So let’s get right to the point, and start things off in France…
10 hour flight from Salt Lake city and we’re on the ground and headed into downtown Paris in the midst of a downpour there were few birds. The first of note was a ROOK flyover on the highway, followed by numerous CARRION CROWS--the most abundant species I saw in France, aside from what I am now calling the “common three”--European Starling, House Sparrow, and Rock Pigeon.
As we wove through the tiny streets, I couldn’t have told you where we were, until a block from our hotel, when I spied the Eiffel Tower between a couple buildings. We checked in and went to our rooms for a much needed nap--but not before I glimpsed the pigeons across the alley from us--my lifer STOCK PIGEONS, and my favorite bird from France, the COMMON WOOD PIGEON.
The BLACK-HEADED GULLS were a constant up and down the Seine River. A EURASIAN HOBBY flyover was the only raptor seen, and a GREAT CORMORANT flyby was the only waterbird/diver seen.
I did snag both EURASIAN COOT and EURASIAN MOORHEN--the coots were in the ponds beneath the Eiffel Tower, while the Moorhen was in a tiny 10’ long by 3’ wide water feature at the Jardin Des Plantes (Botanical Gardens).
On our second morning we took a short walk along the river to see the miniature Statue of Liberty, and added EURASIAN BLUE TIT and my first ever wagtail, in several GRAY WAGTAILS.
We took the Batobus water taxi to the Jardin Des Plantes where I thought for sure the birding would be good--I was wrong. One EURASIAN ROBIN, 3 EURASIAN BLACKBIRDS, a lone ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET, and several EURASIAN GOLDFINCHES were about it.
Over the 2 ½ days in Paris I saw just 18 species of life birds out of between 50-60 that were possible and listed as common. It just isn’t a birders city I guess.
Leaving France was a bit of a nightmare. The people at Air France in the Airport were to be blunt again, a-holes. In general there seemed to be quite a bit of attitude from Parisians towards the obvious Americans we are--aside from a few very nice people we met. Once we finally made it off the ground ($140 more on top of what we already paid for our tickets, because Air France limits your carry on weight and we had to check an extra bag) the flight crew was awful, and the 9.5 hour flight couldn’t get over quickly enough. I was glad to be done with France and onto something truly exciting--perhaps even life changing--AFRICA!
18 life birds in France / 18 total trip life birds / 24 total trip species
photos from birding in France can be viewed at:
Birding Paris, France on TimAveryBirding.com