After an already epic morning, we returned back to Refuge de la Glére after birding the Col du Tourmalet. We sat under the shade of a tree to rest and eat lunch, but it only took a few bites in for us to start jumping around and checking out the birds that were flitting around.
|Wearing my American Kestrel Partnership shirt while watching Common Kestrels|
|Juvenile Black Redstart|
|A juvenile Black Redstart looking like a crybaby|
Mostly we saw our old friends, the Black Redstarts. Our target was the Citril Finch, which has a pretty limited range. We had failed to pick one up the evening before and earlier that day. Alas, we did not ever get that little yellow finch, but we did turn up a cute little yellow European Serin.
|Another little juvy Black Redstart|
|A nice-looking adult Male Black Redstart|
As we wandered around, we soaked up the view and saw various shades of gray when we found a few other familiar faces, including Water Pipit, Chaffinch and Gray Wagtail.
|Lovely mountain view|
After we finally gave up on the Citril Finch, we drove around the narrow streets of town to run the clock on the rest of the day. We managed to pick up a few new species, including Marsh Tit and Cirl Bunting. After an amazing two days birding with Charles, we bid him adieu, but not before he gave us some pointers on other places to go birding nearby.
|Nick with our guide, Charles|
The next day we wanted to visit the little town of Pau (pronounced Po) to get a little bit of our culture on. But before that, we wanted to do a bit of birding, of course. We first checked out the Lac de l'Aigue Longue in the Aquitaine region. We got great views of Northern Lapwings – truly the most beautiful of shorebirds. They have gorgeous iridescent feathers with hints of purple and green. And who couldn’t love that little “wispy crest” (as described in the Collins guide)?
|A pair of Northern Lapwings|
|Looks kind of hoppy|
|Little Ringed Plover|
In the shrubs and trees (including some wild chestnut trees) flitted LBJ’s (little brown jobs). We had a tough time getting good looks at them, but we were able to at least identify Common Chiffchaff and Greater (or Common) Whitethroat. And a bright little Blue Tit was a nice pop of color.
|Greater (or Common) Whitethroat|
The non-birds, including butterflies, lizards, and a dead mole (?), were also some good finds. That mole had quite the big, shovel-like, digging hands with creepy little fingers.
In the lake, we got some nice looks at Great Cormorants, Eurasian Coots, and nice flyby views of Gray Heron and Little Egret. But it was another bird that would fill me with the most glee...
|Little Egret in flight|
|Mostly Cattle Egrets with a couple of Little Egrets mixed in|
Look at these beautiful Great Crested Grebes! We had gotten some OK looks at some before at Réservoir de Magnoac, but there were so many here and at much closer range. These birds are absolutely gorgeous, and such a delight to watch. We made use of the blind at the lake to catch some fun glimpses of a baby grebe nagging and following its parent, who seemed all too annoyed at it.
|Just a bit of elegant preening|
I could have watched these guys all day. They’re so lovely and elegant, yet spunky at the same time. They almost have a David Bowie quality to them. And those crests are indeed great!
|Maybe my favorite GCGR pic|
|A nice look at those crests|
It was a fun morning checking out the lovely birds and other critters at the lake. But the rest of the day was spent eating crepes and enjoying the sights of Pau. More birding would have to wait until the next day.
|Chateau de Pau|
|Our first funicular ride! It was only for a couple of minutes, but fun!|