29-06-2005

Without too much difficulty we found a trail onto Cargèse Headlands. We were told that this area might produce Rock Sparrow. We couldn’t find one though but the area made for great birding with quite some new species for our trip list

Cargèse Headlands

What to expect: at least 2 hours of birding fun in coastal maquis
Getting there: there’s a roundabout in the centre of Cargèse (with a Spar signposted); take the road leading to the headlands (visible by the towers) and park the car somewhere in this small suburb. There are several trails that lead onto the headlands.
Targets: Audouin’s Gull, Shag, Scopoli’s Shearwater, Rock Pigeon, Blue Rock-Thrush, Marmora’s Warbler, Dartfort Warbler, Rock Sparrow

The first birds we encountered here where both Dartford and Marmora’s warblers (again with juvenile birds). Some really decent birding only started at the far end of this peninsula where it is impossible to walk on without great risk. Here we found our first and only Blue Rock-Thrushes and our only reliable Rock Pigeons. Several Scopoli’s Shearwaters passed close to shore. Another Audouin’s Gull flew by plus several small groups of Shags including the (for this subspecies characteristic) pale-bellied young. Also another Osprey flew by. On the way back we flushed two Red-legged Partridges. All in all this is a very nice spot and probably not much visited by tourists.
On the way to Ajaccio, from where our ferry would leave, we only stopped at the Liamone river mouth where Common MoorhenLittle Ringed Plover and Common Cuckoo were new for our trip list. The presence of a Black Crow among the ever present Carrion Crows was a surprise to us.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in Ajaccio, buying souvenirs whilst waiting for the ferry to leave. One of the first forest fires was easily extinguished by two fire extinguishing planes (back home we heard about severe forest fires that very day in the north of Corsica). The ferry left at about 07:00 p.m., giving us enough time to check the water for shearwaters. Shearwater activity was unfortunately pretty low with a flock of three Scopoli’s at first and another two later on. But the real surprise took more time to arrive (too much time in fact for Marc, who decided to call it a day and went to bed early): a Fin Whale crossed the ferry’s path! A bit of a panicky moment in fact but eventually I had great views of this huge animal whilst it swam alongside the boat.