French cranes, finches, farewell, photos


After yesterday, today, Sunday 3 March 2013, was our last morning with the cranes of Lac du Der, France.

This French video is the first one of a series about crane migration at the lake “Lac du Der” in autumn 2010.

And this French video is the second one of that series about crane migration at Lac du Der in autumn 2010.

We rose very early today, to see and hear the cranes around sunrise.

It is much sunnier this morning than on earlier cloudy days here; though a bit misty.

Lac du Der, last morning

It is freezing; minus two degrees centigrade.

Cranes, early morning, Lac du Der, 3 March 2013

Slowly, the beautiful sound of the cranes around the lake gets stronger, as they wake up and start flying away.

Cranes, early morning, flying, Lac du Der, 3 March 2013

Also: mallards, coots and grey lag geese.

A blackbird sings in the village.

Our bus departs. First, to the Ferme aux grues again.

Cranes, Ferme aux Grues, 3 March 2013

Many cranes.

Cranes flying, Ferme aux Grues, 3 March 2013

In the trees, near the hide: house sparrows.

House sparrow male in frosty tree, Ferme aux Grues, 3 March 2013

Male and female bullfinch.

Goldfinch in tree, Ferme aux Grues, 3 March 2013

A goldfinch.

Greenfinches, Ferme aux Grues, 3 March 2013

Greenfinches.

Great tits and blue tits.

Chaffinch and greenfinch, Ferme aux Grues, 3 March 2013

Chaffinches.

Great spotted woodpecker male, Ferme aux Grues, 3 March 2013

And a beautiful male great spotted woodpecker.

Great spotted woodpecker male in frosty tree, Ferme aux Grues, 3 March 2013

The bus continues to the north. Near Vitry-le-François, a female hen harrier flies. Fieldfares on a field.

11:15. Still 70 kilometer till Reims. A red kite flying.

Five minutes later. A flock of rooks on a fence.

Later, another red kite flying. A buzzard on a fence.

When the bus stops: long-tailed tits in a tree.

French cranes, woodpeckers, and red kites


After yesterday, Saturday 2 March 2013 was our third full day at Lac du Der in France.

After the early morning, we traveled further than before.

Today, we hoped to see not only cranes and water birds, but forest birds as well.

We went to Lac d’Orient. Around this lake is the Parc Naturel Régional Forêt d’Orient.

The middle spotted woodpecker lives here.

And the black woodpecker.

This video is about a black woodpecker nest in the Netherlands.

This is another black woodpecker video, from Bulgaria.

The three lakes in the Parc Naturel Régional Forêt d’Orient area are artificial lakes. Like the Lac du Der, they were made to prevent flooding in Paris. While the Lac du Der gets its water from the Marne river, these three smaller lakes get their water from the Seine.

On our way, we passed yesterday’s big crane group, on the field near the trees. They were still there.

Moss on a tombstone in a Lac du Der village

In a village, moss on a tombstone in a cemetery.

Then, we arrived at the Lac Amance lake. A chaffinch in a tree.

On a bank of the canal leading to the lake, a water pipit. Maybe the only European bird species which in autumn migrates to the north, not the south. These birds live high in the Alps, which get inhospitable in winter, so they migrate to lowlands.

Then, to the hide. Mute swans and a Bewick’s swan.

A peregrine falcon on the bank. Great cormorants behind it.

Over fifty dunlin flying.

A pintail duck swimming.

On to the second lake, Lac du Temple. A male wigeon swimming.

Near the hide, a lesser spotted woodpecker.

From the hide, a male goosander swimming.

Then, a forest walk. Holes in the ground. Used by badgers as “toilets”.

We hope to see the black woodpecker, but we only hear it.

We do see a nuthatch. And a European crested tit.

As we go on, a buzzard along the road, feeding on a roe deer killed by traffic.

Red kites, France, 2 March 2013

Then, a migrating group of over ten red kites, circling in the air.

Buzzard, France, 2 March 2013

Close to them, another buzzard sits in a tree.

Cranes near mistletoe, France, 2 March 2013

Much mistletoe in the trees. And, of, course, no lack of cranes.

Cranes flying near mistletoe, France, 2 March 2013

Cranes still flying near mistletoe, France, 2 March 2013

Cranes still flying, France, 2 March 2013

Our last lake of today is the Étang de la Horre. A male and a female smew swim there, cleaning their feathers.

Cranes and hares in France


Saturday 2 March 2013.

After yesterday, still near Lac du Der, France.

This French video is about the cranes of Lac du Der.

Of course, this early morning, again cranes flying over the village.

Near the dike around the lake, a hare.

A nuthatch and a green woodpecker call.

A bullfinch near a feeder in a village garden.

A great egret. Two mistle thrushes flying.

Cranes, cranes and red kites in France, photos


Friday 1 March 2013.

After the early morning, still near Lac du Der, France.

We departed from Giffaumont-Champaubert village.

A red kite flying.

At the Chantecoq hide, again three cranes. Probably the same family of yesterday.

A female goosander swims.

On a rose-bush, a larva of a gall wasp (Diplolepis rosae).

We walk to a smaller lake, the Etang des Landres.

Still partly frozen.

Juvenile mute swan, France, 1 March 2013

A young mute swan.

Male smew, back centre, among tufted ducks, France, 1 March 2013

Coots. Tufted ducks. A great egret. A grey heron. Common pochards. A male smew swimming.

Back to the big lake. A white-tailed eagle on a tree. Pintail ducks swimming.

In the fields, many small groups of cranes.

Crane with loess, France, 1 March 2013

The loess soil often sticking to their legs.

Then, the Cornée du Der oak forests.

A short-toed treecreeper. A juvenile sea eagle flying overhead.

Long-tailed tit. Marsh tit.

We hear a black woodpecker call.

On the lake bank, traces of wild boar moving the soil around. A great egret flies past.

Then, a glimpse of a rare bird: a middle spotted woodpecker.

Cranes near forest, France, 1 March 2013

In a field near trees, hundreds of cranes. Some of the birds doing mating dances.

Cranes still near forest, France, 1 March 2013

Cranes flying near forest, France, 1 March 2013

Cranes flying close to forest, France, 1 March 2013

Cranes still flying close to forest, France, 1 March 2013

A score of red kites, on spring migration together, land in trees next to a hundred rooks.

Red kites, France, 1 March 2013

Greenfinch and cranes in France


Friday 1 March 2013.

After yesterday, still near Lac du Der, France.

This video is called The birds of the lake “Lac du Der”.

Early in the morning, a blackbird and a dunnock sing in the village.

Of course, cranes flying overhead.

A buzzard.

In a tree, a greenfinch sings. A male chaffinch lands below it.

Goldfinches in another tree.

A kestrel in a coniferous tree.

The next report about Lac du Der will have photos again 🙂

Rare ducks and cranes in France, photos


Thursday 28 february 2013, near Lac du Der, France.

As I wrote earlier, we continued after seeing the cranes at the Ferme aux grues.

A roe deer on a meadow.

Two collared doves on a fence.

In a tree, scores of starlings and fieldfares.

Another hide, on a lake bank. Coots, mallards. Great crested grebes.

On the other side, mute and whooper swans. Male and female teal.

Then, unexpected guests for this inland freshwater lake: a female long-tailed duck and a velvet scoter. Both marine species.

Carrion crow, near Lac du Der, France, 28 February 2013

A carrion crow in a tree on the bank.

Goldeneyes, left, and smews, right, on Lac du Der, France, 28 February 2013

We walk on a dam across the lake. About twenty common goldeneyes swimming and diving. A female common scoter joins them. Also, a male and a female smew.

Goldeneyes on Lac du Der, France, 28 February 2013

Later on the lake, a female goosander.

17:25. A lakeside hide. A pied wagtail on a small artificial island.

Crane family, youngster at left, feeding at Lac du Der, France, 28 February 2013

Three cranes, parents and their youngster, feeding. A coypu and mallards close to them.

Crane family, youngster at left, still feeding at Lac du Der, France, 28 February 2013

Curlews. Yellow-legged gulls. Wigeon. Grey lag geese.

French cranes and bullfinches, photos


Thursday 28 February 2013 was our first full day at Lac du Der in France.

My apologies that you have had  to wait in vain so long for the photos from France. Sorting out the many pictures took longer than I had over-optimistically expected.

As I wrote earlier, early that Tuesday morning, cranes and a sea eagle along the lake bank.

Later in the morning, a kestrel on a tree.

Two cranes feeding on a field.

Two mistle thrushes.

Cranes flying to the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

We arrive at the Ferme aux grues. This is a farm, owned by BirdLife in France, with bird-friendly agriculture. Every day, much grain is provided, attracting hundreds or thousands of cranes.

Cranes flying closer to the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

This has at least three aims: 1. Preventing damage to other farms by cranes which, late during their spring migration, may eat not just last year’s waste grain, but also spring sowing seed. 2. Giving birdwatching ecotourists a chance to see big flocks of cranes, not only when they go to their Lac du Der sleeping spots late in the afternoon or wake up early in the morning, but also during the rest of the day. 3. To lure birdwatchers away from cranes feeding on other fields, as the birds are shy and easily disturbed.

Crane flocks feeding at the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

The two hides on this picture, close to the feeding cranes, are reserved for photographers renting them for a whole day.

This day, the Ferme aux grues attracted other birds as well around its hide. They go to the feeder for small birds, or perch in trees. Like house sparrows. A starling; a blue tit. A male chaffinch.

Bullfinches, male and female at the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

A male and two female bullfinches.

Bullfinch male at the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

A male pheasant.

Crane flock feeding near trees at the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

Yet more beautiful cranes.

Crane family, youngster at right, feeding at the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

Crane flock feeding at the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

Cranes preparing to land at the Ferme aux Grues, France, 28 February 2013

Our bus continues.