We had eight days in Paris, a four day Congress, three day dissection
course and myriad other distractions made dedicated birding difficult, but
we caught up on a few basic species.
Swifts (large!) were screaming all over the city, a pair of very plump
Wood Pigeons roosted on a ledge over the small courtyard of our apartment in
very urban Bastille, and a very melodious Blackbird worked the garden. If
only the Blackbirds in our garden could sing as sweetly. Maybe we could play
tapes to our next seasons' young to teach them. Herring Gulls over the Seine
have calls straight out of British TV.
The Bois de Boloigne starts just over the square in front of the
Palais de Congress, and in a couple of lunchbreaks I picked up a few more
locals. First up was a Marsh Tit, Blue Tits were common, and that night we
went to the Moulin Rouge. The noisiest undergrowth bird was the Wren, small
but stocky, like a short-legged, short-tailed, plain brown Fairywren on
steroids. Plenty of Magpies and Carrion Crows. Chaffinches were very vocal
high up. Recognised Greenfinch by their calls, and a few Goldfinches.
Accentors and Woodpeckers in the Chantilly forest, House Martins and Barn
Swallows with the Swifts over the fields. Lots of glimpses and bird noise
but no time to pursue. Think I saw a Willow Warbler! Rooks around the
Chateau at Chantilly which has bird-rich woods and polo fields. Red-knobbed
Coot in the moat (introduced ) Chantilly is twenty minutes out on a
Summer is not the best time for birding in Europe, the foliage is denser
than most rainforest, breeding and a lot of singing and calling has
finished for most spp., and many sightings are in juvenile plumage. With
numerous similar Warbler spp. even adults can be difficult to ID without
knowing their calls.
The commonest birds of all were familiar, Feral Pigeons and House
We found a copy of a book called "Birdwatching". Just published under
the auspices of the RSPB, author Rob. Hume, DK publications. It contains
maps and annotations re the best birding sites in the UK and every country
in Europe, including Greece and Turkey. Also good photos of about three
hundred of Europe's commonest birds, and assorted other advice on birding in
Europe. A big help to us later in the trip in France, and would be
invaluable for casual birders visiting any or all of those countries.
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge
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