Went birding this morning at Donges Est, nice and quiet with little or no wind up until midday anyway. No sign of any fall of migrants and rather low numbers of Chiffchaffs at all the usual spots. About 40 Lapwings were on the prairie, escaping the hunters which were out in the fields towards Lavau plus a couple of Curlew. I sat down to watch an area of bushes and weeds on the north side of the embankment when I heard a “whooosssh” overhead. Looked up to see a stunning adult Peregrine stooping and a small wader, probably a Dunlin whizzing low towards the Loire. The Peregrine missed again and circled around a couple of times not 50m away in perfect lighting – beautiful. Of course my camera was in the bag and by the time I’d got it out the Peregrine had disappeared.

My favourite little migrant spot at the end of the line of trees on the prairie held nothing much so I decided to walk the recently cut area of reedbed along the western side of the embankment, which is nicely wet and flooded in some places, in the hope of a findingĀ  some pipits . . . or maybe a snipe. Turned out to be a wise decision as after only 100m or so two birds got up: oneĀ  dumpy shaped snipe with a long bill and typical call, the other obviously smaller, slimmer-bodied and short-billed – Jack Snipe ! Finally a French tick of this bogey bird which has eluded me these 9 years. The remainder of the area produced zero so I was lucky.

At the ringing cabin there was evidence that the Barn Owl is still using the place for roosting in during the night as several fresh pellets were scattered around on the ringing table, considering we only moved everything out of the cabin last Monday it wasn’t wasting any time taking over again !

The bushes around the south of the embankment around the site of the ringing camp held a few Chiffchaffs, one of which was particularly confiding as it fed only a couple of metres away plus a small group of Long-tailed Tits which were also feeding in the same large bush. Managed to get a few photos of one of these in the autumn foliage as it moved through and then continued on it’s way. All in all a pretty nice morning.




Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)



Donges Est and a new French tick !