Thursday, 31 May 2012

France Day 12: Château Chambord

Went to do the touristy thing today and visited the château at Chambord. It was a huge and pretty impressive building and was interesting seeing some of the really old possessions they still have. The grounds were pretty smart too.

Château Chambord 

One of the views off the roof!

The drive there and back didn't really provide too much and was a bit frustrating with glimpses of raptors disappearing behind woods, hedges etc! The scenery however was cool with lots of large château's/churches etc.  Did see a male Hen Harrier though and lots of commoner stuff like Corn Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Red-backed Shrike and there seemed to be Serins everywhere today? I'm sure if you are staying near Chambord on vacation there would be plenty of decent birds in the grounds, I think the forested area is as big as Paris and holds a good selection of raptors and woodpeckers. Could be well worth a search.

After visiting the château we thought it best to visit the River Loire as we hadn't seen it to date. It seemed to be in flood - presumably all the rain we had when we first arrived (and the few weeks before). Did get a few birds here without really trying too hard: Common Tern, Little Tern, Reed Bunting, Yellow-legged Gull, Cetti's Warbler, Black-headed Gull, Serin etc..

Back at the Gite late afternoon there was the usual Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers with the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker also putting in a vocal appearance.  Got Marsh Tit in garden with the pair of Firecrest still building their nest. Also plenty of Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, pair of Golden Oriole, singing Hoopoe, Tree Pipit and Woodlark, families of Blue and Great Tit, Chaffinch, Black Redstart and Blackbird.

This evening I thought I'd take a little walk around the local area and went to check out the Woodchat Shrike I'd found last week. I bit of loitering about in stealth mode resulted in me finding its nest.  It was high up in an Oak tree, about 2/3rd up. The Oak tree was a lone tree in a meadow field. Both male and female birds were observed foraging bringing food back to the nest, prey included bees, caterpillars and what looked like a Common Wall Lizard. Got a couple of pictures below, see if you can spot the bird sat on its nest...

 Woodchat Shrike (Phone-scoped)

Woodchat Shrike (Phone-scoped) 

 Woodchat Shrike (Phone-scoped)
Woodchat Shrike (Phone-scoped)

Woodchat Shrike on nest(Phone-scoped) 

Woodchat Shrike on nest (Phone-scoped)

Otherwise it was the typical Hoopoe, Cuckoo, Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Woodlark, Black Redstart, Nightingale, Melodious Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Cirl Bunting etc...

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