We started birding as soon as 7 minutes after departure from Wageningen around 2:30 a.m. with a Barn Owl hunting along the roadside. We decided to leave early to have a Big Day driving from Wageningen to Marseille and have enough time to enjoy some of the parking lots along the “Route de Soleil” in France. We took the route Wageningen – Venlo – Roermond – Maastricht – Luxembourgh – Nancy – Lyon – Marseille. Around 4:30 a.m. we crossed the border with Belgium and soon after that it started to dawn, allowing us to add the first common birds to our list. Before 8:00 a.m. we were in France and soon after that the first interesting species started to appear, notably Black Kite and an occasional Red Kite
Before noon we reached Lyon and it became clear that we had more than enough time to get to Marseille for the 08:00 p.m. ferry to Corsica. The weather was great with temperatures starting to approach 30 °C. We checked a few parking lots but most of those were disappointing in terms of butterflies and dragonflies, except for one parking lot with an interesting river running behind the parking place. We were able to identify Pearly HeathWhite AdmiralPurple EmperorScarce Swallowtail and some more common butterflies. We also found several dragonflies like Banded DemoiselleBeautiful Demoiselle,Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) and White-legged Damselfly.
A bit too early (around 03:00 p.m.) we arrived in Marseille where it took us over an hour and a half to arrange everything for the ferry and get in line to wait for the boarding. Nothing of interest was seen from the ferry before we found our beds for a well-earned sleep.