Corsica

 

 

 

 

 

This is a short report of an 8 day trip to Corsica and Southern France (Camarque and Crau) from 23 till 30 June 2005, in order to find the species endemic to Corsica and other specialties. Since it is the low season this time of year when it comes to birds we decided also to concentrate on other fauna, including butterflies and dragonflies. It took us not long to prepare for our target bird species with a good number of trip reports on the Internet and more than useful answers to some specific questions asked on the EuroBirdNet mail group. The decision to visit the Camarque and the Crau was based on the fact that Moustached Warbler (Camarque) and Lesser Kestrel, Little Bustard and Southern Grey Shrike would be new species for us.

We travelled with our own car and drove all the way from Wageningen, the Netherlands to Marseille, France, giving us the freedom to go and stop where we saw fit. From Wageningen to Marseille it is about 1200 km, which we easily drove in just over 14 hours including lots of stops en route. Costs for the Peage in France (route Nancy – Lyon and Lyon – Marseille) were € 45,-. In Marseille we took the night boat (one of the slowest crossing options), previously booked, leaving Marseille just after 08:00 p.m and docking in Propriano at 7:00 a.m. the following morning. Renting a cabin for the night made it possible for us to get a good night’s rest before we were going to start some serious birding. From Corsica we had the night boat leaving Ajaccia at 07:00 p.m. and arriving in Marseille around 7:00 a.m. Again we had our own cabin. Price for a return ticket, including car and cabin was € 365,-, which was definitely not the cheapest option. Because of our limited time, however, it was the most convenient one. Over the whole trip we drove 3500 km.
Campsites were easily found all over the island and the ones we found were all between € 10,- and € 17,- for a tent, a car and two persons.

Looking back we came to realise that 6 days on Corsica does not do justice to the beauty of the island. Not even by far. It is enough to find the endemics and should be enough to find most of the targets but we actually didn’t see more than half of the island. Which is as good a reason as any to go back some day.
The weather was nothing but great. Temperatures during the day rose to about 32 °C in the coastal areas of Corsica and up to 28 °C in the mountains. On Corsica there was virtually no wind during our visit. The Crau was hot (34 °C) but fortunately we had some wind there.
We dipped on quite a lot of species, probably due to lack of time. Most notably was the Balearic Woodchat Shrike, a species we expected to come across at least once. Another bad dip was Lammergeier, which is always difficult. In the Camarque we tried for Moustached Warbler but were equally unsuccessful.