If there is one bird found in Europe that encapsulates the beauty of Nature in one form, it is the Bee-eater. The colours speak for themselves. When the Bee-eater takes to the air, it's grace and agility match it's beauty on the ground. The distinctive call entirely befits such a beautiful bird. We have created a special hide to observe them at close quarters. It is then you also discern the caring characteristics between the pairs, the frequent courtship of exchanging gifts, dragonflies & other insects, to constantly reinforce their bond. Such a gentle, close relationship is in perfect keeping with the physical perfection of the Bee-eater.
Bee-eaters are present in the Ariege from early May through to mid September. Happily they seem to be thriving in the area, with colonies expanding. The Ariege is on the limit of the distribution of a species that prefers warmer, dryer climates.
Yesterday, 3rd June 2016, we had a veritable 'feast' of vultures and eagles in the mountains above Tarascon, Ariege. First came the Griffons, as a single, a pair and finally a group of 4. Then a Booted Eagle circled for a number minutes followed quickly by a very rare sighting of a Black Vulture.
The Black Vulture is normally found in Spain and around the Cévennes region of France. This may be a transiting bird between the French & Spanish breeding areas or could possibly be a new resident. We shall investigate further.
Around the same time as this sighting, we saw a Booted Eagle and soon afterwards a Short-toed Eagle. Just before 4pm, when we were considering finishing, a pair of Golden Eagles circled for a number of minutes above our heads. Finally, after many long-distance observations, a Bearded Vulture was spotted close-by, fying against the forest background and then suddenly arriving on our Col for a magnificent fly-by (1st photo). What a 'finale' to a 'feast' of magnificent birds!