Monday, April 20, 2009


There is a very unlikely bird sanctuary in Nice - its on the River Var estuary between Nice Airport and Cap 3000 shopping centre in St Laurent du Var. Its called La Petite Camargue after the huge river delta marsh area of the Camargue far to the west.

Strangely the birds don't seem to notice the planes taking off and landing and the folk visiting the shopping centre don't seem to realise there is a river and marshy estuary right next door.

This is a little egret [Egretta garzetta] -I was lucky to grab a few photos as the egrets took off. You can just about see that it has long black legs and yellow feet.
Another little egret taking off.

Here are two little egrets walking around -they stopped every so often to hunt for fish and amphbians.
I didn't notice the cormorant until I got home- it was so well camouflaged and most of the time has its head pointed towards the reeds.
Cormorants [ Phalacrocorax carbo] spend a lot of time with their wings outstretched. Apparently their feathers are not well waterproofed and this means they need to carefully dry them off between hunting sessions.
The immature gulls in the foreground are one year old yellow legged gulls .

There are supposed to be about 270 species of birds in the sanctuary- though some are just passing through on the way north or south. There are three different species in this picture- grey herons, moor hens and black winged stilts [Himantopus himantopus] .

The male black winged stilts has a black patch on his head [ left of the heron] and the female has a mainly white head [far left of the photo].

These birds are called stilts because of their exceedingly long red legs.

The two moorhens are in between the stilts.

A grey heron [Ardea cinerea] stalking majestically across the pebbles. Grey herons are very large birds with a huge wingspan . They mainly hunt for amphibians [esp frogs] and fish but they will also eat small mammals and birds.


Magpie Magic said...

Brilliant photos and I love the info with all your photos!

natural attrill said...

The first photograph is especially beautiful I think.