Keeping an eye out for birds

One of the delights of living in the Gers is that the birdlife here is so rich. This is a consequence of several factors perhaps including low population density, relatively traditional agricultural methods and our proximity to the migratory (migratoir) route of the western Pyrénées.

Keeping an eye out for birds

It’s a real pleasure to witness (être témoin de) the variation in bird species as different seasons (saisons) come and go and a handful (une poignée) of favourites deserve (mérite) special mention:

Common Nightingale – Rossignol

Luscinia megarhynchos philomèle Photo/info

Anything but common (ordinaire), this small bird arrives in late March and begins to nest in our hedges (haies). It sings at night as if the world will end the next morning. Inspiration for poets and philosophers.

European Nightjar – Engoulevent d’Europe

Caprimulgus europaeus Photo/info

Summer visitor in July and August. Silent in flight (en plein vol). Wing-beating sound resembles a distant two-stroke engine (un moteur à deux temps). Once chased round our courtyard by one of our cats, keeping safely out of reach with agile jumps (sauts) into the air before landing on the ground each time. Entrancing.

Eurasian Golden Oriole – Loriot d’Europe

Oriolus oriolus Photo/info

A summer visitor, the oriole is difficult to spot (apercevoir). Its voice punctuates (ponctuer) every day of late spring and summer like liquid gold.

European Bee-eater – Guêpier d’Europe

Merops apiaster Photo/info

We have seen this bird in the Gers only once and then in a group of perhaps 10. They are sociable and surprisingly noisy (bruyant). Keep up the good work (with the wasps)!

Eurasian Hoopoe – Huppe fasciée

Upupa epops Photo/info

Perhaps our favourite bird, this one lives around us all summer, enjoying being in the courtyard all day long. We’ve lost count of how many times it’s hovered (voltiger) outside windows, looking in at us. Splendid onomatopoeic latin name!

Hen Harrier – Busard Saint-Martin

Circus cyaneus Photo/info

Harry and Harriet. The male is grey with black wing tips (bout de l’aile) and the female brown with a white rump (croupion). The fly low over fields and along hedges.

Western Cattle Egret – Héron garde-boeufs

Bubulcus ibis Photo/info

Only rarely spotted when we first visited southern France, this bird is now resident all year round, no doubt as a consequence of climate change.

Northern Lapwing – Vanneau huppé

Vanellus vanellus Photo/info

A rare winter visitor. This majestic bird arrives in groups with the winter snow. Although it appears to be a black and white bird, its true colours are a feast for the eye (se délecter à regarder).

Keeping an eye out for birds

A definitive list of the birds that we see at or around Trapeharde is difficult to make, but here is a list of the species that we think we see. (Click on the column headings to sort the lists.)

LatinEnglishFrench
Accipiter nisusSparrowhawk, EurasianÉpervier d’Europe
Aegithalos caudatusTit, Long-tailedMésange à longue queue
Alauda arvensisSkylark, EurasianAlouette des champs
Alcedo atthisKingfisher, CommonMartin-pêcheur d’Europe
Alectoris rufaPartridge, Red-leggedPerdrix rouge
Anas platyrhynchosMallardCanard colvert
Anthus pratensisPipit, MeadowPipit farlouse
Anthus trivialisPipit, TreePipit des arbres
Apus apusSwift, CommonMartinet noir
Ardea cinereaHeron, GreyHéron cendré
Asio flammeusOwl, Short-earedHibou des marais
Asio otusOwl, Long-earedHibou moyen-duc
Athene noctuaOwl, LittleChevêche d’Athéna
Bubulcus ibisEgret, Western CattleHéron garde-boeufs
Buteo buteoBuzzard, CommonBuse variable
Calidris ferrugineaSandpiper, CurlewBécasseau cocorli
Caprimulgus europaeusNightjar, EuropeanEngoulevent d’Europe
Carduelis cannabinaLinnet, CommonLinotte mélodieuse
Carduelis carduelisGoldfinch, EuropeanChardonneret élégant
Carduelis spinusSiskin, EurasianTarin des aulnes
Certhia familiarisTreecreeper, EurasianGrimpereau des bois
Circus cyaneusHarrier, HenBusard Saint-Martin
Coccothraustes coccothraustesHawfinchGros-bec casse-noyaux
Columba oenasDove, StockPigeon colombin
Columba palumbusPigeon, Common WoodPigeon ramier
Corvus coroneCrow, CarrionCorneille noire
Corvus frugilegusRookCorbeau freux
Coturnix coturnixQuail, CommonCaille des blés
Cuculus canorusCuckoo, CommonCoucou gris
Delichon urbicaMartin, HouseHirondelle de fenêtre
Dendrocopos majorWoodpecker, Great SpottedPic épeiche
Dendrocopos minorWoodpecker, Lesser SpottedPic épeichette
Dryocopus martiusWoodpecker, BlackPic noir
Emberiza cirlusBunting, CirlBruant zizi
Emberiza citrinellaYellowhammerBruant jaune
Erithacus rubeculaRobin, EuropeanRougegorge familier
Falco columbariusMerlinFaucon émerillon
Falco peregrinusFalcon, PeregrineFaucon pèlerin
Falco subutteoHobbyFaucon hobereau
Falco tinnunculusKestrel, CommonFaucon crécerelle
Ficedula hypoleucaFlycatcher, European PiedGobemouche noir
Fringilla coelebsChaffinch, CommonPinson des arbres
Fringilla montifringillaBramblingPinson du Nord
Fulica atraCoot, EurasianFoulque macroule
Gallinula chloropusMoorhen, CommonGallinule poule-d’eau
Garrulus glandariusJay, EurasianGeai des chênes
Glareola pratincolaPratincole, CollaredGlaréole à collier
Grus grusCrane, CommonGrue cendrée
Hieraaetus pennatusEagle, BootedAigle botté
Hirundo rusticaSwallow, BarnHirondelle rustique
Lanius excubitorShrike, Great GreyPie-grièche grise
Lullula arboreaWoodlarkAlouette lulu
Luscinia megarhynchosNightingale, CommonRossignol philomèle
Merops apiasterBee-eater, EuropeanGuêpier d’Europe
Milvus migransKite, BlackMilan noir
Milvus milvusKite, RedMilan royal
Motacilla albaWagtail, WhiteBergeronnette grise
Motacilla cinereaWagtail, GreyBergeronnette des ruisseaux
Muscicapa striataFlycatcher, SpottedGobemouche gris
Oenanthe leucuraWheatear, BlackTraquet rieur
Oriolus oriolusOriole, Eurasian GoldenLoriot d’Europe
Parus majorTit, GreatMésange charbonnière
Passer domesticusSparrow, HouseMoineau domestique
Passer montanusSparrow, Eurasian TreeMoineau friquet
Pernis apivorusBuzzard, European HoneyBondrée apivore
Phalacrocorax aristotelisShag, EuropeanCormoran huppé
Phalacrocorax carboCormorant, GreatGrand Cormoran
Phasianus colchicusPheasant, CommonFaisan de Colchide
Phoenicurus ochrurosRedstart, BlackRougequeue noir
Phylloscopus collybitaChiffchaff, CommonPouillot véloce
Pica picaMagpie, EurasianPie bavarde
Picus viridisWoodpecker, European GreenPic vert
Prunella modularisDunnockAccenteur mouchet
Pyrrhula pyrrhulaBullfinch, EurasianBouvreuil pivoine
Regulus regulusGoldcrestRoitelet huppé
Riparia ripariaMartin, SandHirondelle de rivage
Saxicola rubetraWhinchatTarier des prés
Serinus serinusSerin, EuropeanSerin cini
Sitta europaeaNuthatch, EurasianSittelle torchepot
Streptopelia decaoctoDove, Eurasian CollaredTourterelle turque
Streptopelia turturDove, European TurtleTourterelle des bois
Strix alucoOwl, TawnyChouette hulotte
Sturnus vulgarisStarling, CommonÉtourneau sansonnet
Sylvia atricapillaBlackcap, EurasianFauvette à tête noire
Sylvia communisWhitethroat, CommonFauvette grisette
Tachybaptus ruficollisGrebe, LittleGrèbe castagneux
Troglodytes troglodytesWren, EurasianTroglodyte mignon
Turdus merulaBlackbird, CommonMerle noir
Turdus philomelosThrush, SongGrive musicienne
Turdus pilarisFieldfareGrive litorne
Turdus viscivorusThrush, MistleGrive draine
Tyto albaOwl, Western BarnEffraie des clochers
Upupa epopsHoopoe, EurasianHuppe fasciée
Vanellus vanellusLapwing, NorthernVanneau huppé