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Birding in France

We found this birding guide and thought that the tours look pretty interesting, and Andy himself as well.



Wildlife Provençale

Wildlife Provençale is an independent wildlife holiday company specialising in regional wildlife tours of Provence in the South of France. We are the regional experts for natural history holidays in this spectacular location with 11 years of highly successful wildlife tours.


About Provence, from the website:


The vastness of France with its varied habitats holds a wealth of potential for the naturalist, and for us, Provence is the jewel in the crown.

Your time is precious, so we take care of all your transport, hotel, language and other logistical distractions so that you can best optimise your time on your birdwatching holiday. Our intimate local knowledge and research of the region as well as extensive local contacts allow us to take you to the best spots whilst our discreet and sensitive approach is sufficiently 'hands off' to give you a real sense of discovery and personal identification with Provence.

The glorious Provencale landscapes immortalized by Cezanne and Van Gogh provide a superb backdrop for us to explore and observe dynamic wildlife species. An important feature of our holidays is the wide diversity of habitats within easy reach. These include the internationally important wetlands of the Camargue, the stony desert-like Crau, Maquis, and Mediterranean scrub, raised plateaux incised by deep gorges, whilst to our north we have the mountains of the Southern Alps which tower above 7,000 feet.

For the naturalist we are located at a fascinating cross over between the Mediterranean and Alpine habitats, where a succession of biomes are “telescoped together” between the ruggedness of the Alps and the “big sky” landscapes of the Camargue.

This allows us to see Wallcreepers, Chamois, Marmot, Alpine Chough, and Ibex. Then the next day be watching Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, Collared Pratincole, Flamingos and Bee Eaters. Where else would this be possible?

The plant and insect life of course, also show a similarly wide diversity of species, with many species unique to our region.

Located in a mountainous region of northern Provence known as the Baronnies, our base in the medieval village of Sainte Jalle lies at a fascinating interface between Alpine and Mediterranean habitats where the calls of Black Redstart, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Nightingale, Nightjar, and Scops Owl can be heard around the village.

Other regular village sightings include wild boar, Stone Martin, golden eagle, short toed eagle, black kite, raven and beavers (at the bottom of our garden!).

The area boasts over twenty-six species of orchid, in fact within 100m of the village centre we can see Military, Pyramidal, bee, spider, butterfly and lizard orchids.

The disappearing peasant lifestyle still remains in our valley, where the dull clank of sheep neck bells creates truly atmospheric music. A chequerboard pattern carpets the valley floor with fields of lavender, thyme, wheat, apricots and cherries, which are fringed by poplar, lime, mulberry, and almond trees.

Coppiced oak woodlands dominate the valley flanks, giving way to beech and hazel above 100m. In many places the improbably blue Provencale horizon is incised by vertically inclined limestone strata and here we can find Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Raven, Rock Bunting, Eagle Owl, Peregrine, Golden Eagle and Chamois.

Add to all this a warm and hospitable climate and we know you are in for a stunning natural history holiday !


About Andrew, the leader:

Andrew Hargreaves will be leading the tours with a maximum size of eight. Andy has a degree in Environmental Science and has worked in Provence reintroducing Griffon vultures to the Baronnies. As well as studying Griffon behaviour and ecology, Andy has taken part in scientific surveys of Beaver, Chamois, Ibex, Bats, Lammergeier, Tengmalm’s; Scops and Eagle owls, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Bonelli’s and Golden Eagles. He’s built up an extensive network of contacts with local peasant farmers and conservationists.

Andy maintains that our close proximity to some of the world's finest wines (Chateauneuf-du-Pape,Gigondes, etc.) in no way influences our itinerary, (but it could if you insist!).


Our thoughts:

Good food, good wine, good birding, good wildlife, good company in Provence. Doesn't sound too bad to us.


Contact them:

Wildlife Provencale