle de fenêtre) and 3 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée), whilst a juvenile GREEN WOODPECKER (pic vert) on site confirms successful breeding this year. And meanwhile the MOORHENS (poule d’eau) continue to fight out The Battle of Mare Perchée…

July 25th
A hot sunny day at the end of July – surely a totally hopeless date in the birding calendar. A huge shock then to find a solitary CORN BUNTING (bruant proyer) breezing loudly overhead at midday, bounding high and southwards towards the Bois de Vincennes. Rarely seen at Beaumonts, this is a patch tick for yours truly !!

Not much else apart from a couple of CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) which are discreet and seldomly seen during the summer. A GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) sung briefly in the Savanna and a single HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenêtre) flew over the Mare Perchée – sadly rather a rarity these days…

July 24th
Pierre was birding the park this evening and reported a massive fight between 5 adult MOORHENS (poule d’eau) at the Mare Perchée. This is probably a sign that a pair are trying to breed again, and with fewer people and dogs around in August they might stand a better chance this time around.

July 23rd
Breeding success again for the SPARROWHAWKS (epervier d’Europe) for the third consecutive year ! Yves Fleury-Collet has observed them every day this week in the ‘bois du bordure’, where at least one noisy juvenile is flying around restlessly near the nest in the company of both adults.

July 10th
Hats off to the pair of REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) which has bred successfully again at the Mare Perchée – Pierre witnessed an adult feeding a juvenile there this evening.

July 5th
Another sighting of a PEREGRINE (faucon pelerin) this afternoon ! The bird glided in from the west at 15h45, moved around aimlessly for 5 minutes or so, gaining height as it went, and eventually disappeared away to the north.

July 4th
Nice hot sunny day with few people about. Best bird was a WILLOW WARBLER which was regularly visiting the high willows (what else?) in the Mare Perchée, singing off and on. The LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) is still about but was singing far less frequently this morning. At least 2 REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) are at the Mare Perchée and in the Savanna WHITETHROATS (grisette) are feeding several scruffy-looking juveniles which beg noisily for food.

In spite of all these warblers, though, the impression is that there are fewer of them compared to last summer. Numbers of GARDEN WARBLERS (fauvette des jardin), WHITETHROATS (grisette) and MELODIOUS WARBLERS (hypolais) all seem to be down on last year…

In the evening Pierre saw a female BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) at the Mare de Brie. Incidentally there is no sign of the MOORHEN chicks (poussins poule d’eau) that were present there 10 days ago and it would seem that they have sadly gone the same way as the Mallard ducklings. Both adult birds, however, were present at the Mare Perchée today.

June 21st
Both WHITETHROAT (grisette) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) were still singing away today. Not a squeek out of the MELODIOUS (hippolais) or GARDEN (fauvette des jardins) WARBLERS though; they both appeared to stop singing a couple of weeks ago.

The closing seconds of a female SPARROWHAWK’S (epervier d’Europe) stoop for prey was witnessed today from the Cascade. The bird plunged down like a thunderbolt from the heavens, legs dangling, and burst into the bushes by the Mare Perchee, scattering the local HOUSE SPARROWS (moineau domestique) which proceeded to chirp victoriously for several moments as the hawk left empty-handed.

June 13th
Pierre and Laurent confirmed successful breeding by the pair of MOORHENS (poule d’eau) at the Mare de Brie today, noting at least 4 tiny black chicks struggling to move around the reedbed. Not much else apart from some nice DRAGONFLIES (libellules). The male LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) continues to sing.

June 12th
Both adult MALLARDS (canard colvert) were observed back at the Mare Perchée this evening although unfortunately there is still no sign of their offspring. According to Pierre both birds appeared quite at home there again, so they might even be contemplating having another go !

June 5th
I’m sorry, dear reader, to bring yet more woe and bad tidings but the family of MALLARDS (canard colvert) has completely disappeared from the Mare Perchée – the female and the 8 ducklings haven’t been seen by anyone since May 26th. One hopes that they’re just tucked up tight somewhere in the reedbed, but this is highly unlikely and the chances are they’ve been killed or captured. Their absence seems to have somehow crystallised the recent anger and general malaise among the few that seem to care about the place – I doubt that the ‘environmentalists’ in charge of the park are very much bothered...

June 1st
Isn’t the stupidity of one’s fellow human beings depressing sometimes? Take today for example: me and Alain Bloquet discovered that some moron has gone and picked one of the park’s very few PYRAMIDAL ORCHIDS (Orchis pyramidal), taking the flower and leaving the stems and leaves uprooted. Here are a couple of Alain’s ‘before and after’ photos to record the moment :

below : last week

below : today

Peoples’ uncivil behaviour is something we unfortunately have to witness every day : a majority of dog-owners believe that the park’s rules do not apply to them and will let their animals run around freely, frightening children, fouling the paths and charging around in the Mare Perchée causing havoc for the breeding MALLARDS (canard colvert), MOORHENS (poule d’eau) and REED WARBLERS (effarvatte). So-called ‘educated’ young parents will bring their children out to collect tadpoles (tetards) in jam-jars and now, after 2-3 weeks of this, there are simply none left in the pond. In autumn, folk will come and load up shopping bags full of wild berries to make a nice cake with, and in spring the colourful slopes are quickly depleted by people walking round with armfuls of flowers to decorate their houses. As J.D. Salinger once remarked, it feels like sinking to the bottom of the ocean…

What beggars belief in all this is that the political party in charge is Dominique Voynet’s Green Party. Yes, you heard me right, the GREENS !! – those people who care about the environment and stuff. The richness and diversity of this tiny park’s wildlife is all the more precious and fragile because it’s surrounded by housing – and it’s protection needs to be taken seriously. Why aren’t there any park wardens here, especially in the crucial months of spring and early summer, when many other parks have them? Why is there not at least a half-decent sign up anywhere? Dominique – if you’re reading this, please please do something !!

So, what was good about today? Well, it was nice and sunny, good for getting a suntan, and 3 HONEY BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) migrated over at widely spaced intervals. Also putting in an appearance was the infamous PEREGRINE (faucon pèlerin) which appeared high up over Vincennes at 12h00 and glided very slowly, without a flap, all the way over the watertower and out towards Romainville. The real highlight though was a pair of HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) which flew in to the Mare Perchée and perched there briefly, as if wanting to bathe in the shallows with the few HOUSE SPARROWS (moineau domestique) there. Were it not for the arrival of tadpole-collectors, they probably would have done !

May 26th

Rather sad news to report on the MALLARD (carnard colvert) front – there were just 8 ducklings at the Mare Perchée this evening, so we appear to have lost another one.

From the Cascade a distant HOBBY (faucon hobereau) was seen winging northwards behind the flats.

May 24th

A very hot, cloudless and hazy day with no birds. It’s amazing how fast the MALLARD (canard colvert) ducklings are growing – they actually look like small ducks now and bear little resemblance to those tiny fluffy balls that were skimming over the water just 22 days ago…

The LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) continues to sing all day and roam around all over the place. It’s my feeling (so probably wrong) that the bird hasn’t found a female and probably wont breed, so different is its behaviour this year; usually this species stops singing fairly soon after its arrival in the park and becomes very difficult to find by the third week in May.

May 23rd

Another sighting of the PEREGRINE (faucon pèlerin) today ! Pierre watched it fly in from the west at 16h10, glide around for a while and then disappear away to the south.

May 21st
A hot and humid day looked promising for raptors although a long, arduous skywatch in the midday heat didn’t produce much. The highlight was a super female HONEY BUZZARD (bondree) which drifted low over the park at 16h10 and away to the northeast.

May 20th

Olivier Laporte and Laurent Bloquet reported 2 singing REED WARBLERS (effarvatte) at the Mare Perchée today. The LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) is still present, along with MELODIOUS WARBLER (hypolais) and 3 WHITETHROATS (grisette).

May 14th

Yet another dull, windy day with showers – huge banks of grey cloud racing overhead. A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (gobemouche gris) was at the Mare de Brie this morning where a pair of MOORHENS (poule d’eau) appear to be discreetly nesting. Nearby an adult LONG-TAILED TIT (mésange a longue queue) was feeding fledglings in the bushes by the Danton entrance and just outside the park, on the edge of the cemetary on rue Galilee, interesting to see a TREE SPARROW (moineau friquet) carrying food to a nest.

May 13th

A good report from Pierre Delbove of a WRYNECK (torcol) today in the Savanna. The bird flew up from the ground and onto a bush where it showed nicely for several seconds before flying off...might still be on site somewhere?

May 10th

A good day for watching raptors from the Cascade with birds moving in various directions and appearing to be more in ‘local flight’ than actively migrating. The exception was the arrival of 2 HONEY-BUZZARDS (bondrée apivore) at 14h45, the first seen so far this year, which came in from the south and moved slowly but purposefully northeastwards.

Amazingly another BLACK KITE (milan noir) was seen along with 4 BUZZARDS (buse variable) and an UNIDENTIFIED HARRIER (busard indéterminé) which, like most of the birds today, drifted away to the south.

A REED WARBLER, probably yesterday’s bird, is now singing very discreetly at the Mare Perchée.

May 9th

The first REED WARBLER (rousserolle effarvatte) of the year was seen and heard early this morning at the Mare de Brie. Also seen well here was the NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) which flew in and perched low in the bushes before flying down to bathe at the water’s edge.

A pair of BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) was seen and heard frequently this morning and a GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) was nest-building in the Savanna. Nearby the pair of LONG-TAILED TITS (mésange a longue queue) was still busy at their nest ; both birds seem to roam widely around the site and were seen a little later at the Mare Perchée looking completely drenched and dishevelled after having taken a bath.

May 8th

Yippee - yet another bank-holiday in France ! Ah it’s a tough life here you know, birding when you could be working…

At about 12h40 I was joined at the Cascade by Philip Redman and then shortly afterwards by Pierre but in spite of 3 pairs of eyes there seemed to be nothing much in the way of active migration. Philip’s legendry mystical powers to draw in KITES (milans) to Beaumonts proved invaluable today because at 15h30 Pierre spotted 3 superb BLACK KITES (milan noir) flying steadily in from the west and the birds remained in view for 20 minutes or so as they made their way slowly away to the southeast. Ironically Phil had left just a tad early to witness the spectacle…

A little later at 16h15 2 HOBBIES (faucon hobereau) roamed around over the Bois de Vincennes and a MELODIOUS WARBLER (polyglotte) was very obliging near the Cascade as it sung for territory. At the Mare Perchée the duck MALLARD (canard colvert) was chaparoning her 9 ducklings around in a much more confident fashion and they are now feeding quite boldly around the edges of the pond.

Earlier in the morning the NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) had performed superbly well as it sung from an exposed perch halfway up a tree near the Danton entrance.

May 7th
An incredible day for Pierre with lots of interesting things, most notably a BLACK STORK !! (cigogne noir) circling high over the site at 15h10. Also of note during a long skywatch were a BUZZARD (buse variable) at 13h30 and a MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) at 15h00. What is presumably the same PEREGRINE that’s been seen 3 times recently made another appearance at 15h20, flying in from the southwest and then away to the south.

The family of MALLARDS are doing well although a duckling might be missing…there were 9 of them today swimming frenetically around both of the proud parents.

There were bigger numbers of SWIFTS (martinet noir) around today (about 150 or so) and both WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) continue to sing often throughout the day.

May 6th

A rather gruesome tale was told today by Olivier Laporte who was out birding in the park this afternoon ; he observed a SPARROWHAWK (épervier d’Europe) hunting down a STARLING (étourneau) in flight, decapitating the poor fellow, and then dropping the remains by the Mare Perchée - quel horreur !

Olivier confirmed the continued presence of the singing NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) and LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) on site, and there are now 2 MELODIOUS WARBLERS (hippolais polyglotte).

May 4th

Absolutely nothing during a late evening skywatch. Good news, however, on the MALLARD front – there are in fact 10 ! (not 7) ducklings following the female around the Mare Perchée.

May 3rd

The sky was completely covered by cloud today and although there were plenty of hirundines around there was nothing that looked like it was really going anywhere apart from a HOBBY (faucon hobereau), which dashed northwestwards at 14h05.
The star bird today was a fine PEREGRINE (faucon pélerin) which is quite possibly the same bird that was seen on March 27th. It behaved in almost identical fashion, appearing to the south of the park at 13h55 and just idling around, circling lazily as if just having a look. It reappeared a little later at 14h20 and was far more entertaining, shifting into attack mode and beating its wings forcefully before engaging in long but ultimately unsuccessful stoops for prey. Lets hope this fella sticks around a while !

May 2nd

You might remember me mentioning recently that only drake MALLARDS (canard colvert) were appearing daily at the Mare Perchée. Well it turns out the female was hiding there all along, tucked up in the reedbed and tending a nest because she reappeared this afternoon, rather nervously chaperoning 7 tiny ducklings which were jerkily scooting all around her in a little bunch. Our congratulations go to the family…
Amazingly there were yet more WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) today, this time 2 birds which sailed in slowly from the east at 13h20, circled over the Bois de Vincennes and disappeared away to the southwest.

May 1st

Lovely hot and sunny start to May. 3 more BUZZARDS (buse variable) flew overhead today but the real surprise was an excellent WHITE STORK (cigogne blanche) which appeared to the northwest at 15h30 and proceeded to circle and glide its way southeastwards.
In the afternoon a few BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) were actively migrating, as was a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) which headed purposefully northwards. The LESSER WHITETHROAT was roaming all over the park, singing often, and the first MELODIOUS WARBLER (hippolais polyglotte) of the year was seen and heard close to the Cascade.

April 30th

An exciting skywatch for Pierre today – a real BUZZARD bonanza with no less than 7 different birds moving over in various directions (although mainly to the north-east) between 13h35-16h15. At 13h55 Pierre also had 3 HOBBIES (faucon hobereau) in the air simultaneously, the birds eventually gliding away from each other in different directions.
Both the NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) and the LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) are still on site and were singing frequently today.

April 26th

The NIGHTINGALE (rossignol philomèle) was heard several times today as it sang on and off from the southern part of the Savanna, and at least one HAWFINCH (gros-bec) is still in the area – one flew over the park very early this morning.

A long skywatch at midday with Pierre produced two large raptors – another distant MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) which moved northeast at 14h00 and a pale BUZZARD (buse variable) which circled high overhead before gliding away to the southwest.

A SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) spent many minutes flying about with SWIFTS to the south of the park this afternoon, and there are now three drake MALLARDS (canard colvert) paddling around the Mare Perchée, which now appears to be a strictly ‘No Female’ zone for the species.

April 25th

A very good day with excellent views of a RED KITE (milan royal) which glided in towards the Cascade at 14h15 and circled around overhead before making another long and straight glide over the antenna building and away to the north-northeast. Almost immediately afterwards a HOBBY (faucon hobereau) appeared, circling close by and clutching a dead bird which dangled like a long rag from its talons. The bird spent several minutes gliding around and eating its prey, ducking its head regularly to pluck off feathers which would scatter into the wind at regular intervals.

Another good raptor today was a distant MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux) which moved slowly northwards at 13h10. Two drake MALLARDS (canard colvert) were seen often this morning, either in flight or swimming in the Mare Perchée where the MOORHENS are unusually absent – they appear to have abandoned it for the much smaller Mare de Brie where they’ll certainly get a lot more peace and quiet.

The breeding pair of LONG-TAILED TITS (mésange à longue queue) is still busy at their nest in the Savanna and one of the birds was observed carrying food this morning.

April 24th

Pierre saw the first GARDEN WARBLER (fauvette des jardins) of the year today - 2 days later than last year. Today was also the day when the SWIFTS (martinet noir) truly arrived locally, with around 40 birds swirling around over the site late this evening.

April 23rd

Pierre reported 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable) today, one moving southwest at 13h25 and another northwards at 13h55. A male MALLARD (canard colvert) and a GREY HERON were also noted at the Mere Perchée and the singing NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) is still on site.

April 21st

Good report today from Philip Redman of a GREEN SANDPIPER (chevalier cul-blanc) which flew briefly around over the Mare Perchée, and would certainly have landed there were it not for the presence of dogwalkers in the area. Phil also reported a singing NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) near the Coffee Dome and a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) overhead.

April 20th

Laurent was skywatching up at the Cascade very early and had a few things going over, including 4 YELLOW WAGTAILS (bergeronnette printanière) and interestingly a single COAL TIT (mésange noire) which perched briefly in a bush en route.

April 19th

At midday me and Pierre met at the Cascade in the hope of seeing some migration although the sky was completely covered by grey and white clouds - since it’d been raining almost non-stop all weekend we weren’t really expecting to see much. Almost immediately, however, we found a BUZZARD (buse variable) high overhead, circling frequently but moving more or less northwards.

Just 10 minutes later, at 15h20, Pierre spotted 2 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) in the distance over the Hippodrome in the Bois de Vincennes. The birds were circling laboriously eastwards and appeared to be rather low, giving the impression of wanting to land somewhere, and from our elevated position we unfortunately lost sight of them as they drifted below the treeline on the south side of the park.

A few TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres) landed on site this afternoon and a NIGHTINGALE (rossignol) sang from the dense vegetation between the Cascade and the Compost.

April 17th

Pierre saw 2 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) today and also noted a male BULLFINCH (bouvreuil) at the Danton entrance, a species that hasn’t been seen much recently.

April 16th

Pierre was skywatching twice today but had very little reward for his efforts. It’s actually rather a relief to hear that bad weather down south has apparently ‘’blocked’’ the spring migration and that it’s this (and not our poor eyesight) which explains the dearth of migrants lately…

On site the LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) and 2 WILLOW WARBLERS (fitis) were still singing, and 3 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) were noted flying in from the south and landing in trees bordering the Savanna.

April 15th

Pierre noted a few migrants going overhead at midday including 2 TREE PIPITS (pipit des arbres). Nothing particularly unusual or new on site – birds seen included a LESSER WHITETHROAT (babillarde) which could be the same individual that was singing in the park last Saturday?

In the evening the first HOBBY (faucon hobereau) of the year idled its way in from the northeast and flew lazily around over the Bois de Vincennes.

April 14th

Exciting late news in from Pierre who visited the park this evening and had a female RING OUZEL (merle à plastron) in the Savanna ! The bird looked relatively settled in the area so might just be there tomorrow?

April 13th

The pair of MOORHENS (poule d’eau) were seen copulating at the Mare Perchée very early this morning - they then almost immediately went about collecting reeds and carrying them off to their secret nest location.

A single HAWFINCH (gros-bec) was seen a little later in the trees nearby – they might well be nesting on site somewhere, but it will be a mighty challenge to find out where. Another BUZZARD flew northeast this afternoon at 15h20 and a few LINNETS flew overhead, some landing momentarily near the Compost.

April 12th

Not a great deal around today although interesting to see a female FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) in the woodland by the Jean Moulin entrance, and a male SPARROWHAWK (épervier d’Europe) was observed perched in a tree and pulling off small twigs, no doubt for nest construction.

At midday, me, Pierre and Sally were joined by Stephane Chambris at the Cascade. Once again there was very little to see migrating – the highlights were a couple of BUZZARDS (buse variable) drifting south and 2 SWIFTS (martinet noir).

April 11th

It already looks like being a much better year for WILLOW WARBLERS (pouillot fitis). You may remember that last year was a complete disaster – the birds arrived late, never established themselves and were absent during the spring and summer. However 2 singing birds were present this morning, one of which was vigorously defending territory around the Mare de Brie and fearlessly chasing after BLACKCAPS and SONG THRUSHES (grive musicienne).

A classy new arrival today was a male LESSER WHITETHROAT (fauvette babillarde) which sang irregularly and rather discreetly from the brambles at the southern end of the re-cycling plant.

As yesterday, very few migrants could be seen flying overhead during another long skywatch at midday – hmm, maybe it’s worth trying to get up a bit earlier ??

April 10th

Pierre did a skywatch at midday but didn’t see any birds that were obviously migrating. The good news was the first SWIFT (martinet noir) of the year, along with 5 HOUSE MARTINS and a single SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage). A WILLOW WARBLER (fitis) was singing rather more convincingly today near the Coffee Dome.
April 9th

Pierre noted a couple of new spring arrivals today – at least 2 singing WHITETHROATS (fauvette grisette) and a single HOUSE MARTIN (hirondelle de fenêtre) in local flight.


April 5th

A long skywatch with Pierre and Laurent from the Cascade today was very productive. An excellent day for raptor passage with 11 HARRIERS (busard) and 3 BUZZARDS (buse variable) going over in just over 4 hours this afternoon between 13h05-17h00. Generally the birds appeared high up to the south or east of the park and were heading northeastwards. Some of the harriers were left unidentified but there were certainly 3 MARSH HARRIERS (busard des roseaux), a single male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) and a single male MONTAGU’S HARRIER (busard cendré) which Pierre saw flying northeast at 14h15.
There were increased numbers of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and BARN SWALLOWS migrating overhead today and a single YELLOW WAGTAIL (bergeronnette printanière), a LAPWING (vanneau huppé), 2 ROOKS (corbeau freux) and 2 SAND MARTINS (hirondelle de rivage) were also noted during the skywatch.


April 4th

The most fascinating thing happened this morning ! I was on my way out of the park when I could hear the tinking call of a HAWFINCH (gros-bec) coming from the tops of the tall bare trees that line the entrance path, just above the Dinosaur. However I just couldn’t see the little so and so….where the Hell was it ?? Eventually I realised it was parading around inside an old WOODPIGEON’s (ramier) nest, it’s big head bobbing up and down before it flicked up into full view and quickly bounded off and away…
Not much else today apart from a few MEADOW PIPITS going overhead (one dropping in to land), and a cream-coloured BUZZARD (buse variable) which flew slowly northwards at 15h00.
April 3rd

In the late afternoon Pierre saw 2 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada) flying low to the north and also found the first WILLOW WARBLER (pouillot fitis) of the year singing half-heartedly from the Cascade.


April 2nd

Pierre reported another COAL TIT (mésange noire) in conifers on the Northern Fields today and a GOLDCREST (roitelet huppé) in the same area showed signs of breeding activity. Pierre also had a male REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) and a BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir).

March 31st

A sunny, cloudless day with a stiff, cool northeasterly wind. A long and tedious skywatch produced hardly anything…not even a sniff of a raptor. The highlights were a SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) flying north and the first TREE PIPIT (pipit des arbres) of the year which Laurent heard overhead before it dropped down near the Cascade and perched in a small tree.
The best bird today was probably a single COAL TIT (mésange noire), which gave the impression of being on migration, moving restlessly eastwards across the park and perching briefly atop several high trees on the way.


March 29th

Very little around during a long skywatch at midday. The highlight was a male MARSH HARRIER (busard des roseaux), the first of the year, which was in view a long time as it moved steadily northeast, circling often on the way. A BUZZARD (buse variable) was also noted going east at 15h45.

March 27th

It already looks like being another great year for raptors ! At 13h05 Pierre spotted an excellent juvenile PEREGRINE (faucon pélerin) over the southern end of the park, relatively close to the Cascade from where we watched it drift around the area rather idly, making the odd circle, as if just having a general look around before gliding away towards Paris.

Twenty minutes later a BUZZARD appeared, again to the south of the park, but this bird just glided purposefully high overhead towards the north. There wasn’t a great deal around during the skywatch - just a few LINNETS (linotte mélodieuse), 6 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and a nice ROOK (corbeau freux) which appeared to be in local flight, coming in lowish and almost landing at one point…

March 26th

Quite quiet…lousy weather. The first YELLOW WAGTAIL (bergeronnette printanière), a superb male, dropped in and landed for a few moments on the edge of the Mare Perchée and there were at least 2 pairs of FIRECRESTS (roitelet triple-bandeau) and 2 BLACK REDSTARTS (rougequeue noir) on site this morning.

March 24th

It was interesting to see a pair of HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) perched closely together atop a bare tree by the Mare Perchée early this morning and looking very much a happy couple…surely they can’t be thinking of breeding on site ?

Very few passerines migrating today, although a small flock of REDWINGS (mauvis) and a solitary FIELDFARE (litorne) were seen flying north.

At midday it was overcast, cold and windy. At 13h35 a fine male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) suddenly appeared in one of the few blue spots of sky, high up and way out to the west. Fortunately the bird was coming closer, drifting flimsily towards the park like a tiny grey and white glider on the wind, and then circling and gaining even more height before being swallowed up inside a gigantic dark grey cloud looming overhead.

A bit later a solitary BUZZARD (buse variable) was found circling over the antenna building, although it quickly moved away and disappeared to the northeast. 2 ROOKS (corbeau freux) were also seen today.

March 23rd

There was a stunning male BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) on the fenceposts near the Compost this afternoon. Otherwise not a great deal during another long skywatch apart from a couple of BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and the first SAND MARTIN (hirondelle de rivage) of the year which was curiously heading the wrong way...towards Africa !

Pierre visited the park in the late afternoon and saw the HAWFINCH again, as well as 2 EURASIAN TEAL (sarcelle d’hiver) flying north.

March 22nd

In contrast to recent days, cold weather with a northerly wind and grey and white, misty skies. Me, Laurent and Pierre were all at the Cascade for a few hours at midday and were joined briefly there by Bruno Walter and his friend Elina. In spite of the cold and the mist there were lots of good birds to see, and reasonable numbers of the commoner migrants passing overhead such as CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres) and WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise).

A HAWFINCH (gros-bec) is still present and offered some nice views today, perching in the bare trees near the Compost. A group of 14 LINNETS (linotte mélodieuse) flew in and sprinkled themselves down on the stubble near the Mare Perchée, resting there a few moments before bounding off nimbly northwards. A little later, at 12h40, Laurent spotted a super male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint-Martin) high over our heads and drifting gracefully southwards.

The highlight today was 2 COMMON SNIPE (bécassine des marais) which suddenly arrived high in the sky from the east and spent a couple of minutes zig-zagging around all over the park airspace. They appeared to take great interest in the marshy Mare Perchée, bombing down low towards it on a couple of occasions as if to land, but only to veer away sharply each time and eventually disappear as 2 distant dots to the west. Laurent even managed to capture the occasion on his camera !

Also of note today were a pair of MARSH TITS (mésange nonnette), 2 BARN SWALLOWS (hirondelle de cheminée) and a fearless JACKDAW (choucas des tours) which perched at the Cascade for a while before dropping down to forage on the ground at the Mare Perchée – very rare to see them perched, this might well be the same bird as was seen last Monday.

March 20th

Lovely warm weather again. Another long skywatch at midday with Pierre was rewarded with an excellent MERLIN (faucon émerillon) which drifted in straight from the south. Appearing first as a distant speck high over the Bois de Vincennes the bird gradually drew closer, gliding around in large flat circles over Montreuil before seemingly shifting a gear and hurrying on northwards in more dashing flight.

Another highlight today was the first BARN SWALLOW (hirondelle de cheminée) of the year – hooray ! Also of note was the continuing small easterly movements of STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin), a few LINNETS (linotte mélodieuse), 57 CORMORANTS and 2 BUZZARDS (buse variable). At least one HAWFINCH (gros-bec) is still on site.

March 19th

Another hot and sunny day. At lunchtime the sky was cloudless and hazy with city pollution, difficult for skywatching, and it all felt a bit too much like hard work out there…in fact Pierre and me just gave up after a couple of hours - we obviously weren’t going to see anything. Even when we did see something it was too far away, such as the exciting-looking group of 6 big stork-like birds wheeling way out over Fontenay…even with scopes they were grey dots, appearing and disappearing in the greyish-yellow haze.

In the late afternoon Pierre was brave enough to go back out there and was rewarded slightly with a FIELDFARE (grive litorne) – we haven’t had many (or any?) so far this year. Pierre also reported 3 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche à collier) and a big flock of about 300 STARLINGS (étourneau) heading westwards.

March 17th

A LONG-TAILED TIT (mésange à longue queue) was watched busily building a nest this morning – well hidden in a bush in the Savanna. A JACKDAW (choucas des tours) circled over the site before landing on top of a bare tree and remaining there for a few minutes, surrounded by several agitated MAGPIES (pie bavades) – it’s very rare for this species to land at Beaumonts.

At midday it was hot and sunny and a long skywatch in the company of Philip Redman proved quite productive with a few migrants going over, including relatively large numbers of STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin) flying east and a group of 25 CORMORANTS circling very high overhead.

The highlight, however, was a super RED KITE ! (milan royal) which Phil found to the north, flying straight and steadily away to the northeast. Fortunately the bird soon arrested its flight and circled several times before heading onwards and eventually disappearing behind the watertower.

March 16th

Hooray for the GREY HERON ! It was back again this morning at the Mare Perchée, although its wary behaviour suggests it might actually be a different individual – easily startled it rose from the reeds with an ungainly leap before beating heavily away to the northeast.
Another nice surprise was the reappearance, briefly, of the recent EASTERN ROSELLA (perruche omnivore), whose loud melodious calls could be heard several moments before it appeared flying across the Savanna, landing briefly in a tree on the rue des Quatre Ruelles.

Yet another surprise was the discovery of 3 (maybe 4) HAWFINCHES still on site - only 1 has been seen recently and we thought most of them had already left. A single FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) was at the Mare de Brie and 3 BUZZARDS (buse variable) were seen today, all gliding high overhead towards the east.

March 15th

A lovely warm and sunny day but surprisingly disappointing for birds, with nowhere near as many migrants as yesterday. The highlights were a couple of BUZZARDS (buse variable), a single ROOK and a BLACK REDSTART (rougequeue noir) – the first of the year.

Several CHIFFCHAFFS (pouillot veloce) are singing around the park and a male BLACKCAP (fauvette à tete noire) was also heard this morning. The HAWFINCH was seen again and there are still about 6 SISKINS (tarin) on site.

Late in the afternoon Pierre Delbove reported seeing ROSE RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche à collier) flying over the park on two occasions (6 birds in total) along with a superb male FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau).

March 14th

A good day today with several interesting species. Throughout the morning small numbers of WHITE WAGTAILS bounded high overhead, a few of them dropping low and landing on the Northern Fields where they made little runs and sudden dashing sallies for insects…here’s one of them below [photo].

There were plenty of other migrants going over today including several REDWINGS (mauvis), SONG THRUSHES (musicienne) , 88 CORMORANTS, a couple of MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and a ROOK (corbeau freux) flying southwestwards.

A single BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) was briefly on site before heading off northwards and there were unusually large numbers of STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin) flying eastwards this morning. At around 11h30 Laurent spotted a GREEN SANDPIPIER (chevalier cul-blanc) flying in from the south and straight towards us. The bird flew around the Mare Perchée as if inspecting the site and wanting to land, although there were far too many dogs and people about and it quickly veered away from the park to the east, dipping down in the distance behind the flats on rue Paul Doumer.

Another good bird today was this STONECHAT (traquet pâtre) here below which spent the late morning around the bushes near the Compost.

Just minutes after I left the park, at 13h20, Laurent and Pierre had good views of a male HEN HARRIER (busard Saint Martin) flying southwest, and just a few moments later they noticed a MUTE SWAN (cygne tuberculé) flying low in the distance, westwards along the river valley – a first record for Beaumonts!

A single HAWFINCH (gros-bec) is still present on site and at 13h30 a BUZZARD (buse variable) was found circling very high overhead.

March 13th

A good skywatch at midday with small numbers of passerines bounding almost constantly overhead, often far too high up to identify but including 2 MEADOW PIPITS (farlouse) and 2 WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise), along with at least 47 CHAFFINCHES (pinson des arbres). Also of interest were 2 groups of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) flying northeast, a single BUZZARD (buse variable) and 3 REDWINGS (mauvis) and 2 REED BUNTINGS (bruant des roseaux) on site.

There was a big surprise at 13h30 when a flock of 14 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) suddenly materialised to the south of the park and proceeded to drift slowly and surely away to the northeast. This species is usually seen sailing high and effortlessly overhead on clear sunny days, but the weather today was very different and the birds appeared to struggle to gain height under an enormous roof of greyish cloud, flapping often and spending several minutes circling over Romainville with apparently little effect.

March 11th

Laurent was out skywatching early this morning and saw quite a few migrants going over including 2 nice WHITE WAGTAILS (bergeronnette grise) in summer plumage, a MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse), 5 REDWINGS (grive mauvis) and several other THRUSHES (grives) and FINCHES (pinsons).

Laurent also reported a singing CHIFFCHAFF (pouillot véloce) in the park this morning.

March 5th

A cold and foggy day. The male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) is still on site and roaming around on his own, occasionally singing from the tops of bushes. The male REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux), however, appears to have had much better luck and was seen again moving about silently in the company of a female. Interestingly the latter is unringed, and not the bird seen often this winter in the same area.
A LINNET (linotte mélodieuse) bounded northwards this afternoon and a single HAWFINCH perched near the Cascade - they’re getting harder to find these days. A dreary day was salvaged in the late afternoon by Pierre who saw a super BLACK WOODPECKER (pic noir) flying westwards - a very unusual bird at Beaumonts...it’s been a great year so far for woodpeckers !

March 3rd

Alain saw a HAWFINCH in the Savanna this morning and also found and photographed the first BLACKCAP (fauvette à tête noire) of the year at the Mare de Brie.


Earlier in the morning a few things had been flying northwards overhead, notably a single MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse) and 3 HAWFINCHES. Several STOCK DOVES (pigeon colombin) moving purposefully high and eastwards also appeared to be actively migrating.
A skywatch in the early afternoon produced a single BUZZARD (buse variable) gliding east. Every now and then, very high up to the west, little broken lines of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) could just be made out flickering northeastwards – so high they would occasionally disappear into clouds.

March 2nd

REDWINGS (grive mauvis) were migrating eastwards overhead early this morning. One large group broke their journey briefly in the park, splattering into the tall bare trees by the Coffee Dome and resting there for a minute or so before heading onwards.

In the dull, early light 2 very distant GREY HERONS lumbered their way slowly eastwards along the river valley, and this reminds me of something I keep forgetting to say : our trusty, friendly GREY HERON, almost always at the Mare Perchée every morning without fail has not been seen so far this year ! A real symbol for the park this is grave news indeed, and I fear the worst…

The cold and grey conditions gradually gave way to blue skies and bright, warm sunshine and much later, at 13h30, 2 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée) made for a nice image as they flew together, high over the park and on to the northeast.

Not much else - a few SISKINS (tarin) are still on site and perching regularly at the Mare Perchée. Only 1 HAWFINCH (gros-bec) today...

February 28th

Yesterday’s amazing EASTERN ROSELLA (Perruche omnicolore) was seen again this morning by Alain Bloquet who managed to get some corking shots of it with his new camera, including this one here on the left as it fed on top of a tree, looking like a strange clown just escaped from the circus...

Later in the day me and Pierre shared a long skywatch from the Cascade – the warm sunny weather and blue skies looked very promising. There were one or two things of interest, most notably a distant UNIDENTIFIED HARRIER (busard indéterminée), a JACKDAW (choucas), several ROOKS (corbeau freux), some SKY LARKS and a pale-looking BUZZARD (buse variable) which glided high overhead towards the northeast.

February 27th

Another cloudy, grey and cold morning. Not much in the way of migration although the first WHITE WAGTAIL (bergeronnette grise) of the year, a fine male, bounded in from the south and landed briefly on the Northern Fields. Just seconds later a MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse) arrived, perching precariously for a few moments atop a tree by the Mare Perchee before taking off towards the northwest. A lonely-looking SKY LARK (alouette des champs) also dribbled overhead through the dull sky, also going northwards.

However the highlight this morning was the bizarre sight of a gaudy EASTERN ROSELLA !! (Perruche omnicolore) flying around over the recycling plant and landing briefly nearby. It soon flew powerfully away to the north of the park and dived into the crowns of some tall bare trees where it fed for several minutes – good job I had the scope today…

In the afternoon, Pierre saw one COMMON REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) and the 5 CANADA GEESE NE low flght.

February 26th

A grey, dull morning – completely different from yesterday. Brilliant views of a very vocal WOODLARK (alouette lulu) which fluttered in from the southeast and wavered around, high overhead, before eventually dropping onto the waste ground near the Mare Perchée. The bird fed there and thereabouts for 30 minutes or so, getting regularly flushed by dog walkers.

Also worth noting this morning was a pair of REED BUNTINGS moving around together in the Savanna, a single SKY LARK (alouette des champs) and 11 ROOKS (corbeau freux) flying northwards and at least 8 HAWFINCHES still on site. About 30 SISKINS (tarin des aulnes) could be seen flying around the park and would regularly land in the trees surrounding the Mare Perchée.

Later in the afternoon Pierre found the singing male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) again along with, among other things, 2 FIRECRESTS and a single COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) flying northwest.

February 25th

Excellent day – warm sunshine and big blue sky. 2 WHITE STORKS (cigogne blanche) were the highlight today, sailing slowly overhead and on towards the northeast without a single flap. Several groups of LAPWINGS (vanneau huppé) were also on the move, extremely high up and hurrying in the same direction.

At least 3 HAWFINCHES are still around, and the 5 SISKINS (tarin) are still present on site. 2 REED BUNTINGS (a male and female) were seen today and several CORMORANTS were seen moving northwards.

February 21st

A flock of 45 SKYLARKS (alouette des champs) flew overhead through white misty sky towards the northeast this morning and 5 SISKINS (tarin des aulnes) feeding on the muddy path by the Mare Perchée was unusual. Also noted today were 3 REED BUNTINGS which dropped into the reedbed for a few minutes, a single FIRECREST, at least 6 HAWFINCHES and a lone CORMORANT flying north.

February 20th

One or two things of interest this morning : 5 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) were feeding by the fence at the south end of the recycling plant and a CORMORANT flew northeast. A FIRECREST (roitelet triple-bandeau) moving around the bushes in the Savanna, and a single COMMON REDPOLL (sizerin flammé) flying overhead were both new for the year. The HAWFINCHES are still present and were showing quite well today.

February 19th

Bright sunshine and clear, inviting blue sky this morning, although it’s still a bit too early to expect much flying over. However a small flock of 17 SISKINS (tarin des aulnes) bounding nimbly northeast was a sign that migration is underway at last. 3 ROSE-RINGED PARAKEETS (perruche à collier) flying southwest were the first reported so far this year.

Pierre went to the park later in the day and saw some more SISKINS – 3 perched and a flock of 21 flying east. As has been the case on recent days the 2 MALLARDS paid a visit to the Mare Perchée in the late afternoon, where a REED BUNTING was also present.

February 17th

5 CANADA GEESE (bernache du Canada) flew low and noisily over the park this morning. A lone COMMON GULL (goéland cendré) circled overhead before drifting off south and a single SISKIN (tarin des aulnes) bounded around erratically before dropping down towards the ping-pong tables. At least 10 HAWFINCHES were present in and around the Savanna.

February 15th

Alain Bloquet reported the CIRL BUNTING again this morning. Later in the afternoon both REED BUNTINGS were seen, a single ROOK (corbeau freux) flew southwest, a LINNET (linotte mélodieuse) flew around the Mare Perchée and an incredibly distant GREY HERON (héron cendré) flew east along the river valley – the first sighting this year !

Pierre counted 9 HAWFINCHES in flight this evening, arriving in similar fashion to yesterdays birds and adding weight to the roost-site theory…

February 14th

Bright and sunny with blue skies and a bitter cold wind from the north. The HAWFINCHES were on fine form, jumping heavily around the open stubble areas in the Savanna and the male REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) was found again in the same area. However the highlight this morning was a flock of 80 GREYLAG GEESE (oie cendrée), flying over the park in a long line which wriggled slowly and snake-like away to the northeast, high over the flats on rue Paul Doumer.

Much later in the day, just before dusk, Pierre had an interesting count of 12 HAWFINCHES flying westwards in little groups across the park and appearing to land, suggesting that we have more birds than previously thought, with perhaps some birds only using the park as a roosting site.

February 12th

Another sunny day but not much around…it was even a struggle to see just a single HAWFINCH, conspicuous by their absence this morning. A few birds were singing though – several DUNNOCKS (accenteur mouchet), a SERIN and, most interestingly, the male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi).

February 11th

The pair of MALLARDS was seen again at the Mare Perchée this morning and a different REED BUNTING was found in the Savanna, this one a ringless winter-plumaged male.

In the afternoon Pierre saw a COAL TIT (mésange noire) and the first BRAMBLING (pinson du nord) of the year, which perched in trees near the Danton café entrance, close to the Mare de Brie.

It was quite an interesting day for corvids with a large flock of 42 CARRION CROWS (corneille noir) swirling around the block of flats by the Jean Moulin entrance, the first ROOK (corbeau freux) of the year flying southwestwards and a JACKDAW (choucas) flying west.

February 9th

Both the male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) and the female REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) were found in the Savanna this morning, the latter habitually picking at a single silver ring on her left leg. Also in the same area was a small band of 14 SERINS (serin cini), as well as the usual group of HAWFINCHES.

February 6th

Lovely spring-like day…blue skies and sunshine. The warm weather has melted the ice at the Mare Perchée and a pair of MALLARDS (canard colvert) looked quite content there this morning as they sat on the small amount of water left.

A pair of SERINS was in the Savanna, the male singing intermittently from the top of a small tree. Several DUNNOCKS (accenteur mouchet) were also singing from the bushes and a pair of SPARROWHAWKS were flying around together in low and lollopping courtship flight, the male making clear mewing cries.

Alain Bloquet was also in the park this morning and together we got some great views of the HAWFINCHES - they seem to be spending a lot of time on the ground in the woodland at the southeast corner of the park, near the Mare de Brie.

February 5th

The REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) was seen again this morning at the Mare de Brie and 8 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet) were briefly at the re-cycling plant. 3 REDWINGS were inside the woodland near the Parc Mabille, and the group of HAWFINCHES is still about, being as difficult as ever.

Tuesday’s BULLFINCHES have bonded well and are following each other about closely – the male seems already interested in some action, giving the female a cheeky peck on the backside today…
February 4th

A single CORMORANT flew southeast this morning and the male CIRL BUNTING was found again at the Mare de Brie. A group of 6 HAWFINCHES continue to fly restlessly around the site, often perching briefly in the bare trees in the Savanna.

February 3rd

The male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) was found again this morning near the Mare de Brie. Also seen today were 6 HAWFINCHES, 2 REDWINGS and a pair of BULLFINCHES (for once a male and female) which were roaming around together near the Mare de Mileu.

February 1st

Another bright and cold sunny day. Out birding this morning with Bill Link from California who was hoping to see one of the BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) which have been very obliging here over recent days. However today was, naturally, the day they decided to disappear completely…

One or 2 other things though, notably some excellent lengthy views of a confiding male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette) which was working the thin, dangly outer branches of the trees along the Avenue des Marronniers. Fascinatingly at one point our bird swung upside down and appeared to freeze – hanging there for about 2 minutes, completely immobile and looking like a leaf…

Also of note this morning were 3 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) and a fine REDWING (mauvis). In the late afternoon Pierre saw a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) at the Mare de Brie.

January 31st

Not a bad day for SISKINS (tarin des aulnes) – 3 twisted overhead this morning and later in the day Pierre found another 8, perched in trees on the Northern Fields.

January 29th

A nice cold, bright and sunny day...6 HAWFINCHES and a REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) in the Savanna this morning. Later in the day Pierre found the male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) again, this time near the Compost, and counted 50 CARRION CROWS perched on the roof of a high building to the east of (and outside) the park.

January 25th

Major news today with the very good report of a CRESTED TIT (mésange huppée) which Pierre found at midday in a fir tree on the Nothern Fields. Although quite easily found in many Parisien parks, this is a real rarity at Beaumonts, and not seen at all last year.

Actually Pierre had a very tit-full day (lucky man…) with a COAL TIT (mésange noire), another MARSH TIT (mésange nonnette) (both rather unusual in the park), along with a large flock of BLUE, GREAT and LONG-TAILED TITS later in the day along the Avenue des Marronniers.

In the afternoon Pierre had a fly-over SISKIN (tarin des aulnes), a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette), and noted 5 MOORHENS at the Mare Perchée. A skywatch produced 41 GULLS moving over the site, the majority (33) being BLACK-HEADED GULLS (mouette rieuse). Interestingly all the birds were moving generally eastwards – the opposite direction to those large numbers observed on January 17th.

January 23rd

A good day for Pierre who watched a MIDDLE-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic mar) – a very unusual bird at Beaumonts – fly right over his head at the Cascade and eventually land in the woodland on the western slope of the park – nice one!

Also of note today were a REDWING (grive mauvis) perched in the Northern Fields and fairly large numbers of BLACK-HEADED GULLS again (40, to be exact)…

January 17th

Not much about on site these last couple of days...just the odd SPARROWHAWK and STOCK DOVE (colombin), and at least 3 MOORHENS are at the Mare Perchée. The main source of interest has been the large movement of GULLS which Pierre witnessed this afternoon during a skywatch between 16h00-17h15. Pierre had no less than 513 BLACK-HEADED GULLS (mouette rieuse) going mainly westbound, although a small minority were heading southwards. The 46 bigger gulls contained at least 8 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (leucophée), 7 HERRING GULLS (argenté) and 5 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (goéland brun).

January 14th

More birds are appearing in the park as the snow and ice slowly melts away. Unlike previous days there were finches and thrushes all over the place this morning, especially in the Savanna where a flock of 22 SERINS (serin cini) were back feeding again. Also worth noting there were 3 HAWFINCHES and a male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi), presumably the same bird as on January 1st.

A REED BUNTING (bruant des roseaux) was at the Mare Perchée. There are surprisingly few WOOD-PIGEONS (ramier) around at the moment.

January 11th

Another bright and sharp winter morning - the park is still covered in snow, and today a few families armed with big plastic bags were out sledging down the slopes in the Parc Mabille. A male LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was seen there this morning (perhaps the same that was seen by Alain 2 days ago), along with a NUTHATCH (appropriately carrying a nut in its bill as it jigged and jogged around the trees).

2 REDWINGS (mauvis) and 2 HAWFINCHES (gros-bec) were seen in flight this morning.

Pierre visited the park later in the day and had quite a few things, notably 6 TREE SPARROWS (moineau friquet), a single COAL TIT (mésange noire), a flock of 150 STARLINGS (étourneau) and 2 JACKDAWS (choucas) flying west.

Pierre also reported large numbers of gulls going over late this afternoon, mainly in a westerly direction. There were 83 BLACK-HEADED GULLS (rieuse) and 58 others which included at least 1 COMMON GULL (goéland cendré), at least 4 YELLOW-LEGGED GULLS (goéland leucophée), at least 1 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (goéland brun) and 8+ HERRING GULLS (argenté).

January 10th

A CORMORANT flew north this morning. There were at least 5 female BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) en site.

January 9th

Nice views of a BUZZARD at midday, circling over the park and flapping away to the west, harassed all the way by a pair of CARRION CROWS. This appears to be the same bird that was seen on Tuesday – on the upperwing it has distinctive small gleaming white patches at the bases of the primaries.

Pretty quiet apart from that, although a group of 7 HAWFINCHES bounding overhead was unusual - we normally see no more than 4 at a time. The usual pair of MARSH TITS was feeding on the Avenue des Marronniers.

Alain Bloquet also visited the park today and reported 2 CORMORANTS flying north and, in the Parc Mabille, a NUTHATCH (sitelle) and a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pic épeichette).

January 8th

Pierre had another SKY LARK flying over today, along with 2-3 HAWFINCHES near the ping-pong tables and a MARSH TIT on the Avenue des Marronniers. Although the Mare Perchée is fozen solid, the MOORHENS (poule d’eau) are hanging on in there…

January 7th

Not much to look at today apart from the nice winter scenery !...

January 6th

The park was cold and silent this morning, and covered in a thick blanket of crunchy white snow. ROBINS and BLACKBIRDS fluffed up inside snow-laden berry-bushes and made for some nice Christmas-card pictures. 2 female BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) fed discreetly in the low white-spotted bushes along the Chemin de Quatre Ruelles and a single HAWFINCH (gros-bec) was seen flying northwards over the Savanna.
At around 10h50 2 SKY LARKS (alouette des champs) trickled west overhead, no doubt pushed there by the weather – it’s rare to see them at Beaumonts in January.
The highlight today was a BUZZARD (buse variable) which suddenly burst into view flying low over the Savanna, surrounded by a whole hoard of marauding CARRION CROWS. Vincent van de Bor happened to be out photographing in the park today and seconds later saw the bird land momentarily in the trees along the Avenue des Marroniers, although he wasn’t able to get a photo (blast!).

January 3rd

A superb bright and sunny, frosty morning. My arrival at the Mare Perchée was greeted by a MEADOW PIPIT (pipit farlouse), wisping around and eventually landing on a bare tree by the Cascade. By this time Pierre had already found 3 GOLDCRESTS and 2 COAL TITS (mésange noire) - a good year-tick. Later at the Parc Mabille we found a GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER drumming again, a solitary male BULLFINCH (why doesn’t he hang-out with those 2 females??) and also a pair of 2 MARSH TITS (mésange nonnette), one of which was the usual colour-ringed bird, originally discovered in the park on September 1st last year.

January 1st

A jolly HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ! dear reader. BONNE ANNEE !! and all that.

So another exciting quest to ‘beat the year-list’ starts again. We only just failed (by 2 species) last year…hopefully we will have better luck in 2009. And Pierre now has a fully-functionning tripod…surely this will make all the difference !

Pierre kicked things off enthusiastically today with two visits to the park. In foggy conditions he had a very respectable total of 32 species, including 3 GOLDCRESTS (roitelet huppé), REDWING (mauvis), 2 female BULLFINCHES (bouvreuil) and a super HAWFINCH (gros-bec) perched in a tree near the ping-pong tables (again).

In the Parc Mabille, that all-important NUTHATCH (sitelle) was seen, along with a nice GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, drumming away on the tall bare trees.

The male CIRL BUNTING (bruant zizi) was seen again near the Mare Perchée.